Day 103, Year 5: Wrong
Date: Saturday, February 6, 2010
Weather: Sunny; Temps in the 80’s
Location: Bolgatty Hotel Anchorage, Cochin (Kochi), India

I named yesterday’s log, “It Has To Get Better.” But, wrong, it does not. This morning we tried to start the engine to charge the batteries, and it wouldn’t start . . . again. Mark then bypassed the starting battery and tried to start it off the house batteries, as he has had to do many times before and it has always worked, but nothing happened this morning. So rather than try and troubleshoot the situation ourselves, we decided to have Nazar call Anil and get someone here as soon as possible. Actually, we needed an electrician, but what we got was a mechanic. To make a very long story short, the mechanic called in the electricians. While WAITING two hours for them to arrive, we kept working on the problem. Ed of Constance came over and helped troubleshoot as well and we thought we found the problem. We charge our starting battery with a small alternator, separate from the big alternator that charges the house batteries. That alternator did not appear to be working. So we figured the starting battery didn’t have enough charge to start the engine. So we tried using the house batteries, and this time it worked. This told us that the solenoid and the starter were fine, and when the electricians came they cleaned the terminals with a wire brush (which we had already sprayed with terminal cleaner) and all of a sudden everything was working just fine. The small alternator was charging and the engine starts. We can only hope that this is the end of our electrical woes of the past six weeks.

While Mark stayed on the boat waiting for help to arrive, I went to town to see if I could find out why our modem connecting us to wireless internet is not working properly. The short answer to that is because we plugged it into two different ports and needed to reinstall it. But I ended up renting a modem for the month that will give us twice the signal strength. We will try to connect with Heather, Jed, Sam, and Jonah later tonight to see if the new modem works better. If not I will take it back, but if it does work, we will keep it and loan our other modem to Ed and Lynne on Constance. But to back up a bit, when I got back from my little field trip to town, Mark told me that when he dropped me off this morning, our dinghy propeller got caught in a fishing net right at the jetty (it was low, low tide again) and he had to call Ed to come with knives to cut the net away. He then had to be towed back to Windbird so that he could bring the dinghy motor up on deck to finish cleaning it off. That got mud everywhere, but by the time I returned, the mud was mostly cleaned off and the dinghy motor was back on the dinghy and working fine. In fact, while they were waiting they fixed the lever on the dingy motor that lets you tilt it up out of the water.

We decided that after dealing with so many boat problems in one day, we needed a change. So we went to Fort Cochin to the Kairali Kathakali Centre to see a performance. Kathakali is a story told in mime with the actors using precise hand gestures and facial expressions to tell the story. The make-up, costumes, and headdresses are elaborate and the mime is accompanied by drummers and singers. We arrived just after 5 o’clock and watched one performer applying the intricate make-up. The performance then started at 6 o’clock and for an hour we watched the story of Bhagavata Purana unfold. Tonight there was one drummer and one singer and two actors. It was basically a story of seduction. We knew what was happening with no words needed. The stories performed were mostly written at the same time as Shakespeare was writing his tales in England, but the origin stems from temple rituals in the 2nd century. This was a wonderful introduction to Kerala culture.

We hopped on the ferry to get back to the mainland and then walked along the waterfront to get back to our dinghy (more than a mile’s walk). We ducked into the International Book Fair being held on the waterfront and oogled at the wonderful array of books. We will go back tomorrow and take a closer look but we did buy a novel about King Arthur and a book on the life of scientist Stephen Hawkin. So a good ending to the day.

And now we are waiting to try a Skype video call with Heather, Jed, Sam, and Jonah. Sam and Jed went to the lumber yard and are still not home, but hopefully we will be talking with them soon. I did talk to my sister Patsy and learned that the weather on the East Coast has been ugly and I tried to reach by brother Dickie with no success. I’ll try again tomorrow morning and report on the Skype call with Heather and company in tomorrow’s log.

100206 Day 103 India–Kathakali Performance