We invited our local friends Ron and Jane to visit us aboard Escape Velocity on our last day on the island. Jane was busy with yoga class but Jack picked Ron up in the dinghy and ferried him out to the anchorage. He and Jane had been mostly off the island during our entire time in St. Thomas so we were glad to have this last little bit of time together before we left. Jane sent along a little Buddha; she remembered that I was wanting to find a small lightweight one for EV.
We gave Ron the grand tour and he checked over our watermaker. Ron makes reverse osmosis water for a living but on a big commercial scale. He isn’t familiar with the small units aboard yachts but he puzzled out our system and gave me some tips and advice on the care and feeding of it.
We retired to the cockpit and sat enjoying the view and the company. Ron is so experienced in sailing the islands, cruising in general, circumnavigating and the boat life mentality that every word out of his mouth was to Jack and me a pearl of wisdom to be meditated on and lived by.
Our conversation eventually turned to our non-working SSB radio which we had not got around to addressing during our stay in St. Thomas. Ron jumped up with the no-nonsense do-it-now attitude we’d come to appreciate from his emails to us and fiddled around with the radio and its connections. He confirmed that it wasn’t working and that it wasn’t me.
“Hmmm,” he said. “At this point I’d want to open it up and see what’s going on inside.” He looked at his watch. It was Sunday. He had other things to do.
“Aw, let’s do it.” And he and I set about disconnecting everything and pulling the radio from its cradle at the bottom of the electrical cabinet. We opened it up and were pleased to see that it’s clean and new-looking inside. He checked all the connections, Jack tested the fuses and even though it all looked good we are back at square one. It still doesn’t work. At least we’ve eliminated any obvious electrical failures. Ron suggested the next step will be to schlepp the radio and the remote control panel to a shop for bench testing. I’m not looking forward to that in a wet dinghy and with no car. It’s heavy!
We reluctantly said goodbye to our cruising guru. It’s impossible to overstate how much he’s helped us in adjusting to the cruising life, from offering practical advice on systems or course routing, to more nebulous boosts to our confidence from his obvious belief in us, and just the very fact that he, who has sailed around the world, is following our journey of discovery. We think of him as virtual crew and we’re glad to have him with us.