We completed nearly all of our pre-launch to-do list, and splashed on schedule on December 2. It is awesome to see this 30,000 pound object moved around so gracefully by the boatyard. Our engine started with no trouble, and we slowly motored off into the harbor.
The first few hundred meters are always a bit tense, because the water is quite shallow and we worry about running aground. After making this journey several times, you would think we’d trust the depth a bit more – but we don’t.
Out in the harbor, the first task is to find a place to anchor. You have to be out of the traffic lane, and preferably not too far from the dinghy docks. And of course you can’t end up too close to other boats. Naturally, there are already dozens of boats in the harbor, all with the same objective. We usually end up prioritizing having enough room over minimizing the dinghy ride.
There are a few commissioning activities that can only really be done after we’re in the water. For instance, to flush the watermaker we need a lot of seawater. This year we had a further task, which was completing the repair of our refrigerator. This unit uses seawater to cool the condenser, so the final check out and adjustment had to wait until we launched.
We are getting into the rhythm of life aboard. It always takes a few days to adjust to the warm temperatures, and to get used to the boat rocking in the water. Prickly Bay is one of the rollier anchorages we spend time in.
It seems as though we always end up spending more time in Prickly Bay than we planned. This year is no different. We had to order a new chartplotter, and it takes more than a week to come from St. Martin. Our old chartplotter works fine, but the joystick button broke last year. We were disappointed to find that, even though our model first came to the market in 2009, Raymarine can no longer supply parts to repair it. Hopefully we can get the new unit on the island and installed by the middle of next week, so we can start the northward portion of our season.