It's Grocery Day! - March 27, 2020


Happy Friday, everyone.

Today we received the grocery delivery for ourselves and five other boats in the anchorage. As we are seeing things shut down around us, we are anticipating closures here as well, though they are not yet in effect. With that in mind, we were somewhat aggressive in our grocery order. We don’t want to have to be in the heat of things when a shutdown is declared and we’re told we have 48 hours to get our business done. So, we are trying to stay very stocked at all times.

We emptied 20 gallons of diesel from 4 of our jerry jugs and sent the jugs back with the provisioner to be filled and delivered back to us when she does the next grocery run. We aren’t sure exactly when that will be, but we’re hoping sooner versus later. Not that we need the fuel right now, but sending 4 precious (albeit empty) jerry jugs away from home is a little bit stressful. We wrote our name on them and we know the provisioner so we are confident we will get them back full and we’ll all be happy. We still have 6 full jerry cans aboard, so if by some series of events (and events happen all the time in the islands) we don’t get them back, we still have 30 gallons of capacity for spare fuel. We are still somewhat scarred by the memory that the only way Dirk had to get off of St John after Hurricane Irma in 2017 was to go out and FIND 25 gallons of diesel. The boat’s fuel tanks were empty after out running the storm, there were no full jerry cans standing by aboard, AND there were no gas stations or fuel docks open to sell diesel fuel. By hook or by crook, he found a diesel angel and he was able to muster enough fuel for the boat he was on to be able to get to Puerto Rico safely before Maria hit and decimated Fajardo, PR. So the bottom line here is that we are very serious about our diesel reserves.

The provisioners delivered the groceries as close to they could get to us, but they came by land instead of by boat, so they could only get as close as the bottom of a hill in the parking lot of the Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins. When they let us know they were close, Dirk and two other Captains in the anchorage took two dinghys as close as they could get to the drop off location. They anchored the dinghys and took a treacherous walk across a rocky beach to take delivery. Then they had to haul the provisions - big boxes and bags (and maybe a few bottles of rum) by hand back across the rocky beach, back through the water and into the tenders that were waiting. Once the goods were loaded, the guys tendered back to the anchorage and delivered the groceries to all of the boats based on their individual orders. Things worked out pretty well, but part of the order was accidentally missed, so the provisioners are going to work on that tomorrow or the next day. They did a great job, though, and we are very thankful to them for putting themselves at risk by shopping for all of us.

Once our groceries arrived on Catatonic 500, we unloaded them from the dinghy onto the sugar scoops (the very aft (back) part of the boat). Then, we brought them in bag by bag to the outdoor sink and washed every item down with either soap and water, for items that could get wet, or with Isopropyl alcohol for items that needed to stay mostly dry, like flour and sugar. It probably took us over an hour to clean everything and load it into the salon (living room). We still haven’t put everything away, so it’s still a staging area in there, but after a long day of being in Divemaster class, by the time we’d handled the provisions, it was time for a break. We headed back to our dive instructor’s boat for a quick Sundowner and then came back to Catatonic.

Divemaster class has been very challenging, but today was actually one of the easier days. We did a dive in the morning, with the objective of mapping the dive site. We each had a dive slate and on it we drew a map as we dove the site, indicating the features of the shoreline and the location of the various mooring balls in the area. Below the water line, on our slates we drew in the sandy areas and the areas covered with sea grass. We indicated the reef and the direction it runs, the depth at the bottom of the reef and the depth at the top of the reef, and info like that. I indicated the marine life I saw on the dive as well. Dirk said “why put them on the map? They move!” He is correct, but some are territorial, so it’s good to indicate an eel’s den, an octopus’s garden or a lobster hole (for interest, and also in case you need to come back later for protein!). Then, in the afternoon, we simulated emergency response to a distressed diver. We had to approach the diver, try to rouse them, flip them over, check for responsiveness, do rescue breathing, take off their gear and swim them back to the boat while remembering to do all of the necessary little detailed things that make it complicated. It’s really good to be reviewing all of these procedures. Dirk and I both studied emergency response and management in our respective Rescue Diver courses, but it’s been a little bit since we got that certification and a refresher is very helpful.

One last thing - You may recall that a few days ago, a boat dropped off some provisions with us and one of those items was a rack of baby back ribs. I marinated the ribs while we were on our afternoon dives and started the ribs cooking while Dirk was picking up the provisions. By the time we’d cleaned the provisions, stowed them in the salon and had gone back to our friends’ boat for sunset happy hour and come home, the ribs were ready! I whipped up a quick warm potato salad and we feasted on BBQ baby back ribs and warm potato salad (sorry mom, the only green was the fresh basil and the green onion in the potato salad). We are stuffed and ready to turn in after we run the generator for a little bit to charge up systems for the morning. Oh, and we need to throw in a load of laundry, too. Better get going on that! Fair winds, and hang in there.

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