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  • Katharine Hesmer

DAY 49 | January 31, 2022

George Town, Great Exuma Cay, Exuma, Bahamas

KORKZcrew is the blue dot on the map.

Today's Morning Report announced that ukulele lessons would be held on Chat 'N Chill beach at 1:00 on Thursday, February 2. The organizers on channel 72 do such a great job of making sure there is literally something for EVERYONE to do here. You can tell how hard they work to insure that there are a variety of activities for people of all ages and interests.

Another thing you learn about thanks to George Town's cruisers' network is the availability of local services. I think I've mentioned Jamal before, who is known as Elizabeth Harbor's concierge because he will help you with literally anything you need. He can get groceries for you or fuel, haul away trash, deliver supplies — you name it. It's just important to add a fair tip to his fee for the convenience he provides, even though he doesn't ask for it. For KORKZcrew, we hired Jamal to pick up our old batteries and dispose of them for us. The batteries are 70 pounds apiece, and we would've had to awkwardly haul 6 of these into town on our dinghy, traveling across the harbor which can be pretty choppy depending on the wind and weather, then schlepp them onto and across a long dock and into a proper disposal area. It was HUGE that Jamal would do this for us, and his boat enabled him to pull up right beside KORKZcrew, making it easy for us to pass across the dead batteries. Super nice guy, too.

Note Ron's handmade (and super effective) bungee cord (of course!) battery handle.

We had a nice visit today from our new engineer friend named Patrick. He is so intelligent he makes my head explode when he opens his mouth. My brain just shut down the minute he started talking about amps, load, voltage, AC, DC, etc. It just shut down again now having to TYPE these words, but if you're a battery or engineering nerd, you would've been in absolute heaven. Patrick knows his stuff.

He talked a lot about solar panels (which are on our wish list) and lithium batteries (which apparently also need to be on our wish list). Lithium batteries can go from being 100% charged to being depleted without damaging the battery, are self-sustaining, and weigh about half as much as our AGMs (Absorbent Glass Mat). With AGMs, you begin to do damage to the battery once the charge dips below 50%, and that's the position Patrick believes we find ourselves in. Ron is understandably hesitant to make the rather hefty investment required to switch over to lithium as we are in the trial phase of living on KORKZcrew, and want to be sure we'd like to keep the boat before we sink that much money into it.

Patrick also thinks that we're not running the generator as long as we need to each day, based on the various things that are draining KORKZcrew's batteries — that we're basically taking more from the batteries than we're putting back in. He helped us figure out what was putting the most demand on the batteries, and suggested for example that at night, we turn off the outlet that's powering the cellular antenna since we obviously wouldn't be using it. He's absolutely brilliant, and so generous with his time. He went back and forth (and back and forth) to the engine room with Ron, and I bet he helped us for over two hours, expecting absolutely nothing in return. Ron took him some beers later just to say thanks, but it hardly felt like enough.

If these battery conversations weren't fascinating enough (at least the parts I could understand), we THEN found out that Patrick is a pilot for the Boeing 737 MAX — yes, THAT Boeing 737 MAX. Enter Skeet Hesmer, who knows about airplanes inside out, front to back and back to front, and is ESPECIALLY interested in everything pertaining to that particular aircraft. It was WILD to listen to those two.

Then, to cap off an already interesting day, this nice couple approached KORKZcrew on their dinghy and introduced themselves, saying they had a Great Harbour 47 just around the corner and to please join them some time at Chat 'N Chill. They'd heard Ron on channel 72 and asked “Did your husband ever get his battery issues resolved?” How nice is that? We hope to get together with them in the coming days. Great Harbours are not that plentiful, and I thought it was cute of them to recognize someone else from the "family" and say hello. 😜

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