Oh how spoiled we are with Amazon! Another convenient luxury to say goodbye to when cruising. When we were tied to a dock with a fixed address, Amazon and eBay make it so easy to get what you need. When you spend most of your time in an anchorage, it gets a bit harder! No fixed mailing address. No car. Never sure where you will be next? Can’t mail ahead to the next nearby marina without paying for the slip reservation up front. What now? We learned to plan ahead.
Mail is a luxury we can keep – our bills and “snail mail” correspondence at all electronic now. The Internet is a wonderful thing and we can usually find a way to grab it out of thin air where we are or at the next civilized stop. I recently published a whole post just on how we communicate (internet being one means to do so).
Spares, spares and more spares for mechanical widgets aboard is a great investment. We’ve already realized how valuable spares are. But you don’t always have a spare for everything that breaks! We are working through that one as I write (Steve) – waiting on our fuel shut off solenoid for the generator so I can quit starting and stopping it manually every other day. We had no spare -who knew? Found it on Amazon and eBay for $69 bucks. Bummer – there is not enough time to order and receive it before we catch the next weather window to leave here…and no sure place to mail it to (at our destination) since we don’t know where we will be (just yet) to drop the hook (somewhere near Freeport Grand Bahamas). Getting it locally will likely be twice the Amazon price… if more. We need the part so we will get it now (locally) while we know it is available in the right size and configuration.
Another way to “get stuff” is to have your crew bring it back with them when they travel. Re-enter Amazon. Ship it to our crew member’s visit destination (home or family) and ask them to bring it back with them.
One last method is to have a US based mail service like a UPS store that will collect your mail and package it up for shipment to you when you have a mail stop that is a sue thing. We have just this service and love it! We usually order lower priority stuff like spares replacements using the UPS address and have it shipped via DHL to us wherever we are. More expensive…yes. More practical and reliable…yes.
Today’s shore excursion, in the rain and 25 knot winds, was all about local hunting. Racor filters, shackles and cables (all spares replacements) and white onions and goat cheese for a special Kimberly “galley creation”. Ok-the onions and cheese were “since you are going” items! Brandon (crew member) rented a car to visit family while we wait on weather…so-Brandon…since you have the car…how about a quick adventure before you depart?…14miles, a marine supply store and a market later…he was on his way and we had the things we needed!
Getting things repaired, when you can’t do it yourself, is another local hunting excursion to find the right guy, with the right skills at a reasonable price… it is an all day affair! We recently had some problems with our generator (kept shutting down) and then it overheated when the impeller burnt up from a blockage! The photo (right) shows the water pump with the “stump”of the impeller inside…all the vanes are gone! After two full days of plowing through the Internet and making calls, we stumbled upon Sam from Inline Marine Services (a mobile tech). He understood our special circumstances (cruisers that anchor out) and offered to come out to us in his boat to diagnose our issue and effect repairs. What awesome service! We got our generator running again (seems we sucked up a bit of trash that blocked the water flow) ourselves before Sam came out but we will have him give the genny a once-over to make sure there are no other problems or faults. Talk about door to door service! We will write him a great review if his visit is pleasant and productive.
We Americans take for granted the 1st world conveniences of our lifestyles. It will get harder in the Caribbean but will also likely be more fun! We are truly grateful for being able to solve 1st world problems so easily like these. Finding joy in the journey is the mantra.