December 9, 2012: Today had its share of ups and downs. I woke up really early because it was so uncomfortably hot. Nope. Not a change in weather. Turns out the fan that runs 24/7 to keep the battery bank cool had packed it in. As a result, the batteries were heating up. And I was sleeping right on top of them. No wonder I was feeling extra toasty.
This is the third of the battery fans to go since we’ve been here. We’ve also lost a couple of little fans. They are cheap Chinese fans, and none of them seem to last for long. And they are really, really loud. But I digress.
Chris had taught me well, so I shut everything down as instructed. But now what? I had water, but no lights, no fridge and no A/C, and it was only going to get hotter.
I didn’t want to wake up Chris. It was the dead of night there. Instead, I texted the fellow who looks after the boat at 7:30 on Sunday morning. I’m sure he was impressed. It was his day off. He was out of town and said he’d be by Monday morning to take a look. I sent Chris an email, figuring he’d call once he got up. And then, feeling helpless, I sat down and felt sorry for myself.
No point just moping around. I may as well continue my day as originally planned. I’d been looking forward to this all week. I closed all the porthole covers on the south side to keep the sun from beating in and set off.
The other day, I met Sylvia. She’s been here a couple of months like me and we got to talking. She’s a retired teacher from Austria and she told me about her volunteer work with the Preda Foundation, that helps abused kids and street kids. We discovered that we both love to dive. And then she told me she was going to yoga in Olongapo on Sunday morning. I could have hugged her. I’d been looking for a yoga class since I arrived and the only one I’d found was miles away. We arranged to meet beforehand so she could show me where it’s located.
When I met up with her, she was with May, one of the social workers from Preda. We had a drink at Starbucks and then headed to class while May ran off to do some errands.
Yoga was great. Unintentionally a bit like hot yoga, but very relaxing with lots of stretching and just enough down dogs to make my muscles start to quiver. Exactly what I wanted since I hadn’t been to a class since September. The instructor, Guadalyn, was very calming and attentive and I learned a lot.
Just after the class ended, Chris called. A simple little thing like flicking one switch on the breaker panel should get me back in business. Now that was a relief. We met up with May and walked back to the boat to put the plan into action. The result? Partial success. Now I had water and lights. Still no fridge or A/C but I figured I could stick it out for one night. I’m going to have to acclimatize at some point, aren’t I? There being no time like the present.
We had planned to stop for lunch at Sylvia’s favourite veggie restaurant, but it was closed on Sunday, so on to plan B. Lunch at Max’s with their yummy Adobong Kangkong Tofu and a green mango shake. I usually order a ripe mango shake but decided to take a chance. I think I may be on to something here. I even came away with enough leftovers for dinner tonight. A good thing, since the stove was also on the not working list.
Somewhere along the way, Chris came up with another idea. The batteries sit in a box built under the mattress. Simply remove the mattress, take off the panel covering the box, lift the box lid, turn everything back on, and have the A/C and tabletop fan blow cool air onto the batteries. Okay, I could do this. I left the ladies in town after a wonderful day and returned to the marina.
Back on the dock, I noticed that the crews of our neighbouring boats all looked really tired. When I asked why, they said they were sad. And then I remembered why.
Manny Pacquiao, the pride of the Philippines, had lost his boxing match earlier in the day against Juan Manuel Marquez from Mexico. It was the fourth time the two had faced off and the only time Manny lost, although previous decisions were controversial. Not so this time. A knock out in the sixth round made it decisive. It’s a national day of mourning, according to the media.
They were showing the match live at the cinema and venues all over town. For once, there was hardly any traffic or people walking around.
During the match, the excitement was electric. We could hear loud cheers from open windows as we wandered about, and see large groups in the street as they’d crowd close to watch on a TV brought outdoors for the occasion.
Although they both vowed beforehand that this would be their last match, everyone here expects a sequel. (Manny is a real icon here. Boxing legend. And a congressman, actor, singer, model, husband and father of four to boot. All around busy guy.)
Back on MOKEN, I was ready to put the new plan into action. Only I couldn’t lift the box lid covering the batteries. It was just too heavy!
At this point, I resolved to find the screens for the windows and get them in place so I could at least sleep with the windows open, even though there were some nasty black clouds and a few scattered showers passing through. Only we’d moved them just before Chris left. Do you think I could find them? Another text and Chris called again. This time standing in snow in the mountains in Azerbaijan having just finished a lunch of BBQ turkey. It was his day off too. What I wouldn’t have given for a snowball or a snow angel right about then!!!
He gave me the go ahead to proceed with the other plan despite not being able to remove the box lid. And it almost went off without a hitch…until I couldn’t get the tabletop fan to start. That’s when I realized we had fan goblins for sure. I even tried different outlets. No luck. And then, for some unfathomable reason, it started again. Maybe the fan goblins decided to cut me some slack.
What bliss to turn on the A/C and see the light on in the fridge again. And recharge my phone, laptop and camera. Acclimatizing will have to wait for another day! As if in celebration, that’s when the most perfect rainbow decided to make an appearance. Trust me, it was way more spectacular in person.