Productive days and some nice visits.

I had the good fortune to escape for 2 days to the boat, or my cave as *V* graciously says! More realistically, though, some tasks are better done when no-one is around, and tools can be laid around for hours with all the mess that is required for this kind of activities… Needless to add without worrying about *V* who likes to keep it all organized, so it was a 24hour marathon of boat work. A few task needed my attention and for some it was more than the usual 4-5 hours we can only regularly dedicate to maintenance. Would you believe it? There were 11 small nicks of fiberglass to repair, fortunately the outside temperature was perfect for that kind of work. Some were challenging and required 3 coats, a lot of sanding, though admittedly it does feel good to have a those taken off the “to do list”.

The second reason was the port side racor filter : It was  nice and easy as I had already installed the other side the previous week. Luckily I had noted that the in and out was opposite which I had first assumed identical! The flow right to left and not left to right. In addition we had recently watched again Indigo Moon video, and heard the story of the windlass, so I had to investigate ours! They had a notorious tendency to get away from the plate they sit on due to corrosion (not so good..). At first I saw some but once I took everything off, tough I quickly realized our version has been updated, so I found rubber gasket where the screw goes through and between the beast itself and the aluminium “shelf”.


Just superficial corrosion


Nicely reset with a lots of silicone and rubber spacer plus a nice coat of anti corrosion film.

Once the generator was finally adjusted (read from previous post), I felt that a nice beer on the fore desk was “a propos”. But soon my relentless mind brought me back in, I re-arranged the first aid kit, and reorganized my tools boxes, no time for the sunset?

I had finally received the most awaited Cuban Yo Yo which I got ready for our next adventure. And with the night settling in, I decided to teach myself the all essentials Hangman knot. Flasher lure and weight are all set, we can now catch a fish or what ever feel the need to come and grab those hook : any ideas? Old shoes, weed, and ….  sail drive! NO! I didn’t say that, bad bad to just think of it. On that note, if you set on our boat you will note a label under the engine keys reading Neutral and Fish. Meaning put the transmission to neutral and get the fish line out of the water before starting the engines. I am telling you, we learn from others mishaps.

Next day bright and early I finally removed all trace of California licensing from the dinghy, and applied our local one. A little bit more sanding and it was time to grab the floating car for a visit to *E&M* new owner of a lagoon 380 in the marina. This is when I realized that a trained eye can really see the differences between two models of various years. Some modifications were obvious and while some were a lot more subtle. You can appreciate how Lagoon takes in consideration his customers’ feedback from previous year models, there were quite a few changes and lots of details into the S2. From placement of drawers, line setup (you need to be two people to reef), to mechanic shortfall that were adjusted.

Then I went to visit *C&K*’s water maker install, and receive feedback on what needed to be done prior to start that install. Hence it’s not once you have put the boat back in the water after bi-annual maintenance, that you start thinking about the two seacocks you need. So we will see in October next year for the installation of a ¾ inches one near the mini keel for intake and ½ inches above the water line for the reject.
Then a bit of cleaning and order was needed if I ever wanted *V* to let me go again alone on Letitgo. This concluded my marathon and encouraged me to get back home.

What is with this picture you may wonder now? Well in my inbox today I had a great surprise. Do you remember we had offered *M&M* the “marine” tested by NASA rubber bucket a few weeks back. During that evening of fun, we had mentioned that we wanted proof from around the world that the now infamous bucket had its own proper space on board. Well, that was not counting on a great sense of humor from our host. The garden gnome has been replaced, let me introduce to you the wondering bucket. Friday Harbor this week, where will it be next?

The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) or Chagos Islands is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom situated in the Indian Ocean, halfway between Africa and Indonesia. The territory comprises the six atolls of the Chagos Archipelago over 1,000 individual islands (many tiny) having a total land area of 60 square kilometers (23 sq mi).

The largest island is Diego Garcia (area 44 km2), the site of a joint military facility of the United Kingdom and the United States. Following the eviction of the native population (Chagossians) in the 1960s, thMaldivian mariners knew the Chagos Islands well. According to Southern Maldivian oral tradition, traders and fishermen were occasionally lost at sea and got stranded in one of the islands of the Chagos. Eventually they were rescued and brought back home. However, these islands were judged to be too far away from the Maldives to be settled permanently by them. Thus for many centuries the Chagos were ignored by their northern neighbours.

The islands of Chagos Archipelago were charted by Vasco da Gama in the early sixteenth century, then claimed in the eighteenth century by France as a possession of Mauritius. They were first settled in the 18th century, by African slaves and Indian labourers brought by Franco-Mauritians to found coconut plantations. In 1810, Mauritius was captured by the United Kingdom, and France ceded the territory in the Treaty of Paris.

In 1965, the United Kingdom split the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius, and the islands of Aldabra, Farquhar and Desroches (Des Roches) from the Seychelles, to form the British Indian Ocean Territory. The purpose was to allow the construction of military facilities for the mutual benefit of the United Kingdom and the United States. The islands were formally established as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom on 8 November 1965. On 23 June 1976, Aldabra, Farquhar and Desroches were returned to Seychelles as a result of its attaining independence. Subsequently, BIOT has consisted only of the six main island groups comprising the Chagos Archipelago.

In 1966, the British government purchased the privately owned copra plantations and closed them down. Over the next five years, the British authorities forcibly and clandestinely removed the entire population of about 2,000 people, known as Chagossians (or Ilois), from Diego Garcia and two other Chagos atolls, Peros Banhos and Salomon, to Mauritius. In 1971, the United Kingdom and the United States signed a treaty, leasing the island of Diego Garcia to the American military for the purposes of building a large air and naval base on the Island. The deal was important to the United Kingdom, as the United States agreed to give them a substantial discount on the purchase of Polaris nuclear missiles in return for the use of the islands as a base. The strategic location of the island was also significant at the centre of the Indian Ocean, and to counter any Soviet threat in the region.

Work on the military base commenced in 1971, with a large airbase with several long range runways constructed, as well as a harbour suitable for large naval vessels. Although classed as a joint UK/US base, in practice it is mainly staffed by the American military, although a British garrison is maintained at all times, and Royal Air Force long range patrol aircraft are deployed there. The United States Air Force used the base during the 1991 Gulf War and the 2001 war in Afghanistan, as well as the 2003 Iraq War.

During the 1980s, Mauritius asserted a claim to sovereignty for the territory, citing the 1965 separation as illegal under international law, despite their apparent agreement at the time. The UK does not recognise Mauritius’ claim, but has agreed to cede the territory to Mauritius when it is no longer required for defence purposes. The Seychelles also launched a sovereignty claim on several of the islands.

The islanders, who now reside in Mauritius and the Seychelles, have continually asserted their right to return to Diego Garcia, winning important legal victories in the English High Court in 2000, 2006 and 2007. However, in the High Court and Court of Appeal in 2003 and 2004, the islanders’ application for further compensation on top of the £14.5 million value package of compensation they had already received was dismissed by the court.

On 11 May 2006, the High Court ruled that a 2004 Order in Council preventing the Chagossians’ resettlement of the islands was unlawful, and consequently that the Chagossians were entitled to return to the outer islands of the Chagos Archipelago. On 23 May 2007, this was confirmed by the Court of Appeal. In a visit sponsored by the British government, the islanders visited Diego Garcia and other islands on 3 April 2006 for humanitarian purposes, including the tending of the graves of their ancestors. On 22 October 2008, the British government won a case in the House of Lords regarding the royal prerogative used to continue excluding the Chagossians from their homeland.

That would be a nice air show to watch if they don’t sink you before you arrived