A local cruiser here in Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos, Bahamas, has a nifty way of getting free bench drills and other tools for his boat. The local dump contains some tossed out battery operated drills and other battery operated tools including dremmel drills etc. The battery packs are now dead, dead, dead and it is no longer economical to replace them. But our friend solders wires to the appropriate battery terminals and attaches a cigarette lighter plug, and then he has a nice 12 volt drill to use aboard the boat. This guy has lots of tools that work this way including some well respected names in excellent condition.
Also the dump has quite a few dead golf carts. Nev went and fetched two of the plastic tops from them and is now fabricating a fixed Bimini style awning with built in water collection system. They are made of light weight, cream colored, highly durable plastic with lots of built in fasteners. He found some aluminum, stainless steel, and some timber and now he is drawing his plans and gathering screws so the project is well underway. This is just in time because our fabric awning over the helm position in the cockpit now leaks and is all worn out and the support structure is on its last legs too. But it has served us well for the past two years. The new solid awning will hold four big solar panels in preparation for us to build a refrigerator sometime soon maybe... I hope.
For those able to hunt their own chickens and pigs, there are several in the dump. But it appears to be a gentle community of animals and the wild cats ride on the pigs backs sometimes apparently with permission, and then seem to be playing with the flock of very healthy looking free range chickens who are quite capable of looking out for themselves. I just enjoy watching the critters play so they are safe with me. There are also vultures at the dump which soar beautifully but look ugly up close.
We always find a few cruisers and locals there recycling stuff. One guy made a wind generator out of an old fan and a motor from a large computer. I think any Wharram builder - inventor would find lots of materials there to tickle his creativity and this tiny island benefits from having stuff reused rather than tossed into the dump.
There is often lignum vitae wood from tree clearing and other rare hardwoods. Some of the older homes are being rebuilt and the old wood is rare and well seasoned and just great for boat projects. Local artists use it for wood carving or boat model making. Locally fabricated art work is not taxed or restricted in any way by the government, so many cruisers make a living from crafts which are sold on commission in the fancy gift shops which are always packed with tourists.
An old bucket can have the bottom cut out and a clear plastic new bottom stuck on from the inside with 5200 or Sikaflex and it can be used to look through the clear water to see the set of the anchor from the dinghy or find conch or where the fish hide. When you catch the fish, put them into the bucket.
If you take the engine hood from an old car, put some rocks under it, and set it in a likely bit of the Sea of Abaco, the local lobster will use it as a hotel and you can later invite some of them to dinner.
One nice dump fabrication is to cut a coconut shell in half, sand it inside and out, epoxy coat the inside, glue it to a stick of shaped and sanded hardwood, glue on a rounded and sanded disk of hardwood, and keep on sanding this lovely goblet until you work your way through the several grades of sandpaper getting finer and finer. When you get to 600 grit, polish it and fill with your favorite cool drink. See below.
Another cruiser has painted his anchor bright, sunshine yellow so he can easily see it under water from his dinghy using the aforementioned bucket with "glass" bottom. White is also used on local anchors, but it is harder to see in the sand. Yes, the sand IS that white in places. Please, no PINK anchors!
Rum drink - Take a round slice of lime and put it in the bottom of a glass, add a spoonful of brown sugar and some rum. Bruise it with a sanded stick of hardwood, add cracked ice if you have it, water it down as needed, and sit back under the awning and enjoy. (See goblets above.)
So, go to the dump and meet highly cultured or artistic individuals, other cruisers, nice animals, and get good stuff free! But wear boots because of the broken glass and other sharp stuff on the ground. A hack saw, screw driver, wrenches, wire cutters, and some rope have been helpful. And you might need a back pack for the goodies you bring home.
As you can see, life on a budget is not too hard out here. Gotta go now because we are off to the dump and must be back in time to cook those lobsters for lunch!
Love, Ann and Nev
P.S. Here is a little giggle I heard last night. "Thin girls skinny dip, but the rest of us chunky dunk!"
© Anne and Neville Clement, 2006