When you live on a boat, having a view of the water is about the saddest sight there is. To be so close and yet so far away. Boats just don’t feel right on land. We are going nuts being land locked. Trying to get boat work done while on island time is another challenge to our mental state.
We aren’t the only ones, by any stretch. There is a whole paved sea of boats here. Some are just being stored – a sad fate for too many boats – but some are getting worked on.
In fact, there are so many boats here, we are only inches from our nearest neighbors. The boat yard is a busy hub in near constant motion. It is interesting to watch the goings on, but we can’t appreciate it when we are wishing to be anywhere but here.
How often can you get a picture of the moon while standing below your boat? It was a beautiful night and perfect for the Friday Night Jump Up.
We met up with Rej and Shanique from Migrateur and Dirk and Nancy from Renegade. Jeff and Izzy from Izzy R came a little later and took all the damning pictures at the Jump Up: Click here for the Facebook photos. It was a fun night, but we can’t make a habit of partying like that!
Dave is trying to stay on top of the normal boat work: polishing the stainless, cleaning stains off the gel coat, and making sure everything is ship shape. Owning a boat is truly a labor of love, isn’t it?
While on the hard, there are certain things we cannot run because they are water cooled. The generator and air conditioning, for instance, which means that the boat is like an oven. We cannot run the freezer either. This is a problem! We had just provisioned the boat with 1-2 months of meat to get us to St Martin. We kept the food closed in the freezer for the first two nights, as the freezer is the most insulated part of the boat. We also had quite a bit of ice in the freezer.
But when we checked it on the second day, things were starting to thaw. What to do? We have two refrigerators and I condensed the contents into one, then turned the other to the highest setting. Dave and I transferred everything from the freezer, closed it up, and hoped it would get cold enough. So far our plan does not seem to be working. The fridge is staying between 34 and 36 degrees F.
On the third day, I checked the meat and the chicken that had thawed by the time we made the transfer was still thawed. It is cook it or toss it time. Without an outside power source and unable to run the generator, I could not make rice. Solar does provide enough power, but the days have been cloudy and we don’t want to put a drain on the batteries. They need to keep the fridges running until we splash! I whipped up a quick Thai curry anyway and we just had to treat it like soup.
After speaking with Jeff and Izzy about our near sinking incident (ok, not that near, but it felt like it at the time), Jeff explained to Dave about how the water goes in to lubricate/cool the stuffing box or drive shaft joint. We thought it was like a slow leak that came through from under the boat. Jeff showed Dave the hose on their boat that brings the water to the shaft and, more importantly, the shut off valve. When we returned to our boat, Dave showed me the hose that brings the water in, but he didn’t see a shut off valve. I followed the hose to the front of the engine compartment, where there is an opening to the bilge in the floor. We never knew what the “Dual Lip” valve was for. Guess what? It is for the feed hose to the drive shaft. If we were to have shut off that valve, it would have stopped the water from coming into the engine compartment, which flooded the bilge the entire length of the boat. So, my boater friends, learn from our mistakes. Find your feeder hose to the drive shaft (or maybe even the sail drive) and trace it to its shut off valve. Become acquainted, become friends! It may keep you from sinking!
Monday rolled around and Dave and I were at the boat bright and early. Some mechanics from the boat yard came a little after 9:00 and took a look at our engine. They had a starter job to finish, so they left again for a couple hours. Sigh. They did come back and jumped right in. After about half an hour of pounding with hammers and who knows what all, they partially pulled out the drive shaft and removed a part to test.
They took the part and said they were going to take it to be tested then go to lunch. Sigh. At least something is finally happening after being on the hard since Friday! What a mess our engine compartment is now! We have some cleaning to do.
After lunch, they brought back the part and said there’s good news and bad news. Good news is that they found the problem. The bad news is that there are not any of these parts to be had on the island. In fact, these are made in and distributed from Holland and getting them delivered is not a quick business. It could take a week and a half to a month! Heavy sigh.
We have so much corrosion in that engine compartment. We think it has been leaking since we left Florida. I don’t know why no one noticed the issue when they did our engine maintenance. Maybe it has just recently gotten much worse. The wobble caused the bolts to come loose at the stuffing box, which is why we took on water. The wobble was very noticeable when it was pointed out to Dave. We are learning a lot about the boat, but without any previous mechanical experience we are at the mercy of others – never a good position to be in. I could easily move the sections of the coupling with my fingers. The rubber is definitely blown. We cannot stay to order two (one for each engine – if one is gone the other will surely follow), but we found one in the US. They can FedEx it here by Thursday or Friday, so for now we will just replace this one. Once we get to St Martin, we can decide what to do about the other side. Too late today to get the part ordered, so Dave will order it tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Who knows? Maybe we will be able to splash on Friday.