Livin on da Water!

I’ve said it before, Cruising is not a 365; 24/7 vacation. It’s a lifestyle. The difference between living on land or living on the water is in the kind of work we do for daily living and the places we do it in. We’re in Colon, Republic of Panama at Shelter Bay Marina which bills itself as equal to a first world marina. In some respects they are equal. In others – not and that can become problematic.

In the US the average home is without power for 2 hours / year. Last month we were without power 11 times and it averaged about 5 hours per time. It’s not the marina’s fault. We understand that some of the less than honest individuals living in Panama like to cut down a tree at about 2 am and fell it across the power line shutting down the power in that line. Then they cut the cable and take it to resell the copper.  One would think that either the powers that be would cut the trees back so they couldn’t be used to turn off the power or figure out a way so the copper couldn’t be easily sold. In Florida the State began to delay the payment on certain quantities of metal giving the authorities time to make sure that the metals were not stolen.  For the most part we’ve barely felt the power outage on our work because…..

I’ve been hanging in the engine room doing wiring, or laying in the engine room doing wiring, or reaching over the main engine putting in a new belt for the alternator, or…. any multitude of things mostly in the engine room.

The new Serpentine Belt we added to the main engine to drive the alternator went smooth as silk. Thanks to TransAtlantic Diesel (TAD) the kit went on mostly without a hitch. TAD made a video and put it on a CD that I was able to watch and then follow their directions.  Sweet!  and if one has a Perkins 4-236 or even the 4-108 I would highly recommend the kit. I did make one Skype phone call to TAD to clarify some part of the process and they responded within about 20 minutes. It is so nice to deal with a company that has a good product and takes pride in ensuring the correct installation of that product.

If another boat does choose to get their kit make sure you get some Taps to clean out the bolt holes. The one almost “gotcha” was that the bolt holes on the crank were 7/16″ fine thread. Whoever the engineer was that decided to use that odd size needs to be keel hauled!  I doubt there would be any difference in using 1/2″ fine thread bolts in the total cost than the 7/16″; however there is a lot of difference in finding such an odd size both in the bolt and or associated tap.

Right now I’m installing the new Engine Panel and that too is going well. If you remember awhile back we tried to get our mechanical Tach cable fixed and were successful; but, as a repair it only lasted about 3 hours of engine run time. Thus, to

Old Engine Panel
Old Engine Panel

have a new Tach we might as well redo our 30 year old Panel and then she’ll all be good. Therefore  W/ has me working; you guessed it, in the engine room some more.

And as for how much cruising is like a vacation  I refer you to our friends Mike and Sue on Infini, a Westsail 43,  who lived a stones throw from us in Florida but now are 1/2 way round the world. His report on the simple task; one would think, of replacing a check block (used to change the direction of one of the sail control lines) just made me laugh out loud. It is not funny if you are there in the midst of the activity, but what they went through sure is funny because… we’ve been there.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long