Posts Tagged ‘Lyman – Morse’

Panama – Almost Home

Sunday, June 16th, 2013


We……are……back!  It feels like home. For the most part Panama is home. People say home is where the heart is and our hearts are with Elysium. Our hearts, a good part of our soul, a lot of our money, and much of our time have gone into Elysium.

We made it back to Panama and through immigration and customs without incident. I figured coming from Peru there would be a little more scrutiny due to all the coco plants growing there but I was wrong. Hear that for those that know me… I was wrong. 🙂

Roger picked us up at the airport and with another Spanish School student the 4 of use traveled into the city. W/ and I planned on spending two days repacking, getting organized and then returning  to Shelter Bay and our baby who has been quietly sleeping away the time on the hard in the secure (sometimes locked) yard of the marina.

We are starting to know the city well enough that getting around is not an issue. We almost know the real price of the taxi’s; not the gringo prices, we know where to walk and where to eat.

Early  Monday Roger picked us up and we traveled to Shelter Bay Micro Hotel; we had reserved a room there, staying where we can get some work completed on the boat and then not having to pick up our mess nor live in a pig sty with the heat and

Ready for Some Lovin

Ready for Some Lovin

no muddy puddles and no place to cool off in. We arrived and there she was, sitting now in the work yard with covers renewed and still in place. We set about moving into our new digs and planning our attack. Unpack, change and then open up Elysium and see what’s what.

First things first, we noticed the painting we had contracted with Lyman Morse had NOT been completed. I wonder, what would Lyman Morse had done had they completed the painting and we didn’t fulfill our end of the contract?  I wasn’t happy with most of the prices Lyman Morse had given us but the painting was one thing we felt was reasonable and we signed the contract in November before we left.  Six months later Lyman Morse had not completed what was contracted for and had actually left Shelter Bay 2-3 months earlier. Good Riddance to Lyman Morse!  I will do all I can to avoid having any further dealings with Lyman Morse. Should anyone reading this account choose to work with Lyman Morse all I can say is…. Good Luck!

As far as Elysium goes; inside, she was a mess. Not that anything was destroyed but the last time we had visited her we simply put our gear aboard, replaced some awnings and left. Gear was everywhere. W/ set about to attempt some form of organization inside the boat while I removed the temporary awnings and installed our window air conditioner. Then we connected a water hose and began to wash away 6 months of boat yard dirt. Elysium begins her change from boat yard  “a rag muffin” to the good lookin’ girl she is.

Small Boat - Lots of Stuff

Small Boat - Lots of Stuff

Day two through launch we began the task of getting her ready to be in the water for another year or so. We spoke with Dave at the yard ( the new – old yard manager) and had the marina crew wax the hull, sand and paint the boat bottom. Not only are those tasks hard work they are jobs that if I can, I wish to avoid for the rest of my boating life. Besides, we have other work to do.  That being; lubricate all the thru hulls and replace the cockpit drain hose, replace the impeller and change – add the Speed Seal. And finally, clean, pack and organize so when she’s launched we can move back aboard.

The cockpit drain hose was always  1″ too short and once while offshore I discovered that the hose had actually come off the scupper in the cockpit. Luckily we hadn’t any rain nor shipped any water so it having slipped off was only a nuisance and nothing serious.  A little effort and luck with a hose clamp put the hose back in place; but always in the back of my mind I was concerned with it. We had purchased some new hose in Panama City and while the task of replacing the hose sounds simple,  from start to finish took a good days work for both of us.  Removing a hose on a boat is one of the most difficult tasks aboard, even for professionals. In Galesville, MD;   where we hauled a few years ago the yard manager told me that in a contest between a hose and an individual, most of the time the hose wins and it just needs to be cut away. Cutting some of the hose away I had planned on doing but I wasn’t interested in cutting every connection as at 5 bucks / foot here in Panama  I hoped to reuse most of the hose for that section on the boat. I did end up needing to cut off one small piece but no problem, I had enough hose to replace that piece.

Another day we spent on polishing the fuel that was in our tanks. We had set up a new system in the last year and now I needed to make sure all was working well. I had to do a little jury rigging because power to that area of the boat is  re routed funny as the the generator and its wiring are still non functional. Finally fuel in both tanks has now been cleaned down to 2 microns (that’s the filter I have in the big Racor).

While the pump was running I moved on to the raw water system. We replaced the impeller and I spent a good part of the morning looking for spare blades. I knew some were missing as if we ran the boat hard the temp gauge climbed up where it should not be. Thus on our last trip here we sailed some and idled the rest of the way. The tabs had found their way to the oil cooler and there I began to mine for them. I couldn’t see them but I could feel them in the entrance  and with a bent needle nose pliers was able to extract most to them. But there were still three doing their damnedest to evade me. It seems that none of the marinized diesel engineers  ever think to add a system for the catching of impeller blades so it was up to me to develop an ingenious way to gather the 3 blades still hiding. I tried tape stuck on the end of my finger but the water just didn’t want to stay out of the way. I tried tape on the end of a bent Cue Tip, and I tried small pieces of wire bend to grab those little suckers. Finally I remembered a sticky material we use with the coax cable , and stuck a bit on the end of my finger. I would gingerly reach into the space and hope to catch one of the pieces unsuspecting my lust for it, press down firmly on the piece and then slowly, every so slowly, remove my finger with the piece still sticking. After about 50 tries I had the final 3 pieces out of the cooler.  That completed I reattached the hose and then we added a Speed Seal cover to the water pump. I’ll report on the Speed Seal at a later date. So one day spent working on the plumbing and 3 days of rain. Yep, we’re back in the rainy season again. We didn’t feel best about tracking mud back and forth on the boat and our yard crew working outside ended up short on time too. We expected to be in the water after one week. Maybe expected isn’t the right word but hope is. This haul out took 9 days. Not bad, not the best but within reason.  We cleaned the prop and running gear, changed the engine zinc and made sure the systems (primarily propulsion) worked that we needed just to get Elysium to a slip.

On launch day for some odd reason the yard started rushing us. Victor; the lift operator, told me just prior to breakfast that we would be launching later that day.  After ordering breakfast he found me and said they were ready!  I was a slave to the yard so I left my warm food to chill and followed Victor to the boat. There I disconnected the power and readied the boat to be trailered  and travel the 100 yards to the lift for a final painting of the spots on the bottom the boat was sitting on and then slowly dropping her in the water.

Why is it just about every yard in the world is slow as nails until  they want to launch you, then they are in a hurry?  The paint went on the bottom spots and then I wanted to wait at least an hour. We wanted the paint to have a chance to dry and for some reason yards don’t, and I figured a minimum of an hour. Also the yard demanded a pay slip showing our bill was current so off I went to the office to pay up and then hide. It only worked for a bit. Victor was in a hurry, being pushed a bit by Russ who is part owner and sometime yard manager.  The boat was suspended about 1′ above the water, they waiting; not patiently, for the pay slip and to drop us in the water. As soon as she was wet I went aboard to check and make sure water was staying where it was suppose to; outside the boat, and then we could be on our way. It was here I discovered the reason why they were in a hurry. A catamaran was waiting a bit off the slip way to be hauled out. They were anxious to get us out of there so they could haul the cat.  Feeding off their need for speed and knowing that we were not taking on water we started up the engine. I heard a funny noise looked over the side and saw the lifting strap immediately over the exhaust thru hull. As Victor lowered the straps and they pushed us out the funny sound went away and I believed all was now ok. Once clear the slip I again checked  at the exhaust to make sure we had cooling wear. There was none!

I ran below; remember we had just changed the impeller and added the Speed Seal.  Luckily  there was no leak at the water pump, unluckily there was smoke in the engine room and the engine pan was full of water. I hollered at W/ to head to the nearest dock. We had a problem. I asked her what the engine temp was and she indicated the gauges were normal. I didn’t know where the water was coming from and I didn’t know where the smoke was coming from. We opened the cockpit locker to let out smoke while I looked for the issue. We crept towards the dock and as soon as I could get a line to the shore W/ killed the engine. The boat was again secure but I wasn’t.

We aired out the engine room for a bit and  I checked to make sure we were not sinking; no bilge pump on. Good. Remember there was now another boat in the slip being lifted out. Had we been taking on water we would have been in deep doo-doo. Fortunately, so far,  the situation is manageable. We cleaned out a great deal of the salt water (I tasted it to make sure if it was salt or fresh), and then W/ started the engine with her finger on the kill switch.  As the water ingress had stopped and the smoke subsided we need to investigate. She starts the engine and I’m checking the engine on the starboard side. The water pump looks good and no smoke yet. But I hear water come in. I move quickly around to the starboard side and see sea water spraying out of the engine exhaust elbow  mixer with a fair amount of diesel exhaust. “Wendy, shut her down!” I yell as she

Non Functioning Exhaust Mixer

Non Functioning Exhaust Mixer

begins to press the kill switch. I show her where the problem is at and shake the bottom half of the fitting. It is now completely separated held almost in place by the exhaust tape.  I have no Idea if I blew it apart from the strap being over the exhaust or if the extra pressure simply moved the problem forward making it an issue today. The good news is that we didn’t have something like this occur in the middle of our canal transit because there the cost is roughly $1,000 US / hour for a tug to take you the rest of the way through, and in the pacific I just don’t know how I would have jury rigged a solution.  But here; at least we can get to a city and get parts, we have internet so I can contact Bud at World Cruiser Yachts and consult with my backups Mike and Dirk and Jack.

For now we need to get to our slip. I go in search of John the marina manager who then takes me back to Victor the lift crew manager and arranges for me to be towed to our slip. Victor says in two hours and dummy me I figure two hours. W/ brings the rest of our gear down from the room and I anxiously wait. Four hours later the crew arrive with two dinghies and we are gently and uneventfully towed to our slip.

New priority this week. Get a new exhaust elbow mixing fitting and install it.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long



Saturday, October 6th, 2012

I know – I’ve been -negligent. Sometimes life gets in the way of the things  I’ve made a personal commitment to do, like this blog.  My goal has been to update it every two weeks. I’ve tried to keep the blog focused on what  life is like on the water; really, not the white washed life you see in Cruising World, or Yachting. But; sometimes I just simply fail.

I’ve wanted to do a piece on Awnings.  I’ve taken a lot of pics of the various awning setups on boats but haven’t sat down to put it all together.  Doing a blog takes between one and four hours depending on what pictures I want to show; optimizing the pictures for the web for faster display and trying to dig out all my spelling and grammatical errors. W/ helps in the latter two and spell check is a godsend to my lack of innate spelling ability but it all still takes time.

Then too I’ve been working on the website; adding quite a bit to things that work on the boat and those that don’t, companies that are supportive and those that aren’t, things that break and why and things that don’t.

I’ve tried to keep up the financials and enter that information every three months but that too is a bit behind. A great deal of the non cruising dreamers want to know what this lifestyle costs and so I try to detail that on those pages knowing that each boat is different and each individual or couple is different. But it is a starting place for someone who is looking.

And too life is to be lived. My mom came down and visited us. She spent about 15 days here and we hauled her all over Panama showing her things that in the US simply aren’t there. She loves plants and animals and we went into the jungle on several occasions to see the monkeys’ and birds, the flowers and the trees.  She left tired but in good spirits and she said she slept like a baby on the boat.

We’re now in a marina; Shelter Bay, again, and we’re fixing and working on all the things that have happened over the last year, ordering more spares to replace those we used and ordering new spares of the things that we’ve discovered we’ll need.

The Aquagen has been taking up most of my time since my mom returned home.  I’ve replaced the heat exchanger (had a leak in the old one) have a new exhaust elbow (had a crack and thus a leak), replacing the muffler (it began to seep salt out all it’s pores),  and have to replace a bracket on the alternator  (the bracket was chafing as it was Al on a SS bolt with threads that always seemed to saw through the softer Al). I have to rebuild the high pressure pump that I screwed up on because it now leaks (mostly my fault), replace a valve that is the high pressure boost, paint the muffler box that the muffler sits in, clean up from the salt mist in the engine room, and put it all back together.

Then we have to …… well best to just say that the list is long and too there have been some changes at the Marina I’ve not been too fond of.  Lyman Morse has arrived and they bring some of the US ideology like “what the market will bear” as opposed to what is moral and fair.  If I’m not mistaken the US calls “What the market will bear” in some circumstances “price gouging” but here it is normal. I’ve not yet talked to Kieth, the rep from LM about some work wondering if I should put it off and get work completed  farther down the line. We’ll see.

We have our tickets back to the states, we have a date to pull the boat, we have reservations for a shore side stay while we prep the boat for storage for a few months.  But let me not forget, we’re doing this in Paradise.  So we attend the weekly cruiser food gatherings, we attend “Happy Hour” and we try to exercise, jump rope and work out in the weight room, then we walk the docks.  We enjoy the restaurant here, Chris the chef is great and the prices while a little high in Panama are fair. All in all a great life, and a much better life when we make our own schedule.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long