While we were replacing the cooling system on the trusty diesel, we also researched refrigeration systems. In the end, Engel was what we settled with; three Engels. Their reputation was excellent. Evaporators are the achilles heal. Avoiding puncturing the evaporator the system might last 40 years. Well, that is, some Engels have worked for 40 years in the Australian Woop Woop (the Australian Outback). While not quite equal to the marine environment; it is harsh still.
Once the Perkins Bowman box arrived our boat (home) was knee deep with…stuff. Parts removed from the engine and parts to go on were everywhere. W/ tried to contain all of them under the dining table. The first order of business was to inventory and understand what each part was. Trans Atlantic Diesel has excellent support. With the kit they provided a video of the parts inventory and how to install. Tis always nice to have directions. They were around to answer any question by email. Luckily they only skipped one answer. Remember; this project is in the middle of Covid. Covid is not as bad in Australia as the US. Covid hit the US hard. And I did figure the answer out … eventually . TAD is forgiven. In the end; the words of my cruising brother flash florescent in my head: RTFM. Read the F——, Manual. 🙂
Before actual parts removal was an unwelcome task. And one that I really, really hate – draining the cooling system. We do have an engine sump but still, it is a wet, messy job. I will want to do something about upon rebuild. We drained the coolant, disposed of it at the marina’s waste disposal area and began removing parts.
As in most boat work projects ; when one project begins another one or two show their ugly head. Removing the parts, holding a new part in place to check it out, screamed out to us… PAINT THE ENGINE. Seriously! And the second project was that it is time to replace all the old hoses. Now that we can get to them much easier.
The parts removal went fine. We covered up areas that did not require any paint and took the parts to the recycling business. After all, it is good steel and some copper. There we picked up a few bucks dedicated to a cold one. Every part removed that would be reused, was cleaned and set aside. The engine was much, much smaller now.
We began to clean the engine. First was to hand wash with a degreaser. After which we cleaned with Alcohol and Acetone. Then we applied a primer. The engine changed from mottled Blue, to Grey, and to shinny Blue again. This job was HUGE! Once we painted an area we couldn’t keep working in the engine room. We needed to wait for the primer to dry, then clean another area and paint another part. I wasn’t spraying the beast. I didn’t want overspray getting into the living quarters nor covering any other area of the engine compartment.
At this time we checked the weather to ensure good weather while we were replacing the deck drain hose. One set of hoses had exceeded its working life. It was the cockpit drain. I now have easier access to it. We replaced it at break neck speed. . The next couple of weeks called for cleaning and painting the engine. The majority before putting – re-installing any parts.
Not sloppy…. slow. I guess that would be us or specifically me. First: I don’t like to rush up to the next anchorage as if driving down a highway trying to be first at the next stoplight. Second: I don’t want to live in a mess preferring to not climb over stuff or constantly or needing to move things about the boat since I live in it. And third: I like to take things slow; quality vs quantity.
Yep I am a sloth.
We are after all on a sailboat. I know some people who like to brag how fast their boat goes, all in a sailboat. I find it quite funny when all cruising boat speeds are slower than an Olympic runner. Yeah some boats may go a knot faster, some a fraction thereof but so what. I arrive safe and for the most part as rested as possible. And for me safety comes first, comfort second and speed last.
I remember one trip to the Bahamas; it was our best crossing ever. We left W Palm at midnight and had beautiful sail with a lightening show N of us, S of us, E, and W of us. Yeah, the trip had a bit of “OMG” in it but we sailed the entire way and it was comfortable. We arrived and while waiting for customs and immigration I was talking to other sailors. Most everyone around us had an uncomfortable ride dealing with squalls the entire way. The moral of the story; luck more than speed is what traveling in a boat is about.
Messes. Every boat has them and when ever there is a project to do within minutes the boat becomes a workshop. And
most everyday there is some project to do. We try to limit projects to only the am. When afternoon arrives we pick up / put away and have lunch. The rest of the day is ours to do what we wish. Larger projects still follow the same pattern. It is just that they extend across several days. Some projects last longer well into the pm but for the most part our goal is to not live in a mess. Even while hauled out with the boat a mess we chose other accommodations. This allowes us to do more because daily we didn’t need to get tools out and put them away.
Finally we rarely rush. At least we try not to. When late afternoon arrives and we’re close to our destination; yes, we’ll rush then, preferring a calm anchorage vs another night out. Generally we plan our day trips to coincide with the wx and the travel time. We prefer an easy comfortable sail to a noisy motor or a blusterous sail. We find this time provides us greater freedom to meet people and explore an area. While there is most likely nothing new for mankind to discover on our planet anymore, there are many things W/ and I have never seen or experienced. Traveling slow gives us the time to experience a new place, new culture, meet new people, and try new foods. I watch those traveling on cruise ships come and go, always in a rush like those speeding to the next red light. Over the 8 years I’ve been traveling slowly across our globe I understand that if you want to just “see” and “do” things- take a cruise ship or a two week vacation. If you want to experience a culture and the place, bring your own boat and…
I was going to first take care of the generator and while all of the pieces were out change the water pump in the Perkins. With the generator out I would have easier access to the pump. Since we’ve had to order a battery charger for 240v 50 cycle I needed to make our time at the dock worthwhile and that entails changing the Perkins water pump out now which entails first draining all the coolant from the engine, then me ducking my head under the generator platform while laying on the Perkins and pulling the pump off.
Draining the coolant is easy but just not fun. The drain is behind a large coolant line and above the starter motor. It is just low enough that I can’t get a hose on it and direct it to a container, it is in a small enough space that I can’t get any container of size to catch the coolant; although I try. Most of the coolant drains in the engine sump where we have to suck it out with my handy dandy boat hook sucker and then W/ mostly mops up the rest and we then wipe the area down with soapy water to remove all the coolant. No matter what, coolant seems to get on everything!
With the coolant out I can wiggle into my prone position over the Perkins and remove the pump. Fortunately it comes off without a fight. Four nuts, 1 bolt and two hose clamps. We have it removed and then I plan on reversing the procedure to install the new identical part back on. It is a drop in replacement. If only I knew.
I add a little silicone gasket sealant to the rubberize gasket TAD sent with the pump. I install it, NOT! The new pump doesn’t sit flush on the gasket. There is a bolt holding the pump flange on to the Perkins that gets in the way of the new pump housing. I check the original pump and see that it too had been modified. DAMN ! Same vocabulary as before. With the pump removed we (mostly W/ ) clean off the silicone, get the file out and I mark where I need to remove the excess metal. As I’m heading down the dock I talk to Jim on sv Intentions and he makes my day by telling me he has a small grinder that I can borrow and it will make quick work of that job. An hour or more work has just tuned into 5 minutes thanks for a fellow cruiser! I grind a bit and then dry fit the pump, something I obviously should have done the first time. The pump now barely fits and it is tight. I grind a little more and am now happy with the fit! Perfect!
We again add a small amount of sealant to the gasket, leaning over the engine, head down, slippery fingers from the silicone, W/ hands me the nuts and washers (hoping I don’t drop any into the engine sump) and I slip them on the studs and tighten down the pump, hook up the hoses and clamp them,
reattach the coolant lines, brackets, and then tomorrow when the sealant is cured I will add coolant. The following day I add coolant and while the thermostat isn’t open I only get to fill the header tank but there is a smallish hole by the thermostat that coolant can drip down to fill the engine. I get about a gallon in and have to wait. Another day and I look for a leak (after having added another
quart of coolant) and come as close to tears over an inanimate object as I have ever come. There is a little drip at the bottom of the pump. I must remove the pump and to do that the engine needs to be again drained and all the coolant cleaned up. Still close to tears!
Things are happening here, but the events are slow as walking a milkfish pond netting that tasty meal.
We’ve sewn up the mainsail and it now is 100%. The drifter/reacher is yet to do. For part of the sewing event W/ kept the main sail from flogging me to death while the wind blew. Due to excessive wind that days job was cut sort. The following day during a lull in the wind I finished the stitching using a Herringbone stitch. The herringbone is mostly for embroidery but I had read how effective it was in repairing stitching on sails and I really liked it. The chafe was in a place that running the sail though our Sailrite machine would have been a lot of work. First pulling the sail off, then setting up the machine and finally folding the sail to run the 8 3″ stitches that I needed. After all that returning the sail to service. Thus I hand stitched it never needing to remove or reinstall the sail. We’ll see how well the stitch holds on our next leg but I don’t foresee any problems.
We actually did a wee bit o’ tourist stuff. Tehani – Li came into Samoa and with Carol and Phil we went to one of the premier restaurants; Tisa’s Barefoot Bar, for a delightful and not cheap Samoan feast. We arrived early on the local bus saving a few bucks with transportation and spending more than what we saved on drinks. Oh well; penny wise and pound foolish often seems to be the American way.
We sat down to a meal with Banana leaves as plates and watched as they uncovered the above ground pit. Thanks to all our time in Penhryn eating with my fingers now was not a problem. The owner explained to us how they prepare and cook the food. Depending on the amount of food and what is being cooked, from start to finish
takes about two days and for most of Samoans this is a Sunday family / community event. There is no pit and all of the cooking is done above ground. They build a fire heating hot rocks, then layer the rocks with food and more rocks building up the mound. Finally they cover the entire mound with various leave trapping in all the moisture. No moisture must be seen to escape. The owner informed us several times that no matter what event happens on the island, tsunami, hurricane, fires, etc. they will always have food and be well fed. Westerners like to call this subsistence living but I think the better word is sustainable. She actually said she believes the west (that is our country) to be in more danger of food shortages than the Samoans are. Any day Samoans can go pick what they need from the island, swim and gather from the sea, and they will have plenty. And we did have plenty; from Octopus, prawns, lamb, pork, turkey, breadfruit, squash, and topped off with Kava. I didn’t have any kava not wishing to apply a neuro toxin to my mouth. Yeah, I missed out but there will be other chances.
Saturday we picked up some goodies at the Post Office. The correct plumbing supplies arrived from McMaster-Carr and our Alternator arrived from Great Water – finally. I had to email Great-Water a couple of times but finally when I used the website to contact them they responded immediately. I was informed that it appears the first alternator that was shipped has gone missing and they would send another. Ok, I was a little concerned and said the alternator needed to be in Hawaii by Friday to be on the plane here Sat. I never thought it would go so smoothly and yet having contacted them Sunday, received an email Monday, replied Monday that yes I want the alternator and what needed to happen to get it here promptly. Finally all went well. When we were at the post so was our alternator. Now that project can begin.
Back at the boat the weather was beginning to deteriorate. In our almost 7 years of cruising this has been continuously the worst weather we’ve had. We’ve now been in American Samoa a little over 6 weeks we’ve had less than 10 nice days. Often in those 10 days there have even been periods of intense rain. As we returned to the boat we barely beat another rain shower and from then on the winds started to increase up to gale force. This being in the harbor. In the gusts the boat would heel over 5º. And so we mostly sat on the boat and entertained ourselves. W/ invited Mary (from sv Hot Spur) over for Scrabble – Mary scored a 150 pt word – you know who won 🙂 . I played chess online with FICS, we did puzzles on the iPad, played FreeCell, and read on the Kindles. Two days later the weather was abating and I was able to again do work on our engine issue.
In Tahiti I had made a change to our cooling system when we had to replace our thermostat. I had raised the plumbing so the fresh water cooling tube could not short out the temp sensor on the engine. Now I don’t know if this issue is effecting the clicking I hear when the water pump is running but I did want to return the plumbing to it’s normal position. To complete that project I needed to pull the sensor, put the elbow in place and put it back together. As I cruise and do a greater amount of engine work myself I find I respect mechanics more and more. For the most part there is never an easy time working on the
engine. Here I thought I would unscrew the fitting, screw in the elbow and then add the sensor. To accomplish this simple task, to screw in the elbow I discovered that one of the marinized brackets was in the way eliminating a complete rotation of the elbow. I had to remove that bracket and that entailed removing two other brackets, one holding the transmission, oil cooler, the other controls the cable for the shifter. Almost 3 hours later I was finished with all items restored to their original position. I hope, I hope, I hope …. this solves the riddle.
Any reader with lots of extra time who has read my blog from the beginning might remember when we were a hair’s breath from
sinking. Back in Galesville, MD when we hauled the boat I had the main engine exhaust fitting replaced. Now I’m replacing the rest of the fittings; and none too soon.
The people in Te Tau Tua had plans with their family each day this week and with the winds mild and the calm anchorage we chose now to make the change. I had purchased the fiberglass fittings in Panama as well as the new hose clamps and this task was on our list to do during the off sailing season. My estimate was that it would initially take 2- 3 days. As usual I was wrong.
Day one: I found we needed to do a lot of preparation. I spent time removing the hoses and fittings from the Aqualift muffler aft. I wasn’t going to remove the last first as that travels slightly level and down to the thru hull fitting and the boat with the long run in the exhaust and middle cockpit configuration has no seacock / valve on the thru hull. I’ve never yet heard of a Westsail 42 getting water in the engine from a following sea so I’ve been reluctant; some would say cheap, to add that to the system. For this job; I was planning on stuffing a tennis ball wrapped in a cloth in the thru hull and if that won’t block the water completely; I doubted it would, it will slow down the intrusion enough that we won’t sink.
I removed the hose clamps, finding two that were almost hidden and broken. I’m quite glad we’re doing this. And I work my hands to the bone trying to dislodge the hose from the Black Iron fittings that Westsail used in the system. I remember an old yard manager saying that in a battle between a hose fitting, the hose, and the installer usually the hose won. The results meant replacing the hose. That was not an option here. I did not purchase any extra hose. So to make this work I needed all the hose intact. One trick another yard employee had shown me was to put a hose clamp near the fitting but not over it on the hose. Then tighten the clamp and that would shrink the hose near the clamp breaking the hose connection on the fitting. I did that and who knows how much it helped but eventually I was able to remove it. What I’m mildly surprised about is that we had two surveyors go over the boat; once when we purchased it and the other when we launched it seven years later and neither one saw any problem with the setup nor mentioned that those fittings need to be replaced after X number of years.
After removing the exhaust hose from the Aqualift muffler I then removed the first elbow from the muffler and then began to work on the inverted U. Here was my first major problem. The hose is stiff and I didn’t want to add any real “kinks” to it because I didn’t buy any replacement hose. It’s a big hose; 3 1/4″ od. So all I could do was wiggle the U and try to twist and turn the fitting. I tried the hose clamp trick just off the fitting. Nothing. I tried talking to it; and not kindly I might add. Nothing. The hose and fitting just didn’t want to listen. Time for more drastic measures.
The only way I could see to break the hose free of the fitting was to hack saw the U into two pieces and then I could remove each piece separately. But, since the fitting rested next to the hull this wasn’t going to be easy. I wedged the hose out as far as I could and then began. I had only about a 3″ stroke with the hack saw and I was twisted, half bent, leaning off balance and only using my right hand. Yeah, so what; I’m ambidextrous but in this position I just could not get my body in position to alternate with both hands. I sawed for 5-10 minutes and took a few minutes break. Almost an hour later I was finished. Finished and tired. I worked the fittings off the hose and then… I quit…. for the day.
No use burning myself out! Much of the threads on one fitting had rusted away and I wondered about the threads on the lowest elbow closest to the thru hull. My hands and knuckles were taking a beating. I counted over 20 nicks and cuts in one hand alone. Ouch. That gave me time to rethink how I was accomplishing this task and to prepare for tomorrow. That was a tennis ball day and I expected it to be the most difficult.
Day two: The exhaust system runs up the port side of the boat, inside a locker, up to an inverted U and there it runs back down; inside the locker and then aft to the thru hull. The second day I was to disconnect the rest of the system and then put the new 90 degree elbow in the aft section. Once that is in I’ll raise the hose as high as I can in the locker to ensure no leakage. The following day I will add the rest. With the tennis ball I would put a piece of cloth around it and stuff it into the thru hull from outside the boat. Should any water find it’s way into the boat I felt it would be slow enough that we would not sink. Besides once I had the fitting off I would put on the new one as quickly as possible and then make sure it is raised above the waterline so there would be NO water entering the boat.
While we had prepared some for work occurring in the locker I seemed to need more room. We had removed about 1/2 the contents of the locker and that wasn’t enough. So we removed the other half and the two doors on the locker. Then twisting and turning, bending and cursing I worked the final elbow
out. On the bottom of the hose I left some of the broken fitting so now I’m needing to reach into the locker and using a blade screwdriver; bend 180 degrees around and working out the piece stuck to the hose. After a few more vocal outburst about the impossibility of the job I was able to break the broken piece free. Now it was time to clean up the hose and attach the elbow.
All of this is much easier said than done. While the hose and elbow are the correct match; I checked when I made the first disconnect, the smallish ridges created from the short threaded piece and the threads made sliding the fitting on quite difficult. In the end I may make my life harder but I ended up
heating the hose with the heat gun (a very necessary tool to have aboard) and using silicone gasket sealant I was able to with some colorful language and as much might as I could muster pull, twist and turn, twist and rock and turn, get the fitting to slide on the hose to it’s final resting place. Now as I could still move it a bit I aligned the elbow to the top inverted U. As by now this was one hell of a day it was where I called it quits. I wedged the last hose fitting on the hose as high as I could and to ensure no water ingress.
One phoopa I forgot to mention is that the new hose clamps I had purchased; all T clamps were too small. I hate, and hate might well be too nice a word, I HATE that with fittings there are actually two measurement systems. One is pipe and the other hose. They are not the same and continue to get me in trouble. I sized the clamps one size too small. Fortunately the clamps I had; most were fine, and I did have some apart of the worm screw ones. If those failed I have a great tool called the Clamp Tite and I could use that. So the project continues on.
Day Three: In the morning I was raring to go. NOT! My hands were cut up and I was sore but W/ would have none of my excuses. We had a project to do and right now the boat could only move under sail. You might think; hell, they are a sailboat, but sailing in a lagoon can oft be problematic. There are numerous obstructions in the lagoon and anchoring too demands often times jockying around to find the spot of least coral. So off to work I go….
This was the day to finish up the plumbing. I attached the other fittings and the last item to do was the U. It seems to me that I can’t ever replace something the way I found it. I always try to improve it. Sometimes I’m successful; once in awhile I’m not. I didn’t like how level the hose ran out of the boat from the last 90 degree turn to the thru hull so I figured I would create a gentle slope raising the last elbow in the chain a bit. Also I figured that if I cut an inch or so off the upper part of the hose the fitting would slide on much easier because I wouldn’t be fighting any of the molded in threads that the pipe fitting left. So back to the hack saw again and away I went, carefully cutting an inch off the top. Needless to say my cut was not perfectly square but it would do. I was down to two steps left: put the U on and secure it to the fitting holding it in place high on the inside of the hull.
I heated the hoses up, waited, heated some more, waited and heated a little more till I felt that the hoses were a wee bit softer and would expand just enough for me to slide the fitting on. I added the gasket sealant ( I hope never to have to remove this in place again) and then began to slide the U on. Magically; it went on. Now just to let the hose cool down, add the hose clamps and then add the top bracket.
Cutting the inch off, using fittings that were just a little different made the bracket at the top a little out of reach. I struggled getting the lower hose up through the sidewall of the locker. W/ pushed with all her weight 🙂 and I pushed pulled and shoved at the turn. Finally we got as close to the bracket as possible. But when I tried again the top U it just barely would not work. Seems as my plans don’t always come together perfectly. Time to fabricate an extension.
We had some left over Aluminum from a project in Trinidad so I used a piece of that, drilled some holes and attached it to the top most bolt. Then I could attach the bracket to that extension and viola! We have a solution. An hour later we were good to go. Now it was time to wait. Tomorrow I would check and tighten all the hose clamps and we would fire up the diesel to check for any leaks. Barring none we could then inventory (always we seem to inventory) and then repack the locker and the engine room.
Day 4 (of a two day job): Today ought not be too difficult. After checking the clamps and tightening a couple we started the engine. With a small torch I checked every fitting for leaks and hard to believe; I found …none. We ran the engine for a bit letting everything warm up and I checked again and still things were hunky dory. Shut down the good ol’ Perkins and begin to repack the locker.
As always; when we have supplies out of one locker we are looking for ways to improve our storage of “stuff”. We decided that we could move the “flopper stoppers” and that would free up a great deal of space on the counter. As we have used up supplies and given unused supplies away we found room in other lockers. But moving anything in a boat is problematic. Most often you need to empty a locker out and then repack it. And when we empty a new locker out we check it against the inventory and then repack it. Today, while basically an easy day (I will not have to twist, bend, grunt, talk to fittings, slice up parts of my body, etc) finishing this job will take a good part of the day to complete. By good part I mean “all morning”. We’re retired. If we can avoid it we don’t work in the afternoon. Afternoons are hot. And if it is not really hot it is humid. Sometimes it is both hot and humid so for our sanity, if we can avoid working in the afternoon we do. And mostly we ‘re successful.
With the locker packed up, stuff moved, inventory fixed, we are ready to cross this job off the list. Yeah!
The following is the cost of the; what I would say, simple repair in the replacement of the thermostat. Notes are at the bottom.
Cost Thermostat Change for a Perkins 4-236 Diesel in French Polynesia
High Temp Engine Paint
Hose 1 1/2″
1/4″ All Thread
Steel Cross Piece
a) Cost only includes our being here dependent on the engine not running. We felt the boat was safer here then on a mooring or anchored and we were much closer to services. Taxi into and out of town are $50 round trip and the bus is about $10
b) I could have gotten by without but felt in the interest of expediency it was better to buy now then pay the marina fee for another day or the weekend.
c) Luckily another cruisers had one and I paid him with a little extra. This is the single price and I picked up another and now have a spare.
d) I was trying to be patient and work the header off the stud. Had I known better and figured out to cut the bolt the first day I would have save about 5 marina days
In the a.m. I was able to get the 1/4″ SS all thread. I also looked at replacing the strainers but the installation will be a little problematic. I had till 10:30 to decide as it takes me 30 minutes to walk to the store. I’m sure they wouldn’t close if I walked in a minute before and wanted to buy the $400 strainer.
What I was waiting to see mostly was could I get the one I had repaired. I started by removing the broken studs. It was much easier than with the header tank. I do think they were brass studs because for the most part they crumbled. I drilled a good part of them out and then attempted to use the easy out again (smaller size). All that did was tear more of the stud out and I was concerned about tearing up the threads on the fitting so I stopped. Then I grabbed the tap to clean up the threads. Being cautious to make sure it starts correctly and doesn’t change any of the current threads I slowly worked it through the holes. Bingo. I tried the new all thread in each hole and they functioned properly. If worse came to worse I was going to drill through the holes so I could run the all thread through there and just nut the bottom. Fortunately I didn’t need to do that.
With that done W/ set about to clean the bronze pieces. We heated up some Vinegar and dipped them in there. That wold get rid of any of the corrosion on them. We also cleaned up the gasket (just in case I bought some rubber gasket material. With all that accomplished I was able to reinstall the strainer.
I liberally doused the threads with Loctite and screwed them into the bottom bracket. I then put some Teflon tape on the drain nut and on the center toggle bolt carefully fitting both items. The top nut most always seems to leak so this time I tried a Cu washer thinking I would get it to seat. I had it all back together and opened up the seacock and removed the clamp on the hose to the dripless stuffing box. Water slowly entered the bowl, rose to the top and seeped out the center bolt seal.
I take it back apart and find a rubber washer we had in the spares and use it in place. I reassemble it and tighten it back up; remove the clamp, open the seacock and bingo. A little water fills in and then it stops.
In all this process I had checked my email and both my super people had given me hints. One was to check for a bleed screw on the coolant system (I can’t find it and there is only a place where I could have imagined one) and the other said to run it up with considerably more rpms. I ran it at 1500 rpms and it still was getting a bit too hot. We shut the engine down and waited a couple of hours. Then I ran it up to 2,000 rpms and the temp went to 180, then 190, then close to 200 and settled there. I checked the engine temps and the coolant tub and they were all within the good zone. As I came back out to the cockpit W/ said the temp was going back down. She settled at about 185 F. FANTASTIC! We are in business.
We run it for about 30 more minutes and to be sure after we shut her down again and wait a couple of hours we run it again for an hour to make sure. It will take us about an hour to get to the anchorage and we don’t want any emergencies in the airport control zone nor the channel between the reef.
It’s almost too good to be true. The temp rises up to 175 and stabilizes there. The book says the engine temp should be between 160 and 190. So we are on the money and in the money. We celebrate by W/ dragging me out to a Pearl shop she’s found something she likes. It doesn’t matter. I’m on cloud nine; after 14 days of working on this project we’re whole again. Boats not broke, and I’m not broke. People talk about sympathetic pregnancies; I have sympathetic boat symptoms. But no more. I’m whole again.
Steve and Lili on Liward gave us the heads up on the bolts. Tony and Gail on Cetacea saved us with the thermostat. We were on a roll. We’ve walked a few miles chasing down small items we’ll need. We find the antifreeze that we want; well most of it, and we pick up the repaired header tank then continue our search for the hoses.
While something is off and being serviced I want to replace as much of the older parts as I can with new. Hose is one item that eventually goes bad and if I replace it now I could very well put off having to remove the tank again for many, many years. We trek to the 4 places we figure that may stock the hose. After all, 1 1/2″ hot water hose is rather a standard; maybe in the US, but not here. Here the hose is considered 38 mm, not really standard. We find some 40 mm hose but even in a pinch that might be difficult to clamp and seal. And on we continue.
We strike out everywhere we look and I want to swing by Ocean 2000 Marine, what I now believe to be the best stocked marine store in Papeete. W/’s tired of following me around and although she loves to walk she finds traipsing through the side streets and striking out at each stop is not her idea of a joyful time in Tahiti. Truth be told it is not mine idea either but the bottom line is I’m too cheap to pay someone here who I can’t communicate well with and most likely wants an exhorbitant amount of money, then to beat all will do mainly what I am doing. I’m too cheap so I try to do it myself. And honestly, I trust doing it myself much more than letting someone else do it. I’ve found that often in the quest for expediency workers will take a short cut I never would, solving the temporary issue but leaving a lingering long term one time to develop.
On our way back from the outer reaches of the marine world we cross the street leading out to Ocean 2000 and W/ decides since we’re this close to the store she’ll just walk another mile with me. 🙂 As we make our final approach to the store Steve and Lilli see us and swing by to give us a lift. The had just returned from the outer islands and since they were hauling their boat in a month they had rented a car for a month. Just what the Dr. ordered, or should I say the boss; W/ .
We chat with them; they’re struggling to get their bottom paint out of customs so they can have it applied when they haul their boat tomorrow, we tell them of our search for hose. Stopping at Ocean 2000; which they were just at, I wander in and ask about for the hose. Bingo! They have it, Sweet! Finally a little luck, maybe this will be our day. I pick up 1/2 meter of hose, more then enough to do what I need to do twice and off we go. We tell them to drop off where ever they need to turn as they are heading to customs for their bottom paint but they have none of that and drop us off at the gate to the boat. My quads thank them and we clean up at the boat getting ready for our afternoon adventure. Only two items left on the list; antifreeze and the thermostat.
Today the buses are running and business’, were open. Yesterday the island was shut down; Sundays, not so much for worship although that may have had something to do with it but simply for a day of rest the majority of the island takes a break. Even the rowing shells are very few on Sundays. Monday is just the opposite. So much activity you would imagine the city has twice the population it does. But for us, Monday is a good day as restaurants are open and busses run. We catch the bus to Marina Taina to check Tony’s boat.
Remember he said he had one thermostat on board but thought there were two, and since he was in the states and could replace it much easier than we could fly one here to just let him know what we could use it and take it. So we went to visit Cetacea. There I found them; exactly where he indicated, and he had…. FIVE. Wonderful ! We picked up 2 and emailed him to let him know and ask how much and how he wanted to be paid. Then I took some pictures of the boat that he had asked about and we had a wonderful lunch at the Pink Coconut. The Pink Coconut is where I was able to email him from as they have free wifi.
Down to only one item; or so I thought. Antifreeze. I use a special antifreeze. NOT! After cleaning the cooling system completely in Panama we added Prestone Extended life. And since the common thought is to stay with the same liquids for your engine then that is what I wanted to do. Finding it wasn’t the easiest. While we were painting the parts for reinstalling W/ and I went on a walkabout……again. This time looking for antifreeze. I could find Volvo Antifreeze, Cummins antifreeze and some other “special” blends but even at the auto parts store where they had generic antifreeze I didn’t find the common Prestone we used. On a lark I checked the Mobil station; and besides – they have Magnum Ice Cream Bars :). Bingo! They had 2 gallons of Prestone Extended life. I need more but two gallons will be a start. I pick them up; at about $36/ gallon and off we go back to the boat to paint some more.
The following day I begin the reassemble. I put the alternator belt and pulley back on. I clean up the surfaces the gasket touches. I run a tap through the holes that the bolts will go into. I vacuum the area for any small stuff that could get into the coolant system. I begin to reattach a hose I know not what it is for.
Oh-Oh. I cut the hose off to remove it and here I find that it is a slightly odd size; 5/8″ and while I thought we had some on the boat we don’t. Time for another walkabout. W/’s not interested this time but instead chooses to get her hair cut; yeah she doesn’t trust me – go figure – 🙂 . Off one way she heads to the stylist and I head off again to; you guessed it, Ocean 2000; by now my favorite store.
I ask for 5/8″ heater hose and just in case for Prestone AntiFreeze. After all; I had first purchased it at the marine store in Shelter
Bay Marina Panama. He had the hose; Hallelujah ! But no antifreeze. He did instead tell me where I had a good chance of finding it; by the Sin Tung Hing Marine store a couple of kilometers away. With W/ busy getting a new head of hair I figured I had time ,so with long strides and a beautiful day I made quick work and arrived at Equip Auto Supply. Wow! another great cruiser find. I
enter the store and right in front of me there is a display of at least a hundred gallons of extended life Prestone Antifreeze. Amazed; first I wander the store. They won’t sell out of the antifreeze while I’m here. They even had Odessey AGM batteries; which surprised me, there as well as a great supply of engine fluids. And all this was only a 100 meters from the Sin Tung Hing Marine store; which by the way we had asked about Prestone Antifreeze before and he never mentioned this place. Just amazing what is in one’s backyard sometimes and one doesn’t even know about it.
Now with everything in hand; back to the boat I go for the final installation and testing. If I could have seen the future I’m not sure I would have been as excited.
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
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.
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
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.
Well we’ve been here over a week now. Settling in. We’re having “Elvis” paint the engine. We’ve walked the walled city. We’ve eaten at several restaurants, we have a scheduled for a Dermatologist and we went swimming in a Volcano.
Well not really swimming. More like floating. Jeri on Peking organized a tour to the Volcano, $30 US / person and we signed up. We traveled in a new minivan (for me mini isn’t all it’s cracked up to be) and had Alex as an English speaking tour guide. We meandered through the city a bit with Alex telling us of various neighborhoods and how the growth has occurred and tidbits of the history of Colombia; political as well as long past.
We went through a toll booth and even passed the first speed trap I’ve seen since in the US. Just as in the US, autos coming the other direction flashed their lights as a warning. Things that work just seem to be universal. We turned off the highway and went up a road to the mud volcano. The road had just recently been paved and wasn’t yet finished. There we passed some small Tiendas and received instructions on the experience.
Most of us had worn a bathing suit under but those that didn’t went to change. We left our shoes at the bottom and climbed the stairs to the top making sure to hang on to the hand rail as the steps
were covered in the mud from people descending. Any moisture on the steps and they too were a bit slippery. At the top we watched as people entered the mud backwards and one of the massagers (people working in the bath’s for tips) laid you on your back and then slowly covered you with “MUD”. It wasn’t an unpleasant experience. The mud was slick and barely warm; most definitely not cold. Once covered from head to toe he massaged the legs, torso, face and arms (all in a couple of minutes – not nearly long enough) then he gently pushed you as you floated to another who rolled you over and massaged the back side. You could hang on to a wooden lattice work on the sides to keep your face out of the water. After a few more minutes you were rolled back over and he pushed your feet under you so you could hang upright in the mud.
Hang is the best word to describe it. The mud had so much material that you floated about chest high. Just for fun I slowly tried to dunk W/ (she was aware of it) and I couldn’t get her shoulders below the surface. I kept rising out of the mud. One group of the tour, Fay, commented that she couldn’t seem to find the bottom! We all laughed at that as we had understood the bottom was over a 1,000 ft deep! All of us floated in the mud for about 30 minutes; slowly moving around, sometimes our body getting out of a vertical plane and then our feet would come floating to the surface. The best way to get upright was to have some assistance in pushing your legs back under you or balling up, and rotating slightly and getting your legs under you; then projecting them back down.
As we began to exit we paused at the ledge and scraped the gobs of mud off of us and back into the Volcano. Of course as legend goes the bath is good for “curing” any skin issues you might have as well as removing years of age. Now I know I look 40 again!
After being washed off by another in the fresh water lake we cooled off with some local drink and food. We tried their equivalent of the Egg McMuffin; without the Muffin, ( I wasn’t fond of this) and I had up a fruit salad which was IMHO; excellent (cost approx $2.25).
We boarded the bus and went back through a small community that excelled in making cast nets
and fishing. Megan and Becca (another two on the tour) tried their hand at throwing the net but they would have been on an extended diet if this would have been their life’s work as they both came up empty handed. This is one place the lake exits to the sea over a small dam and the fingerlings were so abundant here they literally turned the water black. The dark area in the photo is a mass of fingerlings. The larger fish come to feed on the smaller with the Colombian’s hoping to feed on the lager fish!
Back at the boat we did what all good folk do at the end of a day’s work – we rested.
The walking tour was self guided and we had started with Jeri as our tour guide on Peking ( a beautiful Diesel Duck Motor Yacht). She had bought a book All Cartagena De Indias (which ironically isn’t even available in the US) and there we followed Jeri like good
puppies as she led us through the “Walled City”. Once upon a time Cartagena had been referred to as the Stone Playground. Even though this was a tour we spent more time simply gawking as we walked through the city. We tasted some of the local “sweet” fare that people were selling outside the courtyard, we toured the “Gold Museum”, we found a restaurant that had mostly locals eating in and thus we figured it would be good and reasonable! It was both. We ended another day totally exhausted and ready to count sheep.
I seem to just stack too much life into too small a space. Two big events in one week! What’s happening? In between the tours we had contracted with a local mechanic (Elvis) to paint the engine. All day Elvis and Alfonso labored to clean the oil off the engine, sand lightly any
rust ( I wish they would have just used Ospho), primed the engine and then paint it. In the states they would have been hung by some branch of our government. Elvis had a small low pressure paint sprayer that he had cut a hose off of the pressure end. Then he and Alfonso would exhale into the pressure end and “spray” the engine. Better them than me! They were able to complete this job in one day for 350,000 mills (about $220). What he said he couldn’t do was the bottom of the engine. Oh well. I know W/ and I can.
We borrowed some Ospho from Passport, and then set about to paint the bottom. I first wiped off any oil, then wiped with mineral spirits, then put the Ospho on any rust areas. Two days later I rolled and brushed paint on all the ares they didn’t hit. I had run out of the small amount of paint that Elvis had left so I had to buy some more from him. Oh well. At least now the engine looks “pretty”.