Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hotel California

May 5, 2008--Well, we checked out but we couldn't leave. Actually, we chose not to leave. Let me backtrack just a bit. On Saturday, we began preparing the boat to leave. We pulled our stern anchor, and it was an awful mess. After 3 1/2 weeks under water there was growth all over it, and it was muddy and slimy. It took Steve an hour to hose off most of the crud. When the anchor came up (a Danforth) he actually had to take the dinghy oar to it to break huge chunks of mud off it. It was a total mess. Then after the deck was cleaned off and everything was put away, we went to turn on the engine, and the alternator alarm was screaming. The alternator had gone bad. Luckily for us, we had a spare, so Steve replaced it. To make a long story short, we spent the rest of Saturday just mulling everything over and trying to figure out where we should go, and Steve continued tinkering on the engine.

Sunday morning, we turned on the engine and found that the starter battery was dead (the good times just keep on coming). We switched over to the house bank and started the engine. It still didn't seem perfect, but we decided to head over to Oa Poa and see how it did during that 4-hour trip. Steve pulled the anchor, which was also a complete mess. He cleaned the chain as best as he could with the boat brush. We headed out of the bay with the engine at 1500 rpms just moving along nicely; however, when we tried to accelerate past that point, the engine started struggling again. It just couldn't get past that point. Running out of ideas, Steve said that perhaps it was the governor (he is definitely running out of options), and we decided that it would be better to work on that here than at Oa Poa, which is a smaller town. So, we turned around and anchored back in the bay.

I have to take a minute to discuss why we made this decision. Steve had his heart set on seeing the Tuamotus, and I agree. We have come all this way, and they are supposed to be really wonderful. If we bypass them and go to Tahiti, it is very difficult to return to them especially this season. We could go ahead and go there, but you really should have an engine that you can count on when navigating the passes into the lagoons. That is why we keep trying to get this engine problem fixed.

John from s/v Horizons came over and offered to help Steve work on the engine, so they spent the whole afternoon yesterday tearing it apart and inspecting everything they could think of. They checked the governor and it looked fine. So it's back to square one. The boat is torn apart literally. There are tools everywhere. After taking the engine apart, the engine gasket was trashed, so we ended up making a new gasket out of a file folder. Thankfully John and his wife Mary had us over for dinner last night so I did not have to cook and add to the mess.

We got up this morning, and Steve immediately set to work getting the last of the engine put back together. We discussed all the options and possibilities. Ron from s/v Island Time came by and said that s/v Orca III will probably be coming in here in the next day or two and the skipper is a diesel mechanic. We will try to contact them on VHF to see what their plans are, and we feel that it would probably be worth staying until they come in if it is only a few days.

Wednesday will make it four weeks that we have been here. It seems that every year one boat experiences a major problem, and I guess that we drew the unlucky card this year.

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