We’ve had a streak of malfunctions lately. It started small, a plastic fitting off the water maker discharge busted causing a leak uncomfortably close to the AC electrical panel. It was the one fitting we got from Home Depot instead of with the Cruise RO kit. Looking at it, it was broken in three places, sort of like someone stepped on it and threw it back in the bin. It was an easy fix if we had a spare, but we didn’t- hence the Hope Depot fitting in the first place. Keith went to shore hopeful, but the hardware store at Man-O-War didn’t have anything that would work. On his way back to the boat he stopped by another boat that he recognized from our anchorage in Satellite Beach to say Hi. To our luck they had extra fittings on their boat. We were all fixed up by the end of the day. Sweet.
Things did not stay sweet the next morning. We pulled anchor as normal but when I pushed the throttle up not a thing happened. We both looked at each other with one of those silent “uh-oh” looks. Keith grabbed the throttle to try. It came off in his hand. Uh-oh for real. I think around this time the silence was broken by an explicative. We were barely above idle and in forward so we had plenty of time to discuss our options. We decided to sail/idle over to Marsh Harbor (the largest town around and also only a few miles away) figuring it would be the easiest place to work on it. On the way Keith tried to get a temporary fix, but couldn’t. Instead he adjusted the throttle directly on the engine. You know the cartoon of one child steering a car while another child is on the floorboard pushing the peddles? That is how our boat operated. Not as funny as the cartoon, really. I steered into the harbor while Keith adjusted our speed from down in the engine room. It sounds more dramatic than it actually was, it was a rainy morning and we didn’t run into any traffic-shipping, or fishing, or pleasure. He didn’t have to actually make any adjustments till we idled down to drop the anchor. All went well with that part. The whole reason the throttle broke at the helm station was actually due to a damaged shifter cable so off Keith went to town to find something that would hopefully work. The part in the States would probably be about forty dollars. I handed Keith a hundred. Then asked if he thought he needed another. He muttered that he would fix it with a rope before he paid that much. You never know over here. Less than an hour later he was back with the exact part we needed- not just something that we could make work. To boot, it cost only $37.50. Woohoo! We were all fixed up and running by the end of the day. Our throttle is smoother than it’s ever been.
Two broken things in two days does not make a trend. The trend started when we heard the bilge pump running intermittently and found our bilge in the engine room filled with sea water (not high enough to come close to the engine). There is usually no water at all in the engine room bilge. Uh, oh! We try to keep the saltwater on the outside of the boat. We had sailed/motored down to Lynyard Cay after fixing the throttle and everything had been dry on Keith’s pre-checks. The seal on the diesel seawater pump was now leaking. For this we carry spares, actually a spare seal kit and a whole new pump. We dug out the spare kit to find that I had very neatly labeled it “Incomplete kit-parts used”. Guess what part was used? Uh-huh….THAT one. Keith was still able to get it fixed and serviced but now we have no back-up seals. Though we still have the whole new pump, we wanted extra seals since we seem to go through them. Back to Marsh Harbour we sailed. Keith walked from one end of town to the other twice- and almost found a replacement, but didn’t. We then tried Man-O-War. They had the seal, unfortunately it was in a kit. The seal is about a five dollar part. The whole kit (States prices) is about seventy dollars. The whole kit here was one hundred forty dollars. Hope we make it to Puerto Rico before we go through what we have onboard because we didn’t pay that! Still, we are all fixed up and running fine.
This, now identified, trend took a decided turn for the worse three days ago when I heard our freezer (which is normally quiet) cycling on and off several times in a minute. Please, no. We pulled it out and sat on the floor in our pajamas and poked and prodded at if for a while. We used a bunch of data trying to download a service manual but got no where. The food was still frozen, but without a fix fast we were about to lose all of our meat provisions. Of course it was at night so no businesses were open, instead I looked up a friendly looking Australian company (business hours there) and shot them an email describing our situation and asking if they could go through some troubleshooting with us. They, very kindly, replied and provided some very definitive troubleshooting. It is the compressor. There is nothing we can do on the boat to fix it. It is dead. Dead, dead. No went-to-town-and-fixed-it story going to happen here. We wrapped the dead freezer in blankets and kept things frozen till morning. We then took some items over to a friend’s freezer, donated the seafood to some locals, and then tried to pack as much of the remaining meats into our refrigerator and it’s teeny-tiny freezer compartment. We never stored food in that freezer before, instead we used it to fast-cool drinks. It fits two beers and a soda can. Or at least it used to.
Now, the proper thing to do would have been to host one hell of a cook out and invite the entire anchorage, but we just didn’t have it in us to clean up, make sides, and start grilling. Plus, we were way too frustrated/disappointed to do the mingling scene. So for the last few days we have been on a very high protein diet. And, unfortunately, it’s about to be followed by a very low protein diet. We are not even considering trying to replace the freezer here in the Bahamas, maybe when we get to Puerto Rico. And probably not with another Engel, it should have lasted for years more. Stupid thing.
Today we are spending some time on preventative maintenance chores and doing our best to break this streak. Keith is currently doing maintenance on the head (toilet). Start with the highest priorities-right?