Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"It's a Boat!" - Endless repairs to the Generator and the Head

Celebrating at the Maya Beach Bistro
The last weeks have been busy with important boat repairs. And all during our visit from Julie and Peter Gowan. Luckily for us Peter is a mechanical engineer and experienced cruiser. And Julie took all the constant installation activity in stride. We ate dinner in the cockpit a number of nights while Salaam, our mechanic, worked on the generator. To do this we have to open up the whole salon floor so moving about the boat is a real challenge. Peter also jumped into the head repairs after Scott previously cleaned out the whole system. The pump mechanism had come loose from the floor and was leaking. They were successful.
The generator had stopped working ten days before they arrived. Salaam removed the engine portion and drove it up to the Mennonite community of Shipyard in the far north of Belize to have it repaired. A week later he returned and installed it but it didn't work. The new plate they built was too wide. Then Peter and Julie arrived and their second morning we moved to the town dock and Salaam and 4 men removed the entire generator and brought it back up to Shipyard. We had 2 nights to sail out to Pelican Cays and enjoy some cruising life before returning to have the generator replaced. Salaam thought that the new Thunderbirds Marina up in the Lagoon behind Placencia would work for us and be easier to effect getting the 700 lb generator back on the boat. We stopped by the Marina a week before by land to check it out. They gave us way points into the Lagoon and said the channel into the Marina was 8 feet. We'd never been into the Lagoon as a lot of it is very shallow. So we decided to give it a go. At several places going in we were scraping the bottom but we figured out what happened (and on the way out, had no less than 7 feet). So when we got to the channel into the Marina we thought we had it made. But right in the center between the red and green buoys marking the entrance we went hard aground! We managed to get off and anchored. Dad and Peter went in but there was only a man at the fuel dock that didn't know anything. So we went all the way back out and into the main anchorage. It was past 5 by then so we determined to go out and enjoy ourselves. During Julie and Peter's visit (and the endless repairs) we celebrated our 37th Anniversary and Heather's Birthday. And we had a wonderful evening! Drinks at Yoli's Over D' Water and grand fish dinners at Rum Fish. Topped off by fabulous gelato at Tutti Fruitti's. The next morning we were at the dock by 6 am and effected a very successful transfer of the 700 lb generator into place. That night Salaam returned for 4.5 hours to finish the job. And IT WORKED!
It wasn't all work during their stay. We had fun times on the boat and exploring the Placencia area. Naturally there were lots of wonderful meals and sun downers! We look forward to our next time together.
Our rented golf cart was fun transportation
Peter and Scott with their heads in the Head
After days of work cleaning out the system,
the pump mechanism broke

Salaam, on the left, trusses up the generator with a halyard through
After lifting it, a second line is attached from the boom through
the companionway
and then 3 men move it up the companionway
While 2 others lift from above
The last push into the cockpit
Now they plan for the next move, onto the dock
Using the boom and tackle, they are successful and then have
to the carry it to Salaam's truck.
Now Peter could get into the space left and clean up.
Some persistent leaks had to be fixed before we could head
out to enjoy the islands for a few days.
Three days in the idyllic Pelican Cays, swimming and snorkeling
Then back to Placencia to get the completed generator
 back onboard. That's Julie on the far right.
Peter and Salaam worked out a great system for moving it
 from the cockpit to the salon floor.
They used a heavy board to "slide" it down onto the floor
 with the line attached to the boom.
Two additional heavy boards were laid across
 the floor to support the huge weight
And then they carefully placed it back into it's place
Julie on the beach in front of our favorite breakfast place, De' Tatch

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