It's all about oil
Sat 28 May 2011 11:27
Saturday, 28.05.2011, 07:00 local (11:00 UTC), 18:25.2N, 067:09.5W (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico)
Good news: I found high-pressure hoses and fittings for the oil line in town and could patch up the oil and sea-water circuit. Getting everything back together took a few hours (and liters of sweat), and I had to cut the old oil cooler in half with the grinder because I needed some parts to mount the heat exchanger. But finally everything looked good and when I started the engine it ran smoothly and without any leaks. For about three minutes. Then the "low oil pressure" alarm went off. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
Kill the engine. Look for leaks. No leaks. Scratch head. Think. Check oil level. Start the engine again. Beeeeep. Stop. Look for leaks. No leaks. Check oil level. Look in manual for plans of oil circuit. No plans. Be unhappy. Get cheered up by Liz. Have a tea. Call Ralf, discuss problem.
Without the plans it's impossible to say what it is or how it can work, but we have some ideas and tomorrow I'll try them out. I'm afraid it will be very messy in terms of oil. Fortunately I have plenty of paper towels and a good oil pump. Which I tested yesterday. And, of course, it was not working and I had to fix it. Oh, and have I mentioned that the (brand new) wind generator also stopped working? As did my (third) mobile phone (so much for the theory that keyboard-phones last longer at sea than touch-phones). Then I cleaned the bilge and scraped growth from the bottom of the hull. Cleaning is good therapy. No plans needed, no alarms, no beeps. It's dirty. You clean it. It's clean. Works every time, guaranteed.
Other than that it's going great. No, really! While I don't enjoy doing repairs on the boat, I love the way it brings you into touch with the locals. When I paddled to the beach on Thursday to buy parts I was welcomed by a couple of old men. Fishermen and pensioners. We're you're from? Where're you going? etc. and we talked a bit, a mix of English and Spanish. Really nice folks. I told them that my engine was broken and that I needed parts, and they immediately started discussing where to best get the parts from. Then one started to walk to his car and another said "follow him, he will drive you". Half an hour later I had my parts, then I reciprocated with breakfast.
In the afternoon we got hailed by a boat with two guys, who invited us for dinner at their beach house. "Just follow the beach until you see the boat."
We found the boat and had a wonderful time with Luis, Waldo, their three brothers plus wifes and kids. BBQ, drinks, music and dance - fantastico! Friday we invited them for lunch to Gudrun, and in the evening we went again to the beach house for Dinner. Waldo also generously offered the use of his washing machine to us, which is too good an offer to refuse. And we learned to dance Merengue. We feel totally spoiled, thanks so much guys!
We're very glad we came to Aguadillo for a taste of original, unspoiled and tourist-free Puerto Rico. We are so lucky. Again. So, never mind the broken engine.