We spent a few days anchored in Rodney Bay, St Lucia, mid-May getting our engine repaired. We were lucky to eventually find a local lorry diesel engine mechanic, Jason, as all the marine mechanics were busy on other jobs and we would have had a longer wait. Jason diagnosed the problem almost as soon as he listened to the terrible rattle when the engine fired up, and a couple of hours of stripping down the water intake pump he found the culprit – a bearing. The island of course only had one bearing and we needed two, so a lot of hunting around and waiting about, and a larger bearing was found along with a workshop who could make a sleeve to fill the gap between the shaft and the bearing. Jason then spent another morning fitting it all back together and we did an oil change at the same time, and now the engine runs as sweet as a nut.
A late afternoon dash to the Pitons so that we were ready for our sail to St Vincent the next day rewarded us with an escort of playful dolphins welcoming us into the bay at nightfall. Unfortunately the boat boys weren’t so welcoming, having raced out to offer their services of putting us on a mooring buoy (something we are quite competent with ourselves, but you don’t really have a choice out here!). Jez handed them 20 EC, that’s just under a fiver - for a two second job passing your line through the hole in the buoy and passing it back – and he shone his torch at it, huffed and said the going rate was 50 EC in the evening. We stood our ground and explained we only ever pay 20EC, after all it is just a tip, he still demanded 50EC and we walked back to the cockpit thanking him for his help! He hung around for a bit and took a good look at our dinghy and outboard towed behind. We lifted the outboard into the aft locker and put the dinghy on the aft deck just for safe measure, with bats swooping down to catch flies off the surface of the water in our boom light, we had an early night!