Enjoying a Shitty Time In Salvador

Mina2 in the Caribbean - Where's The Ice Gone?
Tim Barker
Sun 25 Nov 2012 11:51

Position 12:58.674S 038:31.284W  Bahia Marina - Salvador

Date: 25 November 2012


Enjoying a Shitty Time In Salvador


We took a day off in Morro de Sao Paulo which is a delightful beach resort. After the catalogue of gear failures we needed the rest and it was good to get off the boat, albeit paddling (no outboard) ashore to catch the ferry to the beaches. But one day rather than the three scheduled days was all we could allow ourselves, and the following morning we headed off for Salvador 35 miles (a day sail) to the north to get our multiple gear failures sorted.


I signed off the last blog “But from now on, things can only get better, can’t they?” Hahahahahahahahahaha !!!!!


We were motoring towards to Salvador when the boat stopped moving through the water – the engine was still running and we were in gear, but the propeller had stopped turning. At the same time we smelled the now familiar smell of acrid smoke and for the second time in three days, smoke was belching from the engine room. But this time it wasn’t the generator but the gearbox of the main engine. Now we effectively had no engine. A bit of a problem. But thank God we’re a sailing boat. The wind filled in (albeit from the wrong direction) and we were having a really good beat towards Salvador which would have been highly enjoyable if it weren’t for the frenetic activity. Without an engine, we would need help getting into the marina and alongside. When I had passed through Salvador going south 3 years ago, I remembered there was a Mr Fixit called Marcelo who, unusually, spoke English. I badly needed to get hold of him but didn’t have his contact details. So I sent an email to Phil and Norma of Minnie B and David and Suzanne of Suzy Too who had been on the Rallye with us. Within minutes the Rallye network had swung into action. Emails were flying round the globe. Eventually Jean from Havanita  and David & Suzanne had emailed me with Marcelo’s mobile number which I called from the satellite phone. I can’t tell you my relief when Marcelo answered. We would be in Salvador in half an hour. Marcelo would be waiting for us to tow us in and then get all our problems sorted. Which he was, and he is, bless him.


That was Wednesday evening. Major work was needed and it started at the crack of high noon the following day (this is Bahia in Brazil, the most laid-back state in the most laid-back country in the world. They say they have an equivalent word for the Spanish “manaña” but it doesn’t have the same degree of urgency). Just getting the gearbox off to analyse the problem was a major engineering feat that took hours. A diver went down, cleaned the hull of the barnacles and, in the process, freed up the bowthruster, checked the anodes and (poor chap) cleared the blockage from the aft head seacock. Given the amount the diver was able to do below the waterline meant that we didn’t have to be craned out of the water, which was just as well as the next available slot was on 4 December!


Three days on and the two dysfunctional bilge pumps have been disassembled, faults identified and are hopefully being rectified. The outboard motor has been taken off for repair. And I have managed to get the generator working again. The hopefully repaired gearbox will be returned on Monday and tested.


I had the unpleasant task of dismantling all the hoses from the blocked aft head and got that working again, only to find it almost immediately blocked again, so I had to go through the whole process one more. As I passed through the galley area with buckets full of unmentionables, The Pro’s hygiene paranoia went into hyper-drive. She watched me like a hawk and any surface on the boat I touched twixt head and deck was meticulously scrubbed with bleach. The whole boat now smells like an operating theatre.


So we progress. We hope to leave on Tuesday. Marcelo, who had been boasting that his team worked throughout the weekend yesterday broke the news that he had given them all the weekend off, so God knows.  We will now be at least eight days behind schedule so we will be missing out on our planned stopover in Jacare and will head straight for Fernando do Noronha.


As no work will be done on the boat today, Sunday, we too are taking a much needed break and are about to head off to get a ferry to the nearby island of Itaparica for the day.