positiion N06 13.577 W77 24.376
Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Sun 1 Jan 2017 19:44
Thursday 29 dec
Much to report since last entry but mostly a catalogue of disasters and not much progress knocking off the north degrees. We reached Solano Bay for the first time early on the 22nd Dec having motored from Islas del Rey against light wind and strong current. We realised that without a change of wind we would need more fuel to reach Esmeraldas our next port, and approached a trawler/cargo boat that was moored against the commercial pier. They offered us fuel from their stocks but after much calcuation and debate it transpired that they could only supply multiples of 100 gals while we could only accomodate about 30. One of the crew offered to take me and jerry cans to the fuel station in town - a short ride by Caro from the pier. Caros are little 3 wheelers that ply between pier and town and around town at not much faster than jogging pace due to the state of the unmade roads. Once I had filled the jerry cans and transfered to the boat we moved off the pier and anchored back in the bay. I decided to get another couple of cans to be on the safe side using the dinghy. The town is accessible by dinghy at high water but dries a long way out at low water. D & D had a walk round the little town while I sorted fuel. With every expectation of motoring ever onward to our next stop Islas Gorgona and under some pressure to reach somewhere for christmas day we set off again that evening at dusk and motored through the night with no respite of the head wind and no rest for the poor engine untill at noon the next day we sailed for an hour just about holding position aganst the current. Re-starting the engine was hampered by low voltage and we had to wait or half an hour for the solar panels to boost the charge. The alternator had been playing up for a few days and it seems had given up producing any electricity for battery charge. Soon after restarting the revs suddenly dropped followed by a loud clunk followed by silence followed by much swearing. Knowing that something important had almost certainly failed in the depths of the engine I hopefuly checked the prop for obstruction but only confirmed that the repair would be beyond my skill set. So we made the only choice available and set sail back to Solano Bay. With light wind and current now in our favour we had a pleasant sail back and reached the bay early in the morning of Christmas Day. The bay shelves from 30m to nothing quite rapidly so anchoring under sail required a fine judgement but we managed to stop in about 10m depth and dropped the mainsail. We assumed that no-one would be available Christmas Day so caught up on sleep and Boxing Day morning I asked at the pier (Esso) for a Mechanico Diesel. After a few enquiries I was given a ride on the back of a motorbike into town and taken to a workshop where Jorge the Mechanic dropped whatever he was doing, grabbed a small toolkit and biked back to the Esso pier. I tok him out in the dinghy and after checking batteries and turning the engine over he realised that my audio description of the revs dropping followed by loud clonk meant a big job. He promised to return after lunch to start dismantling and hailed a lauch from the pier. He appeared as promised with an assistant and before long had the head off along with numerous ancilliery bits and pieces. Seeing no obvious problem he said he would return in the morning. Meanwhile we decided that D&D couldn't stay on the boat with engine spread around, no water (water pump had also packed up) and low voltage so they went ashore and sorted out a hotel. Jorge returned next morning with 2 assistants and chain block and tackle with heavy bar. Thinking he just needed to lift the engine sufficiently to take off the gear box I was somewhat surprised when he had the engine suspended from the bar across the hatch and then looked aroud to see how he could go higher. Clearly he was planning to take it back to his workshop. I rigged the main halyard to the end of the boom and raised the boom untill the sheet block was above the hatch. Jorge hailed the launch and tranferred the chain block to the boom. Up it went and swung over and down to the launch as easy as pie. I don't think we even bent anything although the load on the main halyard was a concern. The days have merged together so that I forget exactly which day things occured. Dads infected leg hadn't cleared up after a dose of penecillin purchased from the chemist so one evening we walked out of the back of the hotel and straight in to the hospital. He was immediately attended to by several young and pretty doctors and nurses and they soon had him on an intraveous drip. He is now taking 3 tablets every 6 hours and so far the infection is under control. One night I stayed in the Hotel with D & D and having grown accustomed to the general honesty of everyone we met I left the dinghy tied up on the beach. Early next morning I returned and no dinghy to be seen. I walked along the beach looking for it and then in to the police station. Fortunately there was wifi and my phone was able to give assistance with translation so I was able to explain my problem sufficiently for them to comprehend. A young female police officer with male companion drove me around town to see if it was visible and then I suggested we report it to the port captain whos office is 50 yards away from the police station. The captain was up at the Esso pier and when we found him he confirmed that a dinghy had been recovered drifting in the bay. He wanted proof of ownership so I had to get the police to commandeer a launch in order to fetch the outboard receipt. The dinghy was tied up against the official navy launches but the front compartment was deflated and outboard key missing. Clearly kids had been messing around and left it to drift out to sea. I thought they had dragged it and holed the bottom but when I rowed it back to the boat it reflated O.K. and a spare key got the motor going. I had got away with another piece of AJP carelessness. We met a columbian sailor called Jorgewho speaks very good english and helped us with both travel arrangements (the agent is also called Jorge) and with engine translations. He has a house on the beach and a catamaran that he keeps in the bay. He also has a coffee farm up in the hills somewhere and brings tangerines back to sell in Mutis. Now Jorge has found that the gearbox was running dry with a loose oil plug which must have been dripping. A spherical bearing has squished but Jorge assures us he can get a replacement from Medallin on Friday. Meanwhile we have booked tickets to return home assuming that I would need to get parts from UK. We let Jorge know and he is happy to wait a couple weeks before returning the engine to the boat. I can sort out other issues such as broken alterator, water pump and garmin back home. That brings us more or less up to date. We are planning a trip to the botanical gardens today which involves a boat ride across the bay and will be back in U.K sunday.