Bonair / should be called Bonwater

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Sun 10 Feb 2013 21:10
Arriving close to Bonair, we had a dream sailing with  absolute flat water, we did 8,5 knots with half wind. That went on for hours and it was like sailing in heaven! As we closed in the coast of Bonair, the water looked like rubins, absolutely clear and clean! So clean!
The island forbids any kind of anchoring in waters shallower than 60 meters and that makes it impossible for yachts like ours to use their anchors at all. As we approached the capital village (The island has 10.000 inhabitans) of Kralijk we could tell we have left the sailing crowd behind.The amount of boats on moorings are a tenth of what we experienced in the Lesser Antilles. And mooring is what you have to use. Now we have about 10 meters of water under our keel and it looks like we could touch bottom. Then thanks to the ban of anchoring we can actually snorkel to a drop off that is 3 meters behind the boat. There the corals are huge and unspoiled, the amount of fish is like a full aquarium. And we are moored in the middle of the village! This is environmental work with big success!!!!
The water is clear as Vodka (what else could I think of? Well Vodka is clear in the beginning of the night is it not?).
We arrived in the middle of carnival time so we had our Q flag (yellow flag showing that we are not cleared with all officials) up til today, their laid back attitude was only that if we cannot do it today, we will do it tomorrow, what's the problem? 
In an hour or so we will get off the boat and see what this carnival is about, it continues...
We have decided to stay put a couple of days, catch up with school and art work. Then we will start to look for a weather window towards San Blas. As I wrote before, this coming leg is a chritical one so we need to have a good weather window to avoid the most uncomfortable conditions. When you sail around the corner of Columbia the wind tends to accelerate and the waves get a little bit nasty. Hard to believe when we sit here in flat water.
To make a short story long....
I just have to comment the Fisher Panda, our generator that started to fill the boat with water through the raw water pump.
I love this concept of a box, I hate this concept of a box.
If you haven't seen a Fisher Panda, google on it and look at the pictures, mostly you will see a close nice box that provides a boat with electricity.
I can hear the smart question asked: -Honey do we want 220 Volts on board? It's only a box!
So here comes the box, it is nice, isolated to make no noise when you run the diesel engine inside. Somehow they have fitted a diesel engine and a 5Kw generator, with EVERYTHING "inside the box". All you get is a small nice panel to put somewhere in the boat, : - Honey, when you need 220 V just press that button!-
Then we can sit in the cockpit drinking Gin and Tonic with ice looking at the sunset. - What a life we have! Thanks to Fisher Panda!
The fun starts when you get water out of that box instead of 220V. You open it up and of course, if you have to fit a diesel, a generator and all the automatic stuff that makes life woderful it will be crowded. The box is the size of two big toolboxes, and that's not big compared to the big diesel in the machine room.
Honey since that thing is so small, let's put it BEHIND the big diesel engine!
Well that nice white box with a panda on was in the boat when we bought it, not only that, it was almost brand new!
At that time I thought we will never use that thing other than in emergency, but you get dependent, yes, cold water, good food is lovely to have. And not all days serve sun and wind to our wind generator and solar panels.
So when you open that box you are entitled to fix the problem and you know what their (Fisher Panda) thinking must be?
Those of you who are old enought remember the Volkswagen "bubble", it had the engine in the back and it was absolutely impossibe to even change the sparks without taking the entire engine out of the car. So Volkswagen decided to market how "easy" it was to take the engine out.
So Fisher Panda probably thinks, if there is a problem take the engine out of the box!
Well that's what we did in Las Palmas, took that Fisher Panda out. For that we only had to open the floor in a compartement in the cockpit (We are above the engine room, opening the "ceiling") , make a crane out of the boom, and then heave 150 kg engine out of the engine room. That was easy! In harbout it took only two days to do THAT!
I was determined to fix this problem INSIDE the box and I was not to give up. I even asked Ellinor to crawl behind the big Volvo Penta, to see if her small hands could get inside-behind-under the generator to see if the leak was where I thought. Her answer was,
-YES, there it is. (No she did not ask where that nice 220 V box was gone, she knows more than that)
When you open that box it is like a crazy clockmaker, an dieselengineer and a power guy got together and asked themselfe, how small can we make things to fit in there? For instance the drivebelt for the waterpump can be used as a nice little bracelet, it is about as thin as a rubber band. And the box is so tight they have cut out the track in the foam where the bracelet spinns to drive the water pump. I can only think of the nightmare when I have to change impeller on that "clock". The impellers are just so cute...
By the way Fisher Panda are very good at concepts, we bought an offshore- ocean spare kit for the generator and guess what? It came in a nice white box with a Panda on, did I bother to open it up? Nope, I thought we'll take care of it when time comes, now when I open it up I wonder if they made a misstake, it must be spare parts for a Rolex or something. How small can a filter be?
But what has broken so far was not in the spare box, nix, no rubber feet and no hose.
But that goes for most everything, what you fear to fix, bring spare parts and they will not be needed.
So I started to figure out how to get inside-behind-under and fix that leak. But please note, first you have to pass the Volvo Penta inside-behind-under , then you end up with one knee behind you ear, one foot under the transmission box, your head stuck behind the hotwatermaker (that is full of sharp corners, ask my hairstilist). So there you are, the boat is rolling, one second your have all your bodyweight  on your right elbow and next second your entire weight is on you breast (you can see my left breast is blue now, my elbow is just very red and in bad shape). So now let's add some temperature, 30 degrees celsius, so you swet (Ok you can call it Prospire if you want), you swet so much the bilge pump start going again. Well there you are and start calling for the first tool, Ellinor is nice and crawls in with the first scewdriver. Something is wrong here, they can't get inside-behind-under things and do their work. Soon enought you start to figure out a way to build something that goes inside-behind-under and in between you look at all the stuff you have to undo if we have to take that generator out to fix the problem, that helps to motivate further thinking and somehow you get that hose out and after another 30 minutes you get the fingers out as well. They are brused up and something inside-behind-under is very sharp. But you are determined to have that thing going so the hose is clean cut from the problem and I feel like a brain surgeon or maybe a gynochologist that has to work in very small spaces (you probably heard about the gynochologist.... no you haven't). As a matter of fact  I wear surgeons clothes that Ellinor borrowed from a hospital in NY where she worked for a while.
Now the hose is out of the box and it is time to do what surgeons always do, take off what is broken (never tell them you have a headache), the knife is out and 1,5 centimeters goes off. When I fix something I always want to know why it happened, so I know if it can happen again. I think I know what happened, so if you want to know just send 20 dollars....or just a mail and I will tell you...(you can have the gynochologist story for the same price   salsa {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com )
So as a good "doctor" I know that what came out is hard to get in, so I ask Ellinor for lubrication, and with that I start the journey back and by know I'm swetting so hard the headlamp is shortcircuited, the surgeon uniform looks more like something transparant and now comes the next surprise, my left breast that is leaning against the generator has gotten so saltwet that it takes current from the generators capacitors! They are always charged and now the current flows right through my body! Talking about being amped! Maybe I should have done what they do with EKG, shave off hair so the current can flow even better!
(Actually Ellinors breast got the same treatment and she har real red marks from the chocks!)
Ellinor passes me a pair of old trousers, I make a pillow out of them and put them between my breast and the capacitors plus pole, well you think that's easy, it is so cramped that I almost do not fit with that arrangement without pressing my foot further under the transmissionbox without putting pressure on the cooling hose for that part (that is actually the worse part about climbing around in the engine room, so many things can be pulled out of place by bodyweight)
Well now we have to get the hose inside-behind-under and at the same time have a hose clamp to go with it and not making the same misstake the previous mechanic made when mounting it.
Once there I start tightning the hose clamp and yes I do it! The same mistake that the mechaninc did last time. The clamp is not far up enought onto the tube and destroys another piece of tube. Thank god I'm not a brain surgeon, can you imagine? -Shit! we have to take another centimeter! What part of the brain is that? Well you can live without memories, in fact that makes you even happier....-
Or a gyn....  no let's leave it at that.
So the tube comes out again, and I'm getting really good at inside-behind-under jobs, practice makes talent... (I HATE DIRTY UNCOMFORTABLE MACHINE WORK!!! )
Now let's go further inside-behind-under so we do not destroy another centimeter, because this time we have to replace the whole tube (brain), it goes somewhere, remember?
The joy when you press that little button on the panel, and the engine starts, no water coming out of it, my hands are cut into pieces, my body hurts everywhere, the surgeon uniform looks more like a uniform for a mental hospital, the headlamp hangs around my neck, but the generator runs! And I have to smile, the rest of the boat is dancing celebrating the 220V comíng back like a godsend.
Ellinors hands are dirty, my hands are black, but we are HAPPY!
So we close that nice white box, and the sound of the engine becomes more like a cat spinning, and all the systems are up and running, the refigerators start their buzz, all the navigation gadgets can run again on full, so now we know where all the boats are, where we are, where you are, where the moon is and when the water is streaming nort or south.
I love the concept of a box, as long as I do not have to open it...