Luke in control of the provisions

Luke in control of the provisions

Then it was time for the drive back to Puerto Lindo.  We managed it without incident, and for the first time – loaded the stuff into the dinghy and then the mothership during daylight.  So much nicer with light.  Every one of these little adventures to the city is followed by a huge relief to be back on the boat.  So we chilled, had a drink or two – and put stuff away.  The next day we started boatwork, and that’s what the next few days were:  boatwork.

Included in this boatwork was (for each engine) an engine oil change, a fuel filter change, a change in alternator belts, and changing impellers.  The impellers weren’t in great shape, despite having changed them less than 100 hours ago. The port side wasn’t too bad, but  when I pulled the hoses off the heat exchanger, pieces (evidently from the previous impeller) fell all over the engine room.  Starboard side only had a two blades left – check it out.  Interestingly enough, the blades of this impeller were nowhere to be found – hopefully they made their way out through the exhaust.

Not a pretty impeller...

Not a pretty impeller…

None of this work is difficult work, but really messy, dirty work that isn’t particularly enjoyable. I really hate oil changes in the boat – everything gets nasty.  And, per usual, I found some issues that needed remedying as I worked through the basic maintenance.  I needed a couple new bolts for my alternator, I needed to rewire some things, remedy some corrosion, and Luke did some general cleaning of the engine rooms.  Here’s Luke getting really dirty.

Luke getting dirty

Luke getting dirty

We were making progress – but it couldn’t be called fun.  We found a couple of things on the mast that needed remedying.  We reran a couple of the sail lines.  We epoxied some stuff.  A couple more 12V plugs were added.  Nothing too notable.
The wind picked up noticeably, and it has begun raining (just a tiny bit) daily.  That brings back some memories of the rainy season here – I hope it’s just a fluke.  It’s a little early for the rain-every-day part of the year.  We still need to climb the mast, finish some epoxy work, get the engine elbows back on, figure out the oil leak in my starboard engine, and do a host of smaller projects.  During the next trip to Panama City, I’m hoping to pick up a compression tester – I really want to know how well these engines are working.  Hopefully, though, when we get the exhaust elbows back we’ll have the “must do before Cartagena” problems solved.  A year into this, and I’ll be something close to a mechanic.  Maybe not a pro, but I’ve been charged money (and had money stolen) by people that do far worse work.

There have been several changes in schedule and plan, but we’re hoping to be out of here early next week. Mid part of next week would be fine too.  From here to San Blas, where we’ll try to stock up on fish and wait for a weather window to head to Cartagena.  In Cartagena I need to do some fairly major boat work.  Then put the boat up for a couple weeks.  Then a trip to Costa Rica for a wedding, and from there – well, who knows?

Very likely we’ll have an additional crew member for this little adventure.  It would be nice to split up watches and general onboard duties.  We’ll see. There’s also the Pacific Puddle Jumper Party at Shelter Bay Marina on Saturday.  That’s something worth visiting for a variety of reasons, but if we go – it’ll set us back a couple of days.  Having a schedule is such a bummer.  Rob and Laurie are going, so it’s even more tempting to visit said party.  After all, this will be a group of people who I’ll probably run into somewhere in the South Pacific, Australia, or Asia over the next couple years.

And I’ve heard my buddy, Ron Abuelo will be around that party.  So there’s that.

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