Posted by: catamarantwooceans | November 15, 2015

M word – continued

29.10.15 – Thursday – At 1630 we started the engines to go out of the marina and sail through the night to San Blas. Surprise! No water coming out of the exhaust of the port engine. After a bit of research we found that Miki, after checking the salt water filter element, connected the filter in the wrong direction. That was easily corrected and we went out with a light northwesterly wind. Some rain-clouds played with the wind’s direction, making life difficult for the man on the watch but otherwise an uneventful passage.

30.10.15 – Friday – We anchored in Porvenir at 0800, had breakfast and went to the office of the Congress of Kuna Yala to pay the mandatory 20$ per person and 20 for the yacht. Formalities over, we started towards East Lemon cay but then reconsidered and sailed the extra 20 miles to Coco Bandero, where I was hoping to show Danny the local eagle ray show. The M curse was still with us; coming to anchor the windlass played dead. Taps with the plastic hammer revived it. What the M! Are those the brushes after all? RPM indicator on the starboard engine stopped working. Hoisting and lowering the mainsail became difficult – the second car from the top of the headboard got stuck inexplicably. But we were in Coco Bandero and had no reason to feel bad. We snorkeled, we bought lobsters for five bucks a piece, the eagle rays came for a visit – life was good! ( And I found the reason for the sail car misbehavior – the webbing connecting it to the sail was not the same size as the one above it. Replaced it worked fine).

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                                        The lobster man pic. Danny Lanis 

31.10.15 – Saturday – In anticipation of Gili’s coming the port head became blocked. I postponed the repair to the day’s destination of Kuanidup in the Los Grulos archipelago. We sailed there,  part of the time in heavy rain but as Danny said:”This is not a kind of rain that bothers you”. After an afternoon nap and an hour of snorkeling I started working on the head. Unpleasant is a big understatement for that job; enough said.

1/11/15 – Sunday – We pulled the anchor up manually and sailed slowly to Carti for a bit of shopping and then to the anchorage near Nonomulo island, which is near the terminal where all the taxis from  Panama City bring their passengers. We tried to find a shallow anchorage on account of our unserviceable windlass and almost hit a reef; Danny, on the lookout from the bow, was quick to shout at the top of his voice and I put both throttles back, stopped the boat and turned to safety. We later found a spot with 5 meters depth and dropped the anchor manually.

Over beers we discussed our options regarding the windlass situation. I suddenly had an idea; Beto, the driver bringing Gili to San Blas, comes here every day. He is a man whose service we used a few times and found him to be a nice and trustworthy man. Why not give him the windlass’s electrical motor and ask him to take it to a shop specializing in that field for repair? I was willing to pay him handsomely for the service. We took the windlass apart; we’ll see how it goes tomorrow.

2.11.15 – Monday – Beto brought Gili. Beto agreed to take windlass motor for repair and since the next three days were a holiday – he’ll try and arrange the repair to be done today. He asked how much I would pay him and I offered 50$ which I thought was quite generous; he seemed to have the same view. He texted the potential repairman and got an answer in French to the effect that they will try finishing it today. Beto seemed to speak a little French; when I asked him about it he produced a book he was reading – “La Longue Route” by Bernard Moitessier. This was really unexpected from a Kuna born taxi driver, showing that there was more than the eye initially saw in that man.


We agreed to meet the next day at 0730. The three of us motored happily to East Lemon Cays for the night. At 1700 Beto called to say that the windlass motor was repaired, stressing the necessity to meet at 0730.

3.11.15 – Tuesday – Danny and I  woke up at 0445 in order to be on time for my meeting with Beto. At 0700, wanting to put both throttles in reverse for anchoring, the port one just stuck in neutral. What the M! Another malfunction! We’ll deal with it when I come back from shore. Around 0720 my phone rang; it showed a number I did not recognize and when I answered it there was nobody at the other end. At 0730 I started pacing the disembarking area. Eight a.m. no Beto. Eight thirty – still not in. I tried to call a few times with no success. He showed up at 0900; no real explanation but I had the motor and that was just great. Beto said they replaced the brushes; so my first diagnosis was right after all. Danny and I started assembling the thing and one more maintenance item was crossed out on the long list.

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  We motored (no wind) to the West Holandes site that we love so much. Maneuvering to anchor the port throttle gave more trouble, which caused the flaring up of the skipper’s temper. But after a cool-down snorkeling and Margaritas, Danny, with me helping, managed to finally fix it.

Let’s hope this is the end of the maintenance avalanche; frankly – I’ve had enough!


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