Working on the Boat in Ecuador
August 20, 2006
Since Emily left at the end of July, we have been working on boat projects - both repairs and new additions. It seems that we end up spending much of our time keeping the boat in working order and here in Ecuador it is at least cool enough that we can work in the afternoons. While Bill was off returning Emily to Oregon, Doreen hauled out the sewing machine and re-made some of the many shade cloths that we use here in the tropics to keep us from burning up in the strong sunlight. Only Sunbrella and related fabrics last more that a few years in the tropics. When Bill returned, his first project was to replace the head on the Kubota engine that runs a 100 amp alternator to keep our batteries charged up. It took him a few days to recover from his quick trip to Oregon, from a 2-day stop in Panama City to pick up the engine head and from being bumped from his flight to Guayaquil from Panama. By the end of his first week back home he had the Kubota up and running. It still takes a bit of cranking to start but it runs well and it does start! While Bill was working in the engine room I took advantage of the dry weather here and re-bedded our chain plates - it has been 10 years since I last did this project.
This last week Bill worked on getting the new cockpit shower installed. He brought the shower south with him - ordered from the West Marine catalogue as a shower for installation in a cockpit or on a swim-step. The shower itself seems to be good but its case (whatever you want to call the plastic that the valve and head fit into) was weak plastic and had several large holes making it unsuitable for installation into the wall of the cockpit or anywhere where it could allow water into the boat. Bill spent much of the week strengthening the case up with discs of wood, resin and epoxy. He also filled in the big holes. Today while Soy Libre was painting their new dinghy - that Andy constructed out of plywood and epoxy in the last month - we stole a little paint to paint the inside of the case. We hope to get it at least in place in the cockpit wall tomorrow. It will be nice to finally have a shower onboard where we can rinse-off after salt water swims or just to clean up. We are placing it in the cockpit so that it can be used either in the cockpit, which we can enclose, or outside on the side deck. The shower that came on the boat (almost 20 years ago) in the forward head caused rain clouds to condense and to fall inside the boat whenever anyone used it! That shower was removed soon after the boat got to Oregon and we have made due with “sunshowers” on the foredeck. During the week, we also took some time to clean and add 5200 sealant to a leaky window frame.
Our dinghy cover, now two years old, was beginning to fall apart due to sun rot of the material. We took the bus into Porto Viejo, a two hour trip, and purchased material for a new cover. I then took the sewing machine into Puerto Amistad where I could use the larger tables and plentiful electricity and fixed up a new cover for the dink.
It has not all been work. Last Saturday we took the ferry over to San Vincente and the bus to Canoa where we stopped in at Hotel Bucanero. There we met up with the folks from Otter (Randy and Gayle) and Fifth Season (David and Gail). We rode up to the top of a cliff with them and spent the day watching Gail and Randy practice para-sailing off of it.
Friday morning we all awoke to our boats being covered in ash from the Volcano that erupted near Baños a few days before.
Wednesday August 23, 2006
Several projects got finished this week. I now have a new stainless steel water faucet in the galley, the shower in the cockpit is installed and operational and the engines have new zincs. We have had light rain the last two nights. The rain cleaned off the volcanic ash fall from the rigging but left much of it on the deck after the first night. I took a mop and mopped up what I could. The second night’s rain rinsed off everything but it was still not enough rain to get the boat really clean - but it is a BIG improvement. Bill has also put lots of time into his FotoAlbum program and today has a new version ready for distribution on the Web. We have been spending Sundays at Puerto Amistad, with me using Bill’s FotoAlbum program and Bill fixing the bugs as I find them.
Sunday August 27, 2006
This is another Sunday - typing on computers ashore.
Thursday we raced our dinghy down to Sayonanda with Dave and Liz, Isla Encanto, to visit with Dave and Judy from Revenir. They are anchored off the resort that has several nice structures, lots of animals and pretty tropical gardens. We had a nice tour of the site and a lovely dessert on Revenir before returning home. The ride back was equally fast but quite wet, as the afternoon winds had arrived. Friday we went ashore for lunch and enjoyed wonderful, tender large steaks at Muelle Uno, a nearby restaurant, for less than $6 each. By the time we returned to Puerto Amistad, it’s bar was open and so we drank a few beers with our friends before returning home. Bill spent much of Saturday tracking down a RFI problem with the navigation set up and the ham radio. We think that he found the culprit and solved the problem - anyway the RFI noise into my radio is way down and my short transmit tests no longer confused the navigation software.
Yesterday the cantankerous Kubota refused to start again, so we used the main engine to charge the batteries. This morning Bill loosened a bolt affecting the timing and the engine started right up. We are hopeful that he has found the source of the starting problem and also hoping that the slightly looser bolt does not decide to loosen further as the engine runs.
This week we plan on heading out on another inland bus trip. Our hope is to get to Iquitos, Peru, on the Amazon River.
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