THe Hits Just Keep Coming!!!!!!
20 May 2009 | San Cristobel, Galapagos
Yesterday morning I woke up early, got dressed and was about to wake Ben. We had plans to take the two hour ferry into Santa Cruz. O heard me rustling around, opened his eyes and told me that he had been up all night, one of our diaphragms from the saildrive was shot, we would need to replace it and had to be hauled out of the water to do it. I was, to say the least stunned.
There are no boatyards in the Galapagos, as you can imagine. The Galapagos is the very antithesis of a boatyard!!! Boats are only allowed to stay here twenty days and they are not allowed to move once they have arrived. They enforce the policies and take them VERY SERIOUSLY! Needless to say, this represents a major problem because mainland Ecuador is a good four day sail goinig against the weather and that is the closest point of land which, naturally, DO NOT have the facilities to haul us out.
Let me backtrack and explain the problem in laymen (Gram and mom) terms:
We have saildrives which are connected to the engine and work as our propulsion. They are similar to the lower unit of an outboard. There is a huge hole in the boat around the shaft where these things come out. To protect us from water intrusion there are two steel plates which have rubber diagraphragms around them further protecting us. One of these rubber pieces is shot which means we have only one thin piece of rubber protecting us from the ocean. If it was compromised, the boat would fill with water. This is not a chance you want to take when staring down the barrel of a 3,000 mile passage. Maybe some would chance it, but we will not. If anything were to happen, god forbid, we would never forgive ourselves. Also, our biggest question is why did this happen so suddenly? What is the one we can not see like?
So, after doing some research and talking to our agent here we found out that there is a place on Santa Cruz where the locals beach their boats to work on them. This is what we are going to have to do. We are going to beach Indy, have a Yanmar mechanic quickly do the work and have her back in for high tide.....hopefully. Thankfully there are two Yanmar machanics (what ever that is worth) on the island. O thinks he can do the work himself and I am sure he can, but I think at this point we need a professional just to ensure that all is ok with everything else. I am grateful that O will be there to oversee.
Getting all of the information together proved very frustrating for O. First problem was the language barrier. O speaks basic spanish pretty well now but is at a loss when it comes to mechanical terms and concepts. If it was a cold beer he needed he could get it done in 7 languages! I have no idea what any of this means to try to explain so I can't. Honestly, this is pretty serious stuff and I do not want my interpretaion screwing anything up...so diffusion of responsibility on my part for sure. So O was making calls to mechanics in the States to try to pick their brains but nobody would return his call or give him a definitive answer. They were not very forthcoming with info if there was no gain for them. Thankfully, we(I) remembered our friend Cabot!!!! He and his wife Heidi were friends we made while cruising Colombia and San Blas, they are on Chewink, I wrote about them previously. They had put their boat up on the hard in Panama and fgone home to Maine for the summer. O called Cabot out of the blue at the ship yard (remember he owns Lyman Morse in Maine) and he made us a priority. Otis was able to speak with his head mechanic who then made a number of calls double checking the information he gave us. Cabot and his team really were a saviour. Several sources had incorrectly assured Otis we could do the repairs while in the water. As it turns out, you can't without opening up a 24 inch hole in the boat! Thankfully Cabot took the time to call his yanmar sources and double check all info. To say we are grateful to Cabot would be an understatement. He really did save us and we could not have made an educated, knowledgeable decision with out his help. I cannot say enough about their generosity and friendship. I hope someday to repay them in kind.
I am very nervous about beaching Indy. I know that this is what they were designed for but it worries me. I have had two sleepless nights since finding out about the problem. I know I shouldn;t worry about the what if's but that is easier said than done. We are now in the process of getting a permit(for an additional $200 dollars) to bring the boat to Santa Cruz to beach.
I had thought my Galapagos blog would wax poetic about the beauty of this ecological treasure but this is problem has overshadowed everything. Please, please, please let this go well.
Yes, I know, thank god O caught this. Yes, we are all healthy but I do wish I could flash forward through this little "adventure". Cabot told O we should look at this as just another adventure. Yeah, I suppose he is right, but I am starting to think that I am all full in the adventure department.
I think I forgot to mention that every boat we have ever had words with is here?? There are three and funny enough, purely by coincidence...or is it....they are all french. One was the oil dumpers from Venezuela remember they dumped their oil that leached into our newly polished hull??, the second was the guy who tried to sneak up and steal our spot in the anchorage while we were resetting our anchor ( I called him the "Scourge of the Sea"), and the third tried to hijack my taxi, which i had hired for the day, when I was rushing around Panama tryng to tie up loose ends the day we were going through the canal. They insisted I take them to the Free Zone because they had heard I was going there from a friend of theirs. I said no and they stalked me all afternoon like cammandos!
On the bright side, our friends on Uliad are here and have been very supportive. They are leaving on Saturday to begin their journey. I suppose the upside of all of this is that I now don't look at twenty some days at sea with such distaste.
This little problem has prematurely aged me by 5-7 years....it's a good thing I am still searching for that fountain of youth!!!! So, I guess I have two ages..real age and cruising with kids age......