Learning Something Every Day
05 July 2007 | Rimouski, Quebec
Learning Something Everyday - July 5, 2007
We've had a highly successful stay in Rimouski - for a couple of reasons.
Our engine has been sounding a little odd the last couple of days - one of those changes that we notice but keep wondering if it really is different or if we are just imagining it. Then a lot more smoke started coming out of the exhaust, and then on the way across the river from Tadoussac, the alarm started sounding.
Jim has been checking all the fluid levels everyday and we had recently cleaned out the water intake filter; there was always water being pumped out from the stern when the engine was on, and apart from burning more oil than we used to, there didn't seem to be anything we could pinpoint as the culprit. Our Yanmar 4JHE has been a real workhorse engine and we were not looking forward to having to do any major work on it.
We made it across the river without mishap, keeping the revs down to below 2000 and continually adjusting our sails to take advantage of every wisp of wind. Strathspey kindly reduced speed as well to be nearby in case of trouble. Jim radioed ahead to the marina to request the services of a mechanic, and we all agreed to stay two nights in Rimouski because the weather didn't look ideal for travelling onward anyway.
Jim met with Fabien Levesque the next morning and paid careful attention to his step-by-step analysis. M Levesque follows the practice that most good problem solvers use - start with the simple things and go on from there, and in fairly short order he discovered that the water intake hose for the cooling system was partially plugged with vegetation. We've been through a few areas of "floaty stuff" on the water in the last while. So - now we know to check not only the filter, but also the hose connecting it with the thru-hull and the thru-hull itself. His technique was interesting. He disconnected the hose at the filter and blew hard into it thereby getting a mouthful of stale, salty water. Jim says he will arrange to be elsewhere when one of us needs to do that job!
What a very good thing to learn about this early in the trip! It's a good news story - engine fixed, no lasting damage, new information learned, and a diesel mechanic to recommend to anyone traveling through Rimouski. As a little extra bonus, M Levesque declared Madcap's engine to be in fine shape.
In the afternoon we were lucky recipients of some very fine hospitality. Odette, who learned from Mary that we were heading for the grocery store, offered to drive us all there and back. The supermarket is not all that far from the marina, but it was just wonderful to get whatever I needed without pondering about whether it would be too heavy to carry. Odette added the bonus of door to door service for the guys to go to Canadian Tire, a stop at the most wonderful Poissonerie Gagnon where we purchased very fresh Fletan - known to us as halibut - some pickled turbot (a bit like our familiar Solomon Gundy) and incredibly tasty smoked trout.
With the shopping done, Odette moved into tour guide mode and drove us out to see the old lighthouse at Port-au-Pere, the picturesque village of Saint Luce, her friend Mike's delightful house with its water view, and a beautiful little art shop with local weaving, unique jewelry, and lovely nautical paintings created by the owner.
In the evening, after dining on fresh halibut, grilled to perfection by Jim on our little BBQ, we walked along the seawall, reflecting on the exceptionally kind people we have met here, and on our good fortune in being able to continue on our journey of discovery.
This morning (July 6th) it's foggy with no wind so we are staying put for another day.