Fixing up and meeting up
25 October 2007 | Solomons Island
We were certainly in luck when we made the decision to tie up in Solomons Island and get a professional to take a look at our starter. The idiosyncratic behavior of that necessary little gadget has been wearing on both our minds. Jim has poured over the manual and poked around behind the starter panel and all around the engine itself. I even dove down through the locker to brush off a corroded ground connection on a hard to reach place - all to no avail. The engine always started...but sometimes it took 4 or 5 twists of the key, along with curses or mantras depending on who was doing the twisting.
We checked the Waterway Guide and discovered that Zahniser's Yachting Centre had a Yanmar certified diesel mechanic on staff so that is where we booked a space. Imagine - Madcap on a dock twice in one week! This was a very professional place. Terry expertly took our lines, welcomed us to the facility and gave us a quick rundown of what was where. Within ten minutes - yes - 10 minutes, Jim Franklin, one of 5 licensed mechanics on staff, was on the boat and starting to figure out the problem. The short story of the fix up is that he installed a "solenoid assist" to give more power to the starter. Some of the Yanmar engines have this, but the older ones don't. The funny part of the short story is that once we had the engine starting well, it wouldn't stop! It turned out that the arm was stiff and not responsive, so he cleaned that all up got it working freely. In the process of all this fixing, Jim also gave Madcap Jim a great education. He now knows how to start, stop, forward and reverse the engine without using the controls in the cockpit, so if anything goes wrong in the cockpit panel, he can huddle over the engine and make things happen from there.
We had picked up a gadget called Algae X to polish the fuel in our system, and Jim F. installed that too. Another good piece of advice he gave us is to not ever use any fuel additives that do not say they are specifically for diesel engines. We had been told one time to use STP to clean the fuel, but this is a no-no.
On the recommendation of some local yachters, we trekked down the road to the CD Café for dinner. It is an easy walk and served delicious and innovative food with entrees in a variety of price ranges. We enjoyed conversation and wine with a local sailor, Emory, at the end of the evening - topping off a very satisfying day.
On Tuesday, while the Jims were finishing off the engine work, I borrowed a bicycle from the marina and set off to find the little village of "Lusby". My cousin, Russ, had told me there was such a place near Solomons Island, and sure enough - there it was. The Lusbys (originally from Lincolnshire, England) arrived in Nova Scotia in the 1700s with the Yorkshire settlers. I tried to find out if this was when the Maryland Lusbys arrived here, but I couldn't find out anything further back than the late 1800s.
I picked up groceries on the way back and I surely wish I had gotten someone to take my picture. One huge bag was in the basket on the bicycle, two more bags were dangling from the handlebars and the pack on my back was bursting at the seams. I must have looked quite a sight as I pedaled back to the marina - saying little prayers all the while that I wouldn't lose my balance and topple over! (I did that once in Wapoos on the way back from the winery - did damage to my pride and my knees but saved the wine)
We moved away from the dock to anchor out for the second night, and as we went exploring around the harbour to see where all the boats with the red maple leafs were from, we met up with a number of fellow cruisers from the great white north. My pencil was busy as I took notes on all the suggested anchorages and other choice bits of information that were so freely offered. We were delighted to share happy hour on Suncast with Barb and Bill from Toronto, and were joined there by Iain and Jan (Jocks Lodge). I met up with Colin and Patty (Island Song II) in the grocery store, and we stopped by Patience V, anchored next to us, to chat with Don and Heesook and their little son Christopher from Kingston ON. There are far more Canadian boats gathered here than we have seen so far and it is so much fun to get to know them. It feels like we are starting to build a community of friends - a mobile community that will ebb and flow just like the tides. The regular travelers have their favourite stops and are always willing to share their experience with the newbies. And we have developed a fair bit of experience ourselves by now that we are able to share with others.
We'll head out tomorrow morning on a long run south. We hope to be in the Norfolk area on Thursday night, to meet up with Strathspey and start the next stage of our journey - the ICW. It is still very warm here, but the wind is building and they are calling for some showers over the next couple of days. The rain is badly needed so we won't grumble about it.