02/17/2011, San Blas
Yesterday was a fun day. We got to go over to Just a Minute and watch them drive their boat onto the bank of the estuary. It all looked normal until the water was gone and the boat was settling into the sand. The tourists in pangas took pictures as they drove by. Since it is almost a full moon there are some big tidal swings. Tomorrow is the day of the Spring tide. That is the name of the two biggest tides of the month. During the full moon and the new moon when the sun and the moon are pulling together on the earth, the pull of the gravity affects the water levels the most. Here in San Blas the tide can move 3 to 4 feet in 6 hours. That is a whole lot of water moving in that amount of time. Jason and Amy have taken the hand held GPS out in the dingy and drifted with the current. They have measured the rate of flow to be about 4kts. Jason likes the fact that when he goes with the current he gets the dingy on plane a lot faster. We are in about 12 feet of water here in the estuary but we have 120 feet of chain out so we will stay in place. That may seem like a bit of over kill but in our present circumstance I do not want to move when we swing 180 degrees four times a day.
I took pictures of Just a Minute on the sand. They floated off of the beach and anchored near us last night just after dark. Here is their blog address so you can see the fun.
|Cruising Mexico 2011||
02/15/2011, a Valentine Love Story
It may not exactly be how most couples envision spending Valentine's Day but what better gift is there to say "I Love you" than a working transmission? Call me a hopeless romantic, but the smell of diesel engine grime to a cruiser can be substituted for the smell of sweet perfume if it means being able to actually move our 55 thousand pound boat again!
It was a little disturbing to take our fresh water hose into "The Cave" with me and rinse out the transmission with water. Something just didn't seem right about putting the hose in the dip stick, turning on the fresh water flow, and then seeing fresh water flowing from the drain plug, but it needed to be done to rinse out any salt deposits. The promising thing is that when I first drained off the sea water from the transmission the water looked crystal clear and not like a rust soup. The flash light inspection into the dip stick seemed to show clean metal surfaces even still with a sheen of oil. So as I prepare to fly to Miami in the morning for the 5 day Miami boat show, the transmission is soaking in oil with the hopes of no permanent damage. I'll let it soak in oil and then continue with the process when I get back, but I'll be installing a new transmission oil heat exchanger, which I did verify had failed resulting in this "fun project".
|Cruising Mexico 2011||
02/13/2011, don't mix in a Ships Transmission!
All has been going great here in our Mexican home of San Blas, Nayarit Mexico.....but this afternoon we had a little mechanical issue...which is a nice way to say it.
We have been comfortably anchored in the San Blas Estuary for about 40 Days now and we went to start our engine today just to warm it up and make sure everything was ok. The engine starter wouldn't even "click", which is what happens when the engine isn't in Neutral. So I dove down in the engine compartment to see if there was a problem with the transmission wiring relay that verifies the engine is in neutral via a contact switch. Right away, I noticed that the tranny looked "wet and rusty" not how it looked the last time I looked at it and checked the transmission fluid. I also noticed rust streaks coming from the transmission fluid dip stick. Well, when I pulled out the dip stick, sea water came flowing out of the transmission! It appears that the transmission fluid heat exchanger had developed a leak and the sea water used for cooling had completely replaced the transmission oil.
In the worst case scenario, I will simply (easy to say) pull out the transmission and take it in for a rebuild and then reinstall it.
If the thought of this kind of afternoon makes your stomach hurt, then you had better not cast off your dock lines because it doesn't matter if your boat is new or 34 years old, you will have these types of afternoon surprises. The key to a successful cruise is in how you deal with them. Do you get angry and spread your frustration to the crew and fellow cruisers or do you put the floor boards back in place and take a trip into town with your just arrived friends for what I think is the best taco cart in Mexico? Well our friends on SV Just a Minute were climbing onto our boat just as I pulled the transmission dipstick and saw the water spout. Since we haven't seen them in a little over a month, the only logical thing to do was to spend some time catching-up with them and then heading off to the taco cart with their dog Rudy pulling Patrick through the streets of San Blas.
So tomorrow I will suck the sea water out and refill with transmission fluid and then fire her up and repeat this process 3-4 times. I know that the transmission heat exchanger is dead but the hope is that the transmission can be saved. If not, the world doesn't come to a complete end because where better to be stuck for repairs than in our Mexican home town of San Blas.
|Cruising Mexico 2011||