01/20/2013, Kolonia, Pohnpei, FSM
Let's get caught up again.
By Friday afternoon, the engine was totally dismantled and parts were all over the inside of Zephyr. Floors, bunks and even the top of the dining table we knee deep in parts and screw and bolts. We were anything but a nice and tidy boat and no matter how much we tidy things up, there is just no place to store all the parts from the engine. We piled many of the parts on the forward berth on the port(left) side. With all that weight, we now list nicely since what had been in the center of the boat is now on one side. Oh well.
Saturday, we scheduled the "Thank You" party to thank all the wonderful people that helped us get into Pohnpei. Tom and Janis off on Tomboy(old friends) were the first make the suggestion that we not go into Kosrae as getting back out would be darn near impossible as the wind and swells were coming right in the narrow pass. Kolonia on Pohnpei was the place to go. Good harbor, a marina(small) and good mechanics. We changed course and headed there. Leslie and Phillip off Karina joined John Ranahan(rep for the Seven Seas Cruising Association) as well as John off Hawkeye all joined in with their dinghies and lines and pulled us in. Kumer Panuelos, who owns the marina, came out in his big boat and with one of our lines attached, towed us to the marina(for free no less!!!). All these people and more deserved our thanks. So we planned a party. When we got in to Kolonia, we found a place that sell barbecue chicken that tasted great, so we lined them up for 30 orders of chicken(we got some hot dogs too). We went to the local bakery and ordered a huge chocolate cake with chocolate frosting(came with cherries on top too). We ordered in a green salad, potato salad and deviled eggs. Beer and sodas were also on hand. Kumer offered to bring the drinks but we declined as this was a "Thank You" party for him. He finally talked us into letting him bringing the ice(owns an ice maker).
Other cruisers joined in as we opened it up to everyone in the anchorage and even invited Peter, our mechanic. He deserves a ton of thanks for getting the engine apart in just a few days of hard work.
Every one showed up about 1730 with Antonia Panuelos(Kumer's wife) showing up at 1700 loaded down with a huge cooler full of drinks and a separate cooler with just ice. She also brought a huge platter of freshly caught Mud Crabs. To say we were surprised is an understatement. What a spread of food!
I spent my time at the grill reheating the chicken and hot dogs as everyone dug into the food and drinks. Kumer came in from a day of fishing and brought in some fish to make sashimi. Antonia did the carving of the fish and with some onion and teriyaki sauce, it was another great addition to the party. Peter, our mechanic, brought in a dish of fresh tuna mixed with onion and garlic. Another tasty dish. A great gathering that went on till 2200 hours.
Sunday was a day of relaxing to recover from the party. We had a ton of left overs to store in the frig and around the boat. With engine parts all over the boat, there wasn't a lot of space for food(beer, water, and soda). We opened up cabinets and slowly fit it all away. While we still have lots of engine parts everywhere, the food was put away.
Today, I headed into Kolonia with Tom and Janis off Tomboy to hit some hardware stores around town. It's a holiday(Martin Luther Kings birthday) and I have a feeling that not a lot of people even know who he was, but the banks and post offices are closed. Our mechanic didn't show up today to start the cleaning and scraping of the dirty parts but that's ok, a day off is fine by me.
The photo at the top is of the fruit basket that Antonia brought down a couple of days ago. Quite a nice collection of fruits.
01/17/2013, Kolonia, Pohnpei, FSM
Well the engine is out and all dismantled. The final two pistons came out this morning. Peter had used a hone on the cylinders between the pistons and the top of the bore and then we topped off the pistons with a lubricant for the night so it would have a chance seep down the sides of the pistons and make it easier to get out. Worked like a charm and the final two came right out. It helped that Peter used a long heavy bronze rod to pound the bottom pistons to get them out. So now we have a nice block sitting on 2X4's in the engine room waiting for the parts that I will be ordering tomorrow morning. While the list isn't there is quite a bit to come in. Now it's a waiting game. It's a blessing to have the USPS to get it here.
Getting things to the US is hard. The injectors I sent a week ago have for all intents and purposes disappeared. They(the USPS) don't scan anything they send out. It goes in a ledger book. Nothing gets scanned till it reaches Hawaii. I mailed a snatch block this morning back to Massachusetts. It "should" ship out on Monday but since United Airlines(the export carrier) has no contract with the USPS, the shipment box could get bumped off the plan if too many people show up. That's(from what the local Post Master told me)is what happened to my box. It left last Monday and vanished. Glad I insured it.
As of now, the four pistons are sitting in a plastic box at the back of the cockpit soaking in diesel fuel. It's supposed to loosen all the stuff(salt, carbon and soot) thats built up on them. Official cleaning will start on Monday. We have scrapers and brushes and sand paper all set for the job. Once cleaned, everything will be sprayed with WD40 or something like that to stop the rust and then it will get wrapped in plastic to stop any more rust from attacking it. Stage one is now done. Poor Zephyr looks like a bomb has gone off inside with engine parts and bowls and bags of screws, nuts and bolts all over the place. If we are lucky, we'll have it all back together by the end of February. Our FSM cruising permit expires on March 9th but we can get it extended with no problem.
Our "Thank You" party is set for tomorrow evening with everyone that helped get us into the marina going to be there. We invited others that we've met while cruising. Tom and Janis off Tomboy will be there. For those of you that have been following our posts for a while, Janis is the pet vet that treated Blue when she fell overboard at Vuda Point Marina and nearly ripped out a couple of her claws. She used acupuncture on Blue to calm he down as Janis said she was a mad little cat. With the needles strategically placed, she mellowed right out. They just came in from Kosrae about 320 miles southeast of here. It will be great to see them again. Should be a good party.
Stay tuned. There is more coming--cleaning engine parts!
01/15/2013, Kolonia, Pohnpei, FSM
Well, it just keeps on coming. While dismantling the engine, we found that the gear that drives the raw water pump was not rotating on center. The bearings appear to be going. New bearing will need to be ordered. A blessing I guess as it's better to fix it now than have it brake later when we are out some where and drop off and fall into the crankcase.
Now that we are ready to lift the engine, we found no real way to do it other than taking out the cockpit floor. So yesterday, we started in on removing everything that is connected to it in above the engine and then trying to get the 15 screws out that hold it to the boat. Three were tight enough that it required putting a set of vice grip pliers to the sides of the screw and getting them out that way. All three had at sometime broken down inside the deck. Peter(our mechanic) sat in the engine room slowing sawing with a hack saw through the seal that holds the floor to the deck. Then in goes a pry bar to make sure it is loose. By late afternoon, it was loose. While doing this, we suddenly heard a gurgling noise and found that the hydraulic pump that steers the boat had it's seals blowout and start leaking fluid down on the engine. Buckets came out and we cleaned up another mess. Now seals and bearing will need to be ordered to fix that. Gee, it just keeps getting better doesn't it?!?!
We have the cockpit floor all set to go or at least what may enable us to get the engine up but I have concerns that we may need to remove it entirely instead of just lifting it to slide in 2 X 4s to brace the lift mechanism. It may need to be totally taken out so the braces can sit on the seats of the cockpit instead of the edge surrounding the hole. Which ever, we hope that Mother Nature cuts us some slack and hold off on the rain. We can enclose the entire cockpit if necessary. at least the floor can be put back in after the engine gets lifted and supported by 2 X 4s in the engine room. Once it's lifted, we will need to turn it on it's side so we can get at the bottom to take off the crankcase cover and get at the crankcase.
So stay tuned. I'll let you know what happens today in the continuing saga of a boat called Zephyr.
01/14/2013, Kolonia, Pohnpei, FSM
Well today didn't work out as I had expected. I'd planned on going around the deck tightening all the screws and nuts and bolts. Instead, I spent it tearing down a frozen engine.
I sprayed more WD40 into each of the cylinders and started to hand crank the engine. No go. It was frozen solid. I jumped up and down on the bar--still frozen. I put in a call to Peter, out mechanic and 45 minutes later he was on scene with a bigger bar to free up the engine. Nope, still frozen. So in we went stripping off every thing to get the cylinder head off. Once off, we could see the inside of the cylinders and they were a mess as you can see from the picture. So now the plan is to take everything off the outside of the engine and rotate it 90 degrees to get to the underside and pull off off the crankcase pan and inspect for more damage. By 1700, we had her just about stripped. Tomorrow, the rotation happens. I'll let you know what we find.
In for a penny, in for a pound!
01/13/2013, Kolonia, Pohnpei, FSM
Well, lets get everyone up to date. If you have been following our journey, you know that we arrived with out engine out of commission last Monday almost exactly two weeks after we left Futafuni in Tuvalu. We covered 1680 miles in that time plus we "hove too"(set up Zephyr so she would stop in the water) for 36 hours to get some rest as 30+ knot winds and 20+foot seas surrounded us. We slowed ours down so we could arrive on Monday. The government folks like that. Getting there on the weekend cost lots more as everyone is on overtime.
We arrived at the entrance through the reef at about 1300 and sailed through the pass. Just after we entered the bay, we dropped the sails as the wind was from a direction the made it impossible to continue sailing. We were immediately taken under tow by a boat run my Kumar, the man that owns the marina. He was joined by Phillip off Carina and John the local SSCA(Seven Seas Cruising Association) resident. As we neared the marina, three dinghies came out and got us positioned in the marina. Lots of tugging and towing to get us in just right. By 1430, we were in safe and sound. Before we were even tided up at the dock, Snowshoe(one of our cats) was on deck checking everything out. It was the first time we hadn't been heeling over and having strong winds cross over out deck. During the trip, we broke one batten in the mainsail and snapped the third reef line on the same sail. We'd sailed most of the way with at least one reef in the main and just the small forestaysail out in front. With continual winds in the high teens and seas continually at 12 to 18 feet, safety was our primary concern.
Monday night was strange. No wind, no noise coming from the straining floorboards and sails. No waves slapping the hull. Just strangely quiet. It was a different experience that what we had gone through for the last 14 days.
By Tuesday morning, we were hard at work trying to get our engine up and running. We'd taken a lot of water in through the exhaust pipe and it had eventually flooded out engine. Well, we tried everything we could and she still wouldn't start. By Wednesday, I'd hired a mechanic to try and get us up and running. We'd even recharged the start batteries all to no avail. By Wednesday afternoon, we ripped out all 4 of the injectors on our engine. They were covered in all kinds of slime and junk from when the water got up into the cylinders. Our mechanic took them in for testing and they failed miserably. It was time for either new or to have the existing injectors rebuilt. Thursday morning, I placed a few calls and found that the injectors we needed just just not available from the largest dealer of part from out engine. We did find a company that could rebuild our so on Friday afternoon, we dropped them off at the Post Office(USPS) for shipping back the the US. They don't go out till Monday. Planes only fly in there every so often.
OK, so repairs to the engine are now on hold. We just hope that the injectors being bad was the real reason the engine won't start. Guess we will find out when they get back. Meanwhile other projects need our attention. We rebuilt the water prop for our DuoGen. We've found that if you don't take it apart after a usage, the salt crystals will get into the gears and it will cease to function the next time we want to use it. We've had assorted leaks around the boat and Tracy went in search of several of them. She took apart part of the wall on the stern just above our bed and found it wet and most of the wood behind the wall rotted. Since it was raining, it was the perfect time to go in search of the drips we had been having. She took apart the ceiling in the stern head and found water coming though two different holes in the fiberglass above the ceiling panel. Today(Sunday) with the rain finally stopped, we set about mixing up some two part epoxy and filling the holes. Water outside is good. Water inside is bad and needs to be stopped. We'll let the chemicals we put on cure for a couple of days and then we will bring out the hoses and see if the new patches worked.
As to Kolonia(capital of Pohnpei), it's a nice town with lots of people that are interested in our story. Grocery stores(small and smaller) are all over the place. We even have a Wall Mart. No not your kind of Walmart, no, this is a North Pacific "Wall Mart". One of the bigger grocery stores but nothing to brag about. What has surprised me is that each store may carry the same thing(Best Food Mayo), each has a different price. No two stores are the same at pricing. A tube of Lays Stak Potato Crisps go from $2.10 to $2.90 depending on what shop you are in. A 30 ounce tub of Best Food Mayo can go for $8.95 to over $10.00.
There is a a big complex of Ace Hardware stores here. One sell hardware. One food and the third sell office supplies(pens, paper, calendars). It's three stores in one location.
Food ranges from the local "take a way"(take out)variety where you can get a box of three pieces of dark meat marinated chicken(no one sell white meat chicken here) and two "cokes"(not the "Real Thing") for $3.70. Cheapest lunch we have found in quite a while. These people know how to cook their chicken too. It tasted great and we have eaten there several times. We tried one of the "fast food" restaurants for something different. Tracy had a burger and a salad(not a great burger but a good salad) while I had Chicken stir fry which came with soup, salad, stir fry and rice of french fries. Mine came to $7.95. Tracys about the same. Cokes(the Real Thing) run about a dollar a can. More or less depending on where you shop.
Unlike other Pacific Islands, there is no mass transit busses to get around. Just a ton of taxis. A taxi will run you $1.00 per person and will take you just about anywhere you want to go, at least in or near Kolonia. You can have the store you are shopping in call one or just wait by the side of the road and one will be along in a couple of minutes.
As to checking in with the required government officialdom, it's takes a while. Health and EPA showed up by late Monday afternoon. They have to certify us a "healthy" or no one else can come on board. Once they were done, Quarantine showed up. They wanted to see our paperwork for our cats. Took a quick look and handed them back and then wanted a list of what foods we had on board. "Any fresh food? "How much?" In the end, they approved us and took off. I place a call to the Harbor Master who demanded that we be towed back to their docks for inspection. We told him we had no engine but since we could get towed to the marina, we could be towed back to his dock for inspection. Talk about power gone mad! We told him we would get back with him. Immigration came just after 1700 so we had to pay overtime for three people(only one did anything) but were happy to do so just to get it over.
We headed into town to visit the Harbor Master and get the problem taken care of. We met some very nice people at the office and copies were made of our paperwork and all was well. All we had left was Customs. We visited their office on Wednesday just after lunch and we advised they would be at Zephyr at 1500. Guess that was "Island time" as 1500 came and went as did the rest of the day. I hiked into town on Thursday to see when they would arrive and was told that they had decided not to bother and we were all check in. Suits me just fine. We were done!!! All checked in to FSM!
Project continue and will for quite some time. I've started ordering parts so they can get here byt the time the injectors come in. We made reservations for me to go back to Colorado next month to take care of a few things(drivers license expires, prescriptions,etc). I'm sure I'll be coming back with quite a bit of supplies and food just like I did last year in Fiji.
Now we're up to date. More projects to go. Stay tuned and I'll let you know what we did and our experiences on Pohnpei.
01/08/2013, Kolonia, Pohnpei
Well, for those that have been following our blog, we made it safely into Pohnpei(pronounced Ponapay) Monday afternoon almost exactly two weeks after leaving Funafuti in the Tuvalu Islands. We covered close to 1680 miles as close as we can figure as we had our chart plotter turned off to conserve our battery power several times.
We'd had problems with our engine getting water in the oil as we entered Funafuti and figured we had the problem fixed after changing the oil cooler and the raw water pump. We'd gone back and forth across the lagoon at the atoll several times all with no problem, but as soon as we left the atoll and headed for Kosrae in the FSM, the engine again decided to ceased functioning. We had more water in the oil. This time, clear up into the cylinder heads. A really bad thing to have happen. I reached out via our SSB radio and contacted Dave on Soggy Paws for help. He chatted with Jerry on Challenger and they came up with a plan on trying to get the engine started or at the very least, getting the water out of the cylinders and saving the engine from total failure. Without their help, I would have have little to no clew as to how to fix the problem. Our thanks go out to both of them. We pumped out all the water/oil--20 liters, and put in a mixture of 1 quart oil and 5 quarts of diesel fuel and then wedged pennies under the exhaust valves in the engine and hand cranking the engine and forcing the water out through the valves. Worked great though the ends of my thumbs still hurt from trying to push down on the valve springs to get the pennies in. We hand cranked it several times and got tons of water out of the engine that was trapped in the cylinder heads. Every day, we would go into the engine room and hand turn the engine to keep the oil/diesel fuel mixture going in the engine so the pistons in the cylinder heads wouldn't freeze. When we'd had the problem before, it appeared that the starter wasn't getting enough juice from the batteries. I'd checked and rechecked the connections I don't know how many times. I sent an email to the main company(American Diesel)that not only had made the engines in the past but is the largest supplier of replacement parts. We were half way to Pohnpei when he emailed back that we were getting water up through the exhaust pipes in the stern and it was flooding back into the engine. There was a design flaw in the exhaust system that the exhaust elbow wasn't high enough to keep the water out of the engine when we were constantly getting hit in the stern by all the waves as they passed us. I disconnected the exhaust and pumped out the muffler(full of water) and pumped what I could out of the rest of the exhaust hose. We shoved a plug into the exhaust hose and duct taped it closed. No more water was going to get into our engine. The damage was done.
Meanwhile, Mother Nature continued to have fun with us. While our weather forecaster was telling us we should expect 10-15 knot winds with gusts to 25, we were getting a steady 20 knot wind with gusts to 35 knots. The seas around us started out nice with a 1-2 meter swell rolling under Zephyrs hull. By the time we were half way to Pohnpei(new destination with more people to help) we were hitting 6 to 7 meters swells. The water towered over us as we hit the bottom between the swells or we were on an elevator ride that took us way above the surrounding seas. We were lucky that the wind(for the most part) was either 90 degrees to our right or 120 degrees off out right. It allowed us to zoom along at anywhere from 5 knots to 9 knots making our DuoGen(drags in the water behind the boat with a small propellor that revolves making electricity)work finally. We only had to run the Honda generator a couple of times and we had to tie it off from side to side and a third line lead to the cockpit. With a book shoved under one side to keep it leaning into the oncoming swells, it ran quite well when we needed her. Most times, the only electric running was the refrigerator which provided us with a daily treat of an ice cold Coke at lunchtime. It was one of the highlites of our day. Not quite to a slush but darn close most days. Oh, what a treat!!!
Day after day, it just kept on coming with her throwing in big squalls that were so forceful with the water came though the zippers that holds our canopy together. If there was any kind of hole, the rain found it. We hit one batch of storms that after getting pelted inside the cockpit, I retrieved my foul weather gear and covered up properly from head to ankle. My exposed feet were so soaked in water that they looked like raisins(yuck).
This ended up being one of our most challenging passages that we have ever made. Adding in the 788 miles from American Samoa to Tuvalu and we covered quite a distance. The best thing I can say about our passage is that I lost 25 pounds since we left American Samoa. If I go back and do it again, I might be down to where I want to be. Tracy also lost quite a bit of weight during the crossing. With breakfast being a couple of crackers with marmalade or jam on them or a granola bar with either water, Tang of hot tea. Lunch was probably Chicken or Tuna salad on coconut bread we bought in Funafuti or on tortilla chips with our ice cold(God bless our freezer)Cokes(one each). Dinner might be Tacos or one of the preprepared meals Tracy made before we left American Samoa that was sealed in a bag so it could be heated in hat water on the stove top. If the weather was too bad for cooking, it might have been Vienna Sausages right out of the can. By far, not the most healthy of foods, but when it difficult to sit let alone stand in the boat, you don't get choosy as to what you are going to eat. For a change, I drank a ton of water during the voyage. I drank and drank and then drank some more just to keep the fluids topped up in my body. I've never been a fan of water and cringe when ever I see some one shell out good money for bottled water when water out of the faucet is just fine. We make out own water on Zephyr when there isn't a source on the islands we visit, so for the most part, the water on board is safe to drink. This voyage, I was determined to drink water, water and more water rather than Tang or another flavored water. I think Tracy was quite surprised at my water intake. It got so that where ever I was, I had a bottle of water beside me.
As we approached Pohnpei, two fishing boats came out loaded with other cruisers so we could get towed into the harbor. We sailed through the pass in the coral reef and then dropped the sails and tossed out the tow line and were slowly brought back to the rear of the bay to the small marina. As we neared the marina, three dinghies came along side and one tied up to our starboard side and the other two acted as tug boats pushing us into the dock area. With lots of people on the docks, we tied off to a float off our bow and then our stern was tied off to the poles that hold the docks in place. We are far to big to tie off to the docks here. We were safe and sound for the for the first time in two weeks.
John Ranahan(rep for SSCA) had made calls to Immigration so that they would come to the docks and get us checked in. He thought that they would contact the Harbor Master, Customs, EPA, Quarantine, and Health. Apparently not as when I contacted the Harbor Masters office, they wanted Zephyr to be hauled back to their docks for inspection though they never come on board. They didn't care that we had no engine. We had failed to contact them as we neared the entrance to the harbor and they got into a snit about it. We simply said we would do what we could and hung up. Health was the first to visit us as with out their approval, no one else could come on board to inspect us. Next came Quarantine. They wanted a list of what food items we had on board and to look at the papers we have for our two cats. At 1710, along comes Immigration. Three people in a car now on overtime since it was past 1700. We'd been at the dock since 1400 but we were happy to pay just to get their approval. Now we had to pay($47.67US) for two hours of over time for each of the three people in the car even though only one person did the work with the papers. They were gone by 1730. I was out 90 minutes of their company. Since I only had three @20.00 bills they promised to bring the change back in the morning. It's now well into the afternoon as so far, no Immigration. Gee what a surprise. Today, we visited the office of the Harbor Master and got cleared in just fine giving them copies of our Crew List and Documentation papers. We still had Customs and the EPA. We'd visited Customs on the way into town and were advised that both of their officers were at the airport checking in passengers but would be at our boat about 1400 to clear us in. It's now 1745 and still no one has arrived. I figure they will show up after 1700 just to get the overtime money again. Guess we will see.
So there your have it. Another voyage under our belts with lots of things to get fixed on Zephyr. We expect to have the engine fixed by tomorrow. We changed out the oil/diesel yesterday and hand cranked it and then used the battery electric starter and she turned over great so by tomorrow we should be up and running. I did find a man who had some of the hose we need to solve the problem with the exhaust so we should have the entire problem taken care of in a could of days. The list is long for things that need repairing so I won't go into it now. After all, cruising is defined as fixing boats in exotic location and that is just what we will be doing(again)