02/09/2013, Denver, etc.
Boy has my blood thinned. It's COLD here and due to get colder over the next couple of days. Highs of 32!!
Been driving around like mad getting things on the list. Thursday morning was waiting for the GE repairman to take a look at our dead frig. Compressor is gone. OK, let's get it fixed as a new one would be a whole lot more. Ceiling repairman was next. The new roof we had installed a couple of years ago has leaked(previous roof never did). I called the roofer several weeks ago to have the job scheduled so they couldn't tell me they had no time. He showed up and went to work. Had to stop at 1400 as the new plaster had to dry. Would be back on Friday morning. to finish it up. Then off on errands.
I have four pages of things in catagories-- buy([parts, etc), order(internet), food, and other stuff. Didn't get very far on Thursday but did get a throw away phone(wouldn't activate) and finally got my Virgin Mobile up and running for internet after spending 90 minutes on hold while getting Best Buy to help me out since they sold me the original dongle 15 months ago. Got home about 2000. Long day.
Friday was ceiling man back. Left him to do the job while I headed for the doctor for blood tests before my appointment on Monday. Then over to walmart to get the phone fixed. Off to Apple for service work and updates. They had to keep one computer to get it fixed and the second to install a new operating system so the two can talk to each other. Off to Tokyo Joes for lunch. Nice spicy curry--YUM!!! Down to West Marine, back to Office Depot, Home Depot, REI(new head lamps that are water proof) and back to Apple to get one computer. Back to walmart for more things on the list and then to Wood workers supply for a hinge I need to fix the nav station lid. No luck so off to Rockler on Saturday.
Picked up some Qdoba chips and queso for dinner and off to the house. Got there only to find that now the Virgin Dongle won't work on the computer. Headed back to Best Buy but finally figured out it may be the computer and not the dongle. Made another appointment at Apple for 1800 Saturday(today)to see if we can get this fixed.
Now at McD's for breakfast since they have internet and I need it.
More to come of me running around like a chicken with his head cup off. Surprised me that driving a car came back like I'd never been away. All the pent up rage of civilization behind the wheel came back just fine so I know I'm fitting in fine with the other drivers around me.
02/06/2013, Pohnpei, FSM
Bill has been flying for about 22 1/2 hours and should be in Denver by now. He's exhausted, so hopefully he get some well deserved sleep.
The tsunami was thankfully a non event here. We we under a warning, then downgraded to a watch, then thankfully it was cancelled. I just kept thinking, "great, no engine, no steering, how am I going to get this old girl out of the marina and at anchor. So I'm glad it pooped out before getting here.
Our boat trip to Nan Madol a couple of days ago was great fun. We'll be back by car so we can explore more. When the internet gets stronger, pictures will be posted.
Lots of cleaning and other projects are being completed while Bill is gone. He'll be really busy ordering and shipping things back to Zephyr, his list is pretty long.
Anyway, all is well here in Pohnpei. I'm even finding time to stitch. I haven't done that in a long time.
02/03/2013, Kolonia, Pohnpei, FSM
Well, we've checked off more jobs on our list and even took a morning and went in search of Mantas.
As for the jobs, well, they included hauling out all the anchor chain for a "cleaning". It's been a while since we had it all out and we were well overdue. Lots of rust on just about every link. Kumer(owns the marina) had two of his men come down in a big truck and drag the worst parts all over the coral road and parking lots for about a half hour. This took off most of the rust. After a good washing, Mother Nature style, we made up a concoction of 3 parts diesel fuel to 1 part dirty oil off another cruisers boat and slowly dunked the chain in it as we piled it into Puff(our dinghy). Getting it off the boat was fun as the stern faces the dock so we had to take out a bit of the chain then walk it back along the side and I then handed it to Tracy as she stood on the dock. With us having over 300 feet of chain, it took quite a while just to get it off the boat. With all the dragging, I had to redo our anchor chain markers. I sew on a strip of 1/2" nylon every 30 feet. One strip for 30, two for 60 and so on to the end of the chain. Most of what I sewed on 4 years ago was still there till the dragging. Once dunked, Tracy rowed Puff to the bow where I tied a line from the end of the chain. I used the windlass at our bow to slowly pull the chain back on board, about 10 feet at a time. I had to stop as the chain needed to be pulled by a boat hook to the bottom of the locker(about 4 feet) so it would stack properly. Tracy meanwhile had to run a cloth down the chain as I brought it on board to take off the extra mixture and unkink the chain as it needed to come on board with all the links in a straight row. Before all this though, I crawled into the anchor locker(boy was it dirty) and made sure all the nuts on the bolts that hold the forestay to the boat were nice and tight(they were). Needless to say, I wore some of my oldest clothes.
Another project we took on was to clean out our fresh water tanks. While staying in Fiji with all their rains, we pumped in some dirt when the flooding overran the water purification plants. While on passage, we would be pumping orange water out through the faucets on board. We never got sick from it, but since we hadn't put water on board since we were in American Samoa two months ago, it was the perfect time since the tanks were just about empty. Off came the inspection lids on our four tanks and in we went. We pumped out what water was left and then cleaned the residue off the sides and bottom. Not a hard task but one that definitely needed to be done. We now have nice full tanks with beautifully clean water. This marina has the highest water pressure of any place I've been to.
We've done more jobs but it would be boring to go through all of them so I'll stop here with them. Last week, 11 of us climbed into one of the locals small power boats and took off with our snorkel gear to see the Mantas just off the island. Glad we had a local at the motor as her drove the boat through areas that were full of reefs. Sometimes fast and other times with the end of the motor partway out of the water since it was so shallow. We left about 0730 as getting about required the position of the tide at the time to make it through some of the really shallow spots. It took about 45 minutes to get there where we all put on our snorkel gear and went into the water. Guess what, NO Mantas. They had chosen that day to not show up but we had a great time back in the water over a shallow reef we could snorkel over. At a cost of just $10.00US each, it was a great deal. Most boaters charge much more for the same trip.
More parts have arrived and our mechanic has already rebuilt our hydraulic steering pump so that's one thing off the list. We ordered 4 new motor mounts to replace the ones on Zephyr since they were looking old. As for the majority of our engine parts, well I phoned in the order 10 days ago and from what I can find out, they have still not shipped. Apparently, the office manager(also wife of owner) took off and left him deleting many of the emails as well as credit card numbers. We found that out Wednesday and from what I can find out, our order is still at their warehouse. At this rate, I could be back here before the parts show up. Guess we will just have to see.
In the meantime, as I started this post, the jobs just keep getting ticked off the list so that's just fine. We've already mailed 6 boxes back home and have more to go. All of the charts we have on board for places we don't expect to be back to soon(or ever) will be out of here tomorrow.
If we had to be stuck in any place with an engine having to be rebuilt, here is the place I'd pick to be. Nice people. Good food and lots of provisions available. USPS to have parts shipped in and a very good Ace Hardware store for the things we will need to bet Zephyr up and running again.
Stay tuned, this adventure is just getting underway.
01/25/2013, Kolonia, Pohnpei, FSM
Yesterday was a day of rain. It started during the night and continued throughout the day. Lots and lots of rain. The coral lot that makes up the marina has large expensive sections of standing water. We did at least find that the leak we had above the chest in the back stateroom had finally stopped leaking. We'd patched enough the holes that we were water tight(at least there). I took some time, now that we knew that the leakage had stopped, putting the ceiling panel back up. We still haven't patched the leaks on the stern but all in good time.
Peter(our mechanic) came by between down pours and went over the "shiny bits" of the engine. He stressed the importance that they were cleaned and lubed and sealed in plastic to keep air(and rust) off them. So our came lots of the "shiny bits", rages, fine grit sandpaper and metal brushes and in we went. Pistons were inspected and re scrapped. The huge crankshaft was brought from the forward head(bathroom) and gone over with a fine tooth comb. That's Tracy in the picture going at it hot and heavy. We took lots of "Press and Seal" and wrapped and wrapped and wrapped it till it was as well sealed as we could. That baby is big, heavy and expensive to try and replace(heaven forbid). Just to the left as you look at the picture are our four pistons, each individually wrapped. All are now stowed in the forward head till the parts show up. I finalized that order on Thursday morning(your Wednesday morning) so they should be on their way soon.
Between downpours, I called a taxi and headed for the post office to see if our Fed Ex box had arrived. I got there at 1535 to find that two boxes were waiting for me. BUT--Customs had closed at 1530. I'd have to come back tomorrow(today). Rats! At least we knew that one of the boxes was our mail that has been getting collected over the last 9+ months in Florida. It had left back on the 15th and promptly disappeared. Only the very first ship out was posted on the "delivery confirmation"tracking number. Once it left Jacksonville, Florida, it was gone. Nice to know were it was finally. The package coming Fed Ex wasn't there yet but was in Customs at the airport. OK, we can head into town and pick them up on Friday(your Thursday).
In we went this morning only to find the the Fed Ex box was still at the airport in Customs. We did get all out mail from Florida as well as a box containing the parts we need to rebuild the hydraulic pump for our steering that failed just as we took out the engine. We stopped at "Angies" for lunch on the way back(getting a ride from Antonia, Kumer's wife). I had two pieces of chicken with fries while Tracy had one of their "Angie Burgers". She pronounced it far better than the last one she had at Arnold's. My chicken was just fine and the fries were all hand cut potatoes, not the mass produced kind. Still a bit soggy but tasty. We hiked down the the same bakery that we got the cake from last week to tell them what a great cake they made and order some hot dog buns. They don't normally carry them but will bake up a batch for just 35 cents a piece. We then hiked back to the marina stopping at all the little grocery stores along the way. We provisioned so well in Fiji and American Samoa that we haven't really bought much in the way of food since we got here. Mainly fruits and veggies is all we've gotten.
Tomorrow, we will start in on our water tanks. Some where we picked up some dirt and it's been sitting on the bottom of the tanks till we go out cruising and then the water that comes out of the taps is sort or a rusty yellow color. We though most of the water was out of the tanks so we opened two of the tanks today and found a good bit of water still in the tanks. We want them as empty as possible when we go in so we get all the dirt out and not just mix it in with what water is left. Should be a fun project.
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!