25 July 2007 | Canouan
We still had some disturbed weather rolling by associated with a tropical wave in the area this morning. The Kelp Fiction and the Swingin' on a Star crews were both eager to get over to the Tobago Cays so we made plans to head over to Mayreau around noon. Six miles to the southeast it was a short hop.
Hideko and I were going to go ashore in the morning to walk around Canouan a little bit until the weekly tragedy struck. As I lowered Little Star's Yamaha outboard into the water I heard a metallic "plink!" The bracket that braces the drive shaft to the drive leg just popped off. I saw an aluminum plate sinking into the 12 foot water as I scrambled over the rail with a futile sweep of my clutching fingers. The two rubber bushings and the other plate were still precariously attached to the drive leg by surface tension. I quickly collected these parts before they came loose and then cried in my pretzels for a few minutes.
Upon examination the clap assembly was held together with two 10mm bolts. Somehow, within the span of 9 months of what I would call normal use, the bolts backed completely out and fell away. I must admit that I don't go over the outboard with a fine tooth comb very often (ok, at all), but shouldn't structural members sort of stay attached to the engine? I am always amazed at the unending list of things marine product manufacturers expect you to do on a regular basis.
There was nothing for it. I got out the mask and fins and started to dive in the general vicinity looking for the bracket (a hand sized, dark grey part on white sand with dark grey rocks, not easy) and the bolts (pinky finger sized, dark grey on white sand with dark grey rocks, futile). I found the bracket, with some shock, and set about looking for suitable bolts in the spares bin. Nothin'.
Just when we thought we were outboard-less, Fred came by. Apparently, Kelp Fiction is a floating chandlery. Fred motored off with the bracket and came back shortly with the exact bolts we needed. I couldn't believe it. We would have had to wait until Grenada to find the same bolts at a store. We put the Yamaha bracket back on and got ready to follow Kelp Fiction over to Mayreau.
I heard thunder rolling off in the distance now and again as we prepped for the short sail. My instincts said no go. We went anyway. Half way across the channel a squall with a very unpleasant attitude swept in. I could sort of see it hustling onto the scene but thought to out maneuver it. Nope. Squalls 3, Captain 0.
It was blowing around 35 knots but the real problem was the lack of visibility. I refuse to drive by GPS and electronic charts alone. That would have been the only was to make it through the various rocks and reefs around Mayreau and the Tobago Cays in the conditions extant. Unfortunately the most current surveys in these parts were typically completed in the early nineteen hundreds. So back we went to Canuan. The 180 degree tack put the helm on the weather side of things. I quickly changed into a 3mm shorty wet suit. This keeps my cloths out of the weather and keeps me perfectly warm in the cool rain. In longer term weather or colder climes I would go for the foul weather gear, but it just never gets that cold around here and a cool shower is often welcome.
We picked up a mooring close to our previous anchoring spot. An opportunist local spear fisher swam to whichever mooring we steered for so I gave up trying to avoid him and let him help with the lines. I said thank you, and he said, "give me something". He was a nice guy and didn't ask for anything in particular, yet still his methods perturbed me a little bit. I gave him $5 US and told him to buy a dive flag so that no one runs him down in the future.
As it rained outside, part II of the Star Trek marathon got underway.