Monday, February 20, 2012

Repairs on Ruyam II

We did some shopping, and realized that it was almost 4:00 pm, time to go back to the boat, which was half an hour away. When we came close, we saw that our boat was right next to another, and the owner of that one had his fenders on, and boat hook in hand, trying to fend off Ruyam II. Of course, we sped down; Al barely tied the dinghy and started the engines. We anchored again, a bit away from that boat, but too close (with my standards) to another two at the back. Al told me to monitor the anchor, and off he went to talk to the owner, our insurance policy in his hand, since he thought he heard during the initial discussion from one boat to the other, that Ruyam II had hit the other boat four times.

I sat at the front, from where I could see them talking aboard his boat, but I did not want to stare, so went to the aft, where I could monitor the boats at the back. After a good half hour or more, Al came back. I was furious that he left me alone at a time like that, without checking how the anchor was doing. He claimed to have checked from there, and enthusiastically related what they had discussed, the manner of which had looked quite jovial to me when I looked. No harm done to either of the boats, just four hours of aggravation for the poor man. Apparently the owner (Sylvain) a Quebecois, was a mechanic living temporarily in St Martin doing some odd jobs and private charters for people, and was willing to check our problems on the boat.

We were wrong about the source of the major leak into the bilge. About a week before, while we were at Great Harbour, Peter Island, Al woke up in the middle of the night, and decried that we must be losing our fresh water. In the stillness of the night, we had been listening to the periodical and almost simultaneous start-ups of the two pumps, the bilge pump trying to drain, and the water pressure pump filling in the pressure after the loss of water. Al said that he had tasted the water, while trying to completely drain the bilge; and it was not salty. It made full sense, and first thing we did was turn off the water pressure pump. The activity at the bilge automatically stopped. Al then checked all the piping between the water tanks at the fore and the bathrooms and kitchen, and realized that the leak might be from the hot water tank at the stern.

Well, Sylvain and his daughter came the next afternoon to check out the tank, and the loose cleats that Al had been thinking of getting repaired. I entertained his daughter, while sitting at the fore, under the shade of the tent that Al had designed for me. She is a seventeen year old girl from Sherbrook, QC, working after high school for one year, waiting to start CEGEP in the fall, so she was visiting her father for a few weeks in the meantime.

Sylvain found out that the leak was from the gasket of the hot water heating element, and told Al to buy it from Island Water World, which he did. Anchor can wait a couple of days, but Sylvain also offered to help install the anchor, and gave Al tips on how to repair whatever is left. All well and dandy, but we do not know how much we will be paying him, since he does not answer that question. He seems to be a very nice man. I am glad that Ruyam II was smart enough to find her savior all by herself.

After three days of checking, disassembling the hot water tank, buying parts, and re-assembling, creating gaskets by cutting from an old rubber flippers etc., Al’s obsession with draining the bilge is over. Thank God, our fresh water will not be lost to the sea anymore! And Al was accusing me of using too much water.

The hardest part of the ordeal was buying the parts from the chandlery which was half an hour away by dinghy. Marigot, where we are anchored, is just a small village, catering mostly to the cruise passengers. All the marinas and their support industry are operated by the Dutch in the Simpson Lagoon. Al had to go the way every day, sometimes more than once. Of course he always drags me along, but once I got to stay aboard, since Sylvain was tinkering with the tank. Anyway, after a lot of chatter and laughs, Sylvain finished the work, and asked for a mere $100.00 dollars for all his effort, which was considerable.

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