Friday, January 7, 2011

Cruising is a social life....'s been busy here at South Side Marina, with boats in transit heading both south and north. Today we didn't do a whole heck of a lot but hang out, enjoy the sunshine and mild weather, while preparing for the cruisers' potluck dinner tonight. Ron and I did ridiculously small boat chores, from another morning bicycle ride to the IGA (for hamburger buns needed for the potluck dinner), to lubricating the bicycle gears, to replacing a lost silicone pad on the cockpit table leg, to adhering the fly-away parrot horn to my bike. 
How the parrot horn looks when new
The parrot horn repair is the one task I'm most happy to have completed, too! Horns in the islands, as you may or may not know, are essential! They are always used to say hello, sometimes used to flag down a friend or a ride, and only occasionally, used as a warning. The few main roads here are paved, with one is even a "dual carriageway" -- a divided two-lane highway -- that runs the length of the island. But many of the other side roads -- noted as "improved" on the maps -- are not paved. Basically, "improved" means the dense scrubby foliage has been scraped away down to the existing limestone beneath, and voila! It's now a road! Needless to say, the limestone surface of said "road" is often deeply rutted and pitted, with a light dusting of gravel and sand just to make it a slippery challenge in spots. Thus, my poor parrot horn has suffered, as the parrot would be flung right off its bell perch every so often whenever I'd hit a pothole or a stiff bump. (Which was often, of course!) I'd tried to fix it twice before by gluing the poor bird in place onto its handlebar mount  -- neither silicone caulk nor 4200 worked, just so you know -- but Ron managed to pull its base down over the existing ridge where it was sitting before. Now it's riding a bit lower on the handlebars, but hopefully the new placement will work to keep it from flying away!!  

My parrot, a bit battered from numerous falls onto rough limestone,
now sitting lower on the handlebar mount.
Other than that, we spent a bit of time trying to help some of our cruising neighbors whom we've met here at South Side Marina. Ron loaned out our drill and drill bits to one Australian fellow who needed to correct some repairs made to their boat's autopilot, and we spent some time making phones call in an effort to help out some Canadian friends as well.  Their sailboat was having engine trouble when they arrived, and after many futile attempts to diagnose and repair it (chasing down one false lead after another) the mechanic finally determined it's a faulty fuel injector pump. Unfortunately, it's a 21-year-old Yanmar engine that no one stocks parts for any more, and our friends were told it would be a 5-week wait until a new one could be shipped from Japan! 

Apparently, new pumps are extremely expensive (~$1800!) and it costs half the price to rebuild the units. Of course, everyone opts to rebuild rather than order a new one, but as a result, replacements are as scarce as hen's teeth to find! Nevertheless, in true cruiser fashion, several folks from other boats in the marina, Ron included, went to bat! We all contacted service folk back in different parts of the States to try to track down an old, overlooked spare that might be lurking on a shelf somewhere. So far, no success, but we're trying. Indeed, the cruising life is a social life, and it's reassuring to see how readily folks lend a hand when someone is in need!

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