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David and I talk about the fun to suck ratio. The USVI was a strong mix, heavier on the suck than we would like it to be. Here’s about our sucky time.
Wednesday morning (December 2nd) David and I were occupied with getting one of our air conditioning units repaired, so David dinghied to the yacht club nearby to pick up a Reefco mechanic and bring him back to SH in Christmas Cove. He determined there was a leak and he had to take the unit back to his shop and work on it. Hopefully it would be done by Friday. Well Friday rolls around and no, it’s not ready. So we packed up and took off for St. John, first to Cruz Bay for some provisioning and then off to Francis Bay.
On Monday, we got word that our air conditioning unit was ready to be picked up. We made plans to leave early the next morning and head over to the CYOA dock in Charlotte Amelie to have the unit installed.
Tuesday we started up our engines and made to leave our mooring, until we realized something was very wrong – we were missing a prop. David was driving, and he knew we’d lost the prop under our mooring. Unfortunately that was 50′ of murky water. Fortunately, we found an awesome diver, John from Wreck Life Dives. Later, just after sunset, they were able to perform a search and rescue operation to retrieve our Flexofold prop. We had all the parts except for the 2 bolts required for our Rope Strippers, but that meant we couldn’t get our parts on. We also had spares, our original fixed props from the factory install, but we realized that we are missing the spacer required for those. So, with only one prop we limped over to Charlotte Amelie on Wednesday morning.
Why did our prop fall off? Well, embarrassingly, we installed the prop ourselves back in Nanny Cay. Now, it was not our intent to have to take apart and reinstall our props, but because the anode wouldn’t fit on the prop, we had to take it apart and re assemble. We had concerns about our bolt being tight or loose. At one point we had tightened everything up and our prop was so tight, I couldn’t even get it to turn (weakling that I am). Also, it requires some specialized adhesive (like loc-tite, but not) to apply to the prop. Technically, Flexofold says you are supposed to send for bolts with the proper additive on instead of apply your own, which is just ridiculous. Who has time for that?
After a very embarrassing time trying to pick up a mooring on one motor, we finally did get tied up. The staff at CYOA helped us out with a few things we needed (including the special additive to put on the bolt). We also got the air conditioning unit back and installed thanks to Reefco. We debated about installing the prop back ourselves, and finally decided to call it quits for the day, and go out to dinner at Hook Line & Sinker.
Thursday morning, we once again called on John at Wreck Life, who came over very quickly and installed our prop for us. It took a few hours, but we felt comfortable with the install. John and his crew are really knowledgeable about work like this – John even taught us a few very valuable lessons.
With two functioning engines, we started crossing items off our departure checklist, eyeing the window of only slightly better weather to make it to SXM. We were all ready to loose the lines and leave for fuel when we decided to eat first. I usually have a cold lunch of tuna salad or something, but we had some leftover rice and I thought fried rice sounded good. I went to start up the propane – and I couldn’t get the control to stay on. When I pressed the button, the light flicked green for only a moment and then as soon as I let go it was back to red – and no propane came out.
We called Trident Marine, the manufacturer of the LP control, and they told us the item was under warranty, so they would ship us a new one. We gave them the address at CYOA, and were assured the part would be overnighted to us. Thank goodness we were still in the US!
We headed over to Water Island and Honeymoon Bay to anchor and wait. And wait. And of course, Fedex tried to deliver at 5:50 pm, and “left a note” on the door. Someone was at CYOA until at least 6 pm and we never got a note. I am suspicious. And of course, it being Friday that means the Fedex is closed over the weekend. Island time!
Sunday afternoon we moved to Lindbergh Bay, right by the airport. Instead of wait for the part to be delivered again I was waiting at the Fedex door at 8:30 (they opened at 9). I opened the package and to my dismay they’d shipped us the wrong part. So, now they shipped us a new one which arrived Tuesday. We replaced it, only to find that it still didn’t fix our problem.
Oh, and our heating element for our water heater stopped working as well. This means that the heating exchanger was still working, thus heating water from the port engine. However, the heating element that used electricity from our generator was not working.
At this point, we just knew we needed to leave. The propane system would have been nice to have working, but we can live on sandwiches. The hot water heater was no big deal, as the engine was still giving us hot water. And let’s face it, its hot here, we rarely take warm showers.
It’s disheartening to have so much go wrong all at once, but such is the life of a cruiser. We will post soon about our fun and productivity in St Martin!