Why does everything happen at night? Like captain Ron said “If it’s going to happen boss, it’s going to happen out there”. We are thankful it happened while we were at anchor. there are so may reefs in San Blas you need a working engine.
. WE HAD SEA WATER COMING IN !!!!!, and that is never good. The previous day while sailing along our high water bilge alarm went off. It was a new item, I had bought that was actually made to sound a loud alarm when water is detected in houses. It is usually behind washing machines, dishwashers, under sinks or bathtubs or water heaters. Luckily I bought one to back up our onboard system. This water alarm made in Brampton On. by www.waterlineproducts.com saved us from sinking.
We had finished dinner, the sun had set and it was getting dark fast. On hearing the alarm, I lifted the floorboards. to look in the bilge, I was surprised to see how much water we already had in the boat. I turned on the pump….. no sound,…. panic starting to set in,…. Breath,.. calm down,… think this through. The reason I can’t hear the pump is because it is 2 1/2 ft. under water. After checking the outflow I could see that water was indeed being pumped out. I opened the motor cover and could clearly see that we were taking on water through the heat exchanger. A boat does not have a radiator like a car, but instead uses seawater to cool a tank, filled with coolant to keep the motor at the correct operation temperature. This unit is called a heat exchanger, right now it was pumping in sea water into the boat. We tried many things in a short time but could not stop the leak. That’s when I heard the solution “shut off the intake valve” coming from Muriel. Sometimes in panic situations we don’t think of the most common sense solutions. Once I shut off the valve I started to think about our predicament.
We are in the middle of nowhere anchored behind an island the nearest town sixty miles away. Marine dealers in Panama city, more than 5 hours away. All we would have to do, is flag down a passing fast boat, then travel 2 1/2 hrs. to Carti, a busy harbour with a direct road to the city, We could hire a jeep to take us over 2 hrs. through the jungle on the road to Panama City, which means at least one over night. One of us staying on the boat alone, “out of the question” . We talked to the man in Cambombia and he agreed to watch Mistress as long as we returned with Coke a Cola. We set out extra anchor chain, shut off through hulls, and boarded a fast boat to Carti at 5 am to, make the connection with the jeeps to Panama city. The only other passengers were lobsters being delivered to market. Small ones in a cooler, large ones walking around the boat.
Fast boat = Large canoe with big engine
Slow boat = Large canoe with paddles
We were loaded into a SUV, 4 wheel drive type vehicle, their all called Jeeps, to travel through the jungle of Kuna Yala, which is very rough. They even have a border of sorts, between native territory and mainland Panama almost a 1/4 of the total land area.
The flag of Kuna Yala has a large swastika, but has no political connection to the Nazi symbol. It was first used in a rebellion in February, 1925.
Our driver took us to a hotel he recommended in the downtown area with access to the Metro so we could easily travel anywhere in the city to find new parts all I can say about Panama city is we will return, right now we want to de-stress and find the part needed to fix our problem. .We will cover Panama City in a future blog post..
When we visited the Yanmar dealer, the maker of our engine, we were told the parts we required had been discontinued,.The only option for us was to seal the leak, and get to a place where a mechanic could have a look at it. No mechanic was going to come to us. Giving up on marine stores and listening to our son Jonny, “Dad real mechanics can fix anything with zip ties and silicone”. So we loaded up with both epoxy and high temp silicone.
The following morning we checked out at 5 am to start our long journey back to Mistress. We took more than a week of applying a layer,… then drying 18 hrs., …turn on the water, checking for leaks,…. re-applying, till no leaks appeared. When we turned on the engine, it was still leaking but it was just a trickle, we had to get to a marina. Light wind so the motor needed to be used.
Here we go next stop Porvenir !!!!!!