Tropical Waves After Escaping From The Marina!

Monday, June 13, 2005
Belize

017-11.700 N
087-35.940 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from the crew of the BlueJacket!

It's amazing, but we finally were able to cast off the dock lines and get ourselves out of Cucumber Beach Marina. It felt like we'd never escape, but we did. The last time that I wrote we were waiting for new head bolts for the generator. They arrived and were installed right away. We got the generator into the boat without any problems, but when we fired it up the heat exchanger (basically a radiator, but uses sea water to cool the engine) was leaking around the gasket. We took the thing on and off a dozen times (at probably an hour per iteration) and tryied different methods to seal it, but nothing worked. The problem was that it was made out of 1/8" copper and the bolts which held it down distorted the edge where it seals. We could not get it straight enough to get the gasket to make a good seal. The factory suggested that we take a hammer handle and tap the edges down where it was leaking. That hardly sounded like a permanent solution, so we looked for something else.

We decided to have a collar made out of 1/4" copper plate and to have that brazed onto the cover. In theory this would give us a nice flat surface to mate with the gasket. Well, theory didn't quite match reality. After the collar was brazed on to the cover the mechanic had it ground so that it was flat. That was a good idea, except that it wasn't flat...Fast forwarding through many iterations, we finally decided to make a thicker, more flexible gasket, and that even leaked! I discovered that there was a pinhole leak in the brazing, and once that got fixed we were all set. Of course this took 2 weeks and a BOAT (Break Out Another Thousand) unit to resolve, but it finally got fixed.

You might also remember that my old inverter/charger had died and I had to bring down a new one. The new unit, a Xantrex ProSine 2.0 worked fine for a day, and then the control panel decided to flake out. I started writing Xantrex at the 2 e-mail addresses that I had used in the past, and heard nothing. Finally I found the name of the VP in charge of customer service and wrote to him, and lo and behold I got prompt responses. It seems that they had stopped monitoring the e-mail addresses published in their manuals and an e-mail address which they had previously used. Bad. Anyhow, the tech that I've been dealing with is great, but we can't figure out what's going on. The good news is that the unit functions properly, but I just can't reliably configure it. They want to ship me a replacement, but they don't have units in stock and the only one they were able to find in dealer stock is several years old and not up to the current revision. We'll see how this plays out.

On Saturday we threw off the docklines and motored 48 miles to Lighthouse Reef with 2-8 kts of wind on the nose. We dove 2 times yesterday, and I can report with certainty that the fish were very happy to see us as lot of them showed up to say hello.

During this time of year a tropical wave passes through here every 3 days. These are basically low pressure troughs which get generated in Africa and these are what can spawn tropical systems which can grow into hurricanes. Typically when they pass you can get squalls and wind shifts. Last night one passed by at about 5 AM and blew at 30-35 kts. The wind switched 180 degrees to the SW and we dragged 0.17 miles from where we had been anchored. I knew that we were dragging when the dinghy, which was tied to the stern, caught up with the boat...The scary thing was that there's a coral patch right behind the boat and we were headed towards it. I powered into the wind and the anchor grabbed. I was just glad that this happened when there was some light. Doing this in the dark is scary. But we're fine and now the biggest problem is that the wind has died and the mosquitos have come out in force!

We hope that you're well and are enjoying summer. It sure looks like spring bypassed most of you.

-- Geoff & Sue
Log ID: 691

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