Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Things are trying to delay our departure

Yesterday afternoon we consulted the calendar and realized that we should check out of this marina on Sunday 26 December and depart from Patong on 27 December.  Then Bill read something on the Amel Owners Group online about boats the same age as BeBe having rusting problems with the mixing elbow on the main engine.  After all, this boat is almost 8 years old now and it is time for routine things to start needing repair and/or replacement.  And with the difficult Red Sea and Gulf of Aden passages coming soon, the engine MUST be reliable.

This information sent Bill down inside the engine room, where he quickly removed the mixing elbow and brought it topsides for closer inspection.  In a crevice there appeared to be some rust; not too much.  Bill cleaned the rust off and we could not see any holes.  But there must be some very tiny holes or the rust should not have formed there.  Actually, it was more like a crusty salt build-up than rust.  Moisture vapor must have leaked through holes too tiny for us to see even with our highest-power magnifying glass.  The photo shows what it looked like after Bill wire brushed it.

Yanmar Mixing Elbow       

First thing this morning Bill walked to Boat Lagoon in search of a TIG welder and a Yanmar parts shop.  He found both.  The welder was not in yet, so Bill left the elbow.  We will know tomorrow whether or not the TIG welding is possible.  The Yanmar parts shop was a bonanza!  It is just a small satellite shop.  They did not have the part, but the main shop had one and couriered it right over to the satellite location while Bill waited.  Unfortunately, it was missing a washer and the drain plug.  Not a problem.  They will fabricate those 2 missing pieces and it will be ready tomorrow.   We are delighted because we thought the part would have to be shipped in from Singapore and that would delay our departure next week.  Hopefully tomorrow we will have both the new elbow and the welded elbow to use as a spare.  BTW, these elbows are not cheap -- $1,000 USD plus taxes.   Ouch!!   Wasn't expecting that!

The Ka-Ka-Girls shop owner emailed a price quote for the 2 additional shade awnings we wanted to have made.  He wanted roughly $1200 USD and we felt that was a couple hundred dollars too much.  So instead of new shade awnings, we will be the proud owners of a new mixing elbow.  As Bill pointed out, we really won't be using shade awnings until we get back to the Caribbean and we can have them made there.  Might cost a little more, but maybe not.  Then again, there is always Turkey next year.  We hear great things about available boat-related work in Turkey.  Possibly shade awnings can be manufactured there at a reasonable cost.

This afternoon we decided to do a couple loads of laundry aboard BeBe.  The marina rules state no gray water discharge and I was hesitant to run the washing machine.  But what the heck!  They don't mind people washing boats and all those cleaning products drain directly into the water.  My laundry detergent can't be as detrimental to the environment as those boat cleaners.  An hour later I was dragging soaked clothes out of the washing machine because it would not pump out the water and spin dry.  Oh crap!!!  When it rains it pours sometimes.  First the $1,000 for the mixing elbow and now we might have to buy a new washing machine?

Bill wasn't ready to give up quite so easily.  He was sure it could be repaired.  After all, a washing machine is a pretty basic appliance.  It probably just needed a new water pump.  I was a bit more negative and figured we were going to end up buying a new machine.  Again, this boat is now almost 8 years old.  I'm sort of surprised we haven't had a problem with the washing machine before now.  What I was really dreading was trying to figure out how to get the washing machine out of the mahogany cabinetry.  Turns out I was worrying about nothing.

Henri Amel thought of everything.  It was so, so, so simple to remove the washing machine from the cabinetry.  Bill unscrewed the 2 ultra-long bolts that hold the machine stationary and the tongue-in-groove cabinet fell apart like a finely machined clam shell.  One L-shaped side was easily removed from the other fixed L-shaped side.  The "Ls" joined together with fine cabinetry tongue-in-groove.  Putting it back together was just as easy.  Except we then learned that there were built in guides for the 25-inch or so long bolts.  Just guide in the bolt and it aligned perfectly.

The machine slid out easily.  We tilted it so Bill could access the pump-out water pump.  He found the clean-out access for that pump and cleaned it out with the shop vac.  It looked like a large hair ball had been blocking the outflowing water and causing the pump not to work.  Because the water was not pumping out, the machine would not spin dry.  While everything was apart, Bill took this opportunity to coat all contacts with Corrosion X.  (Truly cannot recommend this product more highly!!)

We put it all back together and ran another load of laundry.  All worked just as it should.  What a relief!  And to look on the bright side -- I was finally able to clean the floor inside that cabinet.

This morning while Bill was on the mixing elbow quest, I cleaned the carpets.  And they look fabulous!  This is a chore best done while docked and one has shore power for the shop vac.  I brought all the carpets into the cockpit.  I stood beneath the shade awning with the big fan blowing right on me as I worked.  The cockpit table is the perfect height for this type work.  The process involved first vacuuming each carpet piece; then using the water hose to thoroughly soak one carpet piece at a time.  Next I scrubbed each piece with a stiff brush and finished by vacuuming very well with the shop vac.  The resulting muddy water inside the shop vac was disgusting, so I know this method cleaned the carpets very well.  The last time the carpets were cleaned was in New Zealand when we rented a steam-cleaning machine.  Ever since then I have felt that there was still cleanser residue left in the carpets.  So today I used just plain water and the results speak volumes.  The carpets haven't looked this good since we have owned the boat.

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