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  • Steve

Boat Maintenance

With the rainy season in full swing on Roatán, we’ve been immersed in a number of boat maintenance projects since we got back from an amazing time diving with our family at Utila Dive Center -- YAY DIVING!

The other day, I gave the engine our first oil change since we sailed down from Central Florida -- a process that went about as well as could be expected aside from a small spill up on the deck as I was transferring the old sucio aceite from the designated oil bucket to the no longer new 1 liter Yanmar Diesel engine oil container. Thankfully, I had a couple of oil rags handy to soak up the nasty black goo.

There’s a place out back here at Parrot Tree Plantation where some of the maintenance workers gather far from the sight of the turisticos who get bused in from the Cruise Ships that is supposed to be the oil disposal center according to some other marina denizens. So I went back there the other day -- it’s an area we frequent -- as Gringo dog-walkers virtually no part of the Plantation is considered off-limits to us -- but as I inquired where to dispose of the sucio aceite de diesel and eventually found someone who knew where to put it -- I found myself wondering just what they were going to do with the old oil.

Maybe they’ll use it, I hoped. Maybe. I don’t know and to surmise otherwise isn’t very positive or generous, but it didn’t look like the kind of disposal facility that I’m used to seeing back in the US or even in Mexico. Then again, I’m not exactly used to this kind of thing -- maybe it’s a top-notch oil disposal site in Honduras...

I also fixed the leaking gasoline tank for our dinghy engine, using a little of the strength that I’ve slowly been building up over this past quarter year to tighten down the seals -- giving it the full Hoppy as it were, which should hopefully keep the fuel from sweating out of the canister under rough seas.

I’ve also been actively involved in doing what I can to troubleshoot and fix some of the little persistent leaks that we have onboard. With it being the rainy season and all, it’s been difficult to have a twelve-hour, let alone a 24-hour or 48-hour period without rain in order to do the kind of comprehensive work that needs to be done to ensure no further leakage -- but I’ve been attempting to stop-gap certain problem areas in order to improve our quality of life in the near term -- to mixed results.

To say that I wake up sweating from my feverish dreams thinking about leaks when the rain starts to pound down like thunder in the middle of the night isn’t an understatement. All I do is think -- is it holding? Am I going to wake up to another rag soaked through with rainwater?

It’s not all I think about -- but I feel like it does dominate a lot of my background mental processes. And yet, despite all of my work, there are not less leaks onboard, but actually more leaks -- with hatches that weren’t problems before exhibiting issues that cause me no end of agitation. I try to take it all in stride -- to assure myself that at least SOME of the hatches are NOT leaking and yet it’s little consolation -- especially when it’s raining day after day, hour after hour, all day long, all week long, all month long.

Anyone with any experience rebedding the skylights of a Beneteau Oceanis 393 -- let us know via email or hit us up in the comments below with what your best practices are so that we can hit the ground running after the wet season finally ends. I’ve got butyl tape that I’m going to use to rebed the skylights and loads of lifecalk that I’m going to use to seal up the sides but would appreciate any hands on experience that anyone has gone through before.

Also, anyone with experience troubleshooting or fixing leaking Lenmar hatches -- let us know.... A nasty, thick crack just sprouted in one of ours the other day -- not sure if it was stepped on roughly during a crossing or what but it’s now doing some serious leaking where before it was fine. We’ve fixed it with plastic wrap for the moment but that’s not a long-term solution.

We also had to recently deal with a faulty Whale Titan Gusher pump -- there was a nasty tear in the diaphragm that at first looked to be unrepairable. Thanks to some good advice from our neighbor Sterling on Doc Sea we decided to attempt to reseal it with 5200. So I uninstalled the pump -- pretty much the nastiest job I’ve ever done -- took the pump to pieces, cleaned it up real well and then slathered a good amount of the Devil’s Tears on it. I have to admit I wasn’t exactly optimistic that it would hold, but after letting it cure overnight, I put the pieces back together and then reinstalled it and somehow -- it held. It’s not a permanent solution, but it will work until we can get the replacement parts -- not an easy thing in Central America by any means.

Other projects we’re looking at include replacing the heat exchanger pipes from our hot water heater-- which are almost completely closed up like arteries clogged with plaque, extending the reach of our air conditioning system to flow directly into the port and starboard aft cabins, and replacing some of the old teak panels on the companionway hatch with new wood. We’re also looking forward to installing our WiFi booster and router system from Island Time PC so that we can more effectively take advantage of the technological wonder that is the internet without having to use Andrea’s weak 3G signal or pay through the nose for TIGO data.

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