Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Water

I left the marina finally.

Just as i anchored it started to rain

Southern Costa Rica is like Vietnam, hot, 30° and humid.  Maybe more humid.  But that thought prompted me to check the latest obs from VVTS, Tansonnhat Int’l. Nope, their morning dew point is 77°, while it was only 72° this morning in Golfito.

My chart of the anchorage. The marks are where where my anchor is and the mooring ball

In any case, after the stress of leaving the marina for the first time in almost 4 months, it’s time to check and double check.

While still in the Caribbean, I had tried to use the generator.  It ran for a minute a then shut itself off. So, we had spent a miserable night before arriving at the marina in Colon, Panama.

I’ve planned on anchoring a lot over the next three months, so a working generator was no longer an option but a necessity.

Last week I tackled the problem, having been guided what to look for from a mechanic friend on the East Coast.

In minutes, I found the suspected problem, a bad connection to the exhaust temperature sensor, and set it right.  The generator than started and ran for 30 minutes, with load, no problem.

Saying goodbye to Fish Hook Marina

I was leaving in mid-afternoon, as much to save another $40, but also to get my sea sense back.  We were only going a few miles to anchor, so after a hot day, in the heat of the afternoon, the generator would be called upon almost immediately.

Not being born yesterday, just before leaving the dock, I started the gen for just a few minutes, just to make sure, maybe 5 minutes.

15:00, finally ready to leave.

But Sergio, who was going to be with me for some days, then told me he had to go home.

OK

Maybe a language issue? Certainly not the first time for me.

Then the guy on the marina is throwing off the dock lines. OK.  I’m sort of ready.

But what about the two pangas fishing 20 feet in front of Dauntless?  No problem, they were told to get out of the way. Slowly evidently.

Once the lines are off, I need to get underway.  My bow wave must have nudged them the last few feet,

Now, out of the slip and safely past the pangas, I look to my chart to check my route in and the depths.

But the chart isn’t on. Why?

Computer’s on, Coastal Explorer is running, but the magic “M” key is not bringing up the C-Map.

This kind of crap happens when rushed by other people’s schedules or perceived schedule.

I had put Dauntless in neutral not wanting to go in water I had no idea what was the depths.

Finally, I see the keyboard was turned off.  Easily solved, my chart comes up and confirms that my route into the marina was good and the one to follow out

I poke along at 5 knots in no real hurry. Just happy to have the sea under my feet again.

The spot I was anchoring in is a quarter mile off the beach in front of a friend’s house I meet on the bus to Golfito.  It’s a steep slope with a big 15’ tidal range. I can’t get too close, even though I have 35’ below me now.

I drop the anchor, it catches quickly like it always does (a much beloved Delta). It’s hot, very hot and humid.  I’m dying.  I put out 110 of chain on top of the anchor.  Then I realize the mistake I made. With the steep slope, large tidal range and 100+ feet of chain out, when Dauntless swings around (we’re now facing the beach) her behind may end up high and dry.  Not the first time, but I’m trying to have a year without a grounding.

I decide to throw the stern anchor in.  Oh, no stern anchor.  Must have been stowed for the Atlantic passage. Just then I see a mooring ball, just within reach of my short boat hook (they charge more for longer ones!)

I quickly grab the line from the mooring ball and put a short line thru it.

Worked like a charm.  Dauntless soon went parallel to the beach, but that was fine.

Now I’m sweaty, almost dead for the heat, stress and whatever else.

I turn on generator to get a much-anticipated relief.

It runs for one minute then clearly can’t handle a load. It putters to a stop.

I feel like crying.

I start it again, it starts, but with no power, like before. What changed? I asked myself.  Only I put the cover back on.  Could it not be getting enough air?

I take the front cover off, it continues to run poorly, then stumbles, then starts running normally.

I power up all the accessories, A/C’s, Inverter Charger.

For the next few hours, with the passing of every bird and fish, I think the gen is dying, but no, it runs steadily, until I turn it off for bed.

Now, the next test, how hot will the boat become without the A/C.  The water temperature is 92°.  I’ve never been in such hot water; the engine room never gets below 100° and that’s only with the Inverter and Water heater working there.

Dauntless hardly moved.

Just when I was finishing my shower, a peal of thunder overhead made me think that we’d run hard aground. I flew out of the shower.

It was only Mother Nature having a little chuckle before I went to sleep.

2 thoughts on “Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Water

  1. Great to see you back on the water Richard. Sorry your crew guy bailed on you. Not everyone is able to handle being at sea. Glad the Gen is running & the A/C is keeping you cool. Wishing you smooth sailing.

  2. Richard, your sense of humor when writing about these challenges is hilarious. Thanks for the laugh. You definitely have the right spirit for this amazing adventure. So how hot DID it get in the cabin without the ac on that first night?

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