Jan.25, 2010

Today is, hopefully, the last trip to Metalica Perez for our bracket. We are more than ready to have this project finished! I can't stop buying provisions I think we might need...we're definitely overloaded but keep thinking of the many months we'll be away from major supply centers...ie...we definitely don't want to run out of TP! The other day we went to the movie theater for the first time in about 4 years (!) to see Avatar in 3D with Spanish subtitles! Great entertainment...what a way to transport your imagination somewhere else. This past Saturday we had folks aboard for the annual cayuka race, a charity event. There was an adult and youth division, as well as male/female and mixed categories. We've also spent a wonderful day with Debi and Victor (sv Serenity) seeing Casco Viejo; an old, historic part of town. The National Cathedral is there, and they happened to be having the last day of the annual jazz fest in the square. The 'French Quarter' is in this area, as is Monument Square, a memorial to the first builders of the canal.

Jan. 11, 2009 Of power take offs and other progress....(a short note from M)

No, I'm not talking about airplane take offs....We got our bracket back a few days ago from Metalica Perez (they've been wonderful to work with) and I've been busy fitting and modifying it to adapt our reefer compressor and large case Balmar alternator to fit. Most of the holes and support plates were fine, with a few exceptions, but nothing we can't drill out or deal with. Now consider, I have to crawl into the engine room on my right side, lift the half horsepower Tecumseh compressor with its attached refrigerant hoses over my head one handed to sit on the surface plate of the bracket, then lift the 165A alternator one handed to its new sliding foot support bracket in order to secure it with its half inch bolt...not the easiest of positions or work. When that was all done, it was obvious that the double pulley on the crankshaft would have to move forward to align with the alternator double pulley. Hmmm. By a process of guesswork and internet search, I found what appeared to be similar to what we have on our Perkins - a PTO (Power Take Off) extension to the crankshaft. Getting it off took several hours, as it had probably been on the engine forever. I couldn't reach the bolts without first removing everything! I had to (again) remove the alternator and compressor, then take out the bracket. Perseverence prevailed, as well as sweat and a few choice words. The tapered collar was then separated off the double pulley and shaft, and I'll clean, prime and paint everything tomorrow before reinstalling the PTO. We'll be able to align the pulleys properly and figure out the tensioning arms for the belts, get them fabricated and welded onto the bracket, then clean, prime and paint everything before final installation. Believe it or not, we're making progress! Baby steps! Everyone keeps asking when we're leaving! I don't know if they're sick of us (just kidding) or just intrigued with our modifications, but we answer them "When we're ready!!­" Actually, we're hoping to depart for the Galapagos by the end of January but we're not keeping to a schedule, and you can appreciate what's going on aboard by the above discussion. So, now we all know what a PTO is, and it's certainly one of those things I never knew about, yet alone considered taking apart, before we departed to go cruising! Guess you really can teach an old dog new tricks....


Our best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010! We've spent 2009 in Panama, have enjoyed many wonderful places from the San Blas Islands to the Perlas Islands, and have met many other cruisers as well as expats who live here. Slowing down and engaging with people is one of the reasons we mosey along in our slow way as we learn so much from these interactions with others. Of course, there is always boat work to do! Sometimes there are major projects, but most of the time it's about upkeep and preventive maintenance stuff. We're thankful for all the help we've received along the way, and are learning many of the arcane details which allow one to successfully cruise long term. We're particularly thankful for our families, and although we don't see them very often, they're always in our hearts and thoughts. We've also been fortunate to enjoy good health, with infrequent setbacks, which allows us to continue to meet the demands of the cruising lifestyle. So as 2010 unfolds, we'd like to share our prayers and blessings with all of you and appreciate your support of our endeavors as we prepare for crossing the Pacific and visiting those places that have, up to now, been dreams to us. May your dreams come true and may your hard work result in satisfaction and contentment. Our best to all, Michael & Susan