Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bahias de Huatulco: Water Pump Replaced, Off to Zihuatanejo

Intermezzo’s leaking fresh water cooling pump on the starboard engine has been replaced!  We're heading to Zihuatanejo this afternoon.

I flew back to San Francisco last Thursday via Mexico City and Los Angeles, arriving late that night. Bob Hennessey at KKMI let me know that the replacement water pump was ready for me, so I drove down to Richmond on Friday morning to pick it up. I thanked Bob and his team sincerely for their interest and efforts on Intermezzo’s behalf. 

I had booked my return flight to Huatulco for Sunday morning in case the pump needed an extra day to arrive, so I had some time to kill. I should have made more of an effort to visit with friends, but I was in a bit a a funk and ended up sort of vegging out on my own. I managed to rouse myself to enjoy a nice lunch with Brigitte and Jean, get a good haircut from Rose, and for a short visit with Carol to chat and drink some wine.  I also fit in a hot yoga class but the heat was a challenge after six weeks of practicing at room temperature and I struggled physically, but kept a good mindspace and benefited from the mind-body challenge.

The flight back to Huatulco on Sunday was uneventful, except that I left my iPad on the plane, a device that I am particularly fond of and serves as our backup navigation system. I was groggy and forgot that I had put it in the seat back pocket. I filed a lost item report with the airline, but haven’t heard back from them. I’m writing it off as a goner and have changed all my passwords etc. as a precaution against the remote possibility that the person who has it can hack through the passcode, which is pretty difficult to do. 

We spent yesterday taking off the old water pump and installing the new one. The old pump came off pretty easily and I began removing the various fittings that needed to be transferred to the new pump. All was going well until the last fitting, which I couldn’t get off because I didn’t have the right tools.  We tried various combinations of tools we did have to try and kludge a solution, but no luck.

The great thing about Mexico is that if you ask, people go out of their way to help. So I went over to the the boat across the dock where several guys were working on its engines and showed them my problem. They chatted among themselves for a minute and then told me I should go to “Amigo Nacho’s”, a metal/machine shop in town. Then one of them, Carlos, offered to take me there in his car and we were off.

Amigo Nachos is a pretty big shop with half a dozen guys working on various metal fabrications and repairs. I showed them the stubborn fitting on the old pump and they said they could fabricate a special wrench for me in a few hours for 600 pesos. I left the old pump with them and returned to the boat to eat lunch and do chores.  At 3:00 pm, Carlos drove me back to Amigo Nachos and there was a custom made wrench waiting for me. We quickly pulled the fitting off the old pump and installed it on the new pump. I thanked everyone profusely, paid my bill and headed back to the boat. Now I have a wrench on board in case I have to replace the pump on the other engine; a great investment.

The installation of the new pump went pretty smoothly, athough my back was a bit stiff from crouching in the engine compartment all day. I fired up the engine and let it run under load, tugging against the docklines  for a half hour to make sure there were no leaks and the engine was being cooled properly. It passed the test.  We had a nice dinner to celebrate after we showered and put alway all the tools.

Renee went grocery shopping this morning as we wait for the tide to rise so that we can visit the fuel dock to top off our tanks and fuel jugs. We hope to be underway by around 1:00 pm for the 360 nm passage to Zihuatanejo, which will take three days. The weather forecast is for light winds, gentle seas. We’ll probably have to motor most of the way, but the predicted wind direction should provide some opportunities to pull out the Code 0 for some quiet light wind reaching.

New water pump- obtained! 
Old water pump- with fittings to be removed and crud inside

The sklled, friendly, helpful crew at Amigo Nacho's shop, enjoying there afternoon comida

My new custom made pump wrench, hecho en Mexico