Daily Archives: March 12, 2015

A moment of truth at the bar

It’s the night before the longest passage we’ll ever make and there’s really not enough time to even reflect on this stress filled, forced intermezzo. I say forced because events seemed to stack up against us like those famous Vietnam dominoes, dictating what we could reasonably do and what we could not reasonably do. As we droned on toward Costa Rica, still on our slow motion rescue, we dreamed of traveling to Peru, learning to scuba dive and visiting the natural parks of Costa Rica while waiting for our new rig to arrive, you know, that lemons to lemonade thing. Instead we spent ninety percent of our time trying to avoid being thrown out of Costa Rica, courtesy of the Dragon Lady of Golfito Customs, and fielding endless arcane questions from our rigger about, oddly enough, our new rig. 

I’m sure you remember Robert the dour Hungarian mechanic who lives in Golfito and was the first to lay his hands on several ailing systems forced to do the heavy lifting of getting us to the continent without sails or rig. He never even got the chance to work on our port Volvo; after all it ran, just not so well. The starboard alternator cooked the battery bank on the way back from the Galapagoes causing a lot of expense, and a car rental, and a trip to the EZGO golf cart factory in San Jose for six new batteries, and much  frustration. You see how this works? One domino falls which causes you agro so you react and push back causing another domino to fall and before long what have you? Why, world communist domination, that’s what! 

So as I was saying Robert even got the generator purring back in Gulfito while I came up with the master plan which eventually required a trip back to the states, and like so many master plans it required three mules carrying parts back to El Salvador and was just wrapped-up today in what we hope is the ultimate fix and it seems finally willing to turn decent RPMs for longer than one hour at a time. Our buddy George Huffman, That Boat Guy, patiently guided us through the diagnostic steps and it looks like bad Galapagos fuel was the culprit clogging the port fuel pick-up. 

Escape Velocity sports new custom air filters, new high capacity fuel filters with vacuum gauges, a completely rebuilt Spectra water-maker, a new suite of navigation instruments, and even a fuel polishing system and stereo/media center. Almost all of this we designed and built while under some of the most difficult and frustrating conditions imaginable. 

None of this could have happened without the cheerful help of Bill and Jean whose advice never steered us wrong, and the many friends who helped us in so many ways. Expats Lou and Lin hosted us every Sunday for potluck at their poolside estate, a long dinghy run far up the estuary, and to tell the truth it was mostly their pot but our great good luck to count them as friends. Lou loaned me tools, taxied us all over the place, and even took us to his favorite pupusa hut near San Salvador for the local specialty. 

The Sunday pool parties have an ever-changing cast of characters as boats come and go, and every new arrival became a friend. 

Even the fabulously stylish Judy started cooking vegetarian dishes so that Marce could have something new to eat every Sunday. Great people. 

So as I was saying, tomorrow morning we face the breakers at the entrance to the estuary we’ve been anchored in for four months. Some people slip right over barely noticing and others like Albatros, a large Nordhaven motor yacht, come very close to rolling over coming in. We’re hoping for a smooth one and 3,400 nm of peaceful Pacific Ocean. Stay tuned.


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