Friday, June 17, 2011

The Definition of Cruising

For those of you that are not cruising sailors, you might be unaware that the definition of "cruising" is "doing maintenance in exotic places."

So, given that, it should come as no surprise that when I arrived in Tahiti (exotic place) there were a couple of maintenance tasks waiting for me. One was to reinstall the autopilot on Far Fetched, the Beneteau, of my friend Bruce Albert, for whom I am crewing from Tahiti (exotic place) to American Samoa (not quite so exotic). The autopilot had come down with some kind of inner ear infection and had lost its balance, so we had to give it a new gizmo so that it could literally get its bearings back. The gizmo in this case is a fluxgate compass, no, not a flux capacitor. This is a Beneteau, not a DeLorean.

Wielding a cordless drill and considerable sweat due to the humidity hearabouts, I managed to get the fluxgate installed, and a subsequent test seemed to indicate that it is...fluxing. We won't know for sure until we go to sea to see (hominyms are interesting) if it's really fluxing or just futzing.

The other maintenance item was the installation of a part for the diesel engine that normally is just a simple copper tube attached to a flange that conducts cooling salt water from the engine to the exhaust where it ultimately returns from whence it came; i.e., the sea. Typical of the engine manufacturer, Volvo, the price for this simple little piece of plumbing was outrageous--$119--for something you could make relatively easily for probably $10, not including labor. And to make matters worse we only needed half the part (long story) so we had to cut it in half. Actually, I didn't have much to do with this task other than "stupidvise". Bruce did all the work and it seems to have stemmed the leak that was the original problem we were out to eliminate.

So, here we are in Tahiti, synonymous with paradise, just now getting ready to go check it out. For me it is a stroll down memory lane, having been here with Kay in Kavenga twenty years ago. From first indications, not much has changed, but perhaps, more on that later.

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