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Published: December 17th 2014
Dec 14, 2014, Puerto del Rey Marina, Fajardo, PR
. Whisper and crew are ready to start this year’s adventure. Winds from the south, about 8-10 knots, perfect for sailing to Culebra. We left the dock about 1 PM. A mile out I spotted a porpoise swimming – supposed to be good luck. I wonder what would have happened had I not seen a porpoise?
Although we could sail, we left the engine running to charge up the refrigeration system (it runs on electricity, ac, at the dock and is engine driven, dc, off the dock). It soon became obvious that the refrigerator was not cooling down. The freezer held temperature better due to all the frozen food inside. No problem, says the captain. We’ll fire up the generator when we stop for the night. OK says the first mate, can I go for a swim first?
Swim over (how nice it was to swim in the Caribbean again), and it’s time to fire up the generator. Starts right up. Turn on the timer for the fridge. All systems go. For about 4 minutes, then the generator starts surging, sputters, and stalls. Uh oh. Troubleshooting time. For the next three
Puerto del Rey
The main dock in the 1000 boat marina. The building in the background houses the showers and bathrooms. It's slated to be torn down and replaced since it leaks like a sieve.
hours. Oh, we did get dinner first, leftovers from a really good restaurant in Fajardo, La Estacion (laestacionpr.com). If you ever find yourself in Fajardo, eat there! They feature Puerto Rican bbq and it’s good.
We discovered that the fuel filter was only half full. Must be defective. So we got a new one, went out to the kerosene jug on deck (it’s dark now, deck lights are so we can see; the engine will run on kerosene and it often used to clean internal parts) and filled the filter from the jug, trying not to spill as the waves rocked the boat. Back to the engine room, install new filter and fire it up. Runs for a while, then sputters and stalls. Must be air in the line somewhere. Jon bleeds the injectors, we fill up the filter again (same routine as before) and it still won’t run. We eventually filled an empty juice bottle with kerosene so we didn’t have to go up and down each time we needed to prime a part of the generator. Meanwhile, the temperature sensor on the fridge is going up, and our patience is traveling in the opposite direction. We finally
The marina is so large, they use golf carts to transport boat owners and workers. Rashan, in the foreground, varnished the teak on our deck. He did a great job, but more than that, became a friend.
gave up and focused on finding repair people – one for the fridge and another for the generator. Oh, and we also needed some canvas repair work done. Time to search the internet, but we have a lousy signal in our anchorage. Jon already had his evening libation, so I had a beer (It was still pretty cold - good) and we called it a night.
The next morning we pointed the bow towards St. Thomas. As soon as we had a cell signal, I was on the internet and the phone, making reservations at Crown Bay Marina, and appointments with service people. That went amazing well. Everyone seemed to be available. Winds were light so we motored the whole way, nearing the west end of St. Thomas in good time. Maybe if we left an hour earlier, we would have been at the dock when the rain engulfed St. Thomas. Or maybe not. At 1.5 nautical miles from our destination, we could see that it was raining heavily in the direction we needed to go. No one wants to dock in the pouring rain if they don’t have to. We chose instead to drive in circles around green
Main Office, Puerto del Rey
Migdalia on the left and June on the right. They took good care of us.
buoy #3 near Lindbergh Bay for about an hour and a half, waiting for the rain to move on. (Note to Weathertap.com: you have St. Thomas located incorrectly, fix it!) It poured at times, reducing visibility to about 25 ft. Much to our chagrin, the chartplotter froze (nothing new, it always freezes up in tight situations, thank you, Raymarine), so Jon had to run the boat the old fashioned way, using the compass and listening to the VHF radio for traffic.
The rain moved on and, as we motored to our slip, the generator repair company called to say the repairman, Alva, was on his way. Talk about service! Alva appeared while Jon was pumping out the dinghy, which was filled with so much water the gas tank was floating! Just another thing we forgot about we left the dock – we need to take out the plug in the dinghy so the rain can drain out. And then remember to put the plug back in when we lower the dinghy into the water! Meanwhile, I went in the galley for something and saw that I left both port lights (windows) in the galley open during the squall. There
was rainwater everywhere! At least it was fresh water, not salt, and easy to clean up. December 17, 2014, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.
We’re now settled in at Crown Bay Marina. The fridge and canvas repairs were completed yesterday, but Alva is still working on the generator. Sigh. Since arrival here, we’ve chatted with fellow cruisers, and connected with the waitress at the restaurant who remembered us from our meals here last December. Even though the trip here had its issues, it was nice to have good sailing conditions to get our sea legs back. Returning to Culebra felt like coming home, even if only for a night (and what a night!). We’ve done the trip to St. Thomas a few times; there’s certainly a comfort level to returning to a place you’ve been before. While it’s nice to come back to familiar places, we look forward to exploring new ones this winter.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the crew on Whisper! Update on the generator. Appears to be a leak in the fuel line from one of the tanks to the manifold that is allowing air into the system. Everything works fine
on the other fuel tank. Why didn't we think of that earlier???
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