May 16-17, 2011... Trouble Strikes Anhinga

What we didn't mention in our last blog was that the engine overheated after anchoring in Bahia de Jobos. So picture this, we are in the middle of the mangroves, about 5 miles from the nearest town, and don't have an engine. There was nothing to do but start from the beginning and work our way through the engine cooling system to find out what went wrong.

Day 1: John starts at the sea strainer (not blocked), checks for leaks (none), opens the raw water pump and finds the impeller stripped of all its vanes but one. The pump apparently went dry and the impeller committed suicide. Question 1 - why did the pump run dry? Question 2 - where did the vanes go? Patti gets drawn into the mystery when John needs her smaller fingers to poke around in the pump housing looking for the vanes. John brings hundreds of dollars of tools to the task. Patti brings her tweezers. Guess which ones find the most vanes?

Finding all but two vanes, the Anhinga grease monkeys turn their attention to the hoses. Where is the blockage that made the pump run dry? John opens the seacock (to Patti's horror -- Patti always thinks it is a problem to allow water up through the floor of the boat...) to try to find where in the loop the water stops. Finally isolated the problem to somewhere between the refrigerator condenser that is in-line with the cooling system, and the hose that leads from it to the pump. Finding the hoses too difficult to remove from the condenser, Team Anhinga decides to bypass the condenser and reroute the hose from the sea strainer directly to the pump. Now the problem is that the hoses on board are the wrong size to do this, and we didn't have a connector to make the loop work. Luckily, Gem was in Salinas, and had what we needed.

Day 2: It took 3 hours to cut the hose from the sea strainer off the condenser. Many cuts and bruises later, we decided it was time to go meet Gem. Forgot to mention that it has been pouring down rain for two days. But, we needed that hose connector. So the crew of the Anhinga drops the dinghy and launch on the expedition from the mangroves to Salinas. Clad in yellow raingear, we cut quite a figure chugging up the mangroves and around the bend into Salinas anchorage. Shane and MV were ready for us and had the gear ready -- also had some hot coffee waiting for us drowned rats. Steeled for the return trip to Jobos by dinghy, we left Gem for Anhinga. Back on board, we rerouted the hose, connected it to another, clamped the hose back onto the pump, installed a new impeller, put the engine back together, and crossed our fingers. Started the engine, and it worked. Ran out to the stern to see if water was whooshing out the exhaust and it was. Success!! Team Anhinga fixed it! But we never solved the mysteries...we think a professional will need to be consulted.

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