First, I would like to state for the record that both engines are running beautifully right now. But this is one of the first times in a long time that statement can be made!
Mentioned in earlier posts, we began having a leak in our salt water intake pump for the starboard engine months ago. The salt water keeps the engine cool while it is running. The first time it showed up was when we were running from Hurricane Jimena and our engine stopped running and the heat sensor alarm went off. At the time, we did not know what was wrong, and we had our hands full trying to get the heck out of Jimena's way, so Patrick started tearing apart the engine while we were underway to Willard Bay. He figured at the time it was a faulty impellor, so he tore the water pump apart, replaced the impeller, put it back together, primed it, and got the engine started. He is amazing, considering that he has not ever been much of a "motorhead". But the next morning, the engine would not work again, so he did the whole same trick underway while we raced on to Willard. Once again he got it started during the trip, but it failed again the next day.
After that, Patrick figured he had a leak in the pump housing that was causing the system to lose it's prime when it sat idle. Easy enough to work around. Either leave the salt water intake valve open all the time with a leak of salt water coming into the engine compartment (not good) or shut the intake, and only open it when the engine was needed, and then start the engine. The second option is what we used to eek our way through the summer. We were miles from any boat part store and there was no way to get any replacements to us in LA Bay, so we just made it work. Patrick ordered pump rebuild parts online, had them sent to a friend (Gary in Mulege) who was home in WA for the summer, but coming down in the fall. Trying to be economical, Patrick ordered the rebuild kit at $180 instead of just buying a new pump for $500. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
By the end of the summer, the leak was getting worse and worse, whenever we had to turn on the engine. We were very excited to get to Mulege and get those new parts so this game would end. Gary was returning to Mulege in November, which coincidentally happened to be when Tom decided to fly into Loreto to visit us, which is only 100 miles from Mulege.
We wanted the boat working perfectly when Tom was here so we went to Mulege, picked up the parts, and the day before Tom was supposed to show up, Patrick began rebuilding the pump. Only to quickly find that the Yanmar parts we received were not compatible with our engine's Yanmar parts. Because they were the same model number made in two different countries! Our engines were made in Europe (which is rare) and the parts we received were made in Japan (which is more common). Oh the Panic! We now had a non-functioning engine and were HUNDREDS of MILES from any boat parts store. Our boat cannot manuever with one engine. It would have been a nightmare to go hundreds of miles.
Many of you have realized that we are the luckiest people alive, when it comes to things that count. Sometimes you have to squint and turn your head to see the luck, but generally it is pretty clear that Patrick's Irish heritage has blessed him with luck. And this day proved it beyond belief. First we were lucky that we happened to be parked in an anchorage in Conception Bay that had pretty good internet which we had permission to use. We did not have cell phone service, and there was no way to get ahold of anyone except through internet. So we began frantically emailing everyone we knew trying to get a message to someone to A) go to Seattle and buy the right pump; and B) have Tom bring it down.
Our second lucky break was that our sister-in-law Pam was on line and willing to help. Which began a frantic email exchange. Over the following hours Pam called the parts store numerous times to make sure they had the right pump, and she got ahold of Tom. Our third lucky break is that Tom is one in a million, and he happened to have time to fight rush hour Seattle traffic and pick up a whole new pump before the store closed. He arrived at the store at 4:40 and the store closed at 5:00! Tom was leaving to catch his plane to Mexico the next morning at 3am. Which added to part of our concern when Tom did not show up at the appointed pick up time - "Where is our water pump?"
Now it can be argued that we would have been truly lucky if the rebuild kit we had ordered had been the right one to begin with, or that the pump would never have leaked in the first place., or if only we had ordered a whole pump instead of a rebuild kit. But after all, we do live in the real world, sometimes. And this makes for a better story.
4 days ago