Thursday, April 11, 2013

When it Rains, it Pours! - Day 18

Well after a couple of really great days near the equator, we seem to have started to enter the southern hemisphere ITCZ. I'm not sure if we did something incorrectly in paying homage to Neptune or what, but it hasn't been the best 24 hours since then.

Things started off fine last night, but then on Anne-Marie's watch in the middle of the night a squall hit us and ripped the spinnaker. Luckily it was easily and safely taken down, and we were able to proceed under our jib and main. I believe I should be able to make the repairs myself to the spinnaker, if I can get my hands on a sewing machine. Several of our friends on the way to French Polynesia have one so that shouldn't be a problem.

The rest of the day proceeded to be mostly dreary with on and off rain, luckily not any big winds with the rain though. At one point, Anne-Marie noticed a leak where the mast goes through the top deck! Water was running down the headliner to the sides of the boat. Not a lot, just enough to be annoying.

Then at pretty well the same time the wind totally died. We decided to motor as we could use the power anyway due to the lack of solar. After getting the engine running and up to 2000RPM, I noticed the boat felt sluggish, much like that time we tried to leave Punta de Mita and had too much growth on the bottom of the boat. I quickly checked the exhaust output for cooling water and there was none! Quickly I shut of the engine and Anne-Marie checked the salt water strainer and the through hull valve position. All seemed to be in order, so I theorized there was too much growth on the bottom of the boat clogging the intake. Busby had been bugging me about going for a swim and now he was going to get his chance... on a rainy cloudy day with lumpy seas.

Busby and I both dawned our full body leotards, snorkel gear, gloves and even kite surfing helmets. Anne-Marie dangled long lines from the bow and stern of the boat so we could hang on to them to rest. We jumped in with our tools to give the bottom a quick cleaning. Moments after getting in the water and looking at the bottom my suspicions were confirmed, gooseneck barnacles all around the cooling water intake! Those suckers are a lot harder to get off than the growth we experienced at Punta de Mita! Luckily our boat "flossing" technique had limited the growth of the gooseneck barnacles to primarily the stern end of the boat. Even still it was quite a workout! As it turned out there was about a 1 knot current, and a little pit of wind pushing the boat. Busby and I had to really swim to get to the area of the bottom to clean. An hour later the bottom was looking good, we were exhausted, and the engine started up with lots of cooling water output.

Despite all the stress and annoyance of these issues, it was really amazing to be in the deep blue water. Looking down several 1000 feet to who knows what below, seeing super far in the crystal clear water, it was a little reminder of why we put ourselves through all this. Anne-Marie even came in after the cleaning was done for a quick swim, it was a much needed break for us all.

P.S. On top of all of the above, we couldn't even connect to our winlink system to post this yesterday! Even that atmosphere was against us!

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