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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

5/10/2011 - Yesterday

Okay, it's Tuesday morning and my first cuppa joe is almost ready. Time to fill you in on what we did yesterday since I was too tired to do it last night after we got back from visiting Lisa & Neil on s/v Gypsy.

It was fairly windy all day so we never really felt inspired to row ashore. Probably just as well as we had things on board that needed our attention. When I was checking something in the engine room the other day, I noticed the Racor filters were all covered with some kind of soot. Then I noticed that a whole bunch of stuff was covered with this same soot. At first it freaked me out a bit because it looked like the kind of smoky soot that is left after there's been a fire. Had we had a self-extinguishing fire in the engine room that I wasn't aware of? Scary thought. On further investigation I saw that what had actually caused the soot was an exhaust leak where the exhaust manifold meets the mixing elbow. There's a clamp there so I loosened the clamp to make sure nothing was broken (didn't appear to be) and then tightened it back up so that there was no wobble. Hopefully, that did it. Then I got started scrubbing off all the soot, or at least the easy-to-reach soot.

While I was cleaning off the Racor filter holders it dawned on me that I couldn't remember changing filter elements since I'd installed the new system 400+ engine hours ago. So, first I turned the valves so the spare filter was put into service (that's part of the upgrade I did on the system: switchable primary filters in parallel). Then I pulled the old filter out of what was now the standby filter and replaced it. Piece of cake.

Also housed in the engine compartment is the big bag that Lulu made so I could stow water filters, spare line, etc. I had to remove the bag to be able to do my fuel filter work so, before I put it back in, I kind of straightened it up. Then it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to take one of the 5 micron water filters out of the bag and change the filter on the watermaker. This filter is for straining sea water before it reaches the Clark pump and, since we had made water in some pretty krill-rich waters lately, it was likely funky. That and it had never been changed before.

This is a pretty easy procedure. The filter housing is under the galley sink and very accessible. I unscrewed the housing and managed to get the unit up into the sink without spilling much. WOW! What a stench! That filter was nasty. All those little krill creatures must have died on it because it flat STUNK! Sealed the old filter in a plastic bag before putting it in the trash so it wouldn't stink up the boat. Also cleaned the sea water strainer (wire mesh screen) that's upstream of the whole unit. It stunk too and was all black but it cleaned up nice. Guess I should pay a little closer attention to these things.

Before all of these adventures, Manuel came up in his panga. Since we still had fish to eat we didn't really want anything today. He hung around and we chatted a little. He wondered if we could spare any cerveza, tequila, rum, anything since there was nowhere to buy any in Timbabiche. I explained that we had a ways to go before we could buy any more so we kind of wanted to hang on to what we had. He understood. He asked us for our garbage so he could dispose of it for us. We didn't have but half a bag since we'd just dumped in San Evaristo but we were glad to get rid of the half bag. I asked if he wanted aluminum cans and he said "yes, for his daughters". He has 6 daughters, all school age and apparently they collect cans for recycling. He didn't have any fish but he had 2 lobsters, one was pretty big and the other was much smaller. I asked Lulu if we wanted more lobster and she said "sure". So I relayed the message to Manuel. He asked me for a bucket, filled it partway with seawater, added the lobsters and handed it back saying it was a gift for my wife. I told him that was very nice and had Lulu fix him up with a 6-pack of beer. He then asked if I could spare another 100 pesos for gas and such which I was glad to do. He left happy as far as I could tell. These guys have a tough life.

This time, I decided to split the whole lobster lengthwise instead of just harvesting the tail. One of our books shows that as a way to go so I figured I ought to try it out. What the book didn't tell me was whether or not I was supposed to carry out this procedure on the lobster while it was still alive and, if not, how I was supposed to kill it. Since it wasn't addressed, I figured that the splitting and killing both happened with the same knife stroke. Seemed sort of cruel but I guess no worse than chopping the head off a chicken. I started with the smaller guy. I laid it on it's back on a cutting board in the cockpit and then laid our big French knife along his length and then leaned over and put my weight behind it. Its shell was hard but the knife went through just fine. Cleaned the guts out, pulled the legs and antennae off and proceeded to the big guy.

This was a little bit tougher. I got partway through and couldn't go any further. Lulu fetched me the rubber mallet and I pounded the knife the rest of the way through. Lulu refrigerated everything and I cooked it up later on the BBQ. She pulled the cooked meat out and refrigerated it for use in a salad or something later. There wasn't really that much extra meat in the body so next time I think I'll just harvest the tails again.

We spent the afternoon loafing. About mid-afternoon we saw a boat that looked like it might be coming in here. The other two boats that were sharing the anchorage with us had left in the morning so we were all the only boat here most of the day. After awhile it was obvious that this new boat was definitely coming into Timbabiche. As it got closer I was able to identify it as s/v Gypsy with our friends Lisa and Neil who we hadn't seen since January. Once they got settled, they invited us over for dinner.

We had a great time catching up with our friends. When it was time to row back to Siempre Sabado, the wind had come up (and not in our favor of course) and there were some waves. Remember, we rowed over which meant we had to row back. Siempre Sabado looked like it was about 50 miles away. But rowing wasn't too bad and we made it but it wasn't all that much fun. Anyhoo, that's why I was too tired to write last night.

We're planning on leaving for Ensenada Las Ballenas later today but right now it's blowing too hard, or at least it's blowing harder than we care to deal with, so we'll just have to wait and see.

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