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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

I hate food poisoning

August 3, 2014

Unfortunately the swell kicked up and Dave didn’t get very much sleep overnight.  That Means that Melissa will need to take a shift underway on the overnighter to allow Dave to get some sleep as it will be super tough to do an overnighter on only a couple of hours of sleep.

When we awoke we headed to the beach restaurant for breakfast.  Melissa had a dish called Israeli eggs.  It was served bubbly hot – eggs poached in a tomato based sauce with eggplant and peppers.  It was great.  Holly had banana crepes, Mike had chorizo sausage and eggs, and Dave had a big omelet.  We all had coffee, but Melissa had hers with milk.  For lunch Dave and Melissa had cold cuts and grapes.  You might wonder why the boring details here.  It’s because at about 3pm Melissa got violently and suddenly ill.  She was curled up in a ball for most of the night, recovering at least enough to at least drink some water and eat some yogurt around midnight.  Unfortunately this left Dave on watch all night.  We speculated on what had given Melissa (and not Dave or Mike or Holly) food poisoning.  Can’t have been lunch since Dave and Melissa at the same thing.  The eggs at the restaurant were served hot enough to kill anything that might have been in the eggs.  The milk in the coffee might have been bad.  But we sort of suspect a water bottle that Melissa was drinking out of.  We later noticed that it smelled fishy.  Dave ended up chlorine shocking our water tanks just to be sure – though with the UV filter it seems super unlikely that our actual water tanks were the cause.  It’s possible that the water bottle itself had something in it.

Tonight we are crossing the Gulf of Panama.  In the distance we can see the glow of the lights from Panama City almost 100 miles away.  Long time since we’ve been near enough to a big city to see lights that far in the distance.  The tricky thing about crossing the Gulf of Panama is that it is at the entrance to the Panama Canal, which means lots of freighters to watch out for.  Luckily we crossed the worst of the shipping lanes while it was still light out.  And Dave’s AIS (automatic information system) that acquires information remotely about large vessels (destination, speed, course) was super handy.  Wanuskewin caught this photo of Apsaras and one of the few freighters we had to avoid.

We arrived in Isla Del Rey at 7am, whereupon Dave immediately went to sleep for a couple of hours.  We had planned to stay here only to rest for a few hours as the bay is a bit rolly because it is open to the swell, but makes for a reasonable stopping point to catch some sleep.  But when Dave awoke he didn’t feel like getting underway again, so we ended up staying the night.

The flies here (regular old house flies) are driving us crazy the past few days.  They just insist that they want to be crawling on your skin.  And they are super-fast so chasing them with the fly swatter is a challenge, though Dave does go after them when he just can’t stand them anymore.

On the way back from breakfast yesterday, the 2.5HP motor hydro locked, yet again.  Causing Dave to yank the pull rope handle right off.  Melissa hopped off and pushed the dingy out through the surf to where Mike and Holly were waiting to tow us back using their dingy.  Dave is super frustrated with that stupid motor.  We are now threatening to put our 2.5HP motor on Wanuskewin’s dingy (that leaks like a sieve and they plan to replace) and “accidentally” leave them where they are likely to be stolen.  In the afternoon Dave (this is maybe the twelfth time?) took apart the 2.5 HP motor.  This time his theory was that maybe the fuel was filling up too high because the float wasn’t set correctly.  Alas that wasn’t the problem.  He put it back together and it hydro locked before he even got it on the dingy transom.  Melissa says she is just going to order up a whole new carburetor for the engine and be done with it.

Overnight Dave noticed that there was some diesel fuel below the main engine.  He believed it was coming from the generator.  He checked on it several times throughout the night and it wasn’t getting any worse, so in the afternoon he tried to find the source of the leak.  He promptly found that the generator heat exchanger is dead.  Its worn a hole from the fresh water side that circulates through the generator to the sea water side that flows through to cool the engine.  This isn’t going to cause the engine to overheat, because the cold sea water is still cooling it, but the salt water will eventually corrode the generator.  So the heat exchanger (probably $500) needs to be replaced.  The debate now is whether we close the through hull and flush the system with fresh water while we are away.  Dave had planned to have a caretaker run the generator while we are gone, but maybe with the fridge and freezer shut down, the solar panels will keep the systems like the sump pumps running.

Not that this issue had anything to do with the diesel leak he originally started chasing.  The diesel was leaking from around the glass bowl that houses the fuel filter.  Dave removed the bowl, cleaned up the seal, and reinstalled.  That didn’t fix it.  He repeated the process.  Still leaking.  What the heck?!  Dave gets out the manual that shows there are supposed to be two air bleed screws on either side of the fuel filter bowl.  He can see neither bleed screw.  He puzzles over this for a while till the light dawns.  Someone had installed the whole filter assembly backwards.  He took it out, turned it around, and reinstalled it.  And sure enough, one of the bleed screws had worked loose and the fuel was leaking out the air bleed hole.

We headed over to Wanuskewin for dinner.  They had made a great spicy chicken curry.  Yummers!

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