Posted on November 24, 2017
In which we miss all the weather windows
It is a great marina, although they’re still recovering from the effects of the September earthquake and subsequent mini-tsunami. Friendly boats, great staff, and the facilities are like new. We’d planned to haul out here and repaint the bottom of our boat, but the slow repair schedule on the travel lift has us instead planning to haul in Banderas Bay. Why are we still here, then? Oh, glad you asked…
Before we left for language school, we contracted with a mechanic to have our engine head removed and a new head gasket installed. We’ve avoided writing about our engine lately, as it has been running perfectly but peeing oil for the last, uhm, year and a half—and it’s just boring to read about cleaning oil out of the bilge. We really hoped that a new head gasket would finally solve the problems that we’ve been endeavoring to repair for so very long. Of course, this did not go as planned.
Both the mechanic and the machinist working on the engine head agreed: our engine was due for a total rebuild. Weirdly, this did not flip us out. We’ve been feeling pretty good about our finances lately; we had three whole weeks to make the repairs before the start of December and the narrowing of the weather windows in the Gulf of Tahuantepec; we trusted the mechanic; we were eager to solve the messy oil issues; we figured this would help us sell the boat when we were ready. Most of these things are still true.
Unfortunately, we got word this morning that we have an additional problem—pitting in the cam shaft and tappets. We need to order more parts from the excellent folks at Trans Atlantic Diesel, but it’s a holiday weekend. So now, we need to order parts; wait for FedEx; wait for the parts to clear customs; have the engine put back together; reinstall it to the boat; run the engine for 10 hours (you know, just tooling around the marina…); change the oil; and then wait for good weather to cross the Gulf.
This is really not a bad place to be, but the Christmas Winds are coming. As we move towards the New Year, the windows to cross the Gulf of Tahuantepec get narrower and farther apart. The southern coast of Mexico is beautiful, but we’re going to have to bomb past much of it. And, I swear, we have seen enough of Tapachula. There’s nothing to be done, of course—the engine is in pieces, it’ll be fixed when it’s fixed—but the tick-tock, tick-tock in my head is getting louder.
It doesn’t help that we are nearing the end of our journey on this boat. Yes, that’s right, we’re rebuilding the engine and painting the bottom right before we sell it—someone’s going to get a great boat, no question. We’ll probably put her on the market in April, looking to keep sailing until early May; but that’s just not very many months, and I’d rather not be spending them at the marina.