I never thought there would come a day that I would be glad for Darrell's stubbornness! Yes, he can be bull headed!! I guess that we are together today, after more than 20 years because he wouldn't give up.
Well folks, he didn't give up on our windlass motor. We were told about 7+ years ago that it probably couldn't be rebuilt any more. We have experienced intermittent problems with it but could usually get the thing working. It recently quit in the remote islands of the Bahamas where replacement or rebuilding it was highly unlikely. He decided that it couldn't get more broke than it already was (thanks Captain Al for giving us courage and wisdom in this realm) so he tore it apart. After several attempts to find a replacement here in George Town, Exuma, he decided to try and repair it. My cockpit became a workroom and my lovely varnished teak table became a workbench. The guts of something similar to a starter motor were strewn about and Darrell finally used line off an old scuba dive reel to slip half hitches along the lengths of bare copper wires inside the motor. We painted the rusty outside and added material for an end cap where it was rusted through. The motor now has a permanent umbrella and the exterior parts will have a sunbrella (type of waterproof fabric) cover to try and keep everything dry!
A few days of mess and lots of head scratching and we have a temporary fix in place to get us home where we can order a new motor for it. For those who don't know what an important piece of equipment a windlass is, consider the following. A 44 pound anchor on the bottom of the sea bed (buried in sand) attached to 5/16" chain - usually say about 75 to 100ft of scope out. Every time we change locations, this comes back on board and goes back out. Yes, we are both capable of lifting and pulling all this in but it takes its toll on our worn out old bodies. So yay!! The windlass is working once again!!!
The fact that we have a windlass is especially nice since we are expecting a big wind event here. In fact, the hardest non hurricane blow I think we've ever endured on the boat - sustained winds in the 30 knot range and gusts into the 40's (multiply mph by 1.13 or 1.151 depending on the source). Weather has been less than cooperative for the second half of our trip. Between wind and several days of rain, it has been hard to get much done outside on the boat. No, I'm not whining because we could have been at home in the keys where it has been an unusually cold winter. Argh! A hot, hot summer - a hurricane - then a cold and windy winter! Mother Nature, give it a rest please!!
Alas, our fun time in the Bahamas is quickly coming to a close. We promised our employers that we would be back in place to drive the dive and snorkel boats by the beginning of March. Attempts to verify that Darrell still has a job have been fruitless. We will return to the keys as promised but the wanderlust bug has bitten us again. Who knows how long we will be able to keep the travel fever in check.....