Cruising may not be for everyone
It is not really in my nature to ask for help. When running our business, I struggled to get over the shortsighted managerial mindset that it would take me less time to do a task myself than to teach someone else to do it. Rebecca would probably laugh at that and say that I most definitely did get over it, at least where our business was concerned. On the boat though, I really do still try to do all of the repair jobs myself. A wise man knows when he’s in over his head though.
For the last several passages we have been dealing with a port engine that refused to idle. It would only start up when given extra gas and while it would run OK at higher revs, it would die as soon as we slowed down. Unfortunately, slowing down to anchor or maneuver is exactly the time when we wanted both engines working! I was pretty convinced that the idle jets on the carb were dirty but my one attempt at taking the carburetor apart was not super successful. While I am pretty confident dealing with our 2-stroke engine’s carb now, the 4-stroke variant has a lot of extra bits and bobs to it. I was pretty sure that I’d have to seek help.
When we arrived here in Grenada, a friend of ours passed along the name of a mechanic who works for a local dive company fixing their engines. I won’t mention his name but it does rhyme with a common farm animal. Anyway, this guy may be awesome at what he does but we’ll never know because he totally jerked us around. Over the last 2 weeks I have phoned him no less than 5 times and each time he said that he would call us back to confirm a time to come help us. During the last conversation 3 days ago, he promised that he would call me back later that day. Guess what? Still no call. Am I pissed about that? Oh yeah. While previously I had weeks to get the engine fixed before having to maneuver our boat into a travel lift, I now had only days because of this guy wasting our time.
Still needing some help, I called another guy that I know of, Mike from Palm Tree Marine. As it turns out, Mike is who I should have called in the first place. After explaining the situation and when I needed to have it done, he told me he’d come to help. Mike arrived at our boat yesterday afternoon and in an hour and a half, had the engine purring. He arrived when he said he would, did a professional job and charged a fair price. Needless to say, if anyone asks me for a recommendation, Palm Tree Marine will get my vote. The other guy? Not freakin‘ likely!
Does all this repair stuff seem like fun to you? It’s not. It is, however, a part of the cruising lifestyle. While some people tend to focus on the glamourous aspects of what we do, those who are out here know that there are two sides to the coin. While we are quite content to pay that price for freedom and travel, others eventually find that it’s not their cup of tea. Take for example Jan and Ean from More Joy Everywhere. They recently posted a very honest entry in their blog explaining why they have decided to give up the cruising thing and sell the boat. I think that’s smart of them. If you don’t like something, change. Most times when I say that I’m talking about quitting a crappy job but if it’s cruising that doesn’t make you “joyful,” move on to something else.
The silver lining to their decision, of course, is that there is no doubt a couple of wannabe cruisers who will be extra happy to take that 42′ catamaran off their hands. I know that, if we were in a different situation, we sure would!
What price would you pay to wake up to this every day?