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Working In Exotic Ports

Cruising = Working on your boat in exotic ports. Or as I like to say paying the price for enjoying work-free cruising to the cruising gods with personal labor and shiny varnish.

The parts that didn’t get stripped to bare wood only have two more coats. The pieces with new varnish still have about 6-8 coats to go. Ain’t nothing, but a thang. And the two rebuilt hatches got their first two coats of varnish as well. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Where is Jilly during all this? Not around any varnish…she sheds. Picking hair out of wet varnish is bad enough, but sanding hair out of dried varnish…….Priceless!

Now it’s time sto sit back and enjoy a few days off to enjoy Christmas. Then it’s back to work.



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Miracles Happen

If you’ve been following along our journey you know that several days ago our water maker sprung not one or two, but three leaks! We’ve been limping it along while we tried to figure out where we could get a replacement cylinder. Dan was able to repair leaks one and two but the threads in one of the Clark pump cylinders had a small fissure in it which meant we’d need a new one. Finding parts like this in a place like Fiji was surely going to be an issue and we were prepared to order one from the states and have it shipped here.

The morning after the leak was discovered Dan went to shore in Denarau and stopped by Baobab Marine to discuss the best way to get one of these cylinders. They carry Spectra parts but didn’t have the cylinder we needed. They told him it would take a couple of weeks to get one in. Okay, that’s not a horrible thing as we could continue to limp along with it but he was pretty certain we could get it sooner if we had it shipped to someone in the states and had them ship it to us. It would have gone to our “go to” person, Dan’s sister, Tina. She’s a gem and always there to help with stuff like this.

Dan came back to the boat and because it was the weekend and Daily Watermakers in San Diego was already closed so we had to wait until Tuesday to call them and place the order. We’re a day ahead of the them.

Tuesday came and Dan got on the phone right away to see what we could do. They know him well at the Spectra store and after hearing Dan’s diagnosis they were certain he was correct. They also had some potential good news which is that there is a store in Lautoka that may have a cylinder in stock. Lautoka is not far from Denarau so we were excited at the prospect of being able to get one locally. Dan place a called to Oceania Water Group. Miracle of miracles happened as they told us they not only have one, but two in stock! The look of relief on Dan’s face was fantastic. 

The next morning we took the boat up to Vuda Marina and anchored outside the marina. We went to shore and took a taxi into Lautoka to find Oceania where they indeed, had the cylinder we needed. The people there were amazing and incredibly helpful. They carry all sorts of water maker parts and filters. We will certainly keep them in mind if we ever have an issue again and we are in the area.

So, what was the final cost? Well, ironically we found that we paid less for it here in Fiji than we would have if we’d have had bought it in the states and had it shipped to us. We figure we actually paid about $50 USD less. BONUS!!!

Total time from the first leak to completion of the project…5 days!

Total Cost: $300 USD (This includes our taxi ride into Lautoka!)

After picking up a few other provisions in town we were dropped back off at the marina where we had a beer to celebrate before returning to Dazzler. Within two hours Dan had the new cylinder installed and there wasn’t a drop of water to be found.

The most important part of it all is we are making water. Dan took me to shore where we celebrated with a yummy dinner of Mongolian Beef at the Boatshed Restaurant overlooking the water. The sunset was beautiful, the food spectacular and the beer ice cold! Yes, all is right in the world of Dazzler again!

Until Next Time…

Jilly & Dan

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It’s Not An Easy Life

For those who think cruising life is easy or is “the life of Riley”, we’ve got some news …. it’s rarely ever easy! Aside from the daily tasks of water and power maintenance, the scavenger hunts we call grocery shopping, the litany of chores such as cleaning stainless, decks and woodwork, engine maintenance, sail maintenance, anchor monitoring to be sure you or you neighbors aren’t sliding, troubles at sea as well as hiding from the weather….there are the big problems. The ones that we have to fix to be able to live in our home and continue to sail. 

Today we were all set to go to shore for some quick provisioning then come back and get ready for dinner with some friends who are here from New Zealand. As we were about to leave Dan noticed water coming out from the area under the seat at the table. That locker houses our Spectra water maker. We had it running and yep…it had sprung a leak! Arghhh!

We shut it down and headed to shore. We needed some provisions because we plan to leave tomorrow and Dan was certain it would be an easy fix. We shared a light lunch, got our supplies and then headed back to Dazzler so he could fix the leak and we could get ready to go to dinner.

There’s a saying in Water World that goes like this. “Every boat project is just one broken bolt away from being a three day event.” It’s a saying as true as “Nothing is free or easy in Water World.” Today it seems the “easy fix” comment was just waiting to bite us in the butt.

Dan replaced the end cap and put the water maker back together. We fired her up and within seconds he noticed another leak…this time in a piece of stainless tubing. Sure enough he found a hole in it. Okay, not a huge problem as we have a spare piece to replace it. Out comes the water maker again and he places it on the table. Understand that this is not a small piece of equipment and it’s rather awkward to handle. There’s the added issue that taking it apart means water … saltwater, goes  everywhere. No, not a fun project at all but Dan, ever the patient man, continues to work on it. I call Sean and Donna and explain that we need an extra hour to which they say, “it’s all good”. I start getting ready for dinner while Dan continues to work.

With the tubing replaced he puts the water maker back together and hooks it up again. He has me fire it up while he looks to be sure there are no more leaks. I hear “shit” come from the other side of the counter. “Shut it down. We’ve got another leak.” He says

“Another one? Really?” I question disappointingly. I know now this is going to be a much bigger deal than expected.

Sounds like we will not be going to dinner after all. I call Donna and Sean and let them know we’ve got a problem and can’t leave. You see, on land you turn on a spigot and water comes out…as long as you pay the bill of course. On a boat we either have to make our own water or we have to bring it in water jugs to the boat, which means we are tied to marinas and places where you can get good water. That can be a problem in third world countries. It’s also a problem when you have a nine day passage to get back to New Zealand coming up so Dan continues working.

I sit in the cockpit playing my tin whistle while enjoying the beautiful views while poor Dan is breaking his back to fix the water maker.

This time he replaces a bad O ring. Of course it requires the full removal of the water maker from the cabinet again. More water…more aggravation. I change clothes back into my boat attire and head to the cockpit. At this point I’m just trying to stay out of the way. The thing about boat projects is that they are messy and usually require a lot of things being strewn about as you dig through lockers to get to parts and tools so I know that keeping out of his way is the best way I can help.

It’s not long before I see Dan putting the unit back in the locker. From my seat at the helm I watch as he starts it up. I’m holding my breath this time and of course have said a little prayer. It runs for about thirty seconds. Dan kneels down in the locker and before I know it he’s turning it off again. It appears that the cylinder must have a small fissure in it.

This easy project has now become a huge problem because that’s a spare part we don’t have on the boat. Why? Well it’s an expensive one and one that isn’t likely to fail. What was that I said about the broken bolt and three days? Yes…this is going to be a much bigger deal. Of course the worst of it all is that we can’t just run up to the store and get one. Nope…it’s likely going to require having one ordered from the US and then shipped which makes an expensive part just that much more expensive. As we sit right now we are making water as the water maker leaks and we have a tub collecting the leakage. Tomorrow we will go to the marine store ashore to find out just how costly this is going to be and how long it will take to get the replacement cylinder. You know what they say about the word BOAT…Break Out Another Thousand. 

I’m NOT complaining about our life….not in the slightest way. We absolutely love our life on Dazzler. We see places and do things that most people will never see or do. We are blessed beyond words with what we have here. The point is that it’s not an easy life out here like most people believe. We work our butts off to be able to do this. Whenever new cruisers ask our advice we always tell them that if you don’t absolutely love it and aren’t willing to work like a dog to do it then you shouldn’t even consider it.

Excuse me now as it’s time for us to clean up all the water and put the boat back together so we can move around again. After that I guess we’ll heat up some soup. It’s certainly not the meal we planned. HA HA!

Until next time,

Jilly & Dan