Santa Cruz Island – The Galapagos Island (Ship\’s Blog)…..

April 16th, 2016 (written August 1st, 2016)

Dear Friends and Family,

Very exciting for us, we\’ve had 200 NEW SUBSCRIBERS, this month alone!

We\’re writing this 3 months after we were in the Galapagos as we haven\’t had descent internet or I\’ve been in recovery from my hand injury….more on that when we catch up to Tahiti!  This post will mostly be about the great engine debacle and may seem a bit more dower than normal. Sorry for that, it won\’t last even until the next post (out very shortly), I promise!

For mostly the good times, see the more extensive companion PHOTO GALLERY by clicking the link here:  Santa Cruz Island – The Galapagos Islands

We left San Cristobal Island for the day trip to Santa Cruz Island a distance of about 40 miles. We had been nursing our engines along since we discovered they were both leaking oil at the back of the crankshafts when we were half way to the Galapagos from Panama. We we\’re given the advice to push them a bit too possibly aid in the \”breaking in\” process from our new rings just installed when we were in Shelter Bay on the Caribbean side.

What this proved was that things were not good!  The port engine about half way across suddenly just lost all oil pressure.  As such, we turned the engine off immediately hoping to avoid serious damage. It\’s nice to have two engines \”just in case\” and this was where that adage really paid off. We had no wind and would have had to wait over night at least to sail into Santa Cruz rather than just limp along for another 3 hours on one engine, which we did, to get there before dark. As I\’d been to Santa Cruz back in 2009, I knew that the anchorage was usually awful (bouncy and rolly) and also it\’s very crowded with two major reef systems making entry without an engine a more than a harrowing experience.

Soon after we arrived, our agent came aboard and brought along Edwardo Gallardo, the local mechanic.  This experience also did not turn out well.  We made the mistake of not getting an \”hourly rate\”, but he wouldn\’t give us one.  We we\’re more or less stuck in that he was the \”Yanmar Dealer\” and really the only diesel mechanic available.  He insisted on removing the engine to take it to his shop, which though difficult in an anchorage was do-able.

After removing key parts, we used the boom with a block and tackle and also our electric main halyard winch to bring the engine out of the boat and then carefully put it in a water taxi.  You\’ll see the photos in the companion PHOTO GALLERY. It was needless to say, a bit of an ordeal.

The next day, Edwardo opened up the engine and declared \”all was well\”, that we hadn\’t damaged anything when the oil pressure went to zero and everything appeared to be as it should. I turned it off so fast when it happened (less than 20 seconds), I was quite sure no additional damage had been done.

The symptoms we\’d had in addition to the leaking oil at the crankshaft was an extremely high crank case pressure – yes in both engines. To alleviate this, Nikki\’s old dear friend Ken Dickinson from Norfolk, (East of England) had emailed me and suggested to remove the oil filler cap and this indeed did lower the crank case pressure significantly. What I didn\’t know and Ken of course could not confirm without seeing the engines, but suspected was, that the cylinders had been improperly prepared to accept the new rings. It turns out they should have had the cylinders bored out which measurements would have confirmed, but this was not done in Panama (or by Gallardo in the Galapagos).

The long and the short of this was, that all he did was charge me an indecent amount of money and replaced the oil seal on the crank shaft. This clearly was a band aid.  He also (in the boat), replaced the starboard engine oil seal and then promptly left for Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida taking his family on a vacation that I paid for!

So as the old Spanish saying goes, \”Vaya con Dios\” (Go with God). He went by air, we went by sea and two hours after we would leave San Cristobal for Santa Cruz, both seals failed again. There would be no point in going back as we wouldn\’t see Edwardo for at least two weeks. He would have told us this was a \”new problem\” and just generally pee me off more than I already was.

We made the decision to limp on to Isla Isabela which would be our last stop in the Galapagos.

Now I\’ll digress and give you some of the nice details about our travels on Santa Cruz, most of which you will get by seeing the photos at the link above.

Nikki is always good spirited and never lets the Universe get her down. I scream at the Universe and just get over it. She\’s certain I\’m mad, but it\’s really my way of just getting over the frustrations. It\’s never aimed at her and once done, it\’s basically out of my system. You might say I\’ve been known to bay at the moon!…:-)

After having spent now about $12,000.00 USD between Panama and the Galapagos, our engines were barely usable where before we did anything, their only symptom was low oil pressure and we were incompletely burning the fuel. It needed to be fixed, but could have waited till we got to Australia.  The odd thing about this season is that everything I\’ve done to proactively prevent an issue has backfired.  You\’ll hear some more of those tid bits as we catch up on the blog. I\’m sure the price tag (it would literally triple in Tahiti!!) lets you feel \”my pain\”…:-)

In that spirit, Nikki and I did some wonderful touring of a private Tortoise Reserve, the Charles Darwin Center and took a day trip to the Island of Baltra just north of Santa Cruz with a tour group.

Enjoy the photos in the accompanying PHOTO GALLERY again, you can link to them here: Photo Gallery – Santa Cruz Island – The Galapagos Islands

I\’m going through the next set of photos at Isla Isabela and our trip across the Pacific to the Marquesas and we\’ll be posting more very soon!

KIT (Keep in touch)

Scott and Nikki – currently in Papeete Tahiti.