A little update…
Boat – we’ve been out of the water for two weeks. Two very busy weeks! Dennis is currently in Florida picking up the needed parts and will be back here in Costa Rica at 2am. It was actually cheaper and faster for him to fly to Florida than have the parts shipped to Costa Rica and deal with the lengthy time in customs.
The engine problem actually turned out to be pretty simple and exactly what we were expecting. The coupler that connects the upper and lower shafts of our sail drive (think transmission) had slipped down onto the lower shaft and was no longer engaging with the upper shaft. Therefore, the propeller would not turn. There is a tiny piece called a circlip that sits in the middle of the coupler to hold it halfway onto each shaft. That piece is about $2 and it was the culprit. So the failure of a $2 piece caused this whole mess. We’re replacing the coupler as well since it was worn down on the upper edge from being out of place. We are also replacing the circlip on the other engine as preventative maintenance.
Unfortunately, we found more problems when we hauled out. We typically have to paint the bottom once every year or two (depending on how warm the water is) to prevent growth and creatures from attaching themselves to our boat. That was on our planned maintenance schedule for next hurricane season since we did not do it this past hurricane season. However, the last time the bottom was painted a different type of paint was used that was not compatible with the previous paint. So the paint is just coming off in chunks. We had different colors painted so we could tell when the layers were slowly wearing off (what it is designed to do). We knew it was flaking off but didn’t know why it was happening. I didn’t realize how much had come off until the boat was out of the water (Dennis is the one that cleans the hulls and I do NOT swim under the boat). Could it have waited until hurricane season? Well, possibly, but at risk of more paint flaking off and then the hull could have further damage from those pesky little critters. So our boat had layer upon layer of bottom paint scraped off and a new barrier coat and paint applied. She looks good and it will hopefully prevent any other damage.
The other maintenance item on our list for later this year was the replacement of the bearings on our rudders. We had the rudders checked and they both have quite a lot of play suggesting the bearings are indeed wearing out. Could it wait a little longer? Again, yes, but at risk of damage to the rudder shafts which would be way more expensive to replace.
Our boat is approaching 20 years old and just like a house, several things need to be taken care of. Next big item on the list is replacing the standing rigging – this is all the wires/cables that hold the mast up and provide a solid structure for the boat. Compare it to replacing the roof on a house. We just remind ourselves that even with maintenance, we’re spending a lot less money than we would if we were living in a 20 year old house with maintenance, electric/water bills, cars, etc.
Ministry – while we’ve been very busy working on inside projects on the boat (I put away Christmas and deep cleaned among others, Dennis has worked on a very long list that he’ll have to share later), we’ve also been working with some missionaries in the Quepos area. We are staying at a new ministry center (so new that a lot is still under construction) with a missionary couple that’s been there for 14 years dreaming of the day this will be complete. We’ve joined them in some of their weekly activities, such as ESL class at a men’s recovery center. We also met another missionary family (with 5 kids!) that pastors the local bilingual church. We’ve been attending men’s/women’s Bible study, Wednesday night church dinner and Bible study, and of course, Sunday worship service. We’ve met some great people and have enjoyed getting to know them.
Thanks to the generosity of the family in Quepos, we have a car this week! We dropped Dennis off at the airport in San Jose (3 hours from Quepos) on Tuesday. The kids and I headed up to a Life Impact Oasis house where the host family here provides member care to pastors and missionaries. I’ve enjoyed chatting with them, sharing our ministry and comparing notes on member care. The kids are having a blast with their kids too. We’re up in the mountains and having a good laugh at ourselves over how cold we are. It was in the upper 60s last night – we’ve obviously acclimated to Central American coastal temps. Dennis will get here in about 12 hours and tomorrow we’ll head back to the boat. We’re hoping to be back in the water early next week and maybe get to take some families out for a sail!
Thanks for your continued prayers for us and our ministry!