Simple Pleasures (in Bocas del Toro, Panama)

Despite my earlier misgivings, Bocas is turning out to be exactly the stop we needed. It’s nothing big — just a series of little things that all add up to make the difference 🙂 .

This cute little bird kept us (Jon) company for hours and hours on our way in here…

4-21-2014 Bird 2

We weren’t sure how he made it so far offshore, but he seemed pretty happy to have a ride and a rest for the night!

Now that we’re in the final stretches of a solution, I can show you what I meant by “the alternator fell off”…

Broken alternator mount on a Westerbeke 21 hp

…That little “ear” that Jon is holding is part of a cast aluminum cover. You know, one of those completely-custom-definitely-no-longer-in-production-jobs 🙁 Jon discovered it while installing a backup bilge pump and quietly said “Leah — you need to come look at this” (words I dread).

Aluminum is apparently not easily weldable (especially around here), so we gave Epoxy a try…

Trying to epoxy the ear back on the engine for the alternator

While that *looked* good, it lasted all of 5 minutes. Not even long enough to try to reinstall the alternator and test it!

The amazing news is that we have fantastic friends with fantastic skills, who came over and lent their drafting abilities to the problem…

Careful contemplation of a new alterntor bracket design

The men carefully contemplate a new alternator bracket design…

The result is a brand new design of an alternator bracket that is going to be *amazing* (it’s currently being built by “Kiwi Dave”, the local welder / fabricator / life saver :P)…

Part one of the new bracket design for Westerbeke 21 alternator

Yes, yes, there’s already been lots of comments on the slightly *phallic* nature of the new design… shush! It was what would work best, okay??

In the meantime, we’re in the marina. Getting in the marina was a shining moment of Brio-pride… involving a hip-tied dinghy (since we can’t use our engine without the alternator — or a lot of jury-rigging), our first piling-style marina, Jon lassoo-ing a piling as he ran the dinghy, and a perfect dock job. Which I don’t think anyone got to witness… but we still felt pretty proud 😛

Being in a marina means we’ve got access to power, water, internet, showers, laundry, a work area, a sewing area, and our friends two boats down 🙂 You have NO idea how big of a difference these simple things make to our lives and overall morale… nothing like unlimited laundry to put a smile on your face!

In another wonderful example of cruiser generosity, I asked on the morning net if there was anyone who could lend us a battery charger (we usually use the engine to charge our batteries). Franklin from “Dreamboat” came back and said that he had one we could use, so I jumped in the dinghy and zipped out (through a torrential downpour) to his boat.

Standing sopping wet, looking like a drowned rat desperate for power, I asked if we could borrow the battery charger for 2 or 3 days (to completely charge our batteries up while we wait for the alternator bracket to be finished)… he got a funny look on his face, and then explained that he was actually leaving the next morning for the Cayman Islands… so we should just keep it. Keep his battery charger?? I hadn’t even brought any money to offer him, but he insisted that we keep it (“it’ll get a little weight off my boat”). Thank you, thank you, thank you Franklin! Hopefully we’ll cross paths down the road so we can make it up to you 😀

Otherwise it’s been a good time of exploring the town, sampling the breakfast options, working on other little boat projects, and enjoying the sunshine 🙂

4-21-2014 Bocas Breakfast 4-21-2014 Bocas ColourHappy in Bocas del Toro,



Simple Pleasures (in Bocas del Toro, Panama) — 2 Comments

  1. Sounds like a good stop!
    Of course no one saw the wonderful dinghy docking, but rest assured if people had been watching it would’ve ended up a disaster. 😉

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