August 4th & 5th
August 3rd – After posting our last blog entry, the Admiral’s brother Keith and significant other Donna Martel drove over from their rental on Deer Isle for a visit. We had a great time exploring the packed Jordon Pond House parking lot. This was Keith’s kind of place and he reluctantly drove away when we suggested a less crowded venue. After explaining that he did like people he just didn’t like any these particular folks we knew we had made the right decision. The Admiral and Captain had never been to the Asticou Inn, which sits as a regal lady looking over all of Northeast
Harbor. Since Keith and Donna had not been either, we were all happy to find an empty parking space and an outdoor table looking out over the Harbor and out the Western Way. The Inn has existed since the 1880’s, with this particular building dating to 1905. It was a beautiful place and we were all thrilled to find the popovers on the menu to be every bit as good as those at Jordon Pond. After an entertaining and very informative visit (for the Admiral learning the truth of activities from the distant past) we said good-by to Keith and
Donna knowing they were dying to get back to shopping in Ellsworth. In the late afternoon an Eastbay 43 power boat with skipper Andy Pease and son David arrived. Andy is our son-in-law, and he had just made the trip to Northeast from Casco Bay in a little over 5 hours. The voyage would last 3 days aboard Pathfinder! Our daughter Joanna was away on a business trip, but Andy and David were planning on meeting her the next day in Belfast. We had another great visit, and Andy & David
helped us consume one of the meals that had been made ahead of time for the Fundy
– A foggy morning in Northeast Harbor and the Admiral and Captain snoozed a bit longer than normal, so they were just clearing the breakfast dishes when Jeremy, the mechanic from Hinkley pulled alongside in a 20 foot RIB with twin 150’s on the stern. Jeremy was a very polite young man with a hard working attitude and we all hoped he would have the answers to Pathfinder’s lingering engine issues. He had a brand new raw water pump and thought that the installation would go quickly. He also had two new sensors for the oil pressure and engine temperature alarms. He had not been informed about the engine tachometer, which had not been working since the engine had started up again in Southwest Harbor. As he worked on removing the old water pump a problem quickly arose, as it seems Westerbeke designed the removal (and installation) with a contortionist in mind. One of the nuts could only be accessed with an open wrench and moved about 1/8 of an inch with each swing. Needless to say the removal process was very slow. As soon as it was out Jeremy had concerns about the amount of oil
on the bearing side of the pump and particularly the metal shavings that were present. He consulted another mechanic ashore who came out and made the assessment that there was nothing wrong with the pump, but it was never seated correctly when installed three years ago before our last Bahama trip. This explained the water leakage and possibly some of the oil that had been found in the drip pan. Remarkably the pump had operated this way for three seasons. With a file, Jeremy was able to smooth up the housing and reinstalled the pump with a new gasket. The same slow process was repeated when putting on the troublesome nut and bolt. The next problem arose when the engine was started. The raw water pump seemed to be operating properly but suction from the sea was elusive. The Captain assisted in priming the pump and all the hoses. Nothing seemed to work and since by now it was well past lunch hour it was decided we should all take a break. Jeremy was getting a bit weary since he admitted that he had been up since 3 AM and had gone out to tend some of his 150 lobster traps that he works as a sideline.
After lunch the Captain reprimed all the hoses and pump one more time, tightened the hose clamps, and after a little coaxing with the throttle the pump picked up suction just after Jeremy boarded. The next items were the temperature alarm sensor and the oil pressure sensor. The temperature sensor was easy as can be, but the pressure sensor was a different shape from the original and would not fit past the gear shift cables on the side of the engine. More consultation was done with the bosses but they did not have any answers, and besides they wanted Jeremy on a job up in Somes Sound now! Jeremy patiently explained his situation plus the fact that the non-functioning tachometer was a job he had not been told about. In Jeremy’s opinion the electrician from Southwest Harbor should have been put on the job for the tach since he had been the one working on all the wiring, but he gamely tried to solve the problem. He and the Captain went over the wiring diagrams and after a continuity test it was decided the tachometer was no longer functioning. By this time it was the middle of the afternoon. Jeremy was bushed and a fit frustrated so it was decided that he would return the next day to see what could be done. All the Hinkley electricians were out straight with other work, so we would not see anyone else. Jeremy’s manager called several times and pictures of the oil alarm sensor location and the tachometer were sent over the phone.
The Admiral was able to get away from all of this for time as she, Andy and David took the dinghy over to Asticou Terraces (accessed from a dock on the opposite side from the town). She reported the Thuya Gardens as beautiful as ever and a few blueberries were picked on the hike up. Without a final resolution to the problems, however, the look on the Admiral’s face was of deep concern. The Captain probably had the same worried expression. Mate Rob was to rejoin early the next morning and we still weren’t sure if the electrical problems were to be resolved. In addition we wanted to check out the water pump and not necessarily do it crossing the Bay of Fundy. We did not have an answer to what caused the 20 amp breaker on the engine to trip, and whether the tachometer failure was part of the problem or caused by it. We were due to start our crossing to Nova Scotia in 36 hours but we both agreed that we did not feel comfortable doing this with the engine electrical concerns. The weather window did not look good for the coming week, which would mean our Nova Scotia time would only be 2-3 weeks in length depending on when we crossed. Did we want to make an overnight trip across Fundy to cruise just the southwest coast of Nova Scotia and return to Maine in late August, or cruise up to Cape
Breton with either long pushes up the coast and skipping most of Nova Scotia, or arriving with very little time in Cape Breton? From all we had read, making the crossing to Yarmouth, on the west coast, did not have strong appeal due to the strong tides in the area, and limited cruising options. All this was being weighed knowing we were in pretty good cruising territory where we lay, and the boat would not be available to use in September if it wintered up in Cape Breton. So it was a very tough decision after buying the charts, guidebooks, and doing the planning through the winter and spring, we both decided that we want to do the trip as we originally planned: cross over as close to the 1st of August and take two weeks to cruise the coast to Cape Breton and then have the remaining time in the Bras d’Or Lakes. This will be done but not this year.
So my apologies to all you blog readers. No Nova Scotia adventure this time around. I will continue the blog for the rest of the cruise since I know some have not done any cruising on the Maine Coast. For the rest of you, stay tuned we’ll have another adventure to post some day!