Friday, 1 May 2015

The Curse of St Lucia

We've had a very busy time since we were in Dominica, so sorry about the lack of updates to our blog. We finally left our mooring off Sea Cat's early in the morning and had a good sail (much to Sarah's relief) past Martinique and back into Rodney Bay, St Lucia where we arrived well before sunset in time for the traditional sundowner watching for the green flash.
The main reason for our return to St Lucia was to have a new part fitted to the watermaker. This was not only to cure the rather annoying and intermittent squeak, but also to upgrade and service the machine. Emails had been exchanged between the UK agent and his expat counterpart in St Lucia and the relevant parts ordered from Italy, with a promise they 'should' arrive on the Tuesday or Wednesday. We arrived on the Tuesday and, much to our relief, the parts arrived on the Wednesday. A 'happy' two hours was spent by Darrell disconnecting 2x16mm intake and waste pipes (easy), a 6mm delivery pipe (easy) and 2 coach bolts, one easy and the other only removable by a double jointed person of limited stature with cushioned knees. The unit being removed was under a saloon seat and had been fitted by Darrell so he couldn't really blame anyone but himself. The final coach bolt was removed by spanner turning it a sixth of a turn at a time with a rest and arm massage every full turn.
The decision to have new o rings fitted to the piston rod that provides pressure for the reverse osmosis process was made by experience that, whilst the machine needed to 'simply' be dismantled, the "x" rings fitted to the rod and then reassembled, such a 'simple' procedure had a number of possibilities for problems and so it was more sensible to pay someone else to fit the rings and reassemble the unit. It was somewhat disturbing then to have a text and email arrive simultaneously requesting that I contact the company 'as soon as possible'!
Sure enough, there 'was a problem'. The new x rings were a tight fit on the rod and, in attempting to fit  them, one had been damaged. A phone call to Italy revealed that the new rods fitted to the machines were, 'very slightly' larger than the one in my machine but that the x rings 'should still fit'! Jon at Regis electronics couldn't have been more helpful and apologetic, having fitted many of these before, but he had not been aware of the increased diameter of the new piston and neither was the UK agent. The only solution was to order a new ring and 'very slightly larger' piston rod from Italy. Normal delivery time, less than a week, but this was Easter time. We were trapped in St Lucia again!
Fortunately we were meeting up with some friends from the UK and we're going to be around for another 5 days, but we didn't know when these parts would arrive. Our friends left on the following Wednesday and, much to our relief, the parts arrived the same day and had cleared customs on Thursday so they were fitted and the machine reinstalled the same day. We had been unable to find a double jointed, vertically challenged person with cushioned patellas and so it was left to Darrell to refit the unit under the saloon seat, meaning we could depart the following morning for an anchorage in the south of the island ready to say goodbye to St Lucia for the last time! The water maker was duly tested and worked with no problem and no squeak. Grenadines here we come.

We did manage to do a hike on St Lucia and you can see some of the photos by following the link below:

The Fruit and Veg man, Rodney Bay

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous pictures of the hike, love them! Will miss reading the blog.....