Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 13: 06.41.010'N 052.49.973'W, 153nm (24h)

December 20, 1200 UTC
Distance to go: 148nm
Wind and waves: ENE 15-20kn, 2m
Sails: Reefed main and reefed genoa, wing and wing

Our engine stopped working with a very slow and lazy sounding chug,chug,blub, bluuub a couple of days ago. Given that the winds have held strong and we get much of our power from the solar panels this did not present an immediate issue but needed to be resolved relatively quickly as the autopilot and the refrigerator were zapping too much electricity for the solar panels to manage alone. Seb discussed the problem with the other boats and hauled out his trusty diesel engine manuals and went to work. It quickly became apparent that it was either air in the fuel lines or clogged diesel filters. Yesterday was a relatively rough day and to spend >6 hours upside down in the engine room breathing diesel (and occasionally sucking it out through a siphon to remove the air) is a wholly unpleasant experience. In addition to this is the mental angst of what we will do when we arrive in Parimaribo if we have no motor. This we resolved with our kind friends from the Victory who agreed to sail the approach (and if necessary tow us) together. After a lot of sweating and swearing and several attempts to start the engine after various fixes Seb did finally manage to get every last bit of air out of the fuel lines and with new filters our engine ran for 3 hours last night just like a charm. Whew!

Apart from that we are starting to cautiously plan our arrival. We are now approximately 24-30 hours away and, if all goes well, expect to arrive at the entrance to the Suriname River sometime tomorrow morning. The two kilometer deep waters that we have been sailing through have become 60 meters and we are starting to see more ships, signalling that we are closer to land. Feelings are a mixture of thrills, happiness, amazement, excitement, exhilaration (perhaps I am getting repetitive), a bit of nervousness and a tiny bit of sadness that our wonderful intimate family journey is coming to an end.

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