Broken Genset Fanbelt and Lunch at Cala Mia
Bill was a never ending source of stories and we spent
many hours on the veranda of Casa Ventana having cocktails and
learning more about the island, region, and family.
Ariana is also a wonderful person, and we learned that her
family and Bill's have been intertwined for several generations here in Panama.
His second wife, he married her recently after knowing her for
all of her life. Ariana is a wonderful hostess too,
and we were never short of snacks, hors-d'oeuvres, wine, beer, and lively
diversions while we were visiting.
The time flew by and by the time we got back to the boat it
was already getting dark. Before we left, they invited us to
go with them to lunch, soon, at a nearby resort called Cala Mia.
The next morning, Sunday, as is the normal course of events,
after checking the weather and SSB nets, we ran the generator
to recharge the batteries on the boat. About a half hour after
we started the generator, it got very hot and shut itself off.
There was a burning smell and we could hear something boiling
and dripping in the compartment. When I opened the generator
compartment, there was coolant all over the place and it was
obvious that the generator had boiled over. As it was very
hot, I decided to wait several hours for it to cool down before
exploring the problem any further.
In the meantime, we took the dinghy out for an exploration.
About 2 miles over water brought us to the anchorage just off
the fishing village of Boca Chica. We stopped and talked with
a visiting tourist on one of the docks near what appeared to be
a fancy hotel, but she was not able to provide us with much info.
We took the dinghy further up the channel, scoping
out the landing to the town, but decided to belay an actual
shore visit to another time. We returned to Rhapsody later
that afternoon and did various boat chores. I decided to attack
the genset on Monday morning, so we had a quiet night on Rhapsody.
On Monday morning, very early, I opened the
genset and determined, as I'd hoped, that the fan belt (which
turns the fresh water pump) had broken. Much better that than
the alternative (a broken water pump). However, when the fan
belt broke, it wrapped itself tightly around the crankshaft and
it took much pulling and tugging to get it unwound. There were
pieces of fan belt shot all over the place so it was quite a mess.
Finally, I got it cleaned up enough so that I was satisfied, and
put a new fan belt on it. A few weeks before I had had to
replace a relay. Now the fan belt needed replacing.
Thank goodness we had gotten a "cruising spares" parts kit for the generator
before we left San Diego and we had all the necessary parts!
Since I had the generator open, and it was getting about time,
I also changed the oil and oil filter in the generator while I was at it.
With that out of the way, around noon, via some shouting and a
series of hand signals, Bill re-iterated his invitation to lunch
at Cala Mia, which we accepted. By the time the resort's
panga arrived to ferry us to the restaurant, with a man named
Beto at the helm, it had started raining pretty steadily,
so we were soaked by the time we got to the restaurant, about
a mile away over water. However, it was so pretty there that we
were in good spirits as we did a brief tour of this unique place.
The staff surrounded us with concern, getting us drinks
right away and in general making us at home. We met Beto's
wife, Dianna, who was to be our waitress. We also got to
meet the owner, a nice Italian lady named Vittoria, who
told us a little about how her and her husband had sailed
here and built the resort over the last three years.
Then we sat down for a lunch that can only be described as fabulous.
Our mouths watered over the Ceviche, and the Corvina,
as well as the Chicken Brochettes, were out of this
world. And the place was so unique and beautiful that we
felt like, well, like we were in paradise.
During the lunch we found out more about Bill's family as well.
Not only do they (does he) own Isla Ventana, but he also owns another
nearby well known island called Isla San Jose, that we had passed on
our way here. His cousin owns another nearby island as well, and
through the continuation of stories we learned that the family
was extremely well connected in the region, having been one of the
first Spanish families to arrive in Panama in the 1500's.
Finally, after the wonderful meal and great conversation, it was
time to return to Rhapsody. By now the rain had cleared
up and we had a nice run back where Beto expertly brought the
panga up and let us off.