Antigua ..for a while

I’ve been on a writing hiatus for a while, just sooo busy. Who would think that living on a sailboat would keep us on the go, but at the end of the day .. there’s always something. Anyway, here’s a few catch-up posts.

What was meant to be a short stop along the way to pick up a ham radio in Antigua turned into a new appreciation for this diverse island.

It started shortly after receiving and installing the new ham radio we were on our way to a remote part of Antigua , Green Island and only an hour off shore we noticed the engine was overheating. We did some quick analysis, turned it off, refilled with coolant, but the thermostat still read too high. And when that nasty alarm sounded again well, we knew had a problem.

We decided to make a tack and essentially return to the anchorge from which we just came. Luckily, we could sail back. We were able to negotiate our way into the harbor and turn on the engine long enough to get anchored. Now to let her cool of, gather our thoughts and try to figure out what happened. Mike did a cursory check and there was no water leak below the engine, but there was also very little coolant in the reservoir nor the engine??? The following morning we resupplied the engine with coolant and essentially watched it drain right out the salt water exhaust. 1. That’s not what’s supposed to happen. 2 . We do have a leak somewhere. 3. This isn’t a bubblegum fix.  Seriously, I think if you ask any cruising folk out here, aside from taking on water, engine trouble is probably the most dreaded problems. But you say, it’s a sailboat. Yes, but it’s essential for getting in and out of harbors and docks. 

We were so fortunate to find a mechanic to come out that afternoon to confirm the bad news. We had a leak in the closed coolant side into the exhaust. Interestingly, we know a few other boats who have experienced the same. Finally, the good news… it can be fixed and the engine doesn’t have to come out. Bad news, we have to find the right exhaust manifold for the engine and there isn’t one in  Antigua. Within 2 days we had located one in St Maarten and had it on order. This meant we would be out of commission for about a week.

That nasty hole amidst the blackness of the exhaust cavity is where the coolant leaked
Countless hours spent looking through online schematics and manuals 

The part took quite a circuitous route from St Maarten, to Puerto Rico to Cincinnati OH, back to PR and then onto Antigua. We watched the DHL tracking 2 or 3 times a day, nearly certain it was going to get misplaced along the way. She was in our hands just 1 week after we had found the problem. Our mechanic,Devon Norris, to who we owe our gratitude, came out on a Saturday morning and had the engine running by noon.

We took her around the harbor for a test run ,somewhat nervously, but she performed wonderfully.

We were back in the saddle, but for the next 2 weeks kept a keen eye on the temp gauge just to be safe.

We made a trip north to the remote island of Barbuda for a couple of days.

We had our friends Jay and Gayle come to visit in Antigua.

Finally have these very good friends aboard for a few days.

One wet hike to Signal Hill,..” the view was a bit obstructed by clouds and precipitation!!
Start of Caribbean 600!
This is a public bus! The horn is a meow.
Julies Kitchen where we had great roti and learned her secret recipe

Beach bumming in places we would never see by boat.

Watching the Atlantic rowers finish in English Harbor

Great times with great friends.

New sailing grounds… St Kitts and Nevis… coming soon!


2 thoughts on “Antigua ..for a while

  1. Mary Mills

    Enjoyed hearing about your adventures, despite the issue with your engine. John and I are in AZ for a couple of weeks enjoying the Sun and warm weather. Lots of pickleball to be had here. See you in June? Mary


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