Spazolas and Birthdays

Tahiti- July 9 -11th

Mark spent most of the day, July 9th, working on the fresh water pump and figuring out exactly how it works and trying everything possible to resurrect it. He only had one page of documentation, and it was in Italian, since it is an Italian pump. He had a maintenance kit that contained replacements for all of the moving parts of the pump. He replaced all the existing parts with the new parts, but it still did not work at more than half pressure. We went to shore late in the day to see if we could find Michel, a mechanic who works at the docks.  When we were there we ran into Karin and Jean-Francois from Intiaq, coming back from the Carrefour with their son-in-law and a huge pile of groceries. Their daughter, son-in-law and 3 year old grand-child are all visiting for a few weeks and they have been stuck here waiting for their luggage to arrive for 4 days. Jean-Francois is always so nice about offering to help on the boat, and despite having his special guests on board, he offered his assistance the next day if we needed. The mechanic, Michel, said he would come by the boat at 6:00 P.M., so we went back to the boat to wait. It was a gorgeous sun-set over Moorea, but Michel didn’t come.

On the 10th, my birthday, Jean-Francois called to offer his assistance. He came over with a birthday gift for me – a Swiss chocolate bar all wrapped up as only Karin knows how to do it – including sprigs of fresh basil from her little on-board garden. Mark had already gotten the pump going at half pressure, and when J.F. came over to help, the both worked on the problem for an hour and a half.  J.F. helped reset the top pressure for the system to one-half of what it is so the pump would shut down when that pressure was reached.  J.F. had to leave as his daughter was very anxious to get going – their luggage had been delivered at 3:00 a.m. and they were all ready to sail to Moorea. As they sailed away, J.F. talked with Mark on the VHF, with Karin translating, still trying to help resolve the problem. I had slipped away to shore to call Ben and Hannah for my birthday.

Later, Mark and I set out for town to try to find a new U.S. made pump, as it seemed that was the best solution. All of the chandleries are a bit out of town, so we took “le truck” into Papeete, but then had to
walk through a very industrial part of town to find the stores. It was the port area, filled with warehouses and trucks and dirty exhaust fumes.The first 3 chandleries we went to did not have what we wanted (of course), so we set out for the 4th and furthest one. After walking a little bit and not finding it, we  stopped at a coiffeur to ask about the address. The proprieter was so friendly – he looked up the phone number of the place, called them, and then told us it was too far to walk and he offered to drive us there. Thank goodness he did, as it was quite far, and we never would have found it. The store was excellent, and they had a very good pump for us – at only twice the price it sells for in the U.S. – a real bargain around here. We bought it and then found a bus back to town, and eventually back to the marina. With pump in hand we stopped at one of the restaurants at the marina ( Pink Coconuts), and enjoyed a delicious birthday dinner. An entreprenuriel young woman with a nice digital camera was taking pictures of the diners, and she took a great picture of us, which we bought as a souvenir of my 54th birthday.

Today, when Mark was putting away some of the spare parts from the Italian pump he noticed that the maintenance parts list included two items called “Spazolas”. These spazolas had not been included in our
maintenance kit as they should have been. Mark opened up the motor that drives the pump to check the status of the existing spazolas, and lo and behold, found that one of them was extremely well worn and suffering from overheating. Mark cleaned up the worn spazola as well as he could, and put it back in, and found that the pump now worked at nearly full pressure. Eureka! We could now shower (which we did!), and then the hunt was on for matching spazolas, since the worn one on the pump will not be reliable. So off we went to town again, to try to find these parts – they are actually carbon brushes, but they need to be the exact right size to work on our pump. We retraced our steps to all the stores we went to  yesterday, plus a whole bunch more – and found only a few spazolas, and none that were a perfect match. We will have to make do with the existing pump, and worn spazolas for now – and will replace the whole thing with the new pump once it fails again.