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Swing Set

May 14, 201308:37 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Harbour Island

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The nice woman at R&B asked me if I had tried Onsite Marine. I told her we were just passing through and didn't really know where to turn. I said that I'd be glad to pay them to change out our impeller, but she said they really only did bottom work and prop repair, even though the sign says "Full Service." I won't hold that against them, because this is what she did next: She gets on the phone with Onsite Marine and asks them if they either had an impeller puller, or a fine thread 3/4" bolt, then she handed me the phone.

After some negotiations on the phone, the guy I was talking to said they had a puller but he didn't know where it was. Only some other guy knew where it was and he wasn't there right now.

At this point, I mustered up all the tact that I had in my power, and asked him; since I was in dire need of an impeller puller, and I had nowhere else to turn, could he please, if the party of which he was speaking that knew where the impeller puller was, if he could please, pretty please, call him and ask him where in their building the item was? I also offered to come over and look myself if that's what it would take. I was told to hold on.

Meanwhile, I talked to the nice woman at R&B and cultivated her in order to obtain some information on some local knowledge. She turned out to be very helpful, and I learned a great deal. Our chummy conversation was cut short when I heard loud exclamations coming from the speaker on the phone I was holding.

"I found it! I found it," the person at Onsite was hollering into the phone. I would've thought he was the one who was in dire need of an impeller puller for a raw water pump on a Caterpillar 3116 marine engine!

"I'll be right over," is what I told him, and after getting directions to the place from the nice woman at R&B, I marched off in the direction of Onsite Marine.

Onsite Marine is housed on the main drag in Spanish Wells, and for all practical purposes, looks like an old "filling station," like we used to see on all the corners of any given town, before they all became On The Run or Quick Trip facilities.

I walked in and immediately saw the guy I had to have been on the phone with. He appeared to be working on a radio from the 1920s, with tools more suited for a 1950s Buick, but I was in a hurry and I could've been mistaken. He went "in back" (that's where all the good stuff is always found) and produced what looked to me like the impeller puller of which I was seeking.

I was under the impression that I was in a position to purchase the impeller puller, but quickly found out that, no, I could only borrow it. Borrow? At no charge? Indeed. I told him that even though I didn't need another impeller, as I still had another for our other engine, I'd gladly buy one from them, no matter the cost, just as a show of appreciation of letting me borrow said puller. They certainly did have a Sherwood impeller for our 3116 Cat, and even though it was $130, I bought it and promised to return in a short time with the impeller puller.

On the way back to the dinghy I stopped in at R&B and told the nice woman there how well I was helped at Onsite Marine, and to thank her for her help. She was glad to be able to help. Is this town and the people in it for real?

I'd been gone quite a while, and as I approached our boat, Rosie and Holly were on the foredeck keeping a watch out for me. As soon as Holly saw me, she started running back and forth like she hadn't seen me in ages. It's nice to be missed. Rosie even wagged her tail.

In the engine room I went; pulled old impeller out, put new one in, took off inlet end of the heat exchanger and extracted missing impeller blade parts, buttoned everything up and fired up the engine to check for leaks. Check. I was a happy camper.

Now, the nagging feeling I have is...what about the other impeller? We've put on over 600 hours on our engines since the impellers were replaced before we started out. I'm not sure how long they are supposed to last, but what I'm going to do is just keep an eye on the temperature of the port engine. If the port engine begins to complain about high temperatures, I'll know what to do. But first, I better find my own impeller puller. It's on my list.

As Rosie, Holly and I were getting ready for a dinghy ride back to town to return the impeller puller, a boater pulled up and chatted with us for a while. Robert is from the U.S. but has been around this area for 50 years. He gave us some good tips about not only Spanish Wells but some of the areas we are headed to. He was a very nice fella, in spite of him being a blow boater.

We went back to Onsite Marine and returned the impeller puller and thanked everyone profusely. When we got back to the boat, things really got weird.

Our sailboat neighbors came by in their dinghy, and I waved. They came over and we actually had a nice long conversation with them. I think it helped that while they were gone all day, having taken the "Fast Ferry" over to Harbour Island, our boats played nice and everything was how it should've been when they returned.

They wanted to exchange "boat cards," but I sadly answered that we didn't have one, even though we do, because I didn't want them to read what I wrote in the last blog about them. You won't tell, will you?

Today, we went to Harbour Island. That's Rosie, of course, and Holly at the government dock in Dunmore, on Harbour Island. It's not easy getting to Harbour Island, I guess that's why a lot of rich and famous folks come here for vacation. Imagine: we went there, too.

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