Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another Red Letter Day, sort of

It's been almost a month since the new engine arrived in the engine compartment. I'm sure if we had ever done this before, we could have moved more expeditiously. Carefully modelled (by Doug) and less carefully fabricated (by the machinist) motor mounts occupied more than a week of our time. The air has often been blue with aggravation.
Anyhow, the engine started on the first cranking and seems to run just fine. There's an odd noise from the transmission in reverse, more than a hum, less than a whine, but no rattle or clanking. None of the handful of 'dock doctors' could figure it out. We're coming to think 'bearing'. I'm sure we'll get used to the sound, especially if we keep moving forward.

We've almost reclaimed our living space from the cabinetry, tools, bottles of fluids and boxes of hoses. Good thing, because our visas don't have much longer to run and hurricane season's creeping this way. But we're still putting things back together, neatening up, restocking the boat, looking for Universal Red engine paint to repair some chain hoist dings, etc.

it's also been a couple weeks since we dispatched the rat down the river in its adhesive trap. That was Rat Number One. Rat Two was a wilier animal; he/she escaped the glue trap, did a rat-tail veronica with our expensive Victor Rat trap, and began to turn his nose up at peanut butter, in any location. What other bait is there?

No more anthropomorphism from me! This rat opened our foil packs of salsa and refried beans, gnawed at the floor under the fridge, shunned a full strip of fatty bacon, teased us by moving baits he didn't intend to eat. This rat caused us to stand rat watches, in case the glue trap took a hit, caused us to store our vulnerable foods in the oven and freezer and caused us to move our sails and extra lines out on deck. In steamy April Honduras, we sleep with hatches and ports closed or solidly screened, hardware cloth in the dorades, boards in the companionway.

We bought rat poison, warfarin, (can't use that word without thinking of my father, who I think was rather pleased to have his own blood thinned by so generic a product). But the rat turned its nose up at the pink pellets and at the green pellets.

So one day the taxista Javier. told me I needed the liquid poison. That's the 'dead within 2 feet' stuff I'd been looking for. But I didn't know to look in the pharmacy. First Javier bought me a syringe, (15 cents). Then, in another place, he got a little bottle of 'Rayo' $1.25 and indicated that at the first bite something would swell up in the rat's mouth and it would die. I should wear gloves, he said, and wash my hands. But I could wash out the syringe and use it for something else later on!

Everything I know about poisons I've learned from Agatha Christie. It takes only the tiniest bit to kill the vicar, the interloper, or the captain. Rayo's bottle has a skull-and-crossbones, and the indication to induce vomiting and get a stomach pump-out if it's ingested, but seemingly anyone could buy the stuff without any question. Vicars, interlopers and captains, beware!

And rats too. I've got a lifetime (!) supply of Rayo. Today the rat finally started to stink. It must have taken a tiny nibble of an injected Bimbo baguette as it moved it around the cockpit locker. The rat died aft of the cockpit lockers halfway to the propane locker, under a bag of dive gear. Doug grabbed its tail with the 'feely grabber' tool and swung it to the river. Tonight I'm going to sleep well for the first night in weeks.


Anonymous said...

Becky says: This does not make me wish I were there.

Anonymous said...


Congratulations on a successful engine change. You are now the NW Caribbean Net's expert on removing engines, installing engines and Kubota engines. I will make the announcement tomorrow.

Just in case you are left with a residual vibrating prop problem I have the formula that should help in solving the problem. Fortunately it comes in two versions - the engineer's and the laymen's explanation:

For Engineers: (illustration a complicated scientific formula)

For non-Engineers:

This is Sinusoidal Motion: Big-boobed girl jumping rope

This is Harmonic Motion: Big-boobed girl shaking side to side

This is a classic combination of
Sinusoidal & Harmonic Motion: Bigger-boobed girl rotating each side independently.