Anna Marie and I left Dominica for Terre-de-Haut in the Isle de Saintes. For one, we had heard it was beautiful. Secondly, our German friends Stephan and Michael were there and we were hoping to see each other one more time before they head back home.
The Christmas Winds were howling so we had a boisterous sail north with winds approaching 30 knots. Let’s just say we made good time.
The mooring field was full so we had to anchor farther out than we would have liked. With the winds blowing day and night, the anchorage was a bit rolly. We could have moved to a more protected area, but that would have meant longer and wetter dinghy rides to shore. It’s all about trade offs.
We explored the quaint town and did indeed get a chance to get together with Stephan and Michael the morning after our arrival. We had plans to meet that night for dinner, but something came up on their end and they ended up sailing north to the mainland. Hopefully, we will be rejoined next season.
We got back to the boat that evening, and after starting the generator to charge the batteries and make some water, she decided to shut down on her own. The codes indicated that there may be a shortage of fuel. I changed the filters the next morning, only to find that now she wouldn’t run at all.
Not knowing any mechanics in Guadeloupe, we decided to sail back to Martinique.
With the winds still howling, we headed out the next morning to Dominica.
After another fast sail, we landed back in Roseau Dominica.
Strong winds were forecast well into the future. So it was more fast sailing down to Saint Pierre Martinique and then to Le Marin.
We arrived safely, and the mechanic we had contacted came to the boat as promised the day after our arrival. He suspected it was the high pressure fuel pump, but as it was carnival in Martinique, it would be a week before we would get it back from testing. As we were getting some blow back on the intake side of the engine, I was concerned about the possibility of bad valves in the head. While we waited for the results of the pump testing, I decided to pull the exhaust elbow for inspection. I had read on the Amel user forum that the elbow can become clogged with carbon. After removal, we found ours to be about 75% clogged while the exhaust manifold itself was almost completely clogged. I spent a couple days cleaning the carbon out of the elbow and the manifold, excited that I believed we had found and solved our issue. I felt confident that the pump was going to test out just fine, and that the generator would fire up as soon as we got it back on. Unfortunately, I was a little too optimistic. The pump did test out as being fine, but the generator would still not run. A compression test showed that we only had compression in one of the three cylinders that was up to specifications – two were bad. The back pressure from the exhaust not being able to escape the cylinders must have broken some of the piston rings. We have two options – rebuild the engine, or replace the generator.
Neither of these options were going to be completed anytime soon, so we headed south for Saint Lucia, where our daughter Kristin and her boyfriend Fabien were due to join us. We won’t have some of the creature comforts the generator provides, but nevertheless, I’m sure we are going to have fun.