The wind dropped as predicted last week, and we have had much nicer conditions here since, including the swell subsiding so the mooring has been more comfortable. We had planned on taking the dinghy over to the small island of Klein now that the chop had improved, but unfortunately the outboard motor started to play up again. It took a long time to start, once started ran wonderfully until of course we stopped and tried restarting. The starter rope also snapped on us when we returned to the dinghy at Karels dock one day, which meant rowing back to the boat. Luckily we had a spare, but still it just didn’t want to start easily. Jez dismantled the carburettor several times, replaced the diaphragm, gaskets, and cleaned out the jets. We even replaced the fuel line, bulb and tank (our old one was leaking anyway) incase we had debris in the fuel. Then the throttle cable broke, the last straw. So we took the costly decision to buy a new motor as we really don’t want to continue with such an unreliable one, our old Mercury 15HP was 20 years old so it has done very well but just isn’t economical to repair.
After some research and debate we visited both the Yamaha and Suzuki dealers on the island, both offering unbeatable deals on their 15HP’s. The Suzuki is 4 stroke fuel injected (with a 3 year warranty) whereas the Yamaha is 2 stroke (and a 1 year warranty) and therefore still has the carburettor problems. It may have been coincidence but we saw several Yamaha 15’s in for repair in both dealers. We have taken a chance on the Suzuki which claims to be great on fuel economy and emissions, and the guys at Bonaire Marine Centre were so helpful, Jez had taken our mercury carburettor in earlier in the week for them to look at and test for which they didn’t want paying. They even picked up our dinghy and took it to their shop for a much needed clean and to commission the engine, bolting it to the transom. All part of the service.
The Suzuki is so quiet, we can have a conversation without shouting whilst underway. Fuel economy is amazing, it uses at least half the fuel that our Mercury guzzled and we plane at lower speeds. It came with a 12 litre tank, half the size of our old one, and Louis the Suzuki dealer told us we would get the same miles from the smaller tank as we used to get with our large tank, he really wasn’t joking. We are so very pleased with our choice. It is slightly larger and a few pounds heavier than the Mercury, so we have had to make a few adjustments to get it lifted on the davits and secured under the solar panels without damaging anything. Now we have 20 hours run in to complete, a great excuse to get over to Klein for some diving and we have really enjoyed our dinghy rides which makes such a change.
Our second problem has been the kicker on our main boom, it has a gas cell inside which helps hold the boom up without using the topping lift. The gas cell must have gone on the sail from Curacao to Bonaire without us realising. Luckily there is a Seldon dealer here at the small boat yard just north of town, and through them we have ordered a replacement which is now on its way from Sweden. Another good price, cheaper than we can get it from the UK, a refreshing change here in the Caribbean.
So now the good stuff, diving. The sites off Klein really do have the most beautiful corals and tons of fish, one late afternoon at the Divi Tree site we had an encounter with a 5 foot Green Moray Eel . They usually hide during the day showing only their heads out of the hidey holes but this day one came out to say hello. We were just turning around to go back and moving up to about 30 feet when he swam underneath me, settled and looked back at me for a few seconds and then swam off over the coral and under some rocks. It’s hard to imagine something so huge being so graceful and elegant gliding over the sea bed.
We were pleased to find the small wreck just outside the marina entrance, despite the lack of reef it was teaming with life.
We may have another week or so here until the gas cell arrives. This really isn’t a bad place to be ‘stuck’ waiting for parts, and now we have a reliable motor we can go further afield to visit dive sites we haven’t yet ventured to. Meanwhile, happy hour reveals another beautiful red sky as the cruise ship departs.
“Barn on Fyre”