Quote of the Month

"Not all those who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 1954.

“We must change our attitudes toward the ocean. We must regard it as no longer a mystery, a menace, something so vast and invulnerable that we need not concern ourselves with it … Instead we want to explore the themes of the ocean’s existence—how it moves and breathes, how it experiences dramas and seasons, how it nourishes its hosts of living things, how it harmonizes the physical and biological rhythms of the whole earth, what hurts it and what feeds it—not least of all, what are its stories.” Jacques Yves Cousteau, 1910-1997.

"It's the glory of the sea that has turned my head." Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, 1894.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grendel and Grendel's Mother

Uruguay and assistant

Grendel and Grendel’s mother were misunderstood monsters in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, Beowulf, considered among the oldest literary pieces in the English language (Old English). Those misunderstood, mysterious creatures that delve in caves, dark and underground, surfacing only when they cause problems, most often provoked by humans, which can lead to danger or even death. I think of Andariego’s propeller shaft as Grendel, and the engine as Grendel’s mother, both intertwined as Grendel.
Andariego hauled out at Isleta Marina
Tuesday, June 28. Andariego was making a strange bumping noise when accelerated gently in reverse or forward. It was hauled out for a check. The bushing and PSS (packless sealing system) in the propeller shaft, Grendel, were replaced, and the problem solved. The propeller shaft starts, as an umbilical cord at the end of the engine’s dark cave in the sailboat’s gut and travels deep underwater as the monster’s long arm, ending in the propeller. While hauled out, Andariego was in Salomón’s care, as he said, “…con amor y cariño” (with love and care). Andariego’s bottom was cleaned, and the sides shined. It’s pending a super deck wash, due to little water pressure in the marina. In the epic poem, Beowulf cut off Grendel’s arm, provoking the wrath of Grendel’s mother. No need for such drastic measures.
Broken transmission dipstick
and filthy filter
Saturday, June 25. Grendel’s mother, the engine, so attached to her child, had her periodic maintenance. No need to wait for her to attack. The pre-emptive measures were: oil and diesel filter changes, gaskets, oil change, impeller, and replacement of a broken transmission dipstick. Two hours later, the engine mechanic, a very savvy old timer, Uruguay (nicknamed after his country of origin), asked me to start the engine. He stood there listening, as I stood behind the helm watching him and wondering why he was taking so long. He was listening. After a pregnant moment he said, “Suena bien.” (She sounds well.). How sweet the sound! If I could only learn to hear Grendel’s subtle sounds, like Uruguay! He is truly an engine guru.
          A little TLC (tender loving care) may appease the monsters for sometime. We’ll visit their dark realms again some 300 engine miles from now, or in a year, whichever one comes first. Or then again, before, if they decide to attack.
Grendel appeased