Contrary to what some of you might think, we do not spend all of our time out at sea. Rather frequently, the weather (mostly the wind) doesn’t allow us to go out. On those days we take the opportunity to work on the data we collected during the surveys, to revise the photos we took to determine if they are usable for photo-ID and to do general maintenance of all the gear!
“Yaqu”, our 4meter zodiac, needed a freshwater shower and finally got it! We also revived its name painted on the bow which the sun and salt had bleached over time. It looked almost like new once we finished – ready for the next outing!
However, our outboard engine finally failed us. It hadn´t been running smoothly for a while, and we had tried various things to fix the problems (related to water or dirt in the carburator, we thought). We continued to do our surveys but with some extra effort and patience. When we were in Chonchi surveying the area around Castro and Lemuy, the engine turned spluttier than usual. What should have been a 15 minute crossing of Chonchi bay turned into a 50minute journey at marine snail´s pace. We certainly wouldn’t be able to follow our fast swimming dolphins this way (Sonja suggested that we might be faster rowing….. but this met with little enthusiasm) so we had to give up and return to shore.
Working in Yaldad.
Poli, Caye and Sonja tried varies times to fix the misbehaving outboard. We even had Juan Carlos, an old friend of the project and an expert self-taught mechanic, helping us out. But all the care and attention couldn`t fix the problem, so we had to admit defeat, and send the engine to the Honda mechanics in Puerto Montt (because there are no good options on our island).
Checking the engine.
Poli and Caye with the outboard engine.
Mari, Sonja and Caye packing the engine.
Crafting a make-shift crate for the safe transport of our outboard to the mainland turned into an entertaining episode. We´re pleased to say that it arrived at its service destination safe and sound!
We´ve been land-locked for a week but tomorrow the motor will finally arrive back and we’ll try it out in Yaldad bay. We hope it will work well for the rest of the season - fingers crossed!
We’ll keep you posted on how it goes! Stay tuned ;)