With a patient buyer waiting on Tulum and different adventures dangling ever so tantalizingly in front of us....we're ready for Tulum's big diesel heart to roar to life again.

We’re waiting on parts.  With different adventures dangling ever so tantalizingly in front of us….we’re ready for Tulum’s big diesel heart to roar to life again.

Tulum crew, waiting on parts.

Waiting on parts for your boat in a foreign country is both a mental game and a rite of passage I suppose.  We’ve done it before.  Parts take time to get to some of the wild places cruisers like to go.  It’s often hard for Type-A folks to understand the world doesn’t revolve around them or the boat, but we must keep this in mind; because folks in other countries often have much different outlooks on life than we do.  The “get it done now or else” attitude we often bring with us from some westernized countries doesn’t always hold water in third world environments.  More often than not, YOUR sense of urgency isn’t shared by others, no matter what kind of empathy they might have for you.  The same sense of urgency that a mechanic or electrician had in the US isn’t always shared in other countries….WHY? This doesn’t always work for the folks trying to scratch out a living.  And, there’s also expectations that you bring for what services will be provided:  the boat will be kept clean, mechanics will bring consumables, parts and their own tools….like in the US?  NOPE, time to get past all that.  Mechanics often leave the boat (and engine room) worse than when they started, ask us for consumables, ask for us to buy parts or borrow our tools and do not always take pride in their own work.  Why?  I’m not always sure, but I think it’s a mix of simplicity:  parts are not always easily available, they did not bring the parts with them, the mechanics simply don’t have all the tools you might have and they may not realize the consumables needed.  In some cases, the mechanics simply didn’t have the money to buy gallons of coolant or oil but didn’t want to let you know that.  So they ask you to buy it for them or give them the money in advance to buy those materials.  Completely normal.  Sometimes it’s a pride thing.  Pride in the work?  That’s an individual issue.  We’ve had mechanics who cleaned up spotlessly and we’ve had mechanics who just left our engine room a complete bombed out mess.  Luck of the draw I guess.  But don’t ever forget that YOU have a voice as the boat owner, project manager and the person who’s forking over the cash.  There’s a nice professional way to voice those concerns or there’s other ways to let folks know you don’t love oil dripping on the teak or gashes from metal parts.  I’ve done both, always striving to deal with folks in a professional manner but occasionally allowing emotion to take over because of immediate concerns.  We’ve found that just being present and caring about our boat shows people we’re involved (although we’re involved way more than that).  Another reason that work gets done is that we live here on the boat full time, it’s our home so we’re naturally here when and where the work gets done (or NOT done).

This website and all of our stories are published from a cruising sailboat in Panama.  We’ve been waiting on engine repairs and parts for a bit, but the crew has trouble with stagnation.  We’re kicking ourselves because we did not get to the San Blas Islands or Bocas del Toro or see any of the Caribbean except the inside of a marina, but we can’t do much about it.  In the meantime we always try to keep looking forward.  We’re considering all of our options for next adventures- from looking at another boat to looking at what kind of traveling we want to do….with a Great Dane and boat kitty.  Those will be upcoming chapters.  In the meantime, we need to get Tulum’s great big engine heart beating again and make sure it’s healthy and happy.

Wikus (of Wikus Marine) working on our shaft in northern Panama


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3 Responses

  1. This reminds me of why I do just about everything in the maintenance and repair realm myself, at the land home and on the floating one! Things get just as dirty and damaged but I don’t have to be mad at anybody for it. Stay Positive!

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