Friday, February 28, 2014

Watermaker Blues

We love our watermaker -- the device that takes salty seawater and turns it into sweet drinking water.  It is economically crazy.  The cost to buy and operate the watermaker is higher than the cost of buying water from marinas, etc., in the places we've cruised.  But the convenience factor is hard to beat, since we don't have to plan trips into the dock to tank up.  And there is value in the feeling of security that we'll always have plenty.

Our watermaker is made by a company called Spectra.  It is designed to use the least possible energy.  Since electricity is always scarce on Callisto, this feature is very worthwhile.  However, it means that the watermaker is pretty complicated, and that means maintenance.

A watermaker works by pumping seawater to about 850 psi (60 bar), and forcing it through a reverse osmosis membrane.  Unfortunately, the high pressure pump on our unit developed a tiny crack.  But big enough to spray seawater all over the place.  So we had to get it fixed.

Now come the challenge of cruising in out-of-the-way places.  To repair the unit, a big chunk needed to be sent to the manufacturer in California, worked on, returned to Bonaire, and installed.   This is obviously not a cheap proposition.  Most of all, it takes time.

The original estimate was 4 days to get to California, a week on the repair bench, and then 4 days back to Bonaire.  A bit over two weeks.  Guess what?  Its been three weeks, and still no confirmation that its left California.

Normally, a week or two wouldn't matter a lot.  However, we have our whole haul-out process scheduled to start on March 7.  That's not only the boatyard, but also a hotel and a rental car.  Changing all of that would (will?) be very complicated, and also risk running up against our airline reservation on March 13.

We still have some hope that we can get the unit and have it installed by the middle of next week, so we can (just) keep our schedule.  Keep your fingers crossed!

No comments: