After anchoring for the night next to Isla Cerralvo, a few hours south of La Paz, we all woke up feeling very well rested (especially Perk). It wasn’t too long after we’d hauled out the anchor that Luke noticed one of our fishing lines was heading in the wrong direction. Excitement grew as the line was pulled in and it became clear a large, shimmering, brightly colored fish was on the other end. We’d finally caught a Dorado! Also known as Mahi Mahi or Dolphin Fish, this guy is probably the most beautifully colored pelagic fish, and definitely one of the best for eating.
While walking about, we ran into a local sailor who’d done the Ha-Ha and recognized Kitty from Cabo San Lucas. After chatting for a bit, he recommended a man named Mario with whom to talk about our engine troubles. Mario came aboard El Tiburon later that day to help us diagnose the problem. He was a gentle 70 year-old man of few words, all of them being in Spanish. Although passable Spanish is spoken by members of our crew, our linguistic capability does not include the vocabulary necessary to discuss a diesel engine. Luckily, I’d purchased the book Spanish for Cruisers (which includes sailing relevant terminology) as an afterthought while shopping for other necessities at West Marine before we left.
During Mario’s consultation (for which he refused compensation), he identified two important components of our engine problem.
1) The smoke from the engine was ‘gris,’ which although it sounds like ‘grease’ and we at first thought he meant we were burning oil, actually means grey, and that’s good because it’s not blue or black. So the engine is fine.
2) While in neutral, the cooling water output was healthy and increased as the engine revved higher. But while in gear, the water output was decreased by half and didn’t increase with acceleration, which suggests there is a blockage in the exhaust system.
Aboard El Tiburon, Mario is now referred to as “The Oracle.”