top of page
  • svroxytc

Ups and Downs

Here is a story of real ups ⬆️ and downs ⬇️.

February 2

Thursday: we were motor-sailing south from Deshaies Guadaloupe to Pointe à Pitre, Guadaloupe and Mark realized that the alternator wasn’t working. 😕 This is the fourth or fifth time this part has failed. Grrrrr.

Friday: Mark spent from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. rebuilding the alternator, over and over again. Finally at 3:00 he gave up 💥 Now we need an alternator shop. I pulled up Google maps and found three. One closed at 3:00 (too late for that place), one closed at 4:00, and one at 5:00. So we decided to walk to the 5:00 place. It took us 20 minutes to get there following Google Maps and when we arrived - there was nothing. ⬇️ It was the back of an apartment building. But around the corner there was a tire shop. Maybe they could point us in the right direction. No idea. But across the street was an auto mechanic. Maybe he could help. Well, his English isn’t even as good as my French, but we were getting by when an angel 😇 walked up. It turned out that this wonderful woman speaks very good English, so she was able to get the mechanic to completely understand what we needed. He couldn’t help us but suggested two other shops which, of course, were no where near where we were and by now it was after 4:00. So the woman said, “well, that’s far away. I’ll drive you.” OMG!!! ⬆️ So we climbed into her car (it is a falling-apart junker) and she drives about 15 minutes to the first place he suggested and it was closed ⬇️ but I marked it on my maps so we could come back if we needed to. Then we drove to the next place and she’s telling us, don’t come here in the late afternoon, come in the morning when there will be fewer people out, and don’t come this way, come from the other direction, it’s not so bad that way…. So, even though it’s after 4:30, and this shop’s hours list 4:30 as closing time, they are still open 😃. We talk with the guy and he thinks he can get to look at the alternator about mid-week. ⬇️ No, he doesn’t have a new one to sell us, but maybe this other place does. So we got back into the car and we drove for about 30 minutes to a place that’s way off the road (but in a very reasonable area) and Wonders of Wonders, they are open still. ⬆️ So we explain what we need and this young guy asks what kind of car it’s from. No car, “bateau” - boat. So he asks again, and I keep telling him it’s from our boat. Finally I got out a picture and show him the boat. “Ahhhh!” Well, he might have one in stock. Hold on. So the kid went into the shelves and was rummaging around. Then he goes upstairs. Then he comes back down, picks up our alternator and says “10 minutes”, gets in his car and drives off. Now we are standing around waiting and we learn that our angel owns three houses in Florida, one they vacation in and two the rent out. And she’s driving around in a beat-up old car whose windshield wipers go on and off just because. Anyway, Miracles of Miracles, ten minutes later the kid shows up with an exact replacement for our alternator. OMG!!! I pay the exorbitant price for it (boaters are used to that) and it’s ours. So we get a ride back to where we left the dinghy and only then do I ask our angel’s name, and it is Elcea. I ask for her phone number and she promises to WhatsApp me (which she hasn’t done yet) and I promise an evening aboard Roxy the next time we are in town. By the time we get back aboard it’s after 6:00 so installing the new alternator will wait till tomorrow.

Saturday: 9:00 Mark installs the new alternator. It’s not charging and it’s not registering on the RPM meter at the helm. He takes it out and checks the wiring. He reinstalls it. Nothing. He takes it out again and tests it - the thing isn’t working. I just paid 500€ (about 3 times what a new alternator costs in the US) for an alternator that doesn’t work. I called the shop, but it’s Saturday - they’re not open. Now we have to rent a car on Monday and take the thing back.

Sunday: the rental place I contacted lets me know they have no cars available. Neither do any of the other rental places around here.

Monday: 8:00 we hit the marina looking for a car to rent. The first place tells me, wait 5 minutes. Then another person comes in and tell me “no”. I said we really need a car today, even if only for a couple of hours. He has a 6-person van for 1,050€. The second place shakes his head even before I ask for a car. 🤯 Forget it, we will take a taxi. I call a phone number I have, a good driver who speaks English. ⬆️ She’s not available ⬇️, but she will find someone (who doesn’t speak English) for me. We get to the shop. Yes, they remember us. “It’s not working.” “We will test it.” Mark and I stand around. The taxi driver tells me she’s going to get something to eat 🥙 and will be right back. An hour later the shop pronounces the alternator fixed. Mark’s not sure, but okay.

Well, the taxi isn’t back. I text the woman who couldn’t come and ask her to contact our driver, since she never gave me her number. The driver shows up and drives us back to the marina, for 60€ (instead of 30). We get to the boat, Mark runs his test on the alternator and there is something still not right. Eventually he figures out that the guy at the shop never modified the new one for “external regulation”, even though we asked him to and he said that he did ⬇️.

After an hour of studying the old and the new, searching the internet, banging and wrenching, Mark installed the new and improved, externally regulated alternator.

And the sun ☀️ shone. ⬆️

16 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page