In Search of a Nipper

Date: 10 February 2018

Location: Anchored off Calcutta Creek, Marsh Harbor, Abaco, Bahamas   LAT 26° 32.204  LON 077° 02.623

Weather: Partly Sunny, 82°, Moderate Wind, ESE 16 Knots


On Friday last week Captain Brian took a ferry from Great Guana Cay to Marsh Harbour Cay to retrieve the fuel injection pump from the freight forwarder after it spent 3 days working thru Customs. He reports the ferry ride itself was quite the adventure.  A full boat – as it was quitting time on the island and was packed with construction workers, along with the weekly rotation of resort guests – plus a cargo of several chickens (in cages), something that resembled a goat (or a really ugly dog), workers, tools and general freight. About 80 souls and three critters – on a boat listed for a capacity of 70.   Fortunately the wind was light and the seas were calm.

Saturday morning – the breeze was up but “what the hey” – it was time for the weekly Farmers Market.  Joyce along with Kimberley and DDD (Designated Dinghy Driver) Brandon from “S/V Take Me There” braved the bouncy ride in to the marina with coolers in hand.  We were encouraged by a local the day before that this is an event you don’t want to be late for. “Be early or go home empty” and she wasn’t kidding. The competition is fierce for fresh vegetables, fruit and bread.  Our intrepid Shore Party was up to the task and secured a 5 pound chunk of Cauliflower, lettuce, tomatoes and fresh bread.  Then a quick stop by the local grocery store for a few more items and a stop at the hardware store completed the morning adventure.  Meanwhile back here on Paws, Captain Brian and Captain Steve (who were quite happy to let the ladies handle the shore excursion without them) installed the injector pump and got the engine fired up.  Good feeling after almost 2 weeks.  Changed the oil and filter, checked the transmission fluid and buttoned everything up – all ready to head out the first of the week.  The Crew and friends celebrated with a great lunch enjoying some of the treasures the ladies secured from the market and afterwards enjoyed a couple of rounds of Joyce’s Famous Pain Killers.  The wind piped up into the low 20’s in the evening so we were glad to be in a secure, protected anchorage.  We watched a couple of movies (Capt Brian got to pick this time) and drifted off to bed.

Sunday morning brought light rain and settling winds – perfect for washing off the deck. A few boat chores and the crew headed off to Nippers for the Sunday Pig Roast and People Watching Entertainment.  The Nipper Mobile meet us at the landing and provided a golf cart ride to the bar strategically located high up on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic. An awesome view out over the Ocean and a great view of the waves breaking over the barrier reef just off shore.  The crew enjoyed their picnic and “several” Nippers were consumed.  We ran into some friends, Eric and Danny on “S/V Chinook” that we met the year before while anchored in West Palm near the Palm Beach Sailing Club.  After an enjoyable afternoon, the Nipper Mobile provided everyone a lift back to Grabbers Beach Bar in time for the Super Bowl Viewing Party by the pool.  A front row seat of the Big Screen, pizza and overlooking a fantastic Sunset across the water provided a post card moment. A “Super” day by all accounts.

We were up early on Monday morning, secured everything above and below deck for the day’s trip to Marsh Harbour.  All is ready to go so we turn the key and……..not the purring we were hoping for.  Checked the obvious (in neutral, fuel valves in correct position, battery good, oil level good).  Alarm indication from “The Magic Black Box” says  “Electrical Fault – Service Engine”.  Great – could they possibly be a bit more generic and vague?  A little research in the Workshop and Maintenance Docs provides the classic phrase “For Electrical Faults Contact Authorized Volvo Dealer to Diagnose Engine Codes” – Oh Joy! –  Checked what we could, the wiring that was disconnected working on the pump, verified the Aux stop switch was open, checked the connectors going to the injectors, engine sensors and into the ECU (Engine Control Unit) – all seemed to be intact.  Verified correct voltage to the ECU and HIU (Engine Interface Unit) – all appear to be okay.

Fine, be that way, after all we’re a sailboat right?  We Don’t Need No Stinking Engine…..  (OK so maybe that’s not entirely true but it sounds good).  Time to have a mechanic check it out and maybe provide some direction.  As it turns out, the sea gods are with us and there is one located in Marsh Harbour.  So we did what sail boaters do best, furled out the sails, made fast the sheets and headed south. We dropped the hook right outside Boat Harbour Marina.

Next day the mechanic came aboard with his special Authorized Volvo Dealer Diagnostic Tool (code named Vodia) and connected it up to Paws’s Magic Black Box.  After several minutes and some button pressing on his laptop he did what every great mechanic does – scratch his head and announced “Can’t seem to connect to the HIU.  Never seen this issue before. I hardly ever work on this model engine. Need to go back to my office and contact the Service Center in Virginia”.  The next day he came back with “They recommend that we need to change out HIU and see if we can connect with it to download the engine alarm codes”.

Of course the closest “HIU” is at the factory in Sweden (yep the Sweden that is next to Norway) and has to first go to Greensboro, NC to get “programed” to match the “Driveline ID” of the ECU, Transmission and Engine so they all talk to each other and then get shipped to the Bahamas. What that really means is we get to spend a couple of weeks here in Marsh Harbour.  If it weren’t for Sunny Skies, Warm Temps, and a Fresh Breeze a sailor could almost get a little grouchy.  Captain Brian was tempted to fly to the Miami Boat Show that happens to be going on this coming weekend and personally “discuss” the situation with a Volvo Manger at their booth.  The Admiral reminds him that it’s only Sales Types that attend the Boat Shows and how the discussion would probably

not accomplish much.

So we will enjoy the sights and sounds of Marsh Harbour, Hope Town, and surrounding area this week while the part makes it way to us hopefully by Thursday or Friday.


Joyce and Brian Clark

S/V Pawsitive Latitude

+1 239 898 7646

Facebook – The Saga of S/V Pawsitive Latitude

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