Day 128, Year 5: Two Compressors, but No Freezer
Date: Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Weather: Hot and Hazy
Location: Bolgatty Hotel Anchorage, Cochin (Kochi), India

Three frustrating weeks and a thousand dollars later we find out that we may not have needed a new compressor after all. So now we have two compressors but no freezer. A different team was sent today. They thought they were coming to fix a refrigerator, not to install the new compressor. They had no knowledge of the previous problems and it took Mark and hour to try and explain why we had been told we needed a new compressor. And then it took ALL day to do the installation because the new compressor had different connectors from the old one so the day was spent making new connectors. When it was finally connected, the compressor worked great but this team is saying that the problem is a leak in the expansion valve connected to the cold plate or the cold plate itself. And that in order to diagnose this, the cold plate has to come out and go to a shop. We honestly don’t know what to do. If we take out the cold plate, we have no idea if anyone here can really get it reconnected corrected. So tonight we are sorting through the options. We can remove the cold plate ourselves so we know it is done correctly, but then if there is a problem they can say it was because we removed it improperly. We can do nothing and just not have a freezer for the next eight to ten months, but then we have the same problem when we reach South Africa. We could go to the Chagos and then return to Thailand or Malaysia in June to get things fixed, but then what? We would either have to stay there for another year or head south to Cocos Keeling and across to Mauritius and South Africa late in the season. That is feasible, but it means we would miss seeing Madagascar. All I can say is that this is just no fun. So that’s great news from Windbird for today. I hope I can be a little more upbeat by tomorrow.

I left the boat today before the refrigeration team came just so I would not be in the way. My birthday is on Friday, so I decided to go over to Fort Cochin and buy myself a birthday present. Our settee covers are micro-fiber and have been wonderful, but where we sit on the port settee cushion constantly, it is wearing. So I went off in search of some sort of cover. In doing so, I learned all about pashmina and Kashmir wool. The pashmina comes from the beard of the goat and the Kashmir comes from the stomach. When the pashmina is truly authentic and in natural colors, you can smell that it is real. Some scarves are hand embroidered in the finest embroidery that you can imagine. They are out of sight expensive. One scarf costs $200 US and would be $600 in the United States. It takes ten goats and one month of labor to produce such a scarf, so I am sure they are worth it. I just can’t afford them. But they were thrown over my shoulders and I was walked to mirrors to try to persuade me that I just had to own one. I resisted. And there are so many beautiful quilted wall hangings here. I was sure I could find one that would make a great cover for the settee. But unfortunately, all of them have sequins sewn on and they just wouldn’t be comfortable. But I did find an embroidered silk throw rug that had just the right colors, so I bought that. I also found a State-supported cotton shop where pants and shirts are made as you watch. Everything there costs 150 Rs which is about $3.50 US. I just had to buy a few shirts and colorful baggy pants for women that are so popular here among tourists. I love them for their comfort and their kicky colors. Unfortunately my good day ended when I returned to Windbird and found that things weren’t going so well. I just had to sit in the cockpit and read for the remainder of the afternoon while the work continued below. The refrig team didn’t leave until after 6 pm and if they return tomorrow morning, I think I’ll leave again!

Day 129, Year 5: Birthdays
Day 127, Year 5: Strike in Kerala