2012 Scarlet Macaw Protection Documentary

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A week of healing

The crew had to take this week off after getting beat down by the Raspaculo Branch trip. Our feet were torn up, all of the boats had cracks and my jeep was having electrical issues; the parking/tail lights keep shorting out resulting in me getting a citation.

My aching feet!!!

I am glad to say that my feet, and Brad's feet, are on their way to recovery. They no longer look as though they require some level of amputation.

Hmm...something's not right here.

So, I've been having this electrical issue since my last trip to Guatemala to work with the WCS crew. There was some electrical short that would knock out the fuse for the tail lights and front parking lights as well as the lights on the dash. Could not isolate it with the little time I had to dedicate to working on it. This week, I was finally able to isolate that the short was not coming from the tail lights. I looked at the wiring diagram again and saw that the front parking lights were on the same circuit. Hmmm. I took them off and there it was, a partially stripped wire on the parking lamp. Taped it up and seems to be working fine now. We'll see if it holds.

As advised by the Menonites, the buckets make excellent welding material.

Even more worrisome than my feet and jeep was the status of the 'fleet'. Cracks in all of the hulls, primarily where the bilge holes receive countless impacts from rocks on these rivers and branches. No one in the country does plastic welding to repair kayaks. You can't use fiberglass, and epoxy and JB Weld just get scraped off in a day. It has to be welded. But where to get the proper plastic?

I contacted Ocean Kayak and they have generously offered to send plastic welding rods for free. Very cool, but they won't arrive for a couple of weeks at the earliest and we need to be back on the river by the end of this week. I then noticed that the plastic buckets generally used by folks around here are a similar type of plastic. With this in mind, my plan was to experiment on the Hobie and Emotion kayaks with strips from the bucket and hold off to repair the Ocean Kayaks until the welding rods get in. I purchased a heat gun a couple of days ago for the job.

No caption needed

So this morning I tried it out and it seems to work. A friend of mine was taking a couple of tourists down the lower Macal River from Chaa Creek to the confluence here in San Ignacio and inquired if my kayaks were still unusable. I was just finishing the repairs and offered them up for use as a way to test the effectiveness of the welding job. Guess I'll find out how it went later this afternoon.

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