Jupiter’s Way

The Adventures of Motor Vessel Jupiter and Her Crew

Espar Drills

Jupiter’s Espar diesel cabin heater is broken, and if not fixed soon, trouble will come aboard.

There are so many fishing and commercial vessels in Southeast that marine services appear abundant, but rarely is anyone eager to mend an orderly yacht with cash money aboard. Most are more comfortable crawling into a dark and greasy fish hold to bust knuckles on a piece of 1980’s iron leaking hot hydraulic fluid, only to await possible partial payment at the end of the fishing season.

However a service tech named Dan chooses to tolerate us, and he arrives on our third day in Juneau, on time as promised.

He shows up looking like he just crawled out of that fish hold, stooped, strong, and pushing an immense hand-truck with a scuffed plastic tool case and a torn up #4 Amazon Prime box containing a nest of test wires and spares.

Men of a certain age have a choice when it comes to pant fashion: 1) stay with the same size worn 30 years earlier, allowing the belly to overhang as needed, seasonally lowering the time-tested trousers, pant legs puddling at the shoe-tops or, 2) purchase ever bigger pants with ever longer belts to properly fit around what was once known as the waist.

Dan is of the latter lifestyle, which decision proves effective when working in a small engine-room. He deftly squirms into a remote and snug space past Jupiter’s generator, over the water pumps, behind the water maker, and onto the exhaust manifold of the port engine, reaching the nearly inaccessible heater, jeans firmly in place.

When Dan first sizes up the work area, his twinkling grey eyes dim, and he starts making demands of the male half of Jupiter’s crew: YOU will help me, YOU will pass me tools, YOU will turn this off (pointing to a humming transformer), YOU will get HER (pointing to the female crew half), to operate the circuit breaker.

The He-half quickly becomes a bumbling surgical nurse in a civil war hospital, handing or dropping grungy drivers, scruffy sockets, magnetic retrievers and replacement parts into contorted hands resembling charred boxing gloves.

Some vessels in Juneau are continuously in need of repair and tents are erected to facilitate years of all-weather work.

An hour of Dan’s prostrate command and control yields two direct shorts of the third kind, a noise that inexplicably reminds him of Ronald Reagan, and finally a satisfying blast of diesel exhaust into our faces.

The heater is fixed. She is overjoyed. The weather improves.

The Weather Gauge: 42 Days Afloat

  • Six Days without any rain
  • Rainy Days average rain 60% of the time
  • Ambient temperatures in May: 42º – 52º F
  • Ambient temperatures in June to date: 48º – 62º F
  • Sea temperature: 46º – 52º F

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