| The fishermen present Douglas with their dilemma|
Yesterday, as Bernadette and I were getting our diving gear ready to dinghy to the reefs to go spear fishing, a Kuna ulu full of fisherman whom we'd met the day before paddled up to Ithaka. When we'd first met them, they were under power, their ulu full of fish, octopus, squid, conch, crabs and lobster, and we'd happily lightened their load, buying crab and fish. Now, here they were paddling, one man waving their prop in the air. Sure enough, they had the exact same problem as we'd had... "Little do they know, they've come to the prop doctor himself," said Bernadette, as we examined and nodded. The rubber hub on the Kunas' shaft had given way some time ago. As a repair, they'd drilled several holes—11, to be precise—and inserted what amounted to poorly-fixed set screws (some as large as 3/8"). But all of them had slipped away, vibrated free, sheered, rusted out, or for some other reason just skipped town. I radioed my partner in prop crime, Frank on Simba, whom I knew would enjoy helping these guys as much as I would. We sent the fishermen off to fish and went to work on the project. From our grab bags, Frank and I found several bolts that were fairly close to some of the holes. We drilled out three that were roughly 120 degrees apart, tapped them for our bolts and screwed them down with a hope, a prayer, and some Loc-tite, a chemical that hardens like glue in grooves and stalls things from vibrating loose before nightfall.