Week ending 18 November 2007
has been so windy that yesterday the wind generator took the batteries from 90%
to 100% and I had to keep checking and turning switches on at two hourly
intervals all night to use up the power.
I have not had the meter to tell this before, but it was wonderful. I could have tied up the wind generator,
but that seemed ungrateful.
put the engine on and ran the watermaker, the ppm count was still too high, so I
decided to use the alkaline cleaner.
The cleaning fluid has to re-circulate round the system, this means
sucking the fluid up with the extra intake hose and taking the exit hose off the
through hull fitting and into the bucket of fluid. Now that I had relocated the filter
under the sink in the bathroom and the exit hose was in the cockpit locker this
brought an extra dimension into the process – the hoses would not both reach the
bucket. I could have taken the time
to get a longer piece of hose, but initial laziness precluded this, so I had to
scoop the fluid from the bucket outside at the exit end and pour it back into
the bucket inside at the intake end; for 15 minutes. Short cuts are not always the best way
to do things as there was then the cleaning up at both ends and the trail down
the steps in between buckets.
Before I had finished the process, the catamarran behind me decided to up
anchor. He got close and I put the
engine in forward for a short burst just to make sure I was out of the way. He has watermaker problems too, they are
so great when they work. I also
took the pipes apart at the filter end and re-assembled them with sealant in the
hope that I could get rid of the air in the system.
checked the engine, the coolant level is ok, but I had to top up the oil. I have to continue the cleaning process
for the watermaker tomorrow and I will check the oil again. I may have to tighten up the filter or
the nut at the bottom of the engine as there is some oil on the engine bilge
floor, but this could just be the oil dripping down from when I changed the
filter and refilled the tank.
was too sunny to do anything outside until the afternoon. I tidied the remaining locker with the
sewing things in. I tried to run
the sewing machine from the inverter, but the inverter did not like it. The inverter squeaks even when I plug in
the computer and I am sure it was always ok with that. I was going to make a handle to use the
machine without electricity, but I have not come up with a solution to
this. I spent the afternoon sewing
up rips in my sailbags by hand.
have a bikini I like, but the red in the trim ran and it has to go. I had bought some material to make a new
bikini and started to unpick this one to use as a pattern.
With all these amps pumping into my batteries I treated myself to
watching a DVD – Pygmalion, the black and white original film, which made a nice
so yesterday I may not have felt that I was level with the boat as far as
maintenance goes, but I definitely felt that I was up there near the front. Today I was to learn my place
continued with the cleaning process for the watermaker. I made the effort to get a long piece of
tube to add to the waste drain, because this time I had to re-circulate the
cleaning fluid for 30 to 60 minutes and that was not going to be by jug from
bucket to bucket. I ran the
watermaker off the batteries, it is 12v, but I had never done this before;
however since my batteries were 100% I thought I would try it. I re-circulated and then I flushed the
system. Then I ran the watermaker
for real, with the engine on for half an hour. I was getting lots of bubbles in the
tubes, the filter container kept nearly emptying and the ppm count was too
high. This was bad enough, but I
had taken the extra tube off the waste outlet and the short tube had fallen back
into the cockpit locker so the waste water was going direct into the
bilges. I admitted to the boat that
I was not winning, I was not even coming close to any of the minor medals and I
could not hear the river people on the SSB, but tomorrow Dick may be round here
and then I can go and listen on his radio and even talk to them; should I turn
round and go down there?
have declared that the problems with my in mast furling are just down
lubricating the mast fitting and making sure the ropes and blocks are free
running. I will consider getting
new ropes for the inhaul and outhaul and maybe blocks with bearings in. I changed the inhaul block at the mast
for one with bearings and will see what this will do. If determination counts for anything I
should win this round.
filled up as many empty botttles as I could find from the tap to try to empty
the tank. I checked and the tank
water was coming out at 200ppm and so I am suspicious that perhaps the water
tester has been playing up, perhaps it flashes the 1 in the 000 column by
mistake. I retested all the bottles
and anything less than 300ppm I poured into the main tank. I checked the tank and the water level
is about 6 inches from the top, which means that it would have taken me for ever
to empty it. I put the bottles over
300ppm back on the deck, I will use this up first for washing etc, before using
the tank water. The reading is
still well within potable levels and it is not as though I drink it, I use
bought water for that at present, although I will convert to watermaker water
when, not if, I win that battle.
This made me feel much better as I could now reclaim the bathroom, which
was previously full of the bottles of water that have gone in the tank. Time for another round with the
watermaker, there is no reason why it is worse now than it was. I took the filter cap off and removed
the fittings and put them back with non-setting sealant, previously I had used
ptfe tape. I put everything back
together and ran the watermaker again, on the batteries as they were back up to
100%. It takes 16amps and so if I
can keep the batteries charged then I can run the watermaker without running the
engine. I will just have to stay in
windy anchorages and try to make water whenever the engine is running, which I
do try to do, I have not had much opportunity so far. It took longer than I would have
expected, but I did get the ppm down to under 300 and so then I ran the water
directly to the tank, something that I have not done for a very long time.
was nearly 3, I had been working for 8 hours, I was exhausted and this was the
second day that I had not been ashore.
It was Dicks birthday and they had been in a different anchorage, but
they moved round and had saved me a piece of chocolate cake. I rowed in to join them at the marina;
they had pizza, I had cake. I do
feel that I have made slight progress today; let’s hope the boat lets me keep my
Another birthday, my daughter Kym is 24 today – Happy
dinghy smelt of fish and I realised that this could only mean that there was a
fish in it. Sure enough there was
the remains of a small fish squashed against a plank. Yuk. So I had to clean that up.
wanted to speak to the guys up the river on Dicks SSB, so 7.15 I set off for
where they were anchored over the other side of the bay, against wind and tide,
but I could not find them and my handheld would not work. My handheld radio works fine every time
I turn it on on the boat, but it fails to work whenever I take it off the boat,
I am not sure that it is quite aware of its purpose in life. Eventually I gave up and decided to go
back to my boat and call them from there.
After 45 minutes hard rowing I got back to see their boat just up from
mine, so much for they were not moving until after the Net.
went over and spoke to Bob and decided that I would continue
went to shore again and found a piece of used plastic plumbing pipe in the
building site. I asked in the
office and they said I could take it.
It was 2” round and 3 metres long and I put it in the
had been trying to get hold of Judy, she knew I was here, but last week she had
Dengue Fever and was too ill to move.
Dengue is endemic, always here, and there have been quite a lot of cases
and a few deaths in the islands, but it is not an epidemic. Judy came over from the bay her boat is
anchored in and I picked her up at the dock. I had not mentioned that I would be
rowing and the dinghy was not large.
Judy had brought a piece of rigging to have repaired and with that and
the pipe it was a bit of a squash, but we made it back to the boat. John came out and towed us the last
little bit and I put the pipe on the boat and then he towed us to the other dock
where we could walk and get the bus.
went into St Georges and I got the spark plugs and outboard oil – must put the
outboard on the dinghy some time soon.
I also got some coolant and a battery water tester, I had ditched the old
one when I got maintenance free batteries at the end of 2005. In the chandlers I met the folks from
Tixi Lixi, which was a nice surprise.
They are also part of the ‘Are we having fun yet?’ group. Then we got on another bus to Spice
Island Mall and had a sugar cane juice drink with ice from the street vendor and
it is refreshing, not sweet.
Trinidad whenever we went to town our treat was Rituals for a smoothie or coffee
and donut and they had opened a branch here yesterday, so that was a must
do. I took the opportunity to buy
some painkillers without aspirin, just in case I got bitten by a Dengue
mosquito. It was good to get out
and meet people.
cut the tube up and have two pieces cable tied to the pushpit. One has the danbuoy in it, ready to
deploy, whereas before it was tied on to stop me losing it as the previous tube
disappeared at some point. The
other tube is just for the boathook.
I have an original 3” tube which now only has the broom and fishing net
in, it was crowded with the boathook in there as well. Just about every inch of my pushpit is
now used up.
was keeping one side deck clear and the other one for clutter, but even so it
needed tidying and re-organising.
The diesel and petrol cans and the wood planks are now tied nearer the
front where it is wider and the aluminium poles are inside on top of the diesel
tank, one day they will be just what I need for something. The diesel tank is a bit too full and
leaks a bit in the rolling.
Then it started to rain. I
did some washing and hung it out in the rain as it saves the trouble of a final
rinse. It was squally and rough and
I took the awning down. It
continued to rain and I put the raincatcher up in the cockpit. It is not very successful and still
needs thought; I did fill a 5 litre bottle, but that is only a small amount of
what I missed.
was not really cold, but it was very overcast for the rest of the morning and
all afternoon. The only real way to
deal with this sort of day is to resort to a book and snuggle down in the duvet
– I do not expect many people admit to doing that on their Caribbean
watched a DVD in bed, but the computer overheated and hibernated just before the
end of the film.
After missing all that rain yesterday I had another go at the
raincatcher. I have moved the hose
fitting down nearer the front and gathered the front seam to make it like a
triangle with the top cut off, rather than a rectangle with the hose in the
middle. Now all we need is some
There was lots of water in the dinghy, but because of the fish I am going
to rinse it a few times before I use that water.
ran the watermaker, not because I need the water, but because it has to be run
every 3 days in this heat. I ran it
off the batteries for 15 minutes, but the water was not quite up to potable
standard - more washing water.
lunchtime I watched the last 5 minutes of the film I had sat through 1 hour and
40 minutes of last night. Then I
went to dominoes.
weather was supposed to be turning rough overnight and
had rained and there was water in the catcher, but the material had bagged and
made pools all around the hose fitting; it was 6am and I felt duty bound to go
and give it a hand. I was rolling
the water around over the hose fitting, but not much was going down, so I went
and got a mug to help it along.
There was always the possibility that the tank was full to the brim and
could not take any more, but that was so faint that it was not worth
checking. I checked anyway and, no,
the tank was not full. I was about
to go back and collect the water in a bottle when the wind picked up and all my
lovely water was thrown out.
made a cup of tea and waited for the next shower. I had not bothered to put the hose clip
back on the pipe several adaptations ago and decided this would be useful as it
may help keep the material down in the wind, but not a lot. There is a surprising amount of water
collected in a short shower and this bit I saved. When you think that the buckets have
been out all night and they only have a little in the bottom the idea of a
raincatcher is a good one. Really
it should not be a stretchy material, but it will do while I perfect the
This morning the batteries haad dropped to below 90% for the first time
since I had them fully charged on the way here. I used to not worry until they were
right down to 50%. This was running
the watermaker yesterday, but it must be better than putting the engine on. I plan to move when the weather improves and
that will certainly mean motoring up the island, so there should not be any
problem. It is odd how your idea of
what is important changes over time.
I have been away from mains electricity and water for two months now and
am learning how to survive without using the engine at all for charging the
We had a trip into the Mall and
then it was still wet and horrid, so we spent the afternoon playing
Nice sunny day, the batteries
were back down to 88.5% this morning, but hopefully the sun and the wind will
maintain them. My hands and lower
arms are getting more and more painful, just when I need to do