Week Ending 7 October 2007
I am back on the anchorage at TTSA. The problem with Google Earth is that it takes a straight line from one position to the next, ok when crossing oceans, but here it looks as though I have gone straight across land – I had to go round all the hard stuff, the long way.
This week I have to solve my battery power problem, I get lots of advice that I appreciate, but I need help.
The throttle modification was completed with the screw thread from the centre of an old impeller, a nut on the end and a washer siliconed into the rubber to stop the nut pushing through and lo we have a working disengaging button.
I was supposed to be waiting for help, but I managed to feed the genoa up the track and haul the sail up, back and forwards. I should have wound the rope round the drum before putting the sail up, but I did this by hand, which turned a quick minute job into a long one. The wind did not pick up until I was ready to furl the sail, which was lucky, otherwise I would have had to drop it quickly. I now not only have a working sail, I can get into the aft cabin, where it had previously taken up spacious residence.
I have a little water coming in through the prop seal, I checked this, but will have to keep an eye on it when I next use go somewhere. Hopefully it will settle down.
Four of us then went on a girls shopping trip into Port of Spain, which was great fun. Christmas decorations in the shops.
I ran the engine, out of gear, for 2 hours and charged up the batteries from 54% to 78%.
I have been given a TV/DVD, but it is mains. It should work through the inverter, but I am not sure I will keep it. I was told it was small and could fit anywhere, it is over a one foot square cube and I think the only item I have on the boat that is bigger than this is the engine.
I keep a small padlock on the liferaft just to stop the catch coming undone by mistake, or otherwise. The padlock had gone rusty and so I hacksawed it off and changed it for a new one.
Jane goes to yoga and sets off at 6.30, I cannot handle this yet. Dick stopped and I explained that I had the multimeter and the isolation block, but was not getting anywhere. The boat did not have a problem, it was the rest of us. The multimeter was working, but had blown its fuse – I did not know it had a fuse, but would have thought that it would not work without one. It worked, it just gave faulty readings, so revert to other multimeter. That was step one solved.
Step 2 was to check out the wind generator. Dick held the wires on the meter and I spun the blades as there is no wind and we got a reading. So that was ok.
Step 3 was the regulator which I should never have played with, but I thought it was dumping early so set it to maximum. 11.5 on left 17 on right, so I had turned it clockwise to the right – you have to turn it anticlockwise. This explained why the resistors had taken all the power, I had effectively turned the regulator off.
So Dick left and I put everything back together. I ran the engine for 2 hours and charged the batteries up from 73% to 83%. They are taking longer to charge up as they get fuller, I am told this is right.
The batteries had gone up on the engine to 83.5%, the fridge and the VHF were on and my batteries read 83.6%. I checked the in/out function and it was reading 0.6 to 1.4 positive. There was power going in, the engine was not on, the wind generator was not turning, it had to be my trusty little solar panel. The panel can only give 3% maximum and it was in the shade of the boom and the awning, but the sun was beating down and it was working. I was so excited that I had power going in that I told Dick and Bob and Mike. I am not sure that all these wires are really the answer, I still think that electricity is magic.
10 we got picked up and went to Trincity again. It takes at least an hour each way, but it was good. I bought a poker set of my own for the boat. It was 4.30 by the time I was back on the boat and sorted. Nobody from here was going to poker, so I could not go. It is bad enough walking along the road in the daylight, at 9pm it is seriously inadvisable. They have cut back the trees to reduce the hiding places for the bad people, but that is not enough. Then I would still have to row back to the boat and haul the dinghy up in the dark. Hopefully Bluewater Cat is launching tomorrow, a week overdue, and they will come back over here.
There was a little white dog at dominoes the other week, really sweet, possibly pregnant. I asked Mike to check her out and he said she was not in bad shape and was being looked after, so I left it. I heard today that somebody in Crews Inn complained and the dog was taken to the pound yesterday and would be put down after the puppies were born.
There was a slightly bigger dog looking for a home, so I asked someone to get them to contact me when we were back. I spoke to Deb on Giaconda and she has the dog. The vet is coming tomorrow afternoon to see several pets, they have to come to the boats, the animals cannot go to the vet. Deb is going to see if the vet will take a look at Richard, which I have established is a female dog.
The good news is that the nicer contingent in Crews Inn got the dog brought back from the pound. The British guys working on the airport had been feeding it, which is why it was in reasonable condition. The dog had been given a jab for worms, but it had induced labour. The guys have the dog in their room at the hotel where it is about to produce puppies. The mother has a home lined up now, so it is just the puppies.
I am going to check out the situation with Richard and the pups tomorrow. It is a difficult call to know what to do.
I went to Crews Inn and the little white dog was supposed to be taken by someone at 5pm, the hotel are not happy with the situation.
I went to see Deb who was feeding Richard, she was also protecting her from being taken away and time was running out. Richard was black and medium sized and hiding under the steps to a boat. I called Mike and he came and looked. Mike knows the dog and we are all going to take her in his car to the refuge on Monday and get the vet there to check her out. We shall have to see.
This evening we had a BBQ for the South African delivery boat that just came in, any excuse will do.
Today I turned on the engine, the batteries can always do with the amps, but I needed to check the watermaker. I sucked the inlet hose at the filter and promptly got a mouthful of seawater, this is a good sign. I turned the motor on and it worked, water came out of the tube and I let it run for a short while. I will run a few more times before I try using it. The fresh water from the Orinoco makes the water here less salty than other places and water production should be increased. My tester has stopped working, it takes 4 little round batteries and I will have to try and get some new ones.
So here I am. It is hot and sunny and I have got a lift into the shore and the wifi is working. I do not seem to have any problems or any jobs to do – what am I missing?
We have a get together tonight on Jean Marie, for the new TTSA manager. 40 for dinner was a bit much for one boat, so we are just taking dessers. Probably all sit in our dinghies and pass the plates round.
I did my internet and had a quick dip in the pool. It is now raining quite heavily, although still pleasantly warm. We are marooned here until the rain stops. I need to buy a bag of ice before we go back, for drinks and to keep the fridge power consumption down.
I will send this today, because tomorrow I have dominoes and will not want to bring the computer ashore. If anything amazing happens you will have to wait until next week to hear about it.
It is a truly wonderful day. I thoroughly recommend this life.