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Date: 25 Dec 2010 00:06:00
Title: Putting our stockings out for Santa

Friday night, still in St George

I got up early this morning as I wanted to do lots of things. In the end, I didn't get to all of them but still a productive day. First on the agenda was getting my mum and dad set up with Skype. This meant me Skyping to their land line and talking Enid through setting up the program on Andrea's old Mac PowerBook. I can't picture exactly how things look on a Mac so it took a while but we got there in the end and they could see me although I couldn't see them. Not a bad result, though.

I spoke to Andrea after that and she was at her mum's house with a very trim-looking Helen and they were already drinking Champagne so plenty of Christmas spirit flowing there. She then rang Enid and got the video working so I'm hopeful that I can have a full video call with the folks on Christmas day which will be great. Then it was Cind logging onto Skype so I had a chat with her and Christine and even Louis so it was all very festive.

Bill and I then got the tender in the water and I printed out all the workshop instructions for removing and adjusting the carburettor. Very scary. I decided to try the simplest thing first and just adjust the idle speed up a bit so we got the engine started and did that. It seemed to make a good difference to the stalling and not too much difference to anything else so we've left it at that for the moment. At least we haven't made things worse - I hope.

I spent some time in the afternoon talking to Gary about Ham radio frequencies that I could use in emergencies to call for help on our SSB and also how to rig up an emergency antenna. That's a good thing to know as any damage to our mast would likely render our aerials useless at just the moment when I'd want to use them to call for help. Gary also took advantage of our shower facilities so he's all clean for Christmas.

Bill took a load of washing to the launderette and then departed to visit a distant relative who lives down near Hamilton. I don't think we'll see him until tomorrow. I decided to try and locate the source of the water coming into our heads on the last passage. I got the lights removed - they were covered in salt - and then realised that the headlining was screwed into place rather than just popped in like most of it. I dug the silicone out of the screw-heads and got them out, then had to man-handle the headlining itself out. Took a while but I got there in the end. Once inside, it was clear that the water was entering through the turning block fitting on the toe-rail.

Once again, the fundamental problem is down to the teak being used as a structural member. It has no strength whatever and should only be used as decoration but that's difficult concept to get across to a boat-builder. They see wood and think it's strong. Once again, the force on the fitting has compressed and cracked the teak, bent the bolts and let in the water. I've got a couple of potential solutions to the problem but they'll both require having parts fabricated so I'll just put a load of Sikaflex in there for the next bit of our voyage and sort it out when we arrive.

Kali and I have just got back from having dinner out together. We went to a great little tavern by the waterside and I had some wonderful local Rockfish. It was a nice change having just the two of us chattering away. We even met Graham, one of our local friends on the way down, who said I'd better hurry along as my daughter was waiting.

We're just having a cup of tea now and then going next door to watch Some Like It Hot with Mike and Big Bill. We may be a long way from home but watching old movies should make it feel like proper Christmas. Hopefully, I'll get to use my snorkelling gear tomorrow, at least I will if the forecast improvement in the weather materialises. We're hoping for a day or so of light winds before the next Low goes past us with more stormy weather.

Harvey

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