Swimming, Scrubbing, Scraping, Swinging

Moored Niutahi Boat Harbour, Apataki
Wind: East, F3 Gentle breeze
Weather: Cloudy, warm

I spent much of the morning snorkelling on the boat scrubbing and scraping the bottom. The water is very clear and the temperature perfect so I figured while it might be physically easier to do it while on the hard it is most likely going to be a lot less pleasant; hot, sweaty and dirty as opposed to cool and clean; wearing respirator and goggles as opposed to a face mask and snorkel. And when I want a rest I just flop around for a bit and watch the fish swim by, even saw a pair of graceful stingrays gliding slowly along the bottom. I have scraped most of the barnacles off, tomorrow I will probably do a bit more. The harbour is not real deep, I could stand on the bottom and the bottom of the keel came down to my waist. The echo sounder has now been calibrated using the standing on the bottom technique.

And speaking of calibrating navigational instruments, given the calm conditions and being at a short scope mooring, this afternoon I took the opportunity to swing the compass using the shadow pin. This I have found to be the simplest and most accurate way of swinging a small boat compass. The steering compass has a pin that sticks up from the centre such that when the sun is at a lowish altitude it casts a shadow on the compass card. So to work out the compass error you simply note the ship's heading, the bearing of the shadow and the time. You swing the boat slowly through 360 degrees (engine going slow ahead with the wheel over to one side) and note the heading, bearing of the sun and time at about every 20 degrees of heading – simple. Once finished recording the data you then go below, get yourself a cool drink and the navigation calculator and work out the actual bearing of the sun – the difference between the calculated bearing and the shadow pin bearing is the compass error. From there it is a simple matter of drawing up the deviation chart. Only problem with it is that for about 60 degrees the dodger casts a shadow over the compass so I couldn't get bearings for those headings. But no problem, tomorrow morning the sun will be on the opposite side of the boat and I will do a second swing and fill in the gaps. Capiche?

It sure is quiet around here. I have a feeling I am going to be the only one at the carenage but hopefully I should get good service. Having said that I can't help but wonder just how basic the facilities are going to be. I look out across the lagoon and can see a clump of trees in the distance which I think is where the carenage is located. Sure looks remote! I just hope they have plenty of water so I can clean the boat and myself each day. Scrubbing anti-fouling paint is not a lot of fun, especially when it is hot.

All is well.