Friday 23rd March 2012 17:01.00N, 61:46.50W

Mon 26 Mar 2012 15:40
The Siren’s song

I was up at 6.30 am, not too long after the sun, following a peaceful and almost windless night.  As I sat in the cockpit eating my breakfast and gazing aimlessly around the harbour, I heard the surprising sound of a trained female voice singing nearby.  About 150 metres astern was a turquoise blue bathing cap atop a lady who was slowly progressing across the bay, and at this stage was about ¼ mile from the nearest shore, singing delightful little arias as she went.  I have no idea from whence she came, where she went, or who she was, but this veritable siren was a most pleasant and unusual surprise to greet the morning.  The turtle which briefly surfaced to breathe in the same vicinity half an hour later seemed mundane by comparison.

I have started whittling down Dick and Irene’s large collection of paperbacks, old gloves and hats, and a few hardbacks which are either outdated or duplicated technical publications.  I know that I should have been more ruthless in the weeding out, but it might be helpful to have a small library for crew and future visitors to be able to dip into, even if it does not reflect my own taste.  Nonetheless, I have earmarked half a dozen volumes for the bin and two dozen for the local book swap or gift shop, depending on what is in the book swap.  Dick and Irene showed no sentimentality regarding this, as I checked with Dick first before taking action and they clearly regard all this now as past history; a phase completed to which they will not return.

I was pleased to discover when I checked the two EPIRBs that they are not yet out of date, so I don’t need to immediately spend a couple of hundred pounds on each for new batteries, although both will come due before the end of the year.  I also ran the port engine to see if I could verify the oil leak from the sail drive/engine connection area.  Despite my best efforts, no new oil appeared and I wonder if this was simply a spillage or overflow from when the engines were serviced in Grenada in December.  Certainly the earlier oil was very clean, and after wiping up has not reappeared.  I shall check again when Rossi is here and have had a chance to use the boat more.

My battle to reduce energy consumption is paying off.  After limiting myself to just one fridge/freezer as an obvious economy while I am on my own, I discovered that the inverters (which convert the 12 volts battery power to 220V mains) are draining about 5 amps continuously even when no mains power is being consumed.  Since that alone represents about 20% per day of my useable battery capacity, turning the inverters off when mains power is not required is quite an improvement.  So much, that I have gone from running the generator two hours per day to now being on my second day without using the generator.  The wind turbines and solar panels are enough to replenish the electricity I use in a normal day.  That will end this evening though as I need to make water and will also heat water for the shower (an unnecessary luxury, perhaps, but once the generator is on it would be a waste not to use the 11kW it generates).