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Hiding from Mother Nature!
raining and blowing hard!
12/17/2009, Black Sound on GTC

Another couple of interesting days....

The addition of proper instruments (oil pressure, water temperature) is proceeding slowly and if anyone can find me a two foot high Yanmar diesel mechanic with 6' arms and tiny hands, I will gladly pay his airfare to the Bahamas!

We spent a couple of lovely days enjoying the bright sunshine at Manjack, exploring the ocean beaches, and visiting friends, and recharging our batteries from the solar panels. We even found some wonderful tree trunks on the northern beach which will form the beginnings of some lovely totem poles to decorate the beach/property of Bill and Leslie.

With six bags of garbage, three bags of laundry, no wine, no rum, no vegetables, no cheese, no food, and no gas for the dinghy we raised our anchor and motored south for 45 minutes to GTC to catch the high tide which allows us to enter Black Sound, where we have found a mooring to ride out the incoming northern front.

It's 9am, the rain is beating down, and the wind is blowing.... it's important to know when to hide from mother nature!

Two loads of laundry have been done, the pantry partially restocked, friends invited for dinner, new friends met, garbage off loaded, and we are collecting rainwater in our starboard water tank while I update the blog.

It is expected to blow hard for the next couple of days (gale force) so we'll relax on the mooring, I'll finish the instrument installation (hopefully) and we've arranged to rent a car and drive down to Marsh Harbour to retrieve our daughter (anne-marie) next Tuesday. We'll also take advantage of the opportunity to drive down to the southern tip of the island and also refill our propane tanks, buy more food, and explore some of the "blue holes" that are about...

Lots of fun!


Lots of weather
Hot and humid! close to 90F
12/14/2009, Manjack Cay

Due to the cloudy weather, the solar panels are not doing much, so we've started the generator an hour a day to top up the batteries so that the freezer remains cold. The higher winds (45kph) have also made Louise nervous about the anchor and she has trouble sleeping with dreams of broken anchor chains, snapped bridle ropes... boat drifting into the rocks.... So, I spent a couple of hours yesterday installing a 12V lighter socket in the forward cabin (bedroom) so that we can plug in our portable Garmin GPS, zoom into our current location, set the anchor alarm to 50' and comfortably watch the boat swing bank and forth in the heavy gusts of wind, knowing that the anchor is secure. She slept somewhat better last night, but still got up at 3am in order to collect some of the rainwater into our starboard water tank. I spent the afternoon working with my daughter Michelle on establishing the proper dimensions for a major support beam in the farmhouse. The original second floor joists were 2x6 spruce spaced at 24" centres with the result that over a 20 foot span they have dropped 4" in the centre. A new beam will be needed to be installed to support the second floor and eliminate the 4" drop across the second floor. Michelle installed a 6X8" laminated beam (made from 2x8 spruce) but after an couple of hours, it sagged and then broke under the load.... lot's of fun! Manjack Cay enjoys the company of free range chickens which provide eggs and meat for the island and keep the grass short and well groomed.... The sun is expected tomorrow for a couple of days, so that should solve the low battery problem.

The sun arrived as expected this morning, but the wind died completely so the no-see-ems are back.

The solar panels are working hard to keep up, but it might take a couple of days to totally top them up.

The work on the guages has commenced with initial results quite positive, although it would help if I had a wiring diagram of the boats electrical system.

Louise is baking bread and a Rummikub tournament is being planned. We'll sail south to New Plymouth when the wind allows it, and drop of our garbage and restock the cupboards with food.

Life is grand and we're falling into a daily routine adjusted for the weather which seems to be predominant east winds with a cold front blowing in every 5-8 days to stir things up, and ensure you're on your toes for the sudden wind shifts and re-anchoring requirements.

Camping at it's best!
I hope everyone has completed their Christmas shopping!


A cooler day... 70F with a sweatshirt
Completely overcast, grey and windy
12/11/2009, Manjack Cay

A quiet, relaxed day at anchor doing routine chores and getting organized for some bigger tasks over the next few days.

The cloud cover has resulted in no solar recharge, so it's a good thing the generator is now working. I spent a couple of hours reading my various technical books about battery charging, and have decided to attempt to keep them at 80% of fully charged as much as possible. With no sun this will mean running the generator at night while we watch a movie and make water.

Time will tell if this works or not.

I have also started into the somewhat difficult task of installing a temperature and oil pressure guage within the cockpit. These instruments need to be visible, illuminated at night, and not interfere with the "idiot lights" that come standard with the boat. Simply disconnecting the lights results in loud alarm buzzing, and I prefer a fully redundant system.
The space available is very limited and the access to it very difficult unless you are two feet tall with six foot long arms.... another project!

A long walk on the beach.... dinner last night with friends to decorate a wonderful Christmas tree, two hours spent adding distilled water to the numerous lead-acid batteries on board... I used more than a gallon of water topping things up, updating maintenance records, and slowly trying to shake off the hustle and bustle of North American life, and get into the "island time" where things can get done slowly and well, and one has the opportunity to relax and enjoy the process, rather than to rush to complete one task so as to rush to the next one.... it'll take some time to slow done after the busy autumn we've had...

I hear the snow has arrived in Ottawa and that the cold is on the way as well..... happy I'm not there to enjoy it!


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