09/01/2015, False Bay Yacht Club, Simon's Town, South Africa
Today was spent running around and taking care of many of the various issues that caused my black cloud day yesterday. In yesterday's blog, I actually left out a few of the issues that helped cause the black cloud to float over my head. These included not have a lady at her shop that owes us a little money when she was supposed to be there, a zipper on our clear plastic panels that enclose our stern cockpit break, and learning that a compressor part that was supposed to have been included with an overseas shipment that I had ordered, was not included in the shipment.
I tried dealing with these issues today, along with many of the others that I mentioned yesterday. Most of them were positively resolved but a few still remain.
First, the shop lady was still not there today. I talked with her dad and he said she would be back tomorrow. Her shop is right here in Simon's Town so this is not a big deal. Next, I drove over to Ottery where the compressor mechanic is. He showed me that package of parts that arrived from the US and the parts list that was included but the two little flapper valves that are needed were missing. I have since emailed the compressor company and am hoping they will send the parts so they will arrive before we leave. If not, I will have them sent to Greg and Mary, our crew who will be joining us in Luderitz, Namibia in early October. I can then install the valves and reassembly the compressor there.
Next, I drove over to a building supply store and picked up two new toilet seats. One of other seats in Leu Cat (we have three heads onboard) was in the process of breaking so when I returned to Leu Cat, I ended up replacing two seats instead of the one that I mentioned yesterday.
Finally, I drove into Cape Town and dropped the clear plastic panels with the broken zipper off to be repaired. It should be ready on Monday.
I also looked at the generator again but this time I could not get it to start. It sounded like it was not getting fuel so tomorrow I will have to inspect but the fuel pump on the generator and the booster pump that is in the starboard engine room.
Finally, Graham and I inspected the various places where our wood paneling is creaking during heavy seas and decided how we were going to inject the foam that we will be spraying between the wood paneling and the hull. I had him make us a series of 10 mm wooden plugs which match our wood grain and color that will be used to fill the holes we will be drilling. We actually will be keeping the number of holes to be drilled to a minimum since we have found a few access places which we can use to inject the foam. That work will start tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed this will work.
08/31/2015, False Bay Yacht Club, Simon's Town, South Africa
We have been mostly lucky so far. Most days are good days with nice progress being made on the boat project list, spending some time exploring the environs a bit, having great times with some of the wonderful people we have met here in South Africa, even getting away and taking a great safari in Botswana. We really don't have a reason to complain. However, today we had a rare black day.
It started with heavy rains through most of the night and then off again on again rains throughout the day. Then came a number of issues with little stuff. For example, one of the toilet seats broke its hinges and came off. Ok, that not so bad. It can be replaced.
Then I discovered some standing water on the floor of the port engine room. Grrrrrr...another through-deck leak that needs to be fixed. It looks like the leak might be coming from where one of our GPS antennas is mounted on the deck but I am not sure.
Then Graham finally arrived in the afternoon but after spending all weekend working at his daughter's place, he was too tired to start on our stuff. He will come first thing tomorrow morning. Another day of work lost.
Then I fired up the generator to charge its starter battery. It had been a couple of months since the generator had been run and the battery, being a wet cell battery, loses its charge over time. The battery's charge ended up being too low to start the generator so I lugged one of the engine batteries up to hooked that one up. The generator then started right up and was putting out good DC voltage to its battery. That was a good thing but soon I realized that the generator was not provided AC voltage to the electrical systems of the boat. Grrrrr. I checked all of the breakers that I could get at to see if any of them were thrown but they all looked good. I understand that there is an AC breaker on the backside of the generator itself but reaching back behind the unit, tucked tightly in its lazarette, I could not find it. Grrrrr.
I next went and talked to Robert, the local electrical service man here but he said that he could not come to our boat until next Monday. I hate playing around with electrical stuff as I have been shocked way too many times over the years. It has made me a bit gun-shy when it comes to troubleshooting down a hot electrical line. I will most likely play around with it a bit as I wait for Robert to come save the day but I will not like it. Grrrr.
As you can see, nothing of the above items is life threatening, so I really should not complain. But with all of them ganging up on me in one day, it makes for a black cloud hanging over my head and as a result, I am in a foul mood. Oh well, there is always tomorrow...
08/30/2015, False Bay Yacht Club, Simon's Town, South Africa
After getting up early this morning to boil and then grill and baste the pork ribs in sauce, we were ready for our friends, Muzzi and Rob, to arrive. They had actually come to the yacht club early and were working on their 45 foot St. Francis catamaran while we were putting the final touches on our Sunday BBQ meal. Their boat is parked right next to ours.
When they arrived, we showed them our video of the momma Cape Fur seal and her pup doing "synchronized swimming" under our boat. Muzzi is a marine biologist and we had hopes that she would have insights to what we saw. One of our blog readers, DR Ware, has done some research into this and has suggested that it is their way of cooling their body temperatures down. He may be right but the water temperature is so much colder here than the air temperature that we just are not sure.
Muzzi said she would have to look further into their behavior but she noted that they may be letting a big meal digest. She said that they typically lie on their backs on the water surface to help in the digressive process. They would seek safety under our boat to do this. However, she too was a bit mystified as to why they would float with the flippers held up out of the water. The mystery continues...
We had a wonderful time with our friends and Mary Margaret's five bean salad, potato salad and dark chocolate brownies were a bit hit. My ribs married well with her yummies and by the time we were done, we were all stuffed and a bone yard of rib bones rested on our plates. Boy, do I love this meal!
08/29/2015, False Bay Yacht Club, Simon's Town, South Africa
Tomorrow we are having our neighbors, Rob and Muzzi over for lunch. They had us over to their house, which sits right behind the beach on the Atlantic side of the Cape peninsula, a couple of weeks ago. We want to reciprocate and have them over. Tomorrow is the day.
While I ran back to the Longbeach Mall to do some last minute shopping, Mary Margaret spent the morning cooking up a storm. We have decided to have baby back ribs, grilled and glazed to perfection with BBQ sauce, killer potato salad and Mary Margaret's wonderful 5 bean salad. She is topping it all off with deep, dark chocolate brownies. Oooooh, my mouth is watering just writing about it....
My job when Mary Margaret is making all of this stuff (and I love my job) is to be the official taste tester. It is like dying and going to heaven. Yum, yum, yum. After the requisite number of tastes, I gave each dish my blessings but, I must admit, I had to go back to each dish a few times to decide. I think it was the repeated jab in the ribs that I was getting from the chef that got me to the decision point. It was that or the scolding that I got for eating too much. However, as you know, you just cannot rush making a decision on such important matter as this...
I will get up early tomorrow morning to start work on the ribs. I need to boil them first in vinegar water for a while and then let them steep in the hot water for a few hours before I start grilling. With the cold air and strong winds, it will be difficult to get the BBQ grill up to the proper temperature but I am motivated as I love my ribs!
08/28/2015, False Bay Yacht Club, Simon's Town, South Africa
Well, we had thought that we had seen it all but this morning presented another South African surprise. I had gone outside and on to the dock to use the fresh water spigot to wash off some of our watermaker filters. After doing that I turned to get back onto Leu Cat and I spotted a mother Cape Fur seal with her pup on the surface of the water between our two hulls. They were so close to the dock that I could have reached down and petted them if I had wanted to. Actually, I wanted to but I knew better since they are wild animals
What was even stranger than seeing seals right under our boat was that they both were on their sides with both their right rear and fore flippers being held straight up and in the air! They were side by side and looked as if they were practicing their synchronized swimming routine. I called for Mary Margaret to come out and see and soon we were both watching and laughing in total awe.
It was so bizarre! I ran into the salon and grabbed a camera and took a number of photos and videos. I have uploaded a video of this to YouTube and have included it into this blog. Watch it and you will also be totally amazed. What a treat it was to see this so up close and personal and they did not even care that we were watching.
Now, for the life of me, I cannot figure out what they were really doing. If any of you have any ideas, please let us know as we would love to understand what they were doing and why. Mary Margaret thinks that they were under our boat for protection but the weather was not bad and we certainly did not see any sharks nearby. Furthermore, why would they pose like this? After a while, Mary Margaret got cold because she was just in a blouse and it was pretty cold outside so she went back into our salon. I, however, had a sweatshirt on and just laid down on the dock and watched and watched and watched. After about a half hour though, I too went inside. When Graham arrived about an hour later the two seals had left but I showed him the videos I took. He also thought they were under our boat for protection but could not say why they were keeping their left flippers up and out of the water.
Mary Margaret and I soon departed and drove into Cape Town to do a number of errands. We stopped at a number of places to pick up some colored caulking for the salon work that Graham will be working on next week, we needed to replace a couple of pulleys that were worn out on one of our traveller end blocks, get some wood veneer for the woodwork that Graham and I will be working on next week and to check out the Royal Cape Yacht Club where we are required to go to in order to clear out of South Africa.
We also decided to have lunch at our favorite little Mediterranean bistro, Café Paradiso. Once again we were treated to an epicurean delight with their buffet and wonderful wine. We walked out totally stuffed and the bill was only $138 Rand with tip. That is just a bit over $10 US. What a deal!!!
We also wish to thank everyone who sent us an email or left a blog comment regarding our anniversary. It was so kind of you to take the time and pass on your best wishes. It means a lot to us. Thank you!
Chapman's Peak Road takes you to Hout Bay where we enjoyed our anniversary meal. This is the mouth of the bay as it opens up to the Atlantic Ocean.
You can see from this photo how sheer the cliffs are along Chapman's Peak Road. With the numerous curves, you drive this road very carefully....