Year 5 Day 117 Draining Our Batteries
27 May 2012 | Butterfly Bay, Hook Is., AU
Dave/Weather: Slowly Improving
We remained at Butterfly Bay today as we watched the ragged edge of the trough that had been battering us for the last couple of days slowly drift to the east. Morning was mostly overcast and it was not until about 1500 that the skies above us started to clear. By 1700 there was clear blue sky above us. The winds have eased and it is very quiet and still here in the anchorage as I write this.
Even though the trough passed us by, the cold air has stayed. However, as the skies cleared our closed in stern cockpit acted as a sun room and kept the entire boat warm.
Last night we had played with the thought of moving back to Stonehaven Anchorage today but nixed that idea since the reason we were going to move was to go snorkeling and the air was just too darn cold to hop in the water. Today was our last chance to go snorkeling. Tomorrow we head south to Hamilton Island marina, where we will be staying for the next three days. After that, we will start to make our way north as we head off for Darwin. The marina is just 15 or so nm from here as the crow flies but we may have to sail about 30 nm to get there. Based on the weather report, I am expecting 20 knot winds from the south so we may have to tack a few times to cover the distance. It could be a bashing sail as the seas will be short period and about 2 meters. It was this type of conditions that forced our friends of S/V Infini to abandon their attempt to sail south to Nara Inlet a few days ago and instead opted to go west to Airlie Beach. Keep your fingers crossed for us that the wind will be more from the SE then the S.
Our stay in the Whitsundays has been disappointing. Of the three weeks or so we have been here, we have only have gotten in 4 days of snorkeling due to the bad weather. The water has been murky but what we saw of the reefs we really enjoyed. Thus, I guess those 4 days did make our stay here worthwhile.
For the last 1 ½ days we have been draining our 4 ½ year old batteries. We have let them slowly deplete themselves by cutting off the wind generator, covering the solar panels and not running the generator. We have 5 195 amp-hour gel batteries and each year we need to drain them down to empty (10.5 volts) and then fully recharge them. It takes about 2 to 3 days to fully recharge them on shore power and this is what we are planning to do once we get to the marina tomorrow. I would like to do this twice in a row but we will not have enough time to do that.
We have discovered by reading and then by doing, that draining your gel batteries and then recharging them restores their rigor. I have noticed over the last few weeks that they were accepting less and less amps when we would charge them with our generator. By draining them, we pit the outer surface of the lead plates, which reduces the resistance of amps going into them. I wrote up a few techno-tips on this last year when we were in Auckland getting ready to go to Fiji. If you wish to learn more about this, then go to the Year 4 Day 124 blog and read that tip and a couple of the next ones.