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LeuCat Adventures
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Year 5 Day 172 A Dinner To Remember, Then A Very Long Swim
07/25/2012, Fanny Bay, Darwin, AU

We spent the day plugging away on boat projects. We had an unexpected issue when the generator stopped this morning. It was signaling that it stopped due to lack of cooling water. I had just changed the impeller so I knew that was not the problem. It turned out that the thru hull and the line attached to it were plugged with seaweed that got sucked in. Ugh! I had to clean the cooling water filter and the screen I had added downstream of the water pump that collected the bits and pieces of the impeller when they break off. Both were filled with seaweed.

Next I had to remove the hose from the thru hull and remove a plug of seaweed from that. Finally, I hopped in the water and dove under the hull to remove seaweed that was blocking the thru hull. All this took a couple of hours. There is never a dull moment on the boat.

We drove over to Brian and Gayle's house for dinner this evening. Gayle put on a spread that was delicious starting with appetizers and then moved on to roast pork with crackling, roasted yams, sweet potatoes and carrots. Mary Margaret had whipped up a great salad to round out the meal. Then to top everything off, Gayle brought out a dessert called Pavlova. Oh my, oh my! I rolled away from the table with a big smile on my face.

We were joined for dinner by Brian and Gayle's son, Ben. He is working as an electrician's apprentice. Their daughter, Alicia, had return to her university in Adeline last Sunday so she was missed by all.

After dinner, we had requested that Brian and Gayle show us their pictures that they had taken of their recent European trip which included two weeks sailing in Turkey. Wow! The pictures were great and we cannot wait to sail up to the Med so we too can share in the rare experiences they had.

We said our sad goodbyes after the slide show. We depart for Indonesia on Saturday and will not have another chance to see them before we leave.

When we returned to Fanny Bay I donned my swimming suit. When we came to shore this afternoon, the tide was way, way out and we had to tie up to a mooring ball that was about ¼ mile from the beach. However, when we returned after visiting the Canns, the tide was in and I faced a ¼ mile swim in the dark to reach our dingy. The tides here range up to 24 feet and the water was now lapping up to the riprap that protects the bank on which the Darwin Sailing Club is situated on. As I swam I could not help thinking of what Brian had told us a few days prior. He said that they capture and relocate about 300 crocodiles a year from Darwin harbor and Fanny Bay. Needless to say, when I finally reached the dinghy I climbed in without hesitating for a second. When I brought the dinghy to shore to pick Mary Margaret up she told me that she was worried for me since it was so dark and she could not see me or the dinghy from the shore. However, all ended well and we are now safe and sound on good ol' Leu Cat.

Year 5 Day 171 What I Tell You Today Will Change Tomorrow!
Dave/Another Beautiful Day
07/24/2012, Fanny ay, Darwin, AU

Today's big event occurred this afternoon. The Sail Indonesia Rally had their big meeting where they shared all kinds of information with us. Unfortunately, their mantra was: "What I tell you today will change tomorrow." We are learning that in the Indonesian culture, time and commitments don't have the same emphasis as in the western world. This rally is in its 12th year and this year's rally has had a full year to plan things out and get organized. However, the events that are "scheduled" at each of the rally's stops are still up in the air. Even at our first stop, which is Kupang at the west end of the island of Timor, the events and activities are still not confirmed. We leave for Kupang on Saturday and are hoping to arrive on Tuesday. We are told this state of uncertainty is the "charm" of Indonesia.

We love to visit new places, meet new people and learn about and experience new cultures. This is the primary reason we are cruising. We have been to Indonesia once before but we stayed at a ritzy resort in Bali and just conducted day trips to explore that island. We fell in love with the Balinese. They were very kind, gracious, and generous. We have been told that this is typical of most of the people in Indonesia. However, you have to "go with the flow" and adapt to their way of thinking and doing things if you are to truly enjoy your time there. We are now in the process to adjusting to their way of thinking by realizing that we really will not know what to expect until we get there.

We have just three days left to finish our various boat project and provisioning efforts. I feel we are in pretty good shape and should be ready to go when Saturday rolls around. As we have said before, this is really our first formal rally and the concept of having to leave at a set day and time is an adjustment for us. They have a formal start, which is at 1100 on Saturday. There is a starting line, they will shoot a gun to indicate the start and they are offering prizes worth a total of $1,000 for the first one across, the best dressed crew and one other category. Of course, none of that is of interest to us since we are cruisers, not racers. I told Mary Margaret that we will raise our sails and then weigh anchor at 1100 just to give the others in the rally time to clear out. This way we will not be caught in the may lay of 110 boats all trying to win that prize to be the first one across the starting line. I can see us being the last ones across! However, since Leu Cat is a pretty fast boat, we expect to pass most of the boats on the passage over to Timor. Fortunately, the weather forecast is encouraging and we might even have some wind for our crossing to Timor. It is about 450 nm away so we are thinking that it will take us three days to get there.

Draining Oil The Easy Way

...and then slip the copper pipe into the hose of your pump that you use to suck the oil out. Viola! A nice and easy way to remove the dirty oil and sludge from your genset!

Draining Oil The Easy Way

Just screw on the copper pipe to the end of the drain hose...

Draining Oil The Easy Way

This is the little copper tube with a pressure fitting and a nut that screws onto the end of the drain hose. You can make this yourself by just running over to the local hardware store and getting the pieces.

Draining Oil The Easy Way

This is the drain hose that leads to the drain pan at the bottom of the engine of the genset. You can see the copper fitting at its terminus.

Year 5 Day 170 Getting Ready For Indonesia
07/23/2012, Fanny Bay, Darwin, AU

We are scrambling now as we try to get everything in order for our sail to Indonesia. We leave this Saturday so time is quickly running out. Today was the day to work on the generator and start work on the sails and battens.

We have an 11KW Onan generator and it was time for its 500 hour maintenance. It is really quite simple but it takes a bit of time to get to some of the areas since you have to go into both the front and the back of the unit. To get to the back of the genset, I have to empty out one of the cupboards in the salon that is just off the floor. Once all the pot and pans and stuff are removed, I can then open up a "secret" panel that leads to the genset. I need to do this to check the pencil zinc that is located on the backside of the heat exchanger. What a pain...

Draining the oil and changing the filter was next and that was followed by inspecting the impeller. One of the blades was cut so I also changed the impeller just to be safe. The whole process took a few hours and by the time I was done, it was noon.

I mention all of the above in a bit of detail only to have you understand that doing even the most simple thing on a boat takes so much longer than if you were doing it on land. Three hours of this process seems to me to be a tremendous amount of time to do three easy things on an engine. Yet, that is what it took and I am now pretty proficient at it. Go figure...

The afternoon was spent running to shore to go to the chandlery to pick up some things I need for the boat and working on the sails. When I went to shore, it was very low tide and, once again, I had to anchor the dinghy well offshore and wade a couple of hundred yards to reach the beach. When I returned from the chandlery, the tide had receded further and the dinghy's stern was sitting high and dry on its dinghy wheels. The wheels were stuck in the silty sand and it was very difficult to pry them out.

I have two battens that needed work. One was a temporary thing I threw together in Lizard Island and it needed replacing. The other was one that somehow had popped out of the batten holder that tie into the batten car. Both had torn small holes into the sail. Thus, armed with my rusty, trusty 3M 5200 and sail tape, I first started the repair work on the sails. I needed to remove the above half of the sail from the sail track to bring it down on to the roof of the salon where I could work on it. All of this took the rest of the day and I still have a bit more work to do. Ugh!

Tomorrow we have the rally technical meeting so I don't think I will be getting much done. Plus, in the morning we have to go to the meat market to place our order for meats.

Techno-Tip Of The Week: An Easy Way To Drain Oil From Your Generator

We have an Onan generator and it comes with a tube that is installed at the drain plug of the engine. This makes draining the oil a bit easier. Some people just slip a thin tube into the drain tube and push it in as far as it can go. Then they turn on their little pump and suck the oil out. That method is fine but you don't get all of the dirty oil out that way. Plus, if there is any sludge in the bottom of the drain pan, it will not be removed this way. The CatCo folks back in BVI taught me a little trick that works much better.

The end of the drain hose terminates with a screw on copper cap. To drain the oil you remove the cap. However, if you build a little copper pipe with a nut and a pressure fitting on it, you can screw that pipe onto the end of the drain hose. Now you can slip the copper pipe into the hose of your pump and using a hose clamp you have a perfect seal. This lets you get full suction on the drain hose and you can suck all of the dirty oil and sludge out. Pretty neat, huh?

I will post a few pictures to show you what I just tried to describe.

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Who: Mary Margaret and Dave Leu
Port: Dana Point, CA
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