08/31/2013, Oceanview Marina
We took the marina's shuttle taxi to the shipping freight yard yesterday morning to get the batteries. Simple and easy. Out comes a big forklift and into the back of the truck they went, crate and all. Tracy stayed in the back to keep them from shifting as we drove out of the yard onto the main highway. I stayed in front to keep my back from getting screwed up again. I knew I had a lot of heavy lifting coming my way. We tried to find an ATM so I could replace the money taken the day before. No luck. One ATM refused my card and the next was broken. We were wasting time so I told the driver to take us back to the marina. We had work to do.
Once back at the marina, I grabbed and hammer and pry bar and knocked the crate apart. In it was our 6 batteries and the 5 extra wires if I needed them. I had rolled a cart to behind the truck but the workers that had gathered around to see what we had brought just lifted them onto their shoulders and we all paraded to the boat. We lined up the six right beside Zephyr. First thing I did was change clothes as I knew I was going to get acid on what I was wearing. We stopped for a quick lunch before we even started as once we got going, we didn't want to stop.
With lunch in our stomaches, we removed the cushions and boards that cover the battery boxes and in I went. I made sure to turn off the main power switch that allows the batteries juice to come into the boat. We took pictures of the top of all the batteries and then drawing a diagram as to what connected to what. Better safe than confused when I had to put the new batteries in. Off with the nuts and wires and out came the first battery. Onto a pad on the floor and then out the door. Lots of absorbent diapers spread around just in case. Out the door and over the deck to finally start the line of batteries on the dock. There are two batteries in each box so once both were removed, we started in with the baking soda to neutralize the acid. It took a lot before Tracy was satisfied and I could reach my glove covered hand into the bubbly mess. We got everything out and the rinsed the boxes and I brought in the new batteries. The same thing was done to batter box two. Now we had four of the batteries out and could bring in the new ones and hook up the batteries. Once in the boxes, we found that the posts on the batteries were different than what we had had before. Instead of a bolt coming out of the batteries that I could just screw down the wires, these batteries had posts coming from the top that you had to run a bolt through and attach sideways. Rats, the job just got a bit harder as these wires had been configured for the post top style of battery. Eventually, we got the batteries all connected and only had to use one of the new cables they had sent. I made sure to cover each connection with a coper based grease to stop any kind of battery corrosion that could happen in the future. Meanwhile, I had been sweating like a pig hung over a fire to roast. I was a mess. With no power, there were no fans to circulate air. I could wring the water out of my shirt.
We pressed on to the third and last set of batteries. They are on the starboard side under more cushions. Since I had been handling all that acid, Tracy put back the first cushions and boards that covered the port side battery bank. We now had a place to put what was coming off the starboard side. In we went again. This time a little differently. In the first two boxes, we had poured box after box of Baking Soda to neutralize the acid. This time, I used an old large syringe to suck out the acid and put it into a jar. Once out, I then used paper towels to get out the rest. We poured in some water and I repeated what I had done. Then in with some of the Baking Soda and this time, we got no reaction. It was now nice and clean.
In went the last two batteries and on went the wires. Again, with the change in connector posts on the batteries, it took a bit longer but we got it done. Now all we had to do was turn on the main power switch and reprogram out battery monitor. I pulled up the owners manual for the monitor and got it all reprogramed and the main switch was turned back on and we had power. The monitor read 12.30 so the batteries while not full were in good shape. I had check the water level and knew they would need some water shortly. We turned on the AC to the battery charger and voila, the voltage started on its way up. We left it alone and just kept checking as the afternoon wore on. The charger finally went into "Float" mode late in the evening. The new batteries were now fully charged! We were back up and running.
I grabbed my shower gear as did Tracy and we headed for the showers up at the club house. We were both a mess and needed some time under the shower head. Once we were cleaned up, we headed up stairs for a beer or two. As it was Friday, it was barbecue night. Every one brings food and it's a huge pot luck. We defrosted a nice steak in celebration of getting the job done and feasted on steak, Waldorf salad, barbecued bacon wrapped shrimp, oriental coleslaw and more. It was a great night as we also uncorked one of our bottles of wine to cap it off. Neither of us was feeling much pain as we left later in the evening.
When we got back to the boat, we found a very soggy white cat wandering around inside. Snowshoe had fallen over board! We grabbed towel and baby shampoo and headed back up to the showers. He was in a desperate need of a shower to get the salt water off him. He was not a happy kitty but any means. Once the shower was over, we took him back to the boat and Tracy gave him a good combing and cutting out what wouldn't comb. He actually looks much better for the event. He looked quite good this morning but I'm sure it will be a while before he tries to leave the boat. All we can figure is that he jumped off and tried to get back on board and missed. He got lucky and swam to one of the fenders we have hanging over the side that has a cloth covering on it and climbed up it. There is no other way we can figure he could have gotten out of the water. He's safe and sound now but hopefully a bit wiser.
This morning, we turned off the charger and let it Zephyr run on her own power. By 1400 when we got back from Davao, we were still reading 12.65 after about 8 hours on it own. We have a great set of batteries again. While we were in Davao, we picked up 2 gallons of distilled water so I can fill the batteries to where they are suppose to be.
Picture will be up soon, I forgot to bring the camera to down load them.
08/29/2013, Oceanview Marina
I'll get to the wallet in a few minutes. Since we still hadn't heard from the girl that sold us the batteries we so badly need for our boat, I decided to head to the offices of the shipper and see if they could help find them. I grabbed the 0830 shuttle to the ferry and then a taxi to the shipping office. Instead of it being in Davao, it was way around the north side of the harbor. I walked into Solid Shipping and a young man immediately jumped up to help me. I explained my problem--I bought six batteries from a company in Manila and they were shipping them via his company to Davao. He asked to see the "Way Bill" for the shipment. I explained that the "Way Bill" I'd gotten said I had purchased a golf cart, not six batteries. He then asked who it was being shipped to. I showed him the address on a pad I was carrying. Now we are getting somewhere(I thought) He took the pad and started going through a big stack of "Way Bills". Nope, not there. On to the next pile. As a side bar to this story, everywhere I looked, there were people typing, yes, that's right, typing out forms on typewriters all over the office--at least 50 of them. God forbid they enter this century and use a computer to keep track of things. Anyway, by the third stack, he finally found a shipment for "SV Zephyr". Now we are on a roll!!! He needed proof that I was from "SV Zephyr". OK, how do you prove you own a boat. I had none of our boat papers. OH, that's right--I'm wearing a SV Zephyr tee shirt. I turned around and he could see the logo on the back of the shirt--SV ZEPHYR!!! Ok we are getting there. "OK, I need to see some ID"was the next thing to be asked. I pulled out my Pohnpei drivers license. He looked at it and asked if I had my passport("I'm just trying to get my batteries, not some government secrets). I pulled out my expired Colorado drivers license(big hole in the corner). Well that seemed to satisfy him. He wrote down the numbers on each and said "$638 pesos please". My freight bill to get the batteries from Manila to Davao was just over $14.00US!!! I didn't blink. I just pulled out my wallet(yes, I still had it ) and paid the man. He directed me to "door one", back in the main storage area. With some more help, I found the big box holding our six new batteries. Of course, I had no way to get them back to the marina but I pulled out my phone and called Tracy and she made the arrangement so we will get them tomorrow.
I thanked everyone and took off in search of a bus back to town. Got one that would take me to the ferry dock where I grabbed a second that would take me to one of the malls. Traffic was a nightmare and it took us over an hour to get to the mall. Grabbed a quick lunch at McDonalds and did just a bit of shopping at the market at the mall. Had to rush so I could make it to the ferry to get the 1330 shuttle back to the marina. Here is where the story gets bad. As I sat on the bus, a man beside me showed me a place on the window ledge where someone had spit(either from out bus or one that might have passed us). As I sat next to the guy that had told me about the spit, he started moving around looking under and behind the seat we were sitting on. Shortly, he left the bus. Now here is where being OCD(obsessive, compulsive disorder) pays off. As I normally do, I reach back and tap my wallet. I may do it 2 or 3 times in an average bus or taxi ride. I reached back and "Hey--where is my wallet"! It was gone! I am now royally F--ked!!! In it was my drivers licenses, and debit cards and a bunch of pesos as I had marina bills etc to pay plus other important cards. The woman that was sitting at the back of the bus near the door(the bus has two long plank seats that run along side the windows) said the man tha thad left a minute or so ago must have taken it. She called out to the driver and he pulled over immediately. He spoke very little english so the woman at the back of the bus clued him in as to what had happened. The decision was made to drop me off at the Police Station. While it wasn't a nice clean station, it was full of Police that were caring about my problem. They gave me a bunch of forms to fill out so it could be put in the "system". As I was just finishing the last form, in comes the bus driver with my wallet. He'd pulled over after I got out and found it under the seat. I opened the wallet to give the guy a $1,000 peso bill( I had a bunch). I pulled out a $200 peso bill. That was the biggest one left in my wallet. The thief had taken all my big bills and left me with about $1,000 pesos($23.00US). At this point I didn't really care. I'd already texted Tracy about what had happened and now had to let her know that while we were a bit poorer, we at least had my wallet back. The bus driver stayed around to make sure all was well. I didn't bother to let the Police know that I was out about 12,000 pesos. I had my wallet and ID's back! The driver then gave me a ride to the ferry so I could make the 1330 shuttle back to the marina.
So, in the period of one day, I'd found my batteries and lost and found my wallet(less a bunch of $)
Tomorrow, it's back to the shipping company at 0830 to get our new batteries. We are in the home stretch.
08/28/2013, Oceanview Marina
We got an early start to the days chores and it's a good thing we did as it started raining just about 1200. We were bound and determined to get our anchor chain back on board. To do so, we had to reposition Zephyr in her slip. We'd asked Chardon to have the small runabout(owned by the owner of the marina) that was next to us moved to another slip so we could put Zephyr with her stern facing one corner of the slip and the bow facing the outer piling of the slip we were in. We used another dock line to the port side so it would hold her stern crosswise in the now much wider slip. We pulled all the chain to the dock beside Zephyrs bow and once the boat was in position, I threaded the line that attaches to a big aluminum plate that is bolted inside the anchor locker through the chain and pulled it down through the opening that brings the chain below deck. You never attach an anchor chain to a boat by it's links, you do so with a line so that should you need to get rid of your chain in a big blow, you simply take a knife to the line. With the starting of the anchor chain now below, we turned on the windlass and slowly fed the chain into the anchor locker. To be done properly, I had to stop the windlass every 20 feet or so and get down into the anchor locker and pull it farther astern with a boat hook. When the windlass was installed on Zephyr, the hole for the chain was no where near the deepest part of the locker so every time we pull the chain up, I have to rake it to the back of the anchor locker. It's the only way it will feed out properly the next time we drop the anchor. So it was adjust the chain on the windlass and push the button. Then rake the chain in the locker over and over and over till we finally got the the end of the chain that attaches to the anchor. I forgot to mention that we had dropped the anchor onto the dock before we ever started pulling the chain back on board. We needed the stem fitting the chain goes through to be clear of the anchor so it would come back on board properly. It took a while to get it all back on board but she is finally home. Tracy stood on the dock pulling the chain forward to Zephyrs bow as I pushed the button on deck. She'd pull the chain forward and then hold the chain in place at the fitting so I could get it over the stem fitting and down into the locker. We didn't want it jumping around as we pulled it on board. Another chore finally done.
It was a good thing we got it done in the morning as I said it started raining about noon. I'd walked up to the club house to use the showers as I was a drenched pig from all the sweat I had put forth during the job. My shirt was soaking wet. YUCK! As I left the showers, it had started to sprinkle and so I decided to wait. Well I waited and waited and it just got harder. I took the first break in the rain and headed back to Zephyr just in time for it to start up again. It does that here. Rain for half an hour then stop, then rain for half an hour for hours on end. Different sets of squalls coming through. Never or rarely much wind but a good bit of rain.
We had a good lunch of Tacos and cokes and then settled in for a game of Scrabble. Helps keep the mind active. Tracy beat me again in the last few moves.
So now we wait for our batteries. I texted the company. I sent emails. I've called(no answers). We have no clue as to where they are or when they might arrive. The boat we were told they were on is back in Manila. Oh well, there are always more jobs to be done. Tomorrow, it's off with the dodger and restitch it while the dodger windows get re caulked and the steel frame gets painted. At least that is the plan as of right now.
Tonight is the catered dinner by Donald and Carol, a local Philippino couple that does this every week. Last week, just before the rally left, we had 38 people there. This week, probably in the high teens as just about everyone comes. The price is right and the food it great.
The photo today is of the strolling troubadours that sang to the cruisers before the rally took off.
08/27/2013, Oceanview Marina
Today, I continued with getting the chain ready for bringing back on board. We had a stretch of about 25 feet that had disintegrated to being dangerous to use if we were at anchor so I cut out that portion and joined the good parts back together. I used a link connector like in the picture at the top. Strange how the first 80 feet of chain is fine, then the next 25 is rotten and the rest is fine. Since it all sits in a big lump at the bottom of the anchor well, it should all be rusted and rotten but it's not. With the 25 feet taken out, we still have a good 290 feet of chain left. It's not a perfect amount but it will due for the time being.
Tracy was HARD at work making new covers for out folding chairs that we use in the cockpit every day. We watch tv shows every night out there and the poor foam had just about broken down to the point that we could easily feel the steel tubes that are inside the seats. We'd bought some new foam last week and today, we sandwiched it all together and got it ready for the new covers. Tracy pulled out some Sunbrella fabric we have on board(bought it clear back in the US) and went at it. A couple of hours later and several fittings, we have two great new covers for our chairs. We'd been quoted well over $100US to have the same thing done when we were in Palau and that was per chair. We could buy them new for $50US at West Marine but then would have had to figure a way to get them there with out breaking the bank. Instead, Tracy pulled out her untrusty sewing machine and did it herself. They now have a new lease on life.
Tomorrow, the chain will finally be pulled back on board. I put the final length flags on it this afternoon after I rejoined the chain. It will be great to have that job done. The next job to Tracy is to restitch the zippers on the dodger. the thread has rotted out in the sun out here.
08/26/2013, Oceanview Marina
If you read the one of the last posts about the rally, I mentioned that there were bets being placed as to wether Terry(source of my irritation)the main organizer for the rally here at the marina would be back. The bet was that he would be back within 48 hours. Well, at 1030 this morning, almost exactly 48 hours after they set off, he rounded the point just to the east of the marina and motored back into his slip. So far, no explanation has been given other than "Gentlemen don't sail to windward". Maybe someday we will find out what happened but I doubt it. He hasn't left his boat since he returned. RATS! The one person we didn't want to come back has.
As for us, since the cruisers left, we have been at work putting Zephyr back together. We put the new(OK, it's really old fishing nets we picked up in Pohnpei for free) nets around the Zephyr's stern. We tie them to the top of the guard rail and then cinch them to the bases of the stanchions around the edge of the deck making a nice tight barrier for the cats to keep them (along with myself) on board. I almost fell overboard twice as we crossed the Pacific during turbulent weather. The nets helped me stay on board.
Once the nets were up, we could reattach the EPIRB(sends out distress signals when activated), the life ring as well as the Life Sling(both used to save someone should they fall overboard). We cleaned up parts of the cockpit and got the rest of the edge of the fiberglass that is between the teak decks and the stanchions cleaned and waxed. Today, I started putting on the length markers on our anchor chain so we can get that pulled back on board. Tomorrow, we will make the decision as to cutting off the worn out section of chain and attaching a new section to give a plenty of length when we anchor in deep water. Most times, we only use about 120-150 feet in anchorages but there are the times when we need a lot more. I can count them on one hand but when you need it, it's better to have it and not need it than the need it and not have it. It's the primary reason we carry so many replacement boat parts on board.
Tomorrow, I'll be checking to see how many chain connectors I have. Hopefully at least two. If not, I'll be heading to town to see if I can find more. One of the other cruisers has offered to sell us 52 feet of chain he has on board that he isn't needing. His price--$250US. Having recently shelled out $1000US for new batteries, it may be beyond our budget. I can always cut out the bad links of the chain and either re attach the rest that is good or I can dig out the chain we have for a back up anchor(have never used it)and attach it. If memory serves me, it's about 50 feet long. Between the two(if I use both, we will have about the same amount we had before we sent it in for re galvanizing.
Still no word on our batteries but it was a holiday last Wednesday plus yesterday and today so I'm not surprised that we haven't heard anything about it. Maybe I will be the golf cart that was on our bill of lading.
The picture today is of the party boat that came out to join us when the rally took off. It was carrying the Indonesian Counsel General for Davao City along with other prominent citizens of Davao City. Bands were playing and lots of picture were taken. One big party!
08/24/2013, Oceanview Marina
At just before 1000 yesterday, the boats in the rally dropped their dock lines and headed out. It's down to 9 boats. Customs and Immigration showed up about 0700 and slowly worked their way through the boats getting everyone settled and stamped. It was hardest for the young Philippino women that are accompanying the cruisers as they require more than just a passport(not easy for them to get) they also require special permission plus a letter from their employer that they are allowed to go. Sounds crazy, but that is one of the rules here.
We had strumming guitar players walking the docks with numerous officials and even the owner of the marina showed up and took most of the rest of us from the marina out on his boat for the parade of boats as they headed south between Samal Island and the mainland. There was just a bit of wind as they headed out and all put up their sails and slowly moved along mainly under engine power. Just after passing Davao City, a squall came through and drenched all the boats(and us) with lots of rain. It was so heavy that visibility was only a few hundred yards at best and many of the sailboats vanished into the rain.
There are bets being made that some of the cruisers will turn back as some haven't made an extended voyage in years. I guess we will see in the next few days. No one made arrangements to be emailed with what is happening during the rally. The last forecast I found said that there would be winds of 13-20 knots from the south and swell of 3-5 feet. Well, since they are headed primarily south, it's not going to be a fun ride. It's going to be hitting them smack in the face the entire way and that means having to run the engine. They will need the 200 liters that is being given to them when they reach Sangihe in three days. I'd hate running my engine for that long but that is what it may take to get there. One cruise boat--Lady Emma--took off and left the rest of the group behind. They apparently have a huge engine and used it. Others hoisted their sails and as the wind slowly changed, took off doing quite well as we left them.
Food and liquor was flowing quite well on the boat we were on and everyone was having a great time. The owner of the marina even had some food brought out to us on a separate chase boat that had come with us. He left a while later on that same boat leaving us to celebrate and have a great time. We returned to the marina about 1400 and reveled in the quietness of it. The push of getting the rally was over and life can settle back to a more normal status.
Today, it's cut and try and splice our chain so we have a good length. I may take the chain off the spare anchor rode we have and splice it to the existing chain. We will see what shape it is in. One of the other cruisers has offered to sell me some of his extra chain and I may take him up on that.
We got the bill of lading from the folks that sold us our new batteries. Strangely, it says I bought a golf cart that comes with a roof, fold down windscreen, one battery, two keys, and a sweater basket. Somehow, I think there may have been a mixup on the bill of lading. I'm not sure that the cart will fit on Zephyrs stern, plus, I'd need a crane to get it on board. I wrote her back asking her check and see if I got the wrong bill of lading. As Sunday and Monday are holidays here, it will be a while before I hear back I think.
So that's what happening here. Just more fun and games.
The picture for today is of the boats streaming out of the marina for the rally.