17 June 2009 | Ngeruktabel
We stayed the night last night in Fish Net anchorage (some locals fish in the back of the bay from time to time). We spent a long sunny day surveying the southwest side of Ngeruktabel. Lots of great spot to anchor, wonderful hurricane holes and the like, the big problem is that many have reef bars across their entrances. Still plenty to choose from. We ran through about 7 gallons of gas today so we are going to have to wrap up tomorrow and head back to civilization for more fuel.
The dinghy sounder is working out great. I almost like the little Garmin GPSMap 276C (about $300) better than our Raymarine E120. The Ram handle bar mount mount (about $39) snapped right onto our Saint Croix Euro Helm console. It was a bit of work fishing the sounder cable and the GPS power/data cable through the helm pipe but it worked out nicely. The Garmin sounder (about $79) is mounted on the transom and we have an on off switch that turns on power to the sounder and the GPS. The GPS will run on battery of course but with the magneto on the Yamaha 25 ESH everything runs as long as we have gasoline.
The Garmin records tracks complete with depth. This has allowed us to run tracks and then download them into the computer day after day. We have a huge amount of bathymetric data in the computer now and is makes putting the satellite charts together much easier. The GPS has never filled up though we've had the track memory up into the 70-80% range after a long day. Once into this stuff I was amazed at how little the E120 could do. We have it etherenetted to the PC with Raytec software running, but I can't even get a track downloaded to the PC and I have not been able to get one to save to a card either. From what I can tell there is no sounding data with the tracks anyway so it doesn't really matter. Now when we go to move the big boat we tie the dinghy on a bridle, jump in, setup the GPS and turn on the dinghy sounder, then drive off with the dinghy recording the track. Silly but fits nicely with our process.
The little motorcycle battery we had in the dink bit it in Gizo. We were starting the outboard, then driving for three seconds to the dock and shutting it down. I didn't really think about it at the time but the battery was never getting enough time to recharge. We tried to get a replacement in Palau but they really didn't have the right thing. No maintenance was a must and I was hoping for an AGM. We ended up with a big $275 monster AGM from Napa that required a new battery box.
Another problem with the old set up was that the battery box is just behind the helm seat and thus takes on water through the vent. The gas tank is under the seat and there's really no room to move the batter back. It rains so much here this time of year that the box was flooding. I figured that since the battery is seals and pretty robust I'd be better off with a drain, so we drilled a hole in the bottom of the new batter box. Works great, now as long as the dinghy itself doesn't flood, which is a risk, we're good.