27 September 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
20 September 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
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28 May 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Well Done or Rare?
13 March 2018 | Tipperary Waters Marina, Darwin
Tuesday 13 March 2018
Friday the 13th happened on Tuesday this month. That means Friday is like three days away from today, so expect we're OK this time, but watch out for April. Now don't you wish you'd ignored this post and saved the groan for something more urgent?
Generator ran for 2.8 hours before deciding it had better things to do. Nafea (pronounced Naffa - he graciously accepted my apology for repeatedly calling him Raffa - thought it was just my accent.. as if. Obviously everyone else but me has an accent around here) came back to check as soon as we returned from clinic this morning (Jan's almost 2/3 done with final round, yaaay!). He discovered that sludge from backed up water had coated inside of fuel injector pump (and everything else oil had touched) causing one side to stick. Rebuild of pump and flushing of engine with kerosene to follow. That broken though-hull valve, including haul-out and replacement, will ultimately cost about 1/4 price of new generator. Boooo!
Six weeks past last breakout from Darwin, anticipated completion of all major boat projects would have worked out well if everything had worked well (tautology?). It didn't. Given that successful, on-time results in normal projectland are achieved about 5% of the time and time is not critical, disappointment is endurable. Besides stuffed generator, radar, shipped in from Annapolis, Maryland, has yet to be tested and installed. Arrived with enclosure buggered, needing work - now done. Also, cable attaches at different location from old array and may not reach. Reparation parts in hand for earliest effort when again in residence.
Flight out for New Zealand tomorrow morning saves us from further stress until 28 March. Expect to subsequently get Panda and Raymarine completely operational over Easter (Nafea's Muslim) before leaving again for Hawaii on 5 April. Outcome confidence skyrockets to 10%. A plethora of picayune parts to polish off persists, but, perforce, pretty piddling to prevent positive, possibly perfect performance. Last injection 17 July. We sail on the outgoing tide, 18 July at 0958. Au Revoir, adieu and adios Australia.
Parts In, Parts Out
06 March 2018 | Tipperary Waters Marina, Darwin
Tuesday 6 March 2018
Radar is in country. Shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks to find its way to Darwin, another week for notification and just one more to deliver. Pretty confident to have it before July departure. Now if it's operable and compatible with plotter wiring we'll be back where we were before cable was cut to remove pedestal about five months ago. Running hard to stay even here.
Hardware arrived and Rafea put the generator back together after cleaning up unexpected mess. Discovered something totally interesting. Panda engine, a Kubota, has two outlets. One above waterline and one below. Single water- cooled exhaust goes into wet muffler and is pumped up to an anti-siphon box where this division takes place. The underwater contingent then goes to a through-hull which is connected to four other sources including the shower sump. The fun part is that the outlet valve handle was open, but the valve itself remained closed. Bad dog. So, one might query, where does all the sump water go? With head removed for repair every shower had dumped water all over the currently open cylinders and into the oil sump. Cool huh? Word is that insufficient time had elapsed for the subsequent rust to have done much damage. Engine now running well awaiting another oil change in five hours and re-check in ten.
Finally got in contact with Hylas. Seems they have two web sites. One has good information and the other has emails no one checks and phones no one answers. Ms. Cheng, the nice lady in Taiwan with whom contact was finally made, indicated they would be delighted to sell me a window and suggested a request be made via operative email address, which she passed along. Measurements were subsequently sent for new window that did not match old one. Close enough. On the way. Optimism abounds.
Character building three-stitch scar from BCC excision is currently healing. Hoping for a large, florid lightning bolt shape below left eye to better frighten children, but doctor says it will hardly be noticeable. Just have to continue doing it the regular way with chainsaw and hockey mask.
Extortion, Restoration, Incision and Acclamation
02 March 2018 | Tipperary Waters Marina, Darwin
Wednesday 28 February 2018
There is in all of Australia one place (around 4000 km away in Sydney) that manufactures curved safety glass to your specifications (to replace broken one in saloon) for which they demand your first born male child. Not having one of those would be a disadvantage except they also accept what would have been be his entire inheritance. This is problematic as we are committed to pissing it all away on more frivolous things. Alternative stratagems are being contemplated. These include acrylic, polycarbonate and a shiny new window from the boat builder in Taiwan. That last assumes the overhead saloon window is the same on current design, they have an extra they're willing to part with and they ever get back to me.
Thompson's Water Seal is a popular wooden deck sealer. Rumor has it that this stuff, which costs about as much for four liters (from building supply) as just one of the required one hundred and twenty five, four gram bottles (only available in a chandlery) of the silicone stuff that canvas maker recommends (foregoing includes slight hyperbole), works well for waterproofing old Sunbrella. Internet sources are ambivalent. Bimini, which hasn't been touched for the five years we've owned the boat, had begun to leak so... Yesterday subsequent to disconnecting and removing four flexible solar panels, emptying the cockpit, removing all side panels and top, washing the thing three times on both sides, brushed on enough sealer to totally soak the whole covering. It stinks - rumor also has it that this will dissipate. Morning rain had given way to uncharacteristic sun for rest of day allowing completion. After five years of shrinkage, snap and fastener corrosion and broken plastic zippers, reinstallation was less than a joy, but all back now waiting for next rain. Due some freak of nature it's sunny again today. This is bad news for three reasons: 1) Can't check bimini, 2) Way hotter without clouds and 3) Can actually see your skin sizzle as solar rays strike it.
Speaking of which we made our regular pilgrimage to a dermatologist the other day to have various barnacles cryo'd and top of suspected BCC (that's doctor talk for basal cell carcinoma, an oxymoronically benign malignancy) whacked off for biopsy. Results Monday when worst case scenario is a character-generating scar below left eye. Expect to explain as wound received while saving a lunchroom full of orphans from a starving maniac attacking everyone with a plastic spork when he could neither pick up his spaghetti nor eat his soup. (This works somewhat better if you know what a spork is)
Sound of thunder was sufficient to induce continued sleep in lieu of dragging torpid carcasses from bed at 0600 to go biking. Although riddled with guilt we will accept the associated angst for the balance of today by screwing off. Plan is to assuage all remorse tomorrow by swimming laps in the Parap pool with self-esteem again rocketing far above any rational explanation.
"Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself." - Jane Wagner
25 February 2018 | Tipperary Waters Marina, Darwin
Thursday 22 February 2018
Eschewing normal practice of slapdash, cut-corner effort (with often regrettable results) dropped mainsail to release tension on extrusion before removing furler motor and opening internal gearbox to discover it disengages when installing handle to manually furl sail. Makes sense, right? Seems it didn't spring back after previous assembly. Full function was a whack away. Extra two hours of monkey motion was probably a character building exercise.
Tipperary Waters is a locked marina. This means you can't get out without paying your bill because it's only accessible through a lock controlled by the, that's right, lockmaster. This due tides sometimes running over 8 meters rather than local lack of probity. As there is little flow-through it becomes a cesspool hot tub. So, not having done anything foolhardy lately, jumped in with tank-powered hookah to change anodes. Except for goo encrusted zincs and a generous coating of thick, brown slime there was surprisingly little growth on anti-foul or Propspeed (oft maligned coating to keep growth off props). Rigorous shower followed. Will wait until advent of symptoms before beginning massive doses of Ciprofloxacin. Hey, how bad could it be, fish survive in it... mostly.
Just as major refit items are nearing completion (theoretically), discovered curved fixed light (window) in saloon is broken. The probability that anyone in Darwin can precisely bend and shape a piece of glass for replacement is as inconceivable as Donald Trump becoming US president... what?... really???... well anyway, it's less likely than that. Hylas has been contacted for help (it's their design for crying out loud), but may have to use acrylic or UV protected polycarbonate. Not counting on that here either.
On an entirely different subject - sobriety and lardage... ummm, that's two things - abstinence has slowly given way to the siren calls of gin, bourbon, rum and wine, not necessarily in that order. There is the odd wagon day and we often limit to one, but teetotaling urges have evaporated. Results have been mixed. Early evenings and nights seem more congenial, but, although the extra calories have apparently had no adverse effect on distaff crew, it has slowed incipient sveltification (not a real word) of others. Although holding at a mere kilo above top of previous acceptable range, that means: 1) it was even then unacceptable, 2)current weight should be less than before and 3) inability to drop the little bit for the last few years is a distressing moral failure. Should add a little humility to ventilating reproof for other's peccadillos. But what the heck, like recreational whingeing, aspersion casting is a dirty little pleasure that matches the current societal zeitgeist and, as an added bonus, endears you to your group, tribe, gang, band clan, sect, cult, order or faction and it's easier than thinking.
"Whenever I dwell for any length of time on my own shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things, not at all like the staring defects in other people's characters." - Margaret Halsey
Boat Wreck.. errrr, Work
20 February 2018 | Tipperary Waters Marina, Darwin
Thursday 8 February 2018
Motivated by yearning to escape the top end of Australia for nearly anyplace else, have continued plodding away at non-optimal boat systems. Radar dismounted from mast and taken to Yacht Shop. Probably fried, but used unit may be available. Checking to see how much owner wants for it. Furler motor removed. Apparently no one works on small electric motors in Darwin as not worth their time. New motor costs $700. Crikey! You'd think it would be worth say half a boat unit to have a go.
Attenborough's Blue Planet II is finally on the schedule for next Saturday after being promised for months. Australia has produced some excellent movies, but the TV sucks, so high percentage of TV viewing is on his various wildlife shows because it's interesting, the videography is remarkable, David is very engaging and there's no laugh track. Lions, tigers, bears and northern hairy-nosed wombats are all quite fascinating, but as the name implies this series is primarily about oceans, an area we take particular interest in as we live our lives bobbing about in it. Not so much last year.
Still plugging along with boat work. As might be inferred from extensive verbiage concerning this subject either: a great deal of effort must be expended on outrageously extensive maintenance or the engineering crew aboard are particularly lethargic. The answer is yes. In keeping with previously expressed concept, blame will be placed on inclement weather and torpor produced by weather.
After getting Panda generator running with new injector plugs discovered that cylinder head may have been cracked introducing water that caused rust that caused sticking that bent rods and things. Head currently out for testing. Anticipatory price check on new underway. Bugger!
After confirming power up mast to furler was available and 1200 watt motor was tested with heavy duty wire discovered that everything worked. Hmmmm. Re-installed the whole lot and, for some odd reason, it remains operational. Either the thing was running fine and nobody noticed, there was an extremely loose connection to motor or the resident leprechaun got miffed because we don't stock Jameson's.
Dead Pathfinder 4D radar is analog. Haven't made them for years and current plotter not compatible with new digital systems. Having a spare plotter, autopilot course computer and other ancient bits and not wanting to toss them and spend a stack of boat bucks to upgrade began looking for used radar. Due no word on availability of local one, went on eBay and found used RD424 (that's Raymarine talk for slightly less ancient analog unit that will probably work) in US for 450 USD including shipment. If it arrives and if it works and if professional fixes genset and if cruising kitty doesn't seize up, all major boat components for decamping to cross the Indian Ocean to South Africa will be ready. Crew components were ready a year ago.
Crap that makes the flowers grow continues unabated, so no biking or exterior work today. Forecast for rain plummets to 60% for next few days, however, so may have to adjust schedule to account for an hour or two of dryness (this is a relative term ignoring humidity). Jan cleaned green slime from deck the other day. Expect it to keep growing back until dry season.
Modicum of good news that Panda head OK. Leakage through valve stem. Parts on order.
After always difficult installation of mainsail onto furling extrusion yesterday discovered that motor works fine, but doesn't turn said extrusion to furl sail. Bugger. Hoping to again remove motor to check and presumably reinstall key onto motor shaft without removing sail. Confidence runs rampant that this will eventuate without breaking anything important. Expect results of aforementioned activity following rain.
Current blather has now extended to nearly two weeks without producing a single thing worth reading, not even a hint of irony. Think to give up and send, then try harder with next installment.
06 February 2018 | Tipperary Waters Marina, Darwin
Wednesday 7 February 2018
Brain stepped out for a pint of milk Sunday, so didn't send last effort until Tuesday. This not due age as attention span and memory have actually improved over last decade from that of two-year old to three. OK fine, early three.
Kubota engine on Panda generator recalcitrance was due, apparently, to bad injector plug. This due, probably, to light loading of motor while charging batteries. This due, obviously, to not operating air conditioning (the only heavy load available) while genset is running. This due, regrettably, to a tincture of Calvinist asceticism inculcated by mum who grew up during Great Depression. When in doubt, blame all moral failures on someone or something else. Still hold her responsible for inability to leave food on a plate even when full to gills and close to exploding. By the way, she has no means to defend herself having departed in 2009 after a very long and full life. Awaiting word on completion of injector rebuild to nominal specs at which point unit will, no doubt, purr like a kitten. Inspection and service of Yanmar propulsion engine, which currently purrs as referenced, will follow. If it ain't broke???
Visit to dental torturist yesterday afternoon was, except for the bill, a very pleasant experience, itself a very unusual experience, because removal of tartar buildup (minimal even after particularly lengthy gap since last cleaning) was completely painless. This was not due to drugs or fear-induced catalepsy, but rather to new technique of firing calcium carbonate onto enamel. Sand blasting is way better than the tuning fork from hell. Consult your least sadistic dentist for details.
Medium fast start last week to boat renovation has stuttered to a more leisurely pace. Consider it blamed on biblical downpours and an uncommon cold (see above reference to moral failures). Having begun to feel better after off-loading virus to Jan however, expect to utilized Newton's first law of motion to overcome current inertia. Nascent search for appropriate force will, of course, be dependent upon significant improvement in attitude and weather. You see the problem, right?
03 February 2018 | Tipperary Waters Marina, Darwin
Sunday 28 January 2018
Great send off party for Jan & me last night at the marina. A few skeptics suggested it was a wedding party for the son of the owner, a retired Thai admiral, and a promotion for the Thailand rally. As if. Had a wonderful time and guzzled as much free food and wine as possible. Navy band and several fine singers provided entertainment. A huge video screen showed scenes from the wedding plus crews and boats in the harbour, but not us. Don't know why.
Especially happy to have had chance to visit Langkawi and Thailand again. Wanted to sail our own chariot back up, but would have cost a year with too many other things to do, places to go, people to see.
Now on the way to Singapore for ten hour layover before standby flight home on Jetstar, only one of two flights a week. Apparently few sane people want to go to Darwin. Can't rationalize a good excuse to blame them. Forecast shows 25 to 35 knot winds and near 100% chance of rain for the next several days. Home sweet home until July.
Underestimated crappiness of weather in Darwin - ferocious thunderstorms, trees down, canvas torn, flooding, over 510 mm (20 inches) of rain the last week. At least clouds keep temperatures at only sweltering instead of suffocating. In addition to that good news, missed dockage fee before trip, so caught up with two month's worth as visa card company stock spikes up from the business.
Nevertheless and despite customary torpidity (real word), have gotten a few things done: As current insurer for Pacific, SE Asia and Australia does not cover Indian Ocean (annual renewal due this month ballooned premium almost 22.5% and agent (for five years) neglected to notice (or remember) our recently reiterated location and itinerary, covering boat for only US and Canada - it's the personal touches that make all the difference), found reasonable insurance out of Opua, NZ underwritten by Lloyds. Bonus: no survey. Treated old, stagnant diesel with magic additive that will dissolve all tank sludge (ad says so). Ordered two new Fitbit straps from Hong Kong for 12.50 AUD including shipping after discovery that local store wanted $119 each (blink, blink, huh?). Confirmed that Kubota generator motor is buggered beyond my level of incompetence. Determined necessary method and parts to wire DC socket in forward bunk. Removed mainsail early today (first non-inclement morning) in order to access furling motor, which has taken a powder, and to reapply telltales. Plus numerous other achievements too inconsequential to notice.
Later, arranged to have both diesels scrutinized (no Cal, that's not naughty) and adjusted to run at peak efficiency (or at all), bought large fire extinguisher for lazarette and fire blanket for galley (to prevent otherwise fallacious declarations on insurance application), bought wire for above mentioned DC outlet and otherwise pissed away the afternoon to avoid any more actual work.
World ARC (originated as the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers from Las Palmas to the Caribbean that has expanded scope over the years to 11 additional mobilizations) departs St. Lucia each January on a 26,000 NM circumnavigation, returning to St. Lucia fifteen months later. We'll likely have opportunity to wave at the 2018 version as it hoons by in Mauritius middle October. Participants can't blink without missing nearly everything worth seeing along the way and all for only £44,100 (78,560 AUD). For those who have too much money and too little time or confidence it's a way to get 'er done, but crikey! You might not have to pay that much for a boat to do it in.
In Cruising Outpost magazine Bob Bitchin will occasionally have the caption "Why we cruise" over a picture of surpassing beauty, perhaps showing an idyllic anchorage with happy, smiling, probably inebriated cruisers. "Why we procrastinate" could accompany a picture of saloon and forward cabin in disarray yesterday as every upper cabinet between galley and forepeak was emptied to run wire to a DC outlet that had been installed a couple of years ago. Hylas apparently took great pains to make this nearly impossible even with a fish tape, no doubt to keep roaches from crawling from one locker to another. This has given Jan (She's CDO - that's OCD except in alphabetical order as she explains it should be) the chore of reorganizing approximately a quarter of the interior and throwing away a vast amount of extraneous crap that has been hidden, unused for years. It appears this will take all day and she is particularly pleased with me for the rare opportunity. Downside is that rest of crew, unable to operate inside and thus ousted from the comfort of air conditioning, is obliged to begin necessary work on deck in the midday heat. Of the two scenarios, Bob's is better.
21 January 2018 | Ao Chalong, Phuket
Thursday 18 January 2018
Here we are back in the land of longtails, hongs and wonderful food. No data sim until at least tomorrow in Ko Lanta, but probably not until Phuket Monday or Tuesday. Aim is a couple days in Ko Muk (Mook Island) before continuing north. This place embodies what half of dirt-dwellers think of as the essence of cruising (It's either sundowners in the cockpit with mates or battling 60 knot winds and 10 meters seas - in fact vast majority of time is spent doing neither) and one reason we love it. We have a palm tree lined sandy beach fringing a calm, cove anchorage with vertical limestone cliffs to the north. There's a small rustic resort and several bars and restaurants including one on the hillside that we enjoyed last time through - inexpensive (cruisers tend to be cheap except for boat stuff).
Beautiful 49 NM sail up from Ko Tarutao yesterday. Jan got to see sun peak over the horizon once again. Two within a week should discharge all her sunrise requirement for the year.
Had so much fun yesterday with swim, mast climb to clean sail track, drinks then dinner ashore decided to remain one more - Lanta Saturday. Original plan to swim through Emerald Cave to the hong inside at inexcusably early hour this morning before heading north after high alcohol evening may have impacted that decision as well. Should do so this afternoon with sleep-in tomorrow - no sunrise abuse.
Except for adult beverage our hosts practice something called moderation. This apparently requires self-discipline. As a general rule we avoid that. Not all bad though as despite best effort some miniscule lardage seems thus to have dissipated. After return to Darwin may have to practice something else called abstinence until livers recover.
Another late night of carousing at the same excellent restaurant ashore with several mates also heading toward Phuket after an accomplishment-free day resulted in dragging our torpid butts out of bed mid-morning and being the last to leave anchorage.
Yet another night of above referenced jollity starting at lunch with libation ashore. Lanta is one of our favorite places, but to quote Buffett, we "can't run at this pace very long". Excellent wind this morning for the few hour sail to Phiphi (Peepee) where we expect not to go ashore (suffers from wall to wall tourists, longtails and jet skis) before final run into Ao Chalong to clear in, do laundry and prepare for scheduled lunch Tuesday.
Closest sim card six klicks up beach so no internet until tomorrow in Phuket. In addition to constant pickling of brain cells, lack of inspiration has made this rather pedantic, but lacking ability to send, will just keep stuttering along until Phuket.
If we can buy tickets back to Darwin from Krabi without incapacitating the cruising kitty should be there a week from today. With excess time available last year, engineering and maintenance crew on Anthem were deplorably slack. Much to our chagrin this will necessarily change upon return. With Jan feeling well expect trips to Auckland, Hawaii and Vietnam in the breaks so must spend all home time at toil. Conscientiousness will henceforth be our mantra. Bike early every morning, work for balance of day, then pursue abstinence and moderation in the evening. Man! You couldn't pay me enough to be me.
15 January 2018 | Telaga Harbour
Wednesday 10 January 2018
Sun just peaking over horizon as Air Asia flight 541 to Bali taxis away from gate. Crew appreciation, particularly of distaff members, for opportunity to view this event was muted as we began 13 hour expedition to Langkawi. Although patronizing Air Asia all the way, retrieval of checked bags will be required in Kuala Lumpur (KL) because Indonesian and Malaysian branches evidently don't communicate. Lack of electronic entertainment system was ameliorated by live musician - pretty good too. If ever given a choice between Air Asia and Jetstar, AA doesn't suck nearly as much.
Apparently Air Asia Indonesia doesn't even communicate with itself as bags went walkabout, probably in Bali. Located and sent on next day, but no delivery as we had to prove they were ours - separate PNRs. Always carry a kit and spare skivvies for just such eventuality.
Commendable abstinence has been defenestrated (is English a great language or what?) as sailing friends force us (force I say) to partake in typical cruiser debauchery and first-rate socializing. Great to see so many old (long-time) friends and find out what mischief they've gotten into and plan to.
Have been enlightened from person or persons, who shall remain nameless, that Comments section of Sailblogs is not properly operating, so have added dedicated email account to allow contact should anyone be so inclined: firstname.lastname@example.org. Have usually replied directly instead of using Comments anyway so you may not be aware that a dialog has taken place. If you, for some recondite reason, wish to have one of those, I will always reply. If nothing forthcoming I have messed up. Give it another shot.
Will use actual location, for this occasion because it's cruising, even though Anthem is still ensconced in the bosom of Darwin.
Cleared out of Malaysia yesterday and now anchored in Telaga Harbour after motoring over from Rebak Island Marina (just south of here if you're looking) to get fuel and make last minute wine run. Expect little wind going to Phuket and duty free Langkawi is the cheapest place to acquire adult beverage anywhere within 1000 kilometers. Plus Jonathan & Dot will continue on to Andamans where one would almost certainly become sober without onboard supply. This, of course, would be highly inappropriate and is just not done.
08 January 2018 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Sunday 7 January 2018
Despite an inveterate lazy streak, lollygagging does tend to get boring after a bit, so yesterday, much to everyone's surprise, Panda got cleaned and put back together. No antifreeze, so had to wait until today to finish.. maybe. Not there yet.
Should have biked yesterday morning as rain mostly held off until last night, continuing all today - hard. Would have gone to pool for laps, but that pervasive sloth thing was an insurmountable obstacle and anyway we might have gotten wet. Managed, however, to sortie for coolant, material for a quilt project and, of course, coffee. Will suspend writing at this point to fill and bleed cooling system. There's undoubtedly a logic in the preceding and a posse will be sent out to search in due course.
Generator is tanned, rested and ready. It is, however, suffering from an unwillingness to start. May have to bring in competent help. Probably needs servicing anyway - valve adjustment, compression check and such. Onboard knowledge of diesel engines is somewhat sketchy although if the thing is getting fuel, air and compression it should at least give the odd pop. Pandas are a bit notorious for being temperamental, bad sensors for example that could preempt application of fuel.
Exclusive barber, Jan, performed removal of three month's (or longer) growth. Avoiding trauma for a week or two after such events is attempted by not looking in a mirror so to avoid observing the gorgeous, dapper Adonis who stares back. This is a look anathema to any cruiser and can cause great psychic damage to a proper self-image. She's quite proud of her artistic prestidigitation and is appalled by comb-overs (OK on that score for now), pony tails (how can one be a proper sailor without one?) and general shagginess (she seldom gets the trifecta).
Horses are great. They're smart(ish), handsome and big. There are three locations along bike paths here where one may observe them. Spots are not close together, so two per ride is usually max. Best locale is a large park at East Point also frequented by gaggles of geese, cacophonies of cockatoos and welters of wallabies (animal associations should always alliterate with the possible exception of a waddle of penguins). While distaff crew practiced yoga, rest of complement, no doubt feeling guilt for previous and impending lethargy, made this a three horse day (may rethink any similar urges in future). No riding again until February as medical appointment is early tomorrow and then we're gone sailing. Hasta Luego.