Wires and Fuel!
01 April 2015 | Southport
It was our intention, when we got Argos back in to the water after the time we spent cleaning and painting, antifouling and fixing things at the BoatWorks, to come down to the Gold Coast Broadwater and practice our motoring and anchoring skills and just spend a bit of time relaxing after all our hard work!
Unfortunately we have had on going issues with the engine and batteries and we have not been able to actually move much at all without help of the towing variety! But we have been doing a bit of relaxing and calming and that has been lovely and provided us the opportunity to breathe and de-stress and let some of the pain and angst of the past weeks begin to fade.
We have had a little practice with anchoring - once when the large old fishing boat next to us was dragging his anchor and we asked him if he could move a smidge as we couldn't, and he turned out to be a young fella on his own on the boat, with not a lot of capacity to anchor by himself - so he asked if we would mind moving instead and then he ended up towing us to where a nicer spot had emerged - closer in and a bit more comfortable for us! He runs a surf taxi service and we spent a few fun evenings listening to his stories about meting people like Kelly Slater and adventures he has had!
And then this week we have been fortunate on two counts to get some work done on our power supply by a local electrical business and by having some help from a retired boat builder who helped me finally understand how our complex fuel system works. So we are now able to start the engine and keep it going and we moved across the Broadwater on Monday - and today we plan to move back into Bums Bay so we have ended up getting a bit of practice in after all!
We have had excellent assistance from Daniel and Craig from TechMarine (www.techmarine.net.au) a marine electrical business located here at Southport. Craig has spent a little bit of time on board just trying to figure out why our batteries don't hold their charge and how we can improve the system. He has tried to make sense of the years of wiring and re-wiring and layers upon layers of obsolete systems with new things just kind of added in on top and tried to make things actually work.
We have learned a lot in the process and Craig has been lovely at showing Liam what he is doing and encouraging him with how he can manage a lot of this stuff.
We are not done yet - we need new controllers for the solar panels which were wired in wrongly so that they were losing power before feeding in to our batteries, and with an automatic isolating switch that will ensure power is supplied and switched over to where it is needed and a new display that will enable us to actually know what power levels we have and when something needs attention. This will take up the last of the money we have and we still haven't got the heat exchange fixed but that may need to be a job we postpone for a while and we may need to nurse the engine a little longer!
In addition to the work done by TechMarine, we had a great visit from Bruce Legg who is a boat builder, and experienced sailor who saw our Save Argos page and offered some of his time and knowledge to lend us a hand! He has been able to finally help me understand the complexities of our fuel system, worked out where our tanks are, how they are fed, how they are filled and why we have had issues with what we thought was fuel sludge.
It turns out that our fuel is fed somewhat differently to what had been previously thought and that we have never really understood the system at all! Bruce, with his experience and having built boats himself was unfazed by the panel of switches and levers in the engine room - and tracked back the hoses to the tanks. He worked out why we get gurgling air up the pipe when we fuel up and how to stop it - he was able to understand our system and explain it very well to me and so now I understand what things are and how to make it all work. We had what we thought was an issue with fuel sludge as we crossed the Mooloolaba bar last year and then again just two weeks ago when I came to anchor here in the Broadwater - but the situations were different and the problem recurring didn't make sense - now we understand properly how the fuel flows it makes a lot more sense and it is clear that it was a fuel flow issue at Mooloolaba too! Bruce also helped with some other niggly issues on board - fixing portholes that have always leaked, helping us get a proper mast light set up, issues with the dinghy fuel, and shared a myriad of things with us about Argos and her systems that we never knew. What a blessing!
So as Easter approaches we are beginning to feel a little excited that it won't be long before we will be beginning to make our way north!
We are planning on heading off from here and making our way up the windy passages towards Brisbane. We hope to stop in Brisbane a couple of weeks and then, with the assistance of a new crew member, we will head hopefully as far as Hervey Bay (via Mooloolaba). From Hervey Bay we hope to be joined by another new crew member who will come with us all the way to Airlie Beach where we will then go it alone and practice anchoring and sailing and living in the calmer waters inside the reef, and where we have a bunch of cruising friends to learn from!
We are slowly coming to terms with all that has happened in the last month. We have begun the journey of emotional healing and while my physical health has not been as good as I would like, I am hoping things will settle as time progresses and I develop more confidence in myself as skipper Sue and commander of our little life on board Argos!
We have been so encouraged by the support we have known and been so blessed by the way so many people have shown us kindness - we still have a ways to go but we are so glad we made the decision to stay with the boat and not abandon her as we were abandoned.