Another Hot Day
17 May 2017 | Pension Tiare Nui, Raiatea, French Polynesia
Well, what did we expect in French Polynesia but hot weather? We have received it! After a day on the boat, we’re both literally dripping sweat. We need to drink more. We eat a good breakfast and dinner but we’re so dehydrated during the day that we’re only interested in liquids and salty snacks. Whew.
We arrived and started work directly. I worked on the damned electric pump replacement, carefully removing old wires and replacing them with the wires that I had dragged from the forward terminal strips. I’m using wire considerably larger than strictly necessary, but it’s insurance agains problems and I had it to spare. As I discussed with Conni, I’m just not as efficient as I am when I’ve been doing this for weeks. I have to think through the sequence, and still I make mistakes. For example, today as I was completing the mounting of the new pump, I dropped into the bilge two screws, a washer, AND my screwdriver! For heaven’s sake! You’d think that I was a beginner. The hardware is stainless, so I couldn’t’ retrieve them with a magnet, but the screwdriver ascended nicely. The hardware will last indefinitely since it’s stainless and I hate to add to the items that might clog a bilge pump.
I continuously checked that the wires were driving the pump, so I averted the mistake that I made yesterday: at least I can learn. Determining the wiring layout that I encountered was also a challenge. For reasons that I can only attribute to laziness, the old pump ground was simply spiced into a ground that had a totally different use. All of these wires spiced together with automotive butt connectors and wrapped in electrical tape had finally failed. I didn’t do it!
I also got the Racor primary filter dismounted, disassembled, and cleaned. I’ll post some photos that I took of the bacterial sludge that the filter caught in just the trip from Papeete to Raiatea at last season’s end. We have already made arrangements for our tanks to be cleaned in a process called, “fuel polishing”. With luck, we’ll start the season with clean fuel. It was our concern over the dirty fuel that caused us to shut the engine last year, and it didn’t start for 3 weeks. We’ve had enough!
Conni and I got the main halyard rove, too, so all are in place awaiting our sails. We’ve tentatively chosen next Tuesday for launch and we both hope that we’re ready. We never get everything done, but perhaps enough.
We always lubricate the sea cocks, the valves that open and close the sea water entrance into the hull for several appliances. In theory, there’s a sea cock for every hole in the hull, but we didn’t design or build her and not all are so protected. We’re religious about this process, but still we had two that I simply could not budge. We’ll work on them tomorrow, but if I can get them to move, I’ll hire the yard to fix or replace them. We’ve got to be able to close a 2-inch hole in our hull that’s well below waterline!
We had visited Madame Faux, the sailmaker, and she arrived on time and I escorted her to the boat. She’ll fabricate a small bag for our GPS mushrooms (the receiving antenna for our many GPS units, so called because of their shape), a bag for our sail battens that get badly damaged by UV, and a side curtain to protect the cockpit and its occupants from sun. It’s a zip-in item that must be custom tailored. It’ll add considerably to our comfort while sitting at anchor or traveling in heavy sun. In boats on which these have been installed, it made tens of degrees difference in temperature.
As I was waiting for Madame Faux to arrive, a guy drove up whom we had met yesterday. He’s a Canadian ex-pat who’s now a French citizen and is living aboard his old catamaran nearby. I don’t he expected to see us, but he had introduced himself yesterday and gave us his business card as a “jack of all trades who speak French and knows the resources in the area. At US$30/hour, he’s not expensive. I’m not sure how he manage to become a French citizen, or what his background is, but he seems to have solved our perennial fridge problem. We had diagnosed the problem as the screw cap that holds the fuse had lost its spring, thereby allowing the fuse to lose contact. Jigging the damned difficult-to-reach fuse cap causes the fridge to switch on, but one never knew when jiggling would cease to work, and one could work for hours to jiggle it just the right way. I’ve tried a fix similar to his, but his was more clever. He used the spring from a ballpoint pen, wound it around a drill bit the size of the inside of the cap, stretched it to length, then snipped it. After placing it in the cap and screwing it into the fridge housing, the fridge came on. Damned clever and I’ll bet the fridge, now 33 years old, runs a long time.
All in all, then, we got a lot done, but have a lot to do.