14 August 2022 | Avea Bay, Huahine
William Ennis | Soggy
We've had a great time here! We arrived on Thursday, winding through the lagoon to Avea, as I mentioned. One of the projects that I wanted to tackle here was rebuilding the water maker/desalinator. It's a good one, but we've not used it for a few years. It was "pickled", as the term goes (prepared for a long season out of use), but we knew that it would require some effort.
In preparation for the task, we had purchased a new reverse osmosis membrane, and various other parts that were suggested by the manufacturer. Our plan was, first, to simply run the system as-is to determine if it still worked, but when we began, we got no water from the overboard brine through-hull. An email exchange with the manufacturer informed us that we needed to replaced all the filters and the membrane, or it would be, "a waste of time." End quote...
I replaced all of the pre-filters, a 20µ and a 5µ. I also replaced the charcoal filter that's used to remove any chlorine from water in our tanks that's used as a fresh-water flush. Chlorine will destroy a reverse osmosis membrane.
For those of you who don't know, reverse osmosis is a method of removing salt from sea water to make it drinkable, accomplishing this magic by forcing salt water, under terrific pressure, through a special membrane. The "reverse" part of the name comes from the physical fact that, left on their own devices, salty and fresh water will mix and become the same saltiness, while this process keeps them from mixing and even enhances the difference. It's energy intensive but efficient. Our system uses our small generator to produce 120VAC to power the system but produces 20 gallons of extremely clean water per hour.
The more difficult task was to replace the old membrane with our new one. We dragged this 4-foot cylinder from home on every flight. Conni would take it aboard and sweetly ask the flight attendants if she could store it in the coat closet and they always allowed it. At US$50/flight, it saved a bundle and probably saved the membrane from damage in the baggage compartment or loading.
Without belaboring details, I was unable to determine how to open the high pressure cylinder into which the membrane fits. The Internet here is so abysmal that it's hardly fit for email, to say nothing of the YouTube that the manufacturer suggested. I just completed re-packing everything and we'll wait until a return to Fare in a few days to watch the video and complete the task. Personally, I think that the high pressure pump needs work and I'll have to drag it home, but perhaps it'll work.
Our dear old fridge is still on the blink. We've tried what we can but no joy. I imagine that we'll have to buy a new fridge unit and I'll install it next season. New units use half the power and are much more efficient, so in the end it will be a good thing to do. One day, we'll come here and not have anything to install...
At dinner on Friday night, two couples around us heard our accents and both dropped by our table to talk. Tom and Harriet are Americans with a large catamaran, Ocean. They're in the midst of selling her and moving to New Zealand. His profession was as a sailmaker and back in the 1980's, he gained NZ citizenship since they needed sailmakers at the time. The other couple, Alan and Kate, are from the SF Bay area and owed a fine monohull, Itajime. They're also interesting and accomplished people. We chose to gather yesterday on Ocean and it was fun to see how the other half lives and cruises. Ocean has enormous storage, hundreds of gallons of fuel and water, a washing machine, a huge kitchen, and much more. The space on a catamaran is simply amazing and we enjoyed the tour. It appears that Itajime departed today so we wish them well. Perhaps we can catch them in the Bay area. Tom and Harriet are still here.