Wednesday, September 28, 2011

From the Captain

I checked out of Neiafu today and I'm now at anchor in a cove just south.  The anchor chain talks.  When the boat drifts about, occasionally the chain drags over coral and the rumble is transmitted up the chain right to the boat.  It's weird because I always thought that the grumble / rumble was associated only with dragging but with solid chain rode, it's every time the boat swings you hear this noise.

It's calm.  Some tuna were sort of jumping near the boat in the dark.  There are no mammals like seals and otters.  I suppose there might have been a thousand years ago or so, but with people moving in they got hunted out pretty quick.  I never realized just how many people these islands supported pre-Europeans.  The populations were 100 or more times what they are today.  That's a lot of people on small land base, being fed and supported by the local resources.  Not only just surviving, but living well with time and energy and resources for comfort, art and war.  The implications are really somewhat staggering when you think about it.

Such is life.  I broke the oar I made - the local hardwood turned out to be trash.  Waste of money and a day.  So, I am oar challenged.  I hesitate cutting down my long good oar to match the short oar I bought but it may come to that.  In the meantime, I have got the electric outboard to behave reliably.  I modified it a bit.  I cut off the battery connectors, automotive post style of lead that in the salt water formed a non-conductive oxide quickly, and installed some ring connectors  - the deep cycle batteries have studs as well as lead posts.  These are easy to clean, and being tinned copper aren't affected by the salt water as much.  Also they are easier and faster to put on and take off.  So, all round, works better.  I just need to add a fuse to the circuit - the one was incorporated into the battery post and that's gone now.  The fuse supplied was a bad choice anyway because it's fusible link is corroding fast because it's exposed.  I'll get a blade type in a water proof holder.  Irony is that I had one in the spares box but I used it already.  The other thing is the use of lots of silicone non-conductive anti-corrision grease on all the connectors, especially the control / instrument sockets.  This has helped a lot and something to file away in your head.  You can use it in all kinds of places where an electrical connection is made in a wet environment.  Works great on your car battery terminals, use it for bulbs on trailers (eg boat trailer tail lights that get wet, ham radio equipment etc. etc.  Most things don't really need it but if you have an electrical contact in a challenging environment, it helps.

I think I mentioned I had a great couple of scuba dives here.  I'm told the diving is good in Fiji too, so that might be inducement to go that way next year if I sail again.  Mom is making some noises about wanting to dive again, but remember the hassle and pain diving at home with the cold,  weight and gear - and how nice it was snorkeling in Tahiti.  I suggested that maybe moving the boat to Mexico or the Caribbean might be a thought.  I can see pros and cons, but we'll see what she thinks / says.  I'm not sure quite how I'd want to route the boat there - it's awkward and "up hill" all the way.  It might almost be worth while to keep going east round S. Africa and then across the Atlantic.  I'm not thrilled about the distances and I'm seriously thinking there's a lot of nice places I'd like to look at on the BC  and perhaps Alaskan coasts.  Lets just see what Mom comes up with.

Anyway, time to try and see if I can get out on Winlink.  Hope you had / have fun with your friends that are visiting.

Take care - love you.
Dad
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At 25/09/2011 7:23 AM (utc) our position was 18°39.83'S 173°58.88'W