Fixing day today

The postman came late yesterday with goodies, but I missed him at the office, so collected the bits, a new water gauge and a bow light, this morning. So after a couple of poached eggs with Kathy I got stuck into the jobs.

Nice tidy cabin, breakfast cleared away
  1. Battery Charger
    Yesterday I was doing some testing to understand how much power I was getting from the wind generator and solar system. During the testing I noticed the battery charger was overheating and shutting down, further investigation showed the fan was broken on the charger. I picked one up yesterday and fitted it this morning. Job done, lets hope it lasts a while.
  2. Engine Water coolant leak
    I spent some time yesterday in hardware stores looking for hose fittings to improve this connection to the engine, but there aren’t any. I will probably post on some sailing forums to see what others do. I noticed the hose was quite brittle and I’m going to replace it all next week. For now I cut back the bad hose and re-fitted it. img_2828
    This worked, but a lot more cooling fluid poured out of the hose than I expected, I think the calorifier must hold a lot, and be located higher than the pipe. Managed to catch most of it in a 5 litre jug, but when time came to refill it, I had a litre left over, which in my mind means there is an air lock in the system now. I was expecting to have to add an extra litre. Anyway, I hoped that if I ran the engine a bit then it might work it’s way through.
    The engine wouldn’t start, turning the key, gives a click from the engine, but the starter doesn’t turn. Really disappointing and I assumed the solenoid had jammed, so a gentle tap on the solenoid was tried, no luck.
    I hot wired the solenoid and the engine started, the water level dropped, but not enough. So now I have two show stopping faults, when before I only had an intermittent drip.
  3. Water levels
    The port water tank level gauge had packed in, the float didn’t float and its magnets didn’t magnetise, so Kathy replaced it for me.img_2808 I have wired up the switch that used to just show the starboard tank level so that it now switches between port and starboard. I’ve never had such sophistication on a boat before, very posh. Hopefully we can top up now before the tank gets empty, that will save the pump running on an empty tank, and air spurting out the taps when we are empty.

    Half full tank on port captain

    Full tank on stb captain





4. Steaming light on mast

The new light finally arrived, and I popped up the mast for a fitting 😉 Well the mast is sort of oval shaped in cross section and the light has a flat back, I took the old light down and worked out a way to use its bracket for the new light. It looks like it will work well, but by now the sunlight was going so Kathy and I headed off to the pool to watch the sunset and have a cooling swim.

Tonight I have been studying the wiring diagrams for the engine, I now know far more about the Volvo MD22 (AKA Perkins M50) than I ever wanted to know. Things like, the engine ground is isolated from the boats electrical ground when starting or stopping the engine. Doesn’t say why, but might be related to galvanic corrosion caused by heavy currents.
Anyway the click I can hear when I turn the key to start, isn’t the solenoid, it’s a separate relay that switches the starter solenoid. I found that 12v leaves the control panel, and the relay is clicking with it, so it must be the wire or relay contacts from there that leads to the solenoid, as there isn’t any voltage getting to the solenoid. I’m very disappointed with the electrical side of the engine. It’s only ten years old, very low hours, yet the electrics are giving me too many problems. I think the control panel is damaged because it’s out in the cockpit, the UV caused the corners to crack so moisture gets in and has its evil way. How long should water hoses last, these are only 10 years old. The engine on Stardust is 8 years old and still looks new.

Not looking forward to tomorrow, the relay I need to get too is in a most inaccessible place. I will do the mast light first before it gets too hot. Hopefully if I can sort the engine tomorrow we can get out of here on Tuesday and go for a sail and anchor overnight somewhere nearby for a change. I’m hoping the rigging will arrive in a few days time and we can depart for Thailand.


Paul C.


Our Day Out

Not quite the same as the events in Willy Russell’s tale, but it would have been nice to take a monkey from the park if they’d only been more friendly ;).

We hired a car last Thursday so that we could explore more inland places of Langkawi.  The process of hiring a car turned out to be a lot less of a hassle here than in any other country.  Apparently the lady on the desk just took a cursory glance at Paul’s driving licence, charged him the equivalent of £12 for 24 hours, asked for a £10 deposit, and asked if he’d return it with the same amount of petrol. There was no inspection of the car’s condition; in fact she merely pointed to one, seemingly at random, gave him the keys and said ‘there you go, take that one’.  It was small, automatic, air-conditioned and comfortable, even if it did struggle to work out which gear it should be in sometimes. Our first stop was to get some petrol so we stopped at the first one we saw in Kuah Town.  Paul couldn’t work out how the petrol cap came off and was trying various buttons and levers while I searched compartments for a helpful manual or leaflet until an attendant with a world-weary expression came over, reached inside and pulled a lever near the handbrake (I have a feeling he might have had to do this before). Petrol is a lot cheaper here (the equivalent of 40p a litre). Paul put £4’s worth in and could have got away with a lot less for the day’s use.

We’d worked out a rough itinerary of where we wanted to go.  We were heading to the western side of the island, where the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park is located, taking in a few other places on the way.  There is a road that cuts through the island’s rural middle and we drove along that after leaving Kuah’s busy centre.  Soon, lush rainforest was on either side of us, and as we climbed higher, there were steep rock faces (no protective netting or warnings of loose rocks here).  There was hardly any other traffic so we could slow down to look at anything interesting.  The houses in the tiny villages we passed looked just like Swiss chalets or the more ornate sheds and cabins found in garden centres. Other places were made up of ramshackle buildings that looked as if they might fall in strong winds. On the roadsides we saw several stray dogs, beautiful red roosters and chickens, cows and the ubiquitous monkeys, which I’ve since found out are mainly Dusky Leaf or Macaque. On one stop, quite high up, we stopped to look out at the Andaman Sea and on the beach below I was most excited to spot what looked like a crocodile or alligator but it could well have been a Komodo Dragon.  You can just about see it in the picture below in the middle of the beach.

Komodo Dragon?
Komodo Dragon?
Paul with the Andaman Sea in the background
Paul with the Andaman Sea in the background
One of the many stray dogs
One of the many stray dogs
The road through the island
The road through the island

There are adverts everywhere for ‘Crocodile Adventureland’, the pictures on the banners show people variously prising open the mouths of the crocodiles (to place a head or an arm inside), riding on their backs and possibly getting them to perform tricks ‘seaworld’ fashion, and as neither of us are in favour of that form of entertainment, we passed that one by and instead headed for the nearby Handicraft and Art Village.  As well as the usual hand made souvenirs and other unique items, this complex contained a couple of museums about Langkawi’s heritage and culture.


Our next destination on the map was the attractive-sounding Seven Wells Waterfall.  It was a picturesque journey through more thick woodland where all the luxury tourist villas are located.  It was still a surprise, however to come upon an exclusive golf course and resort as we rounded a corner. Suddenly all the jungle-like vegetation had disappeared and it was like we were in the middle of the rural Surrey.  The waterfall was a little way after the golf club according to the map.  Thinking we’d missed it, we had to double back and check the location again and discovered from a roadside plaque that it was still being built! Once finished it will be the biggest man made waterfall in Malaysia apparently.  The climb to its source was open though so we decided to do it. A group of workers on the opposite side (in the pictures behind us) cheered us on when they shouted to check we were climbing to the top and watched us all the way. The pictures don’t show the steepness of the steps – some of the were so steep I nearly had to pull myself up with my hands.  The view from the top was stunning though.

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Refreshment was in order after all that exertion so we drove to Telaga Harbour for a late lunch.  We’ll be coming back to this place before going to Thailand and Paul’s getting the rigging done here by a guy he knows.  It’s a modern-looking marina with classy restaurants, cafes and bars around it and although it’s not Paul’s ideal place, I was too hungry to search around so we settled on an Italian restaurant with a view over the marina where we had a very nice pizza (for Paul) and fries for me.

 Telaga Harbour

Telaga Harbour

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Finally we visited The Oriental Village in the heart of the Geoforest Park. This is laid out very much in the style of theme parks such as Alton Towers, but without the rides: lots of handicraft and souvenir shops, a ‘feed the bunnies’ area, cafes, play areas, a huge lake with a wobbly bridge over it, pretty gardens, oh and a plastic, roaring dinosaur which had people queueing to be photographed next to it.  The Oriental Village is also the gateway to the cable car ride which takes you to the peak of Langkawi’s second highest mountain, and the hugely popular Langkawi Sky Bridge attraction, but we decided to save those treats for when we return to the area.

Cable car in the distance
A rickety rackety bridge
A rickety rackety bridge


The best part was the monkeys. There were scores of Dusky Leaf Monkeys there, and we sat and watched their antics for ages. They run wild and free within the park, jumping on fences and climbing the trees to feed in large groups.  Some of them had tiny babies clinging to their tummies and they’re not in the least bit bothered by hordes of people photographing and staring at them as they go about their business. Obviously I took loads of pictures in an attempt to capture their cheekiness/cuteness but Paul’s video just about sums them up.  Watch how one of them knocks another off the fence 🙂

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