Making Progress

Possibly my most boring blog to date ? Mostly boat jobs.

Tuesday 21st May:

Fitted the water pump yesterday and popped up to the ways to see if the oil cooler was ready, but it wasn’t so I returned to the boat and worked on the locker tops in the cockpit. The design of the cockpit locker lids means that if you overfill the locker, when you sit on the lid/seat, the lid becomes a lever and puts massive forces on the hinge. Eventually the wood near the hinge splits and has to be replaced.


Jim popped by on his rounds, he is looking after quite a few boats here, over coffee he told me he had seen my oil cooler finished in the shed at the ways, so I popped up and collected that, it looked smart with the shiny new oil hoses. Back on the boat I made a new bracket out of aloom-in-em, a metal they have over here that is very similar to aluminium 😉 

I managed to get everything back together, turned on the sea water supply and tried to turn the engine over, sadly the starter motor just whirred without engaging. Exactly the same problem I had last year when the salt water had caused a lot of rust to accumulate on the starter’s bendix. It seems all the grease and oil I had put on last September hadn’t protected it over the winter, so I’m hoping I can pull it out tomorrow and clean it up again. 


New oil cooler fitted

Starter motor cleaned up and back in the engine, and the engine turns, but won’t start. This is disappointing, it always starts. It’s going to be the fuel, it’s always the fuel. I imagine I’m out at sea, approaching the harbour and need the engine, what would I do? in fact I actually imagine what insults I would throw at someone who calls mayday in such a situation without first trying to fix the fuel problem. This is a situation every sailor should expect and be prepared for, so being tied up to the dock is a great place to have the problem. Usually it’s either bad fuel, blocked fuel lines or filters, I’m expecting to have a fuel bug, which is the worst scenario, as these things grow in your fuel as a black sludge and mess everything up. Finally the other things is that the fuel lines need bleeding, I try that first and sure enough the engine starts and runs just fine. So a lot of worry for nothing. 

Now the engine is running, time to check for water coming out of the exhaust, there’s none ( the engine is water cooled and needs hot water to squirt out the exhaust ), this always happens whenever I change the impeller. No panic, it takes a while for the water to get through the system. After a few minutes there is still no water flowing, I’m worrying about the impeller in the pump burning out, or the exhaust water muffler box overheating ,so I stop the engine. I take the repaired water pump cover off, but as I’m unscrewing the cover water starts squirting out, so it looks like water is getting there ok, I retighten the screw and decide I need more patience. Starting the engine again, and after 2-3 minutes, still no water out of the exhaust. Stop the engine, scratch my head, scratch my head again, start the engine, water gushing out the exhaust. I’m sure it does this to wind me up. Still there’s plenty of water flowing so the repaired pump is working well. Stick my head over the engine to check the oil cooler and there is oil pouring out of all the hose connections on the new cooler. It turns out I only did them up finger tight, so having fixed that I check the oil level in the transmission. I decide to be adventurous and replace the transmission (gear box) oil and clean the oil filter, I’m not sure this has been done before in the motors 20 year life. The oil filter has a metal plate over it which is painted over and joined to the engine paint, so I’m pretty sure it has never been inspected. As it turns out, it’s pretty clean anyway. And as I go to replace the cover, it slips on the oily surface and drops into the back of the deep bilge. This is probably the most inaccessible part of the boat, I have no obvious way to retrieve this, so I put my tools away and call it a day.

Bad weather on the way in

At this point Mark, who works in conservation over on Vancouver Island, and is having a break on his boat opposite me walks past, I tell him of my adventures and he suggests a magnet as the answer. Brilliant, I had forgotten all about the power of magnets to retrieve metal from the bottom of an oil filled void. Off to Johns to see if I can borrow a magnet, he’s bound to have one. In fact he has a telescopic magnet. While I’m there I learn lots about superconductivity and creating vacuums 


Looks older in B&W

Magnet works amazingly, plate recovered, oil changed, filter cleaned, no leaks, engine running well (ish). I’m not happy with the small amount of smoke and fuel coming out of the exhaust, I’m hoping to get a second opinion. I decide to let the engine run for a while to get it up to temperature, but I notice the temperature gauge has stopped working. Typical. It’s going to be a bad connection somewhere between the sensor and the display. That can wait, as can the engine test. I need to buy coffee, so off to the shops, then a bit of programming. I have cracked my id problem with Apple and it turns out I really am who I thought I was all along, thanks apple. Now all they need to do is join the old Paul Collister from before iCloud with the new Paul Collister after iCloud and I will be very happy. 

On the way back from the shops I spot a sailboat out in the bay heading for the harbour, it looks like a baba so I step up the pace to see what it might be. He has just tied up as I arrive and it’s an American in a baba 35, pilot house version. Quite a rare Baba, and a nice boat, sadly the varnish has been replaced with a paint like brown yuk called Cetol, which although it makes maintenance easy, isn’t my idea of a smart finish. The owner is Mike from Oregon, and later we have a good chat about Baba’s and boating, I persuade him to join our Baba yahoo group.


Sourdough from Victor, who I thought was a Finnish baker, but turns out to be from Valparaíso in Chile. Back to Johns to return the magic Magnet, then, as it’s turning out to be a sunny day, out with the varnish and back to making the boat pretty again.

While the varnish is drying, I service the starboard main winch, like the port winch this is in a bad way, but cleans up well. 



Trip to Bere point as it was so sunny, then back to the boat to repair the port cockpit locker lid.

Bere point has orca’s visiting to rub their tummies on the pebbles. I thought I saw some, but it was hard to tell, from a distance. I focussed on one, and it turned out to be a log, rolling in the swell, then when I looked the other whales/logs had disappeared. There were signs pointing to a wedding, which I think was yesterday, however with my detective hat on, I think I may have found some evidence.

Back at the harbour Randy and Lorraine had a rope going over the side of the pier to a large fibreglass box, this was one of the floats that supports the pontoons, it had sprung a leak and was floating around the pontoons. Randy attached a rope via a block (pulley) to his truck and lifted it half out of the water so it could drain some of the water out. Next he towed it around to the big winch, which I had to operate to haul the float out of the sea. I really did feel like a grown up operating this winch.

A new fiberglass float that goes under the pontoons to keep them afloat

On one evening I was strolling along the pontoons and was surprised when a voice from the dark said ‘Hello’, It was a tug-man, who had pulled into the harbour for the night and was sitting on the tugboat chilling. His tow was tied up alongside the pontoon behind him. just a barge with a few fuel tankers and a JCB on board, I wondered if he had berthed them all on his own, made me fell stupid about manoeuvring Sister Midnight around the harbour.

Next week I may well take the boat out of the harbour, which requires me to reverse about 6 boat lengths out from my pontoon, then I want to reverse back into the same space to work on the other side of the boat. I plan to try my hand at scarfing, that is, fixing a new piece of teak into the cap-rail where I smashed a chunk out on the Japanese concrete dock in Ishigaki.

I have now made some more definite plans. I’m going to haul out the boat here in a couple of weeks for about three days, paint the bottom and change the anodes.
I have booked a flight home for the 4th July and have arranged to leave the boat in Sointula.
At the end of July (Exact date TBC) Kathy and I fly back, spend a week or two in Sointula, and a week around these islands, before we head south around the west coast of Vancouver Island. We will probably take 10-15 days travelling down the west coast exploring the many rugged remote fiord like inlets. I’m hoping we will get to see some bears and other wildlife.
When we reach the bottom of the Island, we will provision for 2 weeks and head 50 odd miles offshore going south until we arrive in San-Francisco, sometime mid September-ish.

Paul Collister.

Victoria Day

Monday 13th May

Up at 7:30, and straight into stripping the remaining varnish on the starboard caprail with my new heat gun. This was a long and quite boring day, The heat gun made easy work of stripping the varnish, but there’s so many fiddly bits and I have to move the boat’s mooring lines around a bit to access each end of the boat. I found some rot that was too big to ignore, basically before I bought the boat the rain had seeped under the teak plugs covering the screws, and had reacted with the screws and the teak and somehow rot had started. In most cases it was small and I thought I had cleaned most of it out and put new bigger plugs on, but one area was about an inch round after I scraped out the rot. I thought I would squeeze a diamond shaped plug into the rail were the rot was, it was going to be quite artistic, but very subtle, but ended up standing out terribly. I’d love to be better at woodwork,  I’m going to replace that whole cap rail over about 12ft when I get back to Asia, it’s way to expensive to do here. 


Off to shop, to stock up on drinks and chocolate. More varnishing and later I serviced the main port yankee winch. This had seized up, and I expected it to take about 45 minutes to service, but it ended up taking a couple of hours, this winch has three roller bearings on the main shaft, and 3 sets of pawls. I couldn’t see why it had seized, everything was turning ok once apart, but there was a lot of hard grease and dirt inside. Once I had cleaned, greased and oiled it all up, it wouldn’t go back together, I ended up working under a spotlight it had got so late, and decided I must have put it back together incorrectly. The next morning I swapped two cogs around and all was fine. I better do the starboard winch now as that must be in a similar state. Unfortunately, as I tightened up the final bolt on the winch it sheared off, closer inspection revealed corrosion right through the bolt just under the head, I had to make a smell surgical cut in the remaining shaft of the bolt and unscrew it. This was a slightly specialised type of bolt , 5/8th” with a hex Allen key head. A normal hex head bolt/screw wouldn’t fit in. 

Wednesday :

The co-op didn’t have the bolt I needed for the winch, but I bumped into John, a local who hails from The Hamble, who told me to follow him back to his house, and he would sort me out with a few dozen of them.  In Johns workshop, a large shed in his garden, he had lathes, milling machines, something that looked like a giant router, but wasn’t, workbenches, oxy-accetelene torches, and a stack more engineering things, quite amazing really, we walked into another room full of shelves of nuts and bolts. He produce a tray marked 5/8” Allen key bolts, which was full of exactly what I needed. Amazing, he insisted I taken a bag of 20 or so, but I insisted one was all I needed, his point was that I needed spares, so we settled on 6 of them.

Back at the boat I did more varnish stripping, the main cabin hatches this time, for the first time I think.

I also met a guy called Steve who has a small cruiser a few boats along the pontoon, he was just back from Thailand, he lives there for six months in the winter and six months here in the summer. He knew Langkawi long before it became popular with cruisers like us. We had a great chat about SE Asia and boat things. 

I finished the day off re-working my apple app ‘Findit’ so it will work on the latest IOS and my iPhone 8Plus. I wrote this solely as a way to quickly save and search the location of items stored on the boat. Over the next few weeks I will be going through every locker on the boat cataloging what I don’t throw out.

Thursday:Having completed the app so it works on the simulator I tried to get it to run on my phone. This was the start of a very few frustrating hours, Apple are so hot on security, they even had me doubting who I really was, I certainly couldn’t convince them I was Paul Collister, I couldn’t download the developer certificate I needed, and couldn’t remember the middle name of the vet who looked after my second puppy or the maiden name of my favourite teachers wife. I tried to reset my account and that required me to enter the details from a credit card that was discontinued a few months ago, and I didn’t keep any record of it. I haven’t given up on this battle, but will need a few days to recuperate before having another go.

Yesterday I received two parcels from the UK, one Isaac posted 6 weeks ago,  and one a chandler posted 5 days ago. The big parcel contained 3 meters of exhaust pipe for the heater. It was the correct size for the heater, but the previous owner had had adapters welded on to take a larger pipe, so out with the hacksaw and vice, and after a few hours the heater was running fine. Why is everything so drawn out on a boat!

Friday: It had been raining most of the past few days so I still hadn’t been able to start the varnishing, but today I did the bowsprit, Samson post and put a final coat on the table in the cockpit. Another parcel arrived with the repair kit for the engine’s raw water pump. I also met Steve an engineer who has become my new neighbour for a few days, he has a lot of experience in Volvos, so the race is on to get the engine running before he leaves, as he could be extremely helpful.

Saturday: The shiny new cockpit table gets fitted. I manage to get two coats of varnish onto the caprail in one day, which is nice.

Sunday : All the wiring is replaced in the binnacle/pedestal and everything re-assembled. It’s looking smart, at least from certain directions, from others you can see some small runs in the varnish, and hairs from the brush, which is odd as I only use foam brushes these days. 2 hours to polish all the stainless on the starboard side. The island is busy today, there’s a sporting event, I think baseball, but not sure, but lots of people visit the island, it’s a major event, so major the police send over a couple of mounties in a fast speedboat, who have a police van stashed on the island, ( the mountie bit seems redundant here) they then drive up to the game to check that nobody is thinking of driving home after consuming too much merriment at the match. It’s quite rare for them to visit apparently.

Monday: Today and tomorrow I want to get the engine back into working order. I tried to pop the shaft/bearings out of the water pump, but they wouldn’t budge. So I popped over to John’s, he had said he would help out, and in return I would help him out with an internet router problem he had. John is a proper engineer, I learnt more about mechanics in the few hours I was there today than I have in years. He had just the right bits of steel, copper, tubes, hammers etc to persuade the bearings and shaft to leave the water pump without making too much of a scene. He showed me the issue around the shaft being worn at the seal, and pointed out the fine ridge inside the new seal. It did look like there was some scratching on the shaft, but as it was, it was all fine. We rebuilt the pump with new bearings and seals and it’s sitting here waiting to be fitted tomorrow. I will also see if the oil cooler is ready for me tomorrow, and hopefully by the end of the day I should have the engine running.

The raw water pump that keeps the engine cool
Thanks to Dave (DJF) for supplying the Acrylic I managed to fit today.

In other news:

Wildfires are raging in Alberta, this is quite early in the year apparently, and more and more people are commenting on the lack of rain and how the forest undergrowth has died and is ripe for a fire here. The whole eco system is finely balanced, without the rains, the rivers aren’t deep enough for the salmon to climb and spawn, without them the bears, can’t survive, without the bears, there will be far too many tourists etc etc.

CBC continues to delight, well mostly. Last week the play ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ by Lorraine Hansberry was discussed, I saw this in liverpool some time back and was very impressed, Her life story was fascinating.

However tonight we had three millennials on discussing the ‘meme’ going around about ‘only able to complete half of your todo list’ Apparently this is something they are stressing about. I’m reminded here of Isaac and his cousin, who as kids would often say to me ‘is that even a thing’ which I was thinking listening to the show. They were complaining about how much stress millennials where under compared to previous generations, one pointed out how little time they had left after all there social media chores, to even do things like returning clothes to amazon, I was so close to throwing something at the radio! I think the host of the show felt the same way, but she held it together well.

Oh and it’s Victoria Day today, Something to do with Queen Victoria’s birthday, I think she would have been 200 this week? I had thought it was a holiday for people living in Victoria, but apparently it’s celebrated all over Canada, and in Scotland? 

Hopefully by the next blog, all of the starboard side will be varnished, the engine repaired, and I may even have motored out of the harbour and back in to get the port side alongside so I can varnish that.

Paul Collister.

Engine & Varnish

I’ve noticed some of the people here seem a bit serious

Yet others seem more friendly 😉

Seriously, everyone here is very pleasant, I’ve noticed some of the locals have a reticence to become best friends with visitors on the first meeting, but warm after a while. The Island has a lot of visitors during the summer, and I expect that creates issues, good and bad.

So Monday 6th May arrives, this will be my 4th week on the boat, even though I’ve done a lot, time seems to be racing past, it’s only 7 weeks before I have to head back to the UK, so everything has to be finished in the next few weeks if I want to get the boat back out sailing before then. I am thinking hard now about my plans for the rest of the year.

So onto the engine work. The water pump had to come off so I could replace the faulty seal. I’m waiting for a new repair kit to arrive from the UK, seeing as the one I brought out is still in hiding. The pump came off without much trouble, but no longer turns, I suspect sitting through the winter with water that got past the seal and into the bearings is the problem, this isn’t supposed to happen, but the repair kit will have new bearings, so no big deal.
Next I tried to remove the Oil Cooler, without damaging it further, if possible I would like to repair it, however I couldn’t disconnect the hoses from it, they were well and truly seized tight. So I gave up for the day, squirted WD40 onto the annoying bits and left it to soak overnight. WD40 likes to take its time freeing up seized mechanical things.

Tuesday: I manage to disconnect one hose from the cooler, this allows me to get other hose off the gearbox, so eventually I get it out, but not before it’s had a good bashing. However I don’t think it had any future anyway, it’s pretty corroded.

The engine/transmission area underneath the cooler is looking a bit rough so I give it a good cleaning, it could do with painting, but it’s just too awkward to access.

The oil cooler is a heat exchanger, it intercepts the water coming in from a hole in the bottom of the boat, the engine raw water thru hull & sea cock, and then uses this to cool the oil that passes out of the gearbox (or transmission as it’s often called here) through a load of small tubes inside the cooler, and returns to the gearbox. The sea water continues onto the main engine heat exchanger, where it cools the fresh water circulating around the engine. To complicate matters further, the cooled fresh water in the engine circulates around another oil cooler, cooling the oil for an engine. It’s good that this is all an evolution from a simple engine, because if the original engineers had known this much complexity was required, I doubt they would have bothered developing a diesel engine, instead just going straight to the neutron drive.
I took the opportunity while in this area to start replacing some of the water hoses involved in the cooling system.

An early finish as I had been invited by Jim & Ivana, who had just returned from their epic road trip around Canada and the USA, to pop over to his for a bit of food and to meet Rick.
Rick is a sailor and a pilot, he flew up here in his light aircraft and left it at the airport over at Alert Bay and got the ferry here to check up on his boat. It’s called Resolution and is pictured below. It’s a cracking boat, it has a full size olympic swimming pool, a bowling alley and a cinema. Just kidding, it’s 50ft long on deck, which is 25% longer than Sister Midnight, but inside it’s at least 100% bigger. He has a workshop, a log fuelled fireplace, a lot of space lounging around. It’s a lovely boat, but very heavy, I think when full, his fuel tanks weighs more than our boat, it’s also very beamy (fat) and doesn’t go up wind to well, but he’s happy to drop the hook wherever he is and wait for a wind shift anyway.

Ivana cooked us a lovely meal and we had a great chat about boating and generally sorted the world’s problems out. Rick may be off to Mexico later this year so we may well meet up with him on the way.

Below is a picture of a railway into the sea. Trolleys go on these and when the tide is in, you motor your boat onto the trolley and the trolley is hauled up the track by a giant winch, until you are out the water and you can then work on the underside of your boat.
These things are called ‘ways’ around here, and when people refer to ‘the ways’ they generally mean the marine workshop, run by Tom, who has a few ‘ways’ in his yard. so it was off to the ways, oil cooler in hand, I had a new oil cooler, but the connections where different to the volvo one, so I was hoping Tom would make me some new ones. I will return next week to see if he managed that.

There are lots of buildings like the one below on the island, most of them are Net Lofts, where fishermen can store and repair their nets during the winter or closed seasons.

Later on I spend time on Rick’s boat helping him tune up his SSB radio. His ATU seems to be struggling on various frequencies, I extend his 1/4 wave vertical by 20ft of wire wrapped around the 4 poster in his stateroom, however although it changes which frequencies we can now tune, it also causes his aircon fans to startup on their own. This not being the solution, we put it back to how it was, and it’s all working fine now. Must have been an airlock 😉

I returned to my problems, and start to hack out the exhaust pipe for the cabin heater, this had collapsed when I tried to find the leak last week, a section had corroded badly. Unable to buy any locally, I am having a new length shipped out from the UK. It looks like somebody had tried to repair it before with a new section attached with a now very rusty mild steel hose clip. This was a messy job, but once I removed the exhaust I gave the inside of the stern of the boat a thorough cleaning. It’s lovely down there, especially as I was able to remove a stack of wires and hoses that didn’t seem to go anywhere or do anything in particular.

I took the raw water filter apart and gave it a good cleaning, I could see water dribbling out of hose disconnected from water pump. This means the seacock isn’t closing off fully, not a lot of water, but it explains why the automatic bilge pump runs every now and then for a few seconds. 

Thursday and a trip to town is called for to see if I can get a few bits from the chandlery I will need next week. First though, as it’s sunny and not windy I throw up the staysail onto it’s track. It’s good to get some canvas out, tie on the sheets and remember how I used to sail this boat ‘back in the day’. The boat has a cutter sail plan, as shown below, and I generally sail with a traditional yankee/staysail rig, although on long downwind passages the yankee is replaced with a huge genoa.

Arriving in town I saw this sign, which took me back to Aisa, of course it’s still the same ocean

Friday was calm and baking hot, so I got the mainsail and yankee up. Then I strung up a hammock on the foredeck, got out the John Steinbeck book ‘The Sea of Cortez’ and had a lazy day. The Sea of Cortez is where we plan to spend Christmas this year.

Is that an eagle bending someone’s antenna
There were quite a few of these in the Marina on Friday
Even lower water

Saturday was cold so I stayed indoors and did some coding. I managed to teach myself a bit more about programming in a language called Python, it’s not a new language, but it is very trendy these days as it’s handy for doing internetty things, and that was my task. After a few hours fun with version problems, environment variables and the like, I managed to connect to a remote computer in Italy and pull off a load of data, using fancy encoding and encryption, with just a dozen of so lines of code. I was impressed.

These guys below completely filled the pontoons with boat bits, while they painted the hull. They have left now, I expect they are out fishing far away by now.

Sunday: I built a wooden box for storing cockpit bits & bobs in, as the old one fell apart. It’s a bit crude, but should do the job. I washed the starboard side of the boat down and removed all of the junk off that side as Monday is the start of the big varnish job. I intend to start each day at 8AM varnishing, until I have 7 coats of varnish on and the boat is looking stunning.

I may not write anything for a bit, as it would only say,”got up, varnished, went to bed” for the next week or two.

Paul Collister

Several steps forward, almost as many back.

Mon 29th April 2019
I got to work early, emptied out the lazarette locker all over the cockpit and dived below to dismantle the steering system. Back in the cockpit, I fully dismantled the wheel , sprocket and all the other bits, it seemed sensible to check everything while it was in bits. One thing I spotted when I took it all apart was that the key, which is actually just a block of metal, was missing from the wheel shaft, it locks the wheel to the sprocket and without it all the force of the steering is transferred to a small bolt used to stop the wheel sliding out.
I looked around in case it had fallen out, but I wasn’t surprised it was missing, that explained the extra play in the steering I wanted to eliminate. It was worrying that the bolt could have snapped at any moment we had any rough weather and the steering got heavy. If the bolt snapped, I would be spinning the wheel with no effect, worse if I pulled back the wheel would have popped out of the pedestal all together, and whilst making a great photo opportunity, it might have been a bit upsetting for whoever was on the helm. Whilst relieved it hadn’t been a problem, I decided to get a key made from the workshop.  
It turns out, that the worst case scenario for the sheave failure played out with another member of the baba group who tells me they lost all steering and if they hadn’t had an emergency tiller handy, they may well have ended up on the rocks! 

I had removed all the bits on the pedestal including the fold up table which I now started to strip the varnish off, along with the main cabin hatch screens.

2 coats of varnish

Tuesday arrived and I took the broken sheaves up to the local workshop for welding, ordered a new bit of key to be cut, and cycled on into town (town being the other end of the only main road with the co-op and baker as the only shops) for supplies, I climbed back into the lazarette and removed the quadrant from the rudder as it was looking a bit rough, I gave the inside a good cleaning and replaced some of the earthing wires that had corroded. I also checked all the sea cocks and hoses for any sign of wear.

Wednesday, I was crippled, crawling around upside down, inside out, in the locker, is really more of a job for houdini than me, so did some gentle varnishing instead. I have half a tin of very high quality Epiphanes varnish, but it’s over a year since I last opened that tin, and for some reason it doesn’t seem to keep well. But I’m too mean to throw it away, instead I filter the lumps out with a sieve, then add thinner to bring it back to life. It seems to be working well after that.
In the office I help Randy and his wife out getting openCPN running on their macbook, it seems to work well for them. Later Randy calls round with a bag of giant prawns for me.

Still wriggling

The thing is they’re still all alive and wriggling around in the plastic carrier bag. This is not something I’m used too, and although I know how to snap their heads off and peel the shell, even de-veining is easy, I’m not keen on doing it while they are looking at me, or watching me kill their mate looking up from the bag. So I put dinner off to a bit later and put the bag in the sink. All the time I can hear them climbing over each other, and I’m working but thinking Im going to have to man up at some point and do the deed. I wait a little longer, and fortunately they seem to have gone to sleep. Just as well, as ten minutes later they are lovely pink lumps of flesh frying in garlic butter, very tasty too.

Hard to imagine they are so tasty

Thursday, I popped back to the workshop and collected the sheaves. The welding is just fine and the new key looked great,  I noticed a sailboat similar to mine hauled up on the trolley at the workshop and realised that they can haul me out here if needed, that gives me more fleibility

steering wire pulleys, welded back together
the new steering wheel key

I had to file the key down a little to make it fit, but now it’s very snug. and I felt smug for fixing a major defect!
Ron, over the water on the next pontoon, who had promised me a properly cooked crab shouted over that he would take me out fishing in a few days if I wanted to learn. Even as a master fisherman already, with two catches over the last ten years, I thought it would be rude to say no, so I’m looking forward to that.

I also popped into the post office and found a letter for me had just arrived, it was my AT&T sim card I had ordered, not sure if it would work or be a dud like the last one I ordered online ,I was keen to try it out. I had to hand over the dosh for the first month online before I would find out, and the unlimited data on 4g anywhere in Canada/USA & Mexico for $65 / month sounded like a good deal. It would be a good deal, but they dont allow tethering/hot-spot outside of the USA, that’s buried in the small print. So I have lots of data, but only on the phone, so it’s not that great. However I should be able to do lots of skype/facetime stuff now without any worries about running out of data.

A house sails in

At some point in the week a house motored on into the harbour and starting filling its hull ( basement?) with lumber. So I have seen planes and houses tie up to the same dock as me now, what a place!
I did find out today that Newfoundland is 3:30 behind UTC/GMT. I can never understand why anyone would do this, do they know how much of a pain this is for their computer programmers, if they have any left. I couldn’t cope with that. I had wondered why they kept saying 0n cbc, and the news is at news at 11, or 11:30 in Newfoundland, I wondered why theirs was always later, silly me.

loading ;-)
quick, make a circle with the 4x4s

Friday, put all the steering system together and was feeling good about things, when I decided to clean more of the lazarette area. the eberspacher (diesel fired cabin heater) exhaust pipe had a soot mark behind it on the hull, in the area I had repaired back in Borneo. I tried to pull the pipe away from the hull to look at it and it crumbled in my hand with black soot and chunks of sooty matter going everywhere. Not good. There’s also an asbestossy looking material lagging the pipe inside an outer plastic casing. I’m hoping that’s ok. So after an hour of cleaning up and cutting the pipe back, I’m in need of a new exhaust pipe, which may not be easy to get here, before I can use the heater. Not to worry I have the electric one, oh I forgot, they’re shutting off the power to the marina over the next few days. Let’s hope this promise of warmer weather comes through.

Saturday, walk downtown to the shop and buy a fresh sourdough loaf. 

More varnishing, and realise I forgot a clip in the steering brake, so take it all apart again. I try to connect the throttle up and it is out by an inch from where the coupling should be, realise I put a bracket securing the cable in upside down (in fact I put it in the right way, they wanted it to be put in upside down, but that’s a small point 😉 ) So more stripping down and putting it back together. I think it’s almost done now, just need to get the block of wood under the compass varnished.

The battery charger stopped working, so I have been using the solar panels for the last few days. I decided to fix it today and noticed the cables had corroded off. I’m very confused, this is the second time in a year they have corroded off at the switch panel, I wonder if this fine malaysian cable has some problem. Once I had repaired the connections to the switch panel, it wouldn’t power up, I remember it did this before, after a while it started working, it’s like it’s sulky and will only work when it wants to.

So I think I’m close to starting on the engine work, however I went looking for the cooling pump repair kit and I can’t find it. This is the only real fault on the boat, and it’s the reason I bought this as soon as I got home in October, I packed it as soon as it arrived and I can’t remember unpacking it a few weeks ago when I arrived back at the boat. This really is a case of ‘you had one job’ I’m mad about this, did I unpack it and put it ‘somewhere safe’ here, it’s not that big a boat, but I have searched it stem to stern, twice now.
I know as soon as I order a replacement it will turn up. Such a nuisance. I may have wrapped it up inside a tee shirt for extra protection, and it will fall out when we hit tee-shirt weather, losing my memory is one thing I’m not happy about at all. On the plus side, I did find loads of great stuff I had forgot we had hidden in odd places all over the boat, however I can’t remember what they where a day later 🙁

Bit of a mess

Leaving the cockpit yesterday I tripped and bashed my knee hard, I realised I had to tidy up, and so moved a lot of crap out of the cockpit and threw a lot away. Underneath all the crap in the area where I had left the steering wheel, I found the original key for the wheel. ! Oh well.

Paul Collister