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.
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.
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
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.
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.