Archive for September, 2019

Gettin Ready to Leave

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Clearing out of Vanuatu was akin to running a maze. First I had to head down to the commercial wharf. Then I located Customs, fill out a few pages of paperwork. Didn’t understand one of the questions and left it with the customs officer who directed me to the Port Captains office; in another building. I climb up to the second floor and wait in line. Another cruiser (who shall not be named) is having a disagreement with the port captain about the costs. SMH! Cruising is not as free as it once was. Everyone in the office knew he would loose but he persisted for a another 5 minutes. I understand he was already there for about 15 minutes prior to my arrival. Eventually, he left to find an ATM and get the money he needed to pay for the stamp he needed to show to the Customs Officers for the clearance paper he needed to prove at the next port that he is an above board visitor.

For our paper work to leave Vanuatu I paid approximately $150 US. After the port captains office I was directed to the Immigration office. Another short line there and 15 minutes later I had the stamps in the passport indicating we were legal to leave. From there I went back to the Customs office where we received a paper indicating that the boat was cleared for another foreign port.

Two hours later I was back home to Elysium. We began to prepare for departure. First W/ and I would head to the store and pick up any last minutes items we needed to fill our stores. This as well as empting our wallets of the final Vanuatu currency we had. That completed we returned to the boat to ready it for off shore.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

We got lucky. Well, maybe; we’ll see. We wanted to see the Loyalties. The problem is that they are up wind from Noumea where we are required to clear into the country. Some people rest there for a day or so but that’s not really our style. We prefer to be legal. John; the owner of the GoWest Rally part of the DownUnder Rally universe, sent us an email indicating that the dates for clearing into the Loyalties has changed.

Rally organizers often group enough people together to pay and have the officials fly to a popular cruising destination for clearance. Due to inclement weather John changed the dates for the rally and they just so happen to coincide with what looks like a good weather window for us to leave from Vanuatu to New Caladonia. Tomorrow we check out.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

My Story

Friday, September 20th, 2019

This am we’re taking our laundry in for the last time in Vanuatu. Getting ready to go. I head up on deck to ready the dinghy. We always hip tie the dinghy at night. It doesn’t make noise in the chop and is slightly more difficult for someone to “borrow” the engine or take the entire thing for a joy ride.

These definitely do not float!

I release the bow line and turn back to put the drain plug back in and release the stern line. My head brushes an awning line and flips my prescription sun glasses overboard. They are my last pair. They are now in the water. Our mooring is 120’ feet deep. They are sinking. Not much time for thought.

Our electric snorkel will not allow me to get much below one atmosphere; about 30’. With a scuba tank that gives a bottom time of only about 10 minutes at that depth. There is not much light at that depth. They are not floating straight down.

I jump in. Fully clothed. I jump about 6’ away from them so as not to disturb where I see them. The water is cool, not cold. By now I would estimate they are one meter down. I dive down and must open my eyes. I am glad the water is clear. But, salt water burns the eyes a bit. However, I need to see to reach them. They are still sinking. I reach for them and miss. Depth perception under water and with my needing prescription eyes is not good. I miss. Seeing my hand pass in front of them, I swim close and luckily I reach them the second time. Relieved I swim towards the surface smiling. I have saved my glasses. Now I’m wet and cold.

Glass with a Life JacketI dry off, put on a dry cloths and we finish launching the dinghy. When I take in the clothes I shower off with fresh water. Now my glasses have a float attached to them.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Damn Rain

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

I could never live in Seattle. I know, I know. Never say never. It is just that I am not a fan of rain. Oh, it is sometimes nice. A drizzle on the roof top at night; cabin top in my case, seems to enhance sleep. But during the day. YUCK!

We’ve had three days of rain. Ok, I know I’m whining a bit. Those in Dorians’ path had it much much worse. For me, this was bad enough. We don’t like to get off the boat. We walk. Walking in the rain in a city or even a remote village is not fun. Muddy  and wet. We don’t like to track dirt onto the boat. We leave footwear in the dinghy. Thus for the most part we are boat bound.

In many respects that is not a bad thing. I read, play chess on the computer as well as other games. Hang some on social media and try to complete some small inside boat chores. Enough is enough. I want some Sun.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Duh…. It’s Broken

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

W/ could easily be a Dowser. One who finds water with a wishbone like branch.  If there is a drop of water somewhere in the boat she will find it. Which; by the way, is a good thing. Water is to be kept outside the boat if you wish to stay afloat.

She opened up a locker the other day and said “Dave, why is this wet”? I know my day will change from that point on. There were some drips from the seacock for the forward head sink. When we refurbished the boat we put in all new Groco seacocks. Those are the gates between the ocean and inside the boat.

From my standard prone position of reading I am now called forth to attend to a “drip”. We moved the gear around the seacock out of the way and I see the drip is coming from the handle. The seacock opens and closes fine. Whenever we haul we grease all the seacocks ensuring that each one will open and close on the boat. One never knows. These are the Groco Full Flow Seacocks.

I get out the tools I need to clean the handle and ensure the “leak” becomes a thing of history. I put a wrench on the bolt and loosen it. It turns awfully easy! Seconds later I discover why. It is broken. How the hell did that happen?

The bolt (Part #15)  only keeps the handle on. The handle comes off. Luckily the seacocks are designed such that they work fine without the bolt holding the handle on. Just a little care needs to be observed to ensure the handle fits over the tap to turn the inner SS part. And offshore we close down that head anyway so I rather doubt there will ever be an emergency there.

What to do? As we’re not sinking and as the seacock is functioning I am going to wait until we are at a facility where if something happens we can haul the boat.  Currently the fitting that is to keep water out is the “nut” (Part #11)  is not  easily moved. The part that shuts  the water out is easily moved. I tried.  I don’t want to add heat to the fitting and damage something while it still works and we’re in a developing nation. I sprayed it liberally with PB Blaster. When I work on it again I’ll make sure it can be unscrewed and we are also in a position; should the worse case happen we can be hauled for repair.

I have three possibilities on what happened.  First, I over tightened the bolt. Highly unlikely. I’m pretty good at knowing when tight is and this is not even one bolt that needs to be torqued. It only holds the handle on. Second, we had some repair work in Fiji and the repairer was in that locker doing some glass work. I don’t know if the worker removed the handle to make it easier for him or not. He might well have really put some muscle into reattaching the handle. Third, the bolt had a flaw. I’m going with #2, or #3. Either way, it needs to get fixed and it will be; just not right now.

 

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long