New Year to all my family, friends, fellow sailors and anyone who is
still reading this boring drivel.
Well, not such a good end to 2012 - in fact it
couldn't have been much worse for me..........
........the observant amongst you will have noticed (in
my guestbook), message numbers 91 and 92 from my brother Clive.
The "medically imposed rest" to which he refers was a major heart attack
which I suffered shortly after my last log entry on the 26th December. I was rushed into the Emergency Room of Kudat
Hospital where it took the medical team some four hours to stabilise my
condition. The hospital is of a basic nature and does not have
any cardiac facilities, so after four days of observation, I was
discharged with medication to take. I now have to consider the
options open to me with regard getting the 'old ticker' fixed up.
With the state and position of the boat, it is not going to be easy to
arrange everything. Whilst not wanting to bore anyone with all the
details of events over the last week or so, I would just like to offer
sincere thanks to all who helped me, visited in hospital and been so
attentive during my misfortune - that's..... Amelia and Gilles
Jane and Roger (Wings & Strings), Nynke (Walrus), Clarence
(Yard Manager), Boy and his wife Lan (Office staff).
Mostly I want to thank Astrid from Storm Dodger, to whom I am
once more indebted, because she spent days travelling back from Palawan
to Kudat in order to look after me during recuperation, and thanks to
Roger for letting her do so! I cannot thank either of them enough.
On New Year's Eve, we were invited to join a group of
yotties who were going out for a meal in town. None were 'midnight
revellers', just a gathering for a meal. Although it isn't far
into town, we caught a taxi there and arranged to be picked up at 9pm.
The meal was very good but I was exhausted by the time we got back to
the boat - it had been a little too much for me.
02/01/13 I got the yard to hoist the
engine in today, just to sit it on it's mountings in the engine bay.
I was not allowed to do anything (Astrid's orders), and Roger from
Wings & Strings came onboard and guided the engine onto it's mounts.
03/01/13 Nothing done today, just
sitting reading and being bored. It's rained most of the day so I
couldn't ask anyone to help with fitting the gearbox and other ancillary
equipment. Astrid is looking after me well and I've eaten more
fruit in the last few days than in the last twelve months! I've
booked a flight back to the UK for the 23rd of this month, so everything
has to be sorted out well before then.
04/01/13 Roger (Wings & Strings)
came over this morning and bolted in the gearbox again, but I have a
problem! The gearbox flange and the prop shaft flange do not line
up!! It should be possible to get them almost in alignment, then
bolt in the coupling and adjust to the tolerance allowed, but the
gearbox flange is approx. 6mm too high and the engine is at it's lowest
point on the mountings. The problem has to be connected to the new
steel plate that I put in the aft cabin bilge to hold the stern gland in
place, so the engine may well have to come out again. I'm going to
let the yard mechanics have a look at it first because I cannot do that
job now. I ventured into town again during the afternoon (by taxi)
and took a slow walk around before getting a taxi back.
06/01/13 Nothing happening.....yesterday
or today, just rain. I've spent the whole of today on-line trying
to get a return airline ticket for Astrid - Filipinos do not make it
easy!! Firstly, you cannot board the aircraft in Kota Kinabalu
to anywhere in the Philippines unless you have "a printed return or
onward ticket". I spent ages on the phone talking to airline
offices in Manila and Cebu and all say the same thing, "if you can
prove you are leaving by sea there's no problem." Anyway, the
upshot of it all is that I've had to get Astrid a return ticket to
Manila, then an internal flight from Manila to Busuanga. The
internal flight was also a long winded affair, going through numerous
slow pages until the last page of the payment part, then came the final
insult....you have to have a credit card issued in the Philippines!
In the late afternoon, as a sort of thank you, Astrid very kindly made a
roast dinner for eight - yotties who have helped me over the last
week or so - Amelia and Gilles, Roger and Jane and two I haven't
mentioned before ...Australians Jacquie and Phil from the very English
named boat Whitby Lass.
10/01/13 After a couple of days where
nothing happened, the yard provided a mechanic from outside to get the
engine alignment sorted out. To say I was un-impressed with his
assessment and methods would be an understatement and we (through an
interpreter) disagreed on most things. Anyway, at the moment the
shaft is out of line by about 1mm and we are waiting for new nuts and
bolts to be delivered from Kota Kinabalu in order to fit the coupling.
Meanwhile, I want to get all the ancillary parts fitted to the engine
but am reluctant to do so as I'm not confident about the mechanic's
abilities in avoiding further damage after I've fitted the parts.
Astrid continues to be a star, keeping me well fed and stopping me from
doing anything she considers too 'work like'. However, there
are still many things to do before the boat can be re-launched prior to
my departure back to the UK.
Birthday Babs! Progress is slow.....I've received
new nuts and bolts from KK for the shaft coupling and yesterday it was
fitted by one of the yard 'mechanics.' I use that title loosely
because I think it was the first time he'd ever tried to line up a
gearbox and shaft. I will have to check it myself. Between
Astrid and myself, we've managed to get some of the other little jobs
done over the last few days, but everything is so tiring for me at the
moment. Internet access is very slow and sometimes non-existent.
14/01/13 I decided to tighten the stern
gland a little, thinking it would be better on the tight side rather
than loose while I leave the boat unattended for a spell. However,
I couldn't reach the damn thing with the engine in place!! I
engaged the help of Tommy, a local guy from the shop and he, with his
wiry frame and ability to squeeze into tight spaces managed to do the
job for me. While he was onboard, I got him to fit the starter
15/01/13 I'm having a lot of trouble
with the computer now, some sort of malware has affected my registry
files and is preventing me accessing e-mail in the normal fashion.
Slow wi-fi doesn't help matters! After a bit of shopping, we went
over to the 'marina' in the pond and spent a while with Jacquie and Phil.
Giovanni, who is back from his break in Palawan also came over and
chatted for a while.
16/01/13 I'm now pushed for time to get
the engine finished and the anti-foul paint on.....it's frustrating when
it rains all the time and prevents much being done. Today, I
ground down the sleeve I've had welded to the exhaust manifold, so that
it would fit the 40mm flexible hose. Previously, the manifold had
a 50mm outlet and the join to the 40mm hose was an abomination of tape
and hose clamps. Amelia and Gilles launched Freedom V after
lunch and moved over to the pond.
17/01/13 After raining all night, it
brightened up this morning so that some paint could be applied to the
hull. Jacquie and Phil from Whitby Lass came over from the
pond and while Phil helped me with the engine rebuild, Jacquie and Astrid
painted on almost two coats of anti-foul before rain called a halt to
18/01/13 I topped up the fresh water
cooling system of the engine and bled the air out of the fuel system.
Jacquie and Phil came over again and while Jacquie and Astrid finished off
the anit-fouling, Phil and I jammed a hose pipe into the engine raw
water intake and got the engine running - all seemed OK, but that of
course was not checking for any vibration caused by shaft misalignment.
19/01/13 I postponed the scheduled
launch at 1300hrs because the winds were north easterly into the harbour
entrance and blowing in excess of 30 knots. Launching stern first
across wind and waves and trying to avoid concrete walls on both sides
of the boat was just too dangerous - demonstrated by a powerful, twin engined Maritim Malaysia launch which struggled against the conditions
when launched at 1100hrs.
21/01/13 At 0600, I knocked out four of the
supporting chocks and painted the bare patches with anti-foul, topped up
the fresh water tank and tied a few things down for launching.
Jacquie and Phil came shortly afterwards and waited to help me with ropes
etc. The travel hoist couldn't get in to Rhumb Do though
and first had to lift and move Jane onboard Wings & Strings, so
we had to wait for sometime while that happened. Astrid painted
the areas where the keel had rested and when we
eventually did launch, everything went reasonably well with just a small
drip of a leak from the stern tube (at the rear, close to the cutless
bearing), I'm hoping that will self seal during the next few days.
I took the boat out to sea, only about a mile, and ran the engine at
above cruising speed, there was no obvious vibration which was a great
relief. We then returned to the duck pond and secured alongside
one of the more stable pontoons of the marina.
22/01/13 A hectic day of 'last minute
stuff,' putting things away, finding a few bits to take with me back to
the UK. I was beginning to stress out again with all the things
still to do as darkness fell.......so, Astrid and I left everything and
went out for a meal with Giovanni, Jacquie and Phil.
23/01/13 We were up at 5am, packing the
last few things away before Danny came to collect us by taxi at 7am and
take us into town for the taxi to Kota Kinabalu. So started a
long journey!! Four hours later, we were in KK waiting for a
bus to Wawasan, but finished up with a taxi again. Then Roger
phoned and wanted Astrid to collect diesel filters from a shop in Inaman
- so taxi again out to there, get the filters, then back to KK
airport - Terminal 2, where I very sadly said goodbye to Astrid as she checked in
for her late afternoon flight to Manila. I then had to get yet
another taxi to Terminal 1 for my 7pm flight to Brunei, which was then
delayed an hour. Changing planes in Bandar Seri Begawan, I then
took off again for Dubai.
24/01/13 Sleeping most of the way, we
landed in Dubai after about seven hours for a fuel stop and took off
again from there about 90 minutes later. With the clocks
continually being turned backward, the entire flight was in darkness and
seemingly unending. We landed in London, (Heathrow) just a few
minutes late, around 7am local time - 3pm by my watch! It was cold
and I had to dig my jumper and coat out of my bag. I then caught a
bus to Heathrow Central, caught another to Banbury, Birmingham Airport
and then Birmingham City Centre. Although the roads were mostly
clear, there was about five inches of snow everywhere else. After
an hour or so wait in Birmingham, I caught the 1pm bus to Wolverhampton,
Stockport, Manchester Airport, Manchester City Centre, Bolton, Preston
and finally Blackpool, where my brother Clive picked me up for the drive
northward to his house. It was now just five hours short of three
days that I had been travelling!! I was glad to get indoors and
25/01/13 Registered with the local
Doctor's Surgery and saw a doctor to arrange further tests on the 31st.
At the pharmacy, when I asked how much I have to pay for the medication
given me, the pharmacist asked "have you never had a prescription
before?" I told him it was a long time ago, so he explained that I
don't now have to pay because of my age. That's one good thing
about getting older!
26/01/13 Into town to get a couple of
warm shirts and other bits and bobs. The M6 motorway was closed in both
directions around Wigan last night because of heavy snow. I've had
my hair cut at last - it was driving me up the wall and I hadn't really
had time to get it attended to in Kudat. Now I need to wear a hat
to keep warm!
31/01/13 I went around to the Doctor's
surgery this morning for blood tests and an ECG. They couldn't get
any blood out of my arm at first and it took four jabs with the syringe
before anything happened. I now have to wait once more for the
test results to come back.
Did you enjoy your visit
onboard? Please sign my
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