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  april 2014


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01/04/14  After a six hour flight, we landed in Dubai for a "technical stop" and were on the ground for about 90 minutes.  Took off again for the seven hour flight to Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei and landed there about 5pm local time.  I then had a two hour wait for the final flight to Kota Kinabalu, arriving there around 8.30pm local.  There is no way to get to Kudat at that time of night, so I took a taxi to the hotel I had prior booked.  I had a wander around the town, refamiliarising myself with it and having a beer!  It was nice to lie down and have a much needed sleep.

02/04/14  Out early and found myself some breakfast, then into Centre Point shopping mall to draw money, get a phone sim card and check out of the hotel to make my way to the pick up point of the Kudat taxi's.  Annoying that I had to wait over three hours there until the driver had enough passengers to make the three hour trip northward.  It meant I would arrive in Kudat just as it was getting dark - and I didn't want to arrive onboard without being able to see what a mess I was anticipating the boat to be in, so I phoned Danny (the taxi driver in Kudat) and got him to book me a hotel there for my arrival.  All the Kudat hotels are fully booked for a convention, but I was lucky that he managed to get me a one night stay in a town centre hotel.  Tomorrow I will find out just how much work I now have to do!  This may be the last entry in the log for a while as I will need to source a dongle and sim card.......I'm using the hotel's wi-fi for this!!

03/04/14  Made it to the boat this morning!  I was, I suppose, pleasantly surprised at the interior state.  I was expecting there to be mould everywhere but it was only on the seat cushion covering the fridge, and that was because of burst soft drink tins in the fridge.  I cleaned out the fridge and dumped everything in it, along with some tins and bottles of various and dubious quality.  The engine battery is dead but the domestic batteries have held their charge and were showing 13.5 volts - or I thought they were until 7pm when they went totally flat!  The engine throttle cable is also seized.  I introduced myself to the new marina management and partially settled my outstanding account with them.  Thanks go to Danny the local taxi driver who stayed with me most of the day and helped out where he could.  A very humid night for my return and I tried without much success, to sleep in the cockpit, no light in the saloon, no internet, no anything.....except mosquitoes.

04/04/14  Removed the batteries (the engine battery and one domestic) and went in search of replacements.  I eventually found a shop that would supply two domestic batteries of a similar size, but not until Monday.  Another shop said there was nothing wrong with the engine battery and it just needed charging, so I left it there until 3pm for them to charge it.  When I brought it back to the boat and reconnected it, there was no difference....still a very weak ignition alarm tone and nothing when the starter button was pressed.  Maybe it's not the batteries, maybe it's another fault......I hate boat electrics!  I also found out that the throttle cable is not seized, but the throttle butterfly valve is!  Stripped the manifold and removed the valve, soaked in in petrol, heated it up, gave liberal squirts of oil and eventually got it moving freely again.  Refit that tomorrow. As I was having difficulty with the new internet sim card that I bought yesterday, I also went into the shop to query it - the manager very kindly came down to the boat and sorted it out.....hence my being able to update the blog again!

05/04/14  OK, yesterday's battery charge was a waste of time, but it would be wouldn't it?  You can't charge a battery in a few hours, needs at least 24....what was I thinking?  Will continue to work on the engine start, low power, lack of charge problem.  Refitted the throttle assembly to the induction manifold and checked it was working as it should.

06/04/14  I think the jet lag and disturbed nights finally caught up with me today - I got up at dawn, had my breakfast and started dozing over coffee!  So I lay down in the saloon and didn't wake up until almost 2pm - so I guess I must have needed a good sleep.  I reconnected the furling gear control line and ran a power cable onto René's boat next door, piggy backing off his electricity supply - he is connected to a socket in the marina office building by a very long extension cable!  At least it is now allowing my battery charger to function, along with the fridge, lighting and importantly.......a fan!

07/04/14  A more reasonable charge in the engine battery this morning!  Emptied the nav berth and got in behind the instrument panel (my old favourite job!), checked all the connections to starter switch and ignition alarms.  Now the alarm is working but the starter solenoid only 'clicks.'  A bit of persuasion with a Liverpool screwdriver and the motor started to work and turned the engine - but it was struggling.  Took the starter motor off and the rotor felt very stiff, so I took it into a workshop in town for them to test, strip and clean.  Checked other electrics on boat and there are a few things not working.....masthead light and stern light amongst them, and the domestic/engine battery isolator switch has disintegrated.  The main VHF radio is also suspect.  Add them to the list of jobs to do!

08/04/14  Filled and flushed the water tank this morning, it will need doing again but for now it will suffice for washing up and such.  I collected the overhauled starter motor and refitted it, crossed my fingers and pressed the start button......the engine fired, caught and ran, but seconds later the cockpit was filled with the smoke of burning belt drives, so I quickly shut it down again.  Obviously one of the belts was slipping around something that should turn but wasn't.  OK, as the raw water cooling was being discharged overboard, there could only be two other culprits - the fresh water pump or the alternator.  It turned out to be the alternator and I quickly had that sorted out and the engine running again, bringing it up to operating temperature with no other obvious faults.  Turned my attention to the non-working stern light, checked the bulb which seemed OK, a voltmeter across the terminals showed zero, so a fault in the cable somewhere....that's going to be a problem to find. Enough for one day, don't want to rush anything!  Work started today on installing power points on the pontoons and is expected to be completed in about two weeks.

09/04/14  I think it's going to take me a few weeks to get acclimatised to the heat after my prolonged stay in the UK.  Today's temperature of 38oC was too much for me to be scrabbling around chasing faults and my feet have swollen a couple of shoe sizes, so I decided on a day of rest!  I did however, manage to get the masthead light working - a dodgy fuse!

10/04/14  Another day of not doing very much because of my swollen feet!  Tried to keep them high for most of the day and wrapped my left one in a wet towel overnight.

11/04/14  Enough!  I went into town at lunchtime today and saw a Chinese Doctor about my feet.  She gave me a thorough check up and some tablets to take to try and reduce the swelling, told me to keep my feet high when resting.....so very little done onboard again today.

12/04/14  Claude & Nelson, two long time friends, came into the marina this morning on their boat 'Black Swan', they have been on the hard in Penuwasa Shipyard for the last eleven days.  I did see them a few days ago, when they came over to say hello and check out the marina.  I managed to get the VHF problem sorted out this morning and the radio is now working fine, as is one of my two handheld radios (haven't found the charger for the second one yet!)

13/04/14  Still 'resting.'  I did have a cursory look at the stern light wiring in the aft most locker which is where I imagine the fault to be.  This is where the cable run was extended when the light was moved higher onto the solar panel gantry some years ago in Turkey.  I made that connection with gel filled connectors and wrapped the join in heat shrink which still looks in good condition, so I will now look further upline on the cable.

14/04/14  Two days ago, the police stopped a boat in which the crew had no papers and no import/export papers for the hardwood they were carrying.  The crew were arrested and the boat impounded in the marina, tied up at the end of the pontoon from me.  Today, it sank!  The wood onboard was caught on the pontoon and was pulling that under with it, so the marina management and I cut the wood free and levered it off the pontoon.  The boat is now suspended by it's mooring ropes as the police scratch their heads and wonder what to do with it.

15/04/14  A big congratulations to my friend Astrid, who has today been fighting cancer for one year since diagnosis and remains cheerful despite all her problems - power to you!!  Yesterday's boat drama concluded with the police unloading as much timber as they could before towing the boat up into shallow water and beaching it.  My stern light saga continues, I've crawled in behind the engine instrument panel and searched for any broken cables or any I may have damaged when fitting the new exhaust hose 15 months ago.  I found nothing and returned to my original thought that it was in the after most locker.  With that idea, I dismantled the connector there and checked for voltage....13 volts!  The remaining 2 metres of cable pass vertically through the solar panel gantry and that shows no continuity - so that's where the fault lies!

16/04/14  Dug out the silicone sealant from the holes at the top of the gantry and removed the old stern light wiring, pulling through new wiring at the same time.  Made a new connection and Presto!.....a working stern light!  Just need to find some more silicone now and plug the holes again to prevent ingress of rain and sea water.  Also confirmed that the blood still flows down my arm despite having an artery removed!

17/04/14  Not much done today, my ankle and foot have swollen up again and I took it easy, doing just a few little jobs around the boat.  Tomorrow I will have to tackle the battery isolator switch problem!

18/04/14  The dreaded nav berth area again!  Changing the (very) broken battery isolator switch is today's job.  Luckily, I had bought a spare from the USA whilst in Brunei to replace the already broken domestic battery switch and had never got round to it. Now the engine/domestic isolator is more important, so I will have to get another at a later date.  The nav berth, sometimes called a sea berth (though I don't know how anyone could ever sleep in it) is a small coffin sized bunk which is actually under the stbd seat area of the cockpit and accessed by sliding feet first into it from the chart table seat.  The battery isolator switches are recessed into a panel fixed to the bulkhead separating this berth from the engine compartment.  In order for me to get to them, I have to go in head first, on my back, and undo the panel on the deckhead, then take down the panel on the bulkhead - not an easy task because the panels can only be removed from the berth in one position, and also the DC inverter and battery charger are fixed onto the panels.  Once I had cleared the panels out, the actual job of replacing the isolator switch was relatively straight forward.

19/04/14  Happy Birthday Astrid!! 

Just having my morning coffee when this fella swims up to the boat to say hello!  (about a metre long).

Pottered about today doing little jobs, having a bit of a tidy up. The two Canadian boats that were here left this morning, so there is only Nelson, Claude and myself remaining in the marina!

21/04/14  Scratch the last sentence, I didn't realise that Nelson had also gone back to Oz to work!  René from next door has gone to Coron to help deliver a boat and his wife Lesley has arrived back from the UK - so there are still three of us in the marina!  Today, I walked over to Penuwasa Shipyard - said hello to staff who helped me through my problems in Dec. 2012 and got the engineer there to repair my damaged genoa pulley block before going into town for a few bits and pieces needed for further jobs on the boat.

22/04/14  Happy Birthday Jordan - 21 today!

23/04/14  Plenty of activity on my boat but it seems little is being done!  Trying to find stowage space for the gear that's piled on bunks and tables!  I've thrown some stuff away but I seem to have twice as much now as I did 15 months ago.....where does it all fit? 

And I forgot it was St George's Day, so no flag flying!



27/04/14  Work continues slowly but the list gets longer!  Two of my old jerry cans had to be thrown away because of UV damage, two more have split breather nozzle caps which I've repaired by melting the nozzle and fusing the plastic together.  All the genoa sheet pulley blocks are now refitted.  Today is Sunday, it's 11am and already the temperature in the shade is making work very uncomfortable!







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