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    april 2017


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01/04/17 Sat.  Happy Birthday Ana!  With no shops or night clubs for miles, it was a quiet birthday for Ana.  We took the dinghy about another six miles up the river (we are at the limit of travel for a yacht), passing isolated houses and dense jungle scenes, all very peaceful and quiet.  Although we have seen grey monkeys and proboscis monkeys, I have to say I am a little disappointed about the size of the troops around, their numbers have certainly diminished since I first visited the Klias River, I'm not sure as to the reason why that should be so.  In the late afternoon, we weighed anchor and moved a mile back down river to our previous anchorage, and no sooner had we got there when a police fast RIB shot by - what is going on....why so many police around here now?  Spent the evening watching the fireflies - which are actually beetles!  A close look at one that landed on my arm shows that they have maybe a dozen tiny lights and not just one as I first thought.  A late night trip in the dinghy, taking us close in to the jungle and the trees lit by hundreds of fireflies, like  large Christmas trees.



02/04/17 Sun.  A late start again, making our way down river to anchor behind the island off Menumbok at 2pm.  We will stay here now until late tomorrow morning, then catch the high tide across the bar at the river entrance.



03/04/17 Mon.  Weighed anchor at 1130, noticed another yacht anchored off the ferry terminal at Menumbok but didn't recognise it.  We passed over the bar without incident and motored into a force 2 headwind to Labuan, arriving in our berth at 1400.  A check online of my parcel from the UK shows it 'held in KK' since Thursday morning - I think DHL have a lot to learn from UPS!

04/04/17 Tues.  Tried to order a new drive ring for the wheelpilot from UK but they cannot accept non-VAT payments, or ship to Malaysia.  Now I can understand that from a newly formed company, but this particular one has been trading for 40 years!  I think I will try to get one made locally, maybe in aluminium instead of the poor quality plastic used by Raymarine.

05/04/17 Weds. Finally my parcel arrived from the UK!  The belts ordered from the USA via UPS took 3 days to reach me.  The DHL parcel from UK took 3 days from Exeter to KK, via Germany and China..........then 7 days to travel from KK to Labuan - a 3 hour ferry ride away!  Went out in the evening with Ann, her sister, Jessie and a couple of others, a good evening in Vintages and Rusty Blade.

07/04/17 Fri.  Spent the day taking out the old GPS and fitting the new one.  I had a little trouble configuring the NMEA output to the VHF radio, but sorted it out in the end.

08/04/17 Sat.  Next job up is fitting the new battery charger.  Of course, the wiring size is different, there is no a/c cable supplied, nor any fuses for the output cables.  We spent a few hours trailing around all the motor factors and electrical shops in search of fuse holders suitable for 10mm2 cable and 40amp fuses - seems they are not available!  Maybe I will just do away with the fuse requirement as the cable run from charger to battery banks is only 1 metre long, and the previous charger had no fuses fitted to the outputs.

09/04/17 Sun.  OK, the battery charger job turned out to be more demanding than first imagined - why am I not surprised?  I had to take down the deckhead (ceiling) and the bulkhead (wall) panelling in the nav. berth again.  I may have described it before, but I'll recap........the nav. berth is accessed from the saloon and extends under the starboard cockpit seat.  Some have called it the 'coffin' berth and with good reason.  It is shaped and sized like an open ended coffin and normally you would shuffle in feet first from the chart table seat until your head is on the seat cushion.  You have an end wall by your feet, a wall on each side and a ceiling (lid) above you - very cramped but at least you wouldn't roll out of bed in bad weather!   I long since did away with the mattress and use the space to store things in plastic boxes.  The battery charger is located on the wall by your feet, along with the circuit breakers for shore power.  Today, I firstly had to go in head first and remove the end wall complete with circuit breakers.  Next is to remove the wall panelling which cannot be done with the ceiling in place - so now I'm lying on my back, head first in the 'coffin' undoing the screws around the outside edges of the ceiling.  The last central screw holds it all in place and when you remove that, the ceiling falls on you!  OK, wriggle out and remove the ceiling panel, then you can remove the wall panelling which reveals miles of electric wiring hidden between the panelling and the engine room bulkhead.  Then came the fun job of tracing cables and trying to discover why the previous owner had wired things the way he had.  All done with the shore power disconnected of course, so no electric light or fans, and 350 of heat.  I made a few alterations for the new battery charger, re-routed some cables to the new position and re-sited the circuit breakers.  By this time it was 5.30pm, and I'd had enough for the day, so connected the circuit breaker for shore power, packed away the tools and called it a day.  More tomorrow!

10/04/17 Mon.  Spent the morning finishing off the wiring of the battery charger and replacing the panelling.  All working now, although I have some doubts about the life of this charger, it does not seem to have the same quality as the old one.  I guess only time will tell.

11/04/17 Tues.  Chartplotters.........argghhh!  My old Standard Horizon plotter has got the dreaded death screen setting in, so it was time for a new one.  I first thought, buy the same type and model, all the wiring is in place, just plug 'n' play.  Not that easy!  Standard Horizon no longer make plotters and you cannot buy them anywhere now, so that plan went in the trash can.  I decided on a B & G Vulcan 7FS - because it takes C-Map electronic charts (and I have three of those), so some weeks ago I ordered one from the UK.  Today I opened the box and read the instructions.....first problem......C-Map have changed the format of their charts from C-Card to micro SD cards, so none of my charts will fit in the plotter card slot and as each chart costs around the 200 mark, I'm not very pleased about that!  Second problem is connecting it to my Vesper AIS transponder - that was connected via NMEA 0183 to the Standard Horizon, but the B & G plotter works on NMEA 2000 data.  All day spent online trying to source micro SD cards with the appropriate Asian charts, and trying to figure a way around the AIS problem so target ships can be shown on the plotter screen.  Why does one simple problem turn into a marathon troubleshooting session?

13/04/17 Thurs.  After two days of thinking and scratching my head, I have figured a way around the NMEA and chart problems.  Today, I ordered two NMEA 2000 drop cables to connect the chartplotter and the AIS into the Furuno backbone system, hoping that will work and solve the connection problems.  Charts are not available to buy, but I can download them on the internet to a blank micro SD card and use it in the plotter.  Problems solved...........maybe!   Rented a car today and drove around in search of a small Freon tank to use for topping up my fridge system as required, none available on Labuan island, another job for Ana when she goes home to Manila next week!  Also went to Ramsey's machine shop to see if they could make a new drive wheel for my wheelpilot, Kenneth (the boss man) said he could by next Friday, this time in aluminium rather than plastic.  That will create it's own problems but as long as it lasts a couple more years - that's fine.  Picked up 80 litres of diesel in jerry cans on the way back to the boat, 172.80 ringgit - that's around 40p a litre, and poured it into the tank.

14/04/17 Fri.  Had a drive around some of the more distant hardware shops, not looking for anything in particular, just taking advantage of having a set of wheels.  Picked up another 100 litres of diesel.

15/04/17 Sat.  Went to the market in town, then collected another 20 litres of diesel - that's the tank almost full and a spare 100 litres on deck.  Returned the car to the ferry terminal at 1200.    Parcel from UK is in Hong Kong now.

16/04/17 Sun.  Lazy day again!  Updated the route map on this site.

17/04/17 Mon.  Didn't do much today, fitted two new eye bolts to the dinghy transom so that it can be lifted from the water on a halyard (once I've spliced up a sling!)  Did a little shopping in Financial Park, Ana buying chocolate to take home tomorrow as it's expensive in the Philippines.  Chatted with Paul and Merissa and watched a film.  That was about the lot for the day!  Parcel is in KK.

18/04/17 Tues.  Walked into town this morning and put Ana on the  Menumbok speedboat to catch the express bus to KK, she will fly out to Manila in the morning.  Not sure how long she will be gone for, as she has to renew her passport and the authorities there are not known for their speed!  My parcel arrived in office - on time!

19/04/17 Weds.  Collected package from office.  Ana flew out of KK on the 11.30 flight to Manila.

22/04/17 Sat.  Ana has to wait about 3 weeks to get a new passport, so won't be back for a while.  She has managed to find a small Freon tank for me though!  I've spent the last couple of days running cables (on temporary basis) to see if the new plotter works ok.  The old had only one cable connecting it but the new one requires two, so I have to drill another hole in the cockpit hatchway decking.

24/04/17 Mon.  Ran the new NMEA 2000 cable from chartplotter site into saloon deckhead, then down the conduit into locker beneath the seat.

25/04/17 Tues.  ANZAC DAY - didn't attend any service this year, in fact haven't heard of any, although I guess there is one at the War Memorial.  Went with Neil to Ramsey's but they have been held up with my wheelpilot drive ring because of a swarm of bees in the aluminium!  Funnily enough, we were on our way to someone's house to erect a bee hive!  Had an easy afternoon doing nothing.

26/04/17 Weds.  Did a little more to the cable runs, taking it slow and easy because of the almost unbearable heat over the last couple of weeks - no hurry, not going anywhere just yet!

28/04/17 Fri.  Now just a foot or so away from the junction box with the NMEA2000 drop cable, similarly the old 0183 one removed to same stage.  Only one more awkward area to get through!  Did a little shopping in the afternoon.

30/04/17 Sun.  NMEA cable is now through to the Furuno junction box, the plotter power cable is through the 'roof' and all the woodwork replaced.  Now I need to make all the connections before giving it a trial.

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