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    march 2017


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01/03/17 Weds.  Cycled over to the marina to help Rob with an engine problem.

02/03/17 Thurs.  The office told me they could launch today if I like........rushed around getting last minute things done and was hoisted off the blocks at 1145.  Held in the slings over lunch time while the bottom of the keel was sanded and anti-fouled, then launched at 1330.  No apparent leaks into the boat from anodes, seacocks or sterngland.  However, the engine did throw out all the coolant through the overflow pipe of the header tank on the brief journey over into the 'pond' so tomorrow's job will be to find out why.  Went over to the marina cafe/bar during the evening for dinner and a few beers.

03/03/17 Fri.  Sorted out the overheat problem - just an air lock in the coolant system.  Spent most of the day helping Rob (Jolie Brise) with his engine water problem!  It took us two hours to remove the exhaust manifold complete with water header tank and the cause of his coolant leak was then obvious....corroded alloy area between coolant and exhaust.  That will be a KK job to get it welded up, or an expensive replacement from Canada.  Another British couple, Graham and Avril arrived in the pond from the Philippines and we all ended up in the marina cafe for a few beers during the evening.

05/03/17 Sun.  Helping Rob again with the removal of his raw water pump - the machine screws holding it in had all corroded, so it was an impact driver job and a big hammer!

06/03/17 Mon.  Some last minute shopping and doing the check out formalities at the Harbour Master, Customs and Immigration.

07/03/17 Tues.  We should have left at 5.30 this morning but would you believe it.....the engine wouldn't start!  Stripped off the starter motor and took it into town, in search of a new solenoid.  Couldn't find a suitable solenoid and the repair shop stripped and cleaned the motor itself.  However, it still would not work even after I had 'adapted' the solenoid connections, so we stripped the motor again and found the shop had cleaned the insides with diesel!  Once dried and the brushes cleaned up, it started perfectly.  Oh well, obviously not meant to sail today!

08/03/17 Weds.  Try again!!  Slipped out of the duck pond at 0600 and motored toward the tip of Borneo.  Engine seems good, the knock has gone (the main reason for the haul out).  We rounded the tip and set course for Usukan, our first intended anchorage.  The fishing line started to fly out and we had a fish!  After a bit of a fight with it, we landed a nice tenggiri which I quickly cleaned and filleted and filled the fridge.  I normally weigh a catch but on this occasion didn't, but it was about 6Kg I guess - enough for many dinners!   We anchored in Usukan at 1800.

09/03/17 Thurs.  The alternator is not charging!  I noticed (or suspected) this yesterday.  Decided to remain in Usukan today and see if the fault was a simple bad connection, so I took off all connectors, sanded and cleaned the earthing strap and put it all back together - still no difference, it only manages to put out enough power to keep up with the instruments, meaning no lights, no autohelm.

10/03/07 Fri.  Weighed anchor at 0500 and motored out of the bay, turned south and hoisted the sails.  Made fairly good progress and we were passing Gaya Island around 1030.  Arrived at our next anchorage on the SW side of Pulau Tiga at 1600 and anchored in 7 metres with 30 metres of chain out. 

11/03/17 Sat.  A lazier start today, getting underway at 0700.  The alternator fault has not miraculously cured itself and obviously needs to be fixed.  We cancelled the plan to go up the Klias River, and the one to go to Brunei first and opted for Labuan to get the fault fixed.  Moored in the marina at 1400, met by Garry and Neil.

12/03/17 Sun.  Checked ALL the wiring from the alternator through the ammeter to the engine start battery this morning, and all seems good.  Removed alternator and stripped out the brushes - the fault was now obvious as the wires through the brush springs were broken.

13/03/17 Mon.  Took the alternator to a repair shop in town and pointed out the broken wires in the brushes, they were unable to solder to the stainless springs but sold me a new regulator.  Refitted it to the engine and the lights and buzzer went off as soon as the engine started.  No amps seem to be coming from the alternator, but I figure that is because the batteries are now full and the regulator is saying "no wrigglies required at the moment."  Changed our almost empty gas bottle for a full one, and picked up my repaired sail from the marina office.

14/03/17 Tues.  All my present problems are electrically related (I hate electrics!)  This morning I made a final check of alternator and batteries - 15v out of alternator, 0v into battery!  Removed the ammeter, checked connection there with engine running.....0v!  Continuity check on cable showed zero also, so...new cable fitted and now the battery charges within minutes.  Did a continuity check on old cable again and this time it showed OK, but I had cut off one of the end connectors, so the fault must have been in the join.  Anyway, all seems good now and it's 1315, so we will leave tomorrow morning.  Went over to Jessica Lee in the afternoon and had a chat with Paul and Merissa.

15/03/17 Weds.  A leisurely start to the day, after coffee we slipped the lines and made out to sea.  With only 4 to 6 knots of breeze, and a calm sea, we motored with just the genoa out.  The sea between Labuan and Brunei used to be empty and you could relax on the crossing, but now there are idle oil rigs, platforms and support vessels anchored everywhere and constant course changes are needed to avoid them.  We anchored off the yacht club in Brunei at 1200, launched the dinghy and made our way to the immigration.  Nothing has changed there, the harbour master is still as surly and unhelpful as possible, immigration were not much better and it took us two hours to clear in.  We returned to the boat and spent the remainder of the afternoon watching the new bridge construction.

16/03/17 Thurs.  I was forced up last night around 4am by a strange gurgling sound.  Shining a torch along the port side showed a semi rigid plastic pipe, maybe 6" in diameter and about 40 feet long, wrapped around the anchor chain.  With around 25 feet down the port side and 15 down the starboard side, and a full tide running, it was extremely difficult to lift off the chain, made more so by the external corrugations on the pipe.  By floating a rope under it and grabbing both ends, I was finally able to move it slowly off.  I can only assume it came from the bridge, and today we have seen a lot more material being thrown off the bridge pillars by the workers.  The area around Serasa is awash with rubbish which I have never seen here before. 

17/03/17 Fri.  With the use of Barry's car today, and a vacant mooring (John Malthouse is hauled out in Kuala Penyu), we lifted the anchor and moved onto the mooring, then went ashore and drove out to Supasave for the likes of bacon and sausages, having a quick chat with Ninet in the clubhouse on the way.  Met up with Deiter and Ayu, friends I haven't seen for years, their children are so grown up now!  A sleepless night again - the wind got up and the seas became choppy, I was woken by an odd double bumping sound as the bows rose and fell.  I assumed we were hitting the buoy but on investigation that was not so.  Checked the depth to make sure we were not 'bottoming' and all OK.  I still have not figured out what it was and can only assume the mooring chain is a little on the short side.

18/03/17 Sat.  We went ashore to the clubhouse for lunch, chatted with Regie and Ninet, then out to tool shops in search of a couple of things I needed.  Returning to the clubhouse, we dinghied out to Osprey and chatted to Pete, Paul and Johann over a beer before returning to my boat.  Ana cooked us a fish and chips dinner - the last of the tenggiri we caught ten days ago.......so it's lasted a long time despite having many meals of fish!

19/03/17 Sun.  A relaxing day, doing very little, had a ride out to a few shops.

20/03/17 Mon.  Drove into Muara for a water pump for the dinghy, then had lunch at the club.  During the afternoon, we decided to go into immigration and check out for a morning departure - this time no problems with any authorities.  Barry returned from his fishing trip and I helped ferry his guests and fish ashore.

21/03/17 Tues. Slipped the mooring at 0730 and motored out of harbour against the incoming tide and headwind, setting course for Labuan.  Had a bite on the fishing line but whatever it was chewed through the line and took the lure!  Close to Labuan, the wind shifted, strengthened and caused the sea to kick up giving us a very rolly entrance to Victoria Harbour.  We moored in the marina at 1130 - and I noticed Slamat over on 'C' dock, so walked over to say Hi to Armin, another friend I have not seen for several years - pity they were about to leave....for Brunei!  I also noticed bits of wheel pilot drive belt on the cockpit sole - so that's about to break....grrrr!

22/03/17 Weds.  Walked into town for our obligatory check-in with the harbour master and immigration, then went to Financial Park for a bit of food shopping.  Ana catching up on the laundry during the afternoon!

24/03/17 Fri.  Stroll into town again this morning, a bit of breakfast in our favourite Indian cafe, then wandered aimlessly around the shops.  Back on the boat, helped Garry fold his new mainsail for return to Hong Kong (they made it wrong!), then ordered some of my required electrical replacements (chartplotter, gps, battery charger) from UK, and wheel pilot belts from USA.  Around 4pm the heavens opened and it poured down for the rest of the evening.

25/03/17 Sat.  Helped Garry refold his mainsail as it got wet in yesterdays rain, and we only just finished before it started to rain again!  Once more, it rained from late afternoon, throughout the evening.

26/03/17 Sun. Happy Birthday to my bro, Clive!

28/03/17 Tues.  Wheel pilot belts arrived from the US, excellent service!   Seems the daily pattern of weather is grey sky in the morning, then hot and humid all day and rain in the evening.  Replaced the fish lure - see what we can catch now!

29/03/17 Weds.  Slipped out of the mooring at 1000hrs and made our way northward to spend a few days in the Klias River.  Turned right at the waypoint and crossed the bar to Menumbok, registering 2.7 metres at the lowest point (that's 4.4 mts of water).  We passed by Menumbok around midday and continued upriver, eventually meeting the daily downpour around 1600.  We anchored about a mile short of the tourist place at Klias around 1730 - the bottom is soft mud and the anchor doesn't 'bite' in very well, so it's really just a mud anchor!  As the current is light, it matters not and we spent a peaceful night surrounded by trees full of fireflies.

30/03/17 Thurs.  No rush this morning, so it was a leisurely breakfast.  Just as we finished, a boat pulled alongside with half a dozen police onboard, they checked our passports, asked last port of call and told us they were checking all tourists - first time I've ever had that happen!  Their boat was full of fishing rods, so I think it was an excuse for them to be out on the river fishing, and sure enough we later saw them fishing!  Shortly afterward, we motored the last mile up river to the normal anchorage - again it is soft mud and the anchor doesn't hold but the weight of that and the chain keeps you in place.  Although there are monkeys around, there seem far fewer than on my previous four visits.  During the afternoon, I decided to replace the wheelpilot belt - big mistake!  The front cover was cracked and I thought I would repair that at the same time, but when I separated front and back covers, the inner ball race holder disintegrated and spewed the ball bearings everywhere!  The holder is only plastic and obviously not suited to tropical climates - typical Raymarine rubbish.  Now I have to either source a replacement for that, or dump the whole thing and find something else.  Showered on deck in tonights heavy rain!

31/03/17 Fri.  A very lazy day just sitting watching monkeys and waving at the boat loads of Chinese tourists passing by.  These boats always slow down so the tourists can say 'hello' and take pictures of the boat, I guess Rhumb Do is on a whole lot of Chinese facebook pages now!  The day was very hot and humid, with a light shower around 4pm.


Photo is of a female Proboscis Monkey.







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