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    MARCH 2020


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02/03/20 Mon.  Over the last week, I have noticed the lower cabin step getting warm - it's immediately above two of the house bank batteries, one of which is decidedly warmer than the other, indicating an internal fault on the overheating battery.  Went into town and bought a replacement and swapped it out.  I fitted all four of those batteries in November 2014, so I guess they have done OK, just  hope the other three last a while longer!

03/03/20 Tues.  We finished the recovering of the sprayhood grabrail, that's five long turk's heads, finished with two (different size) ordinary turk's heads on each side of the rail.  Each long one takes 25 feet of cord and I'm not sure of the ordinary ones, lets say 325 feet altogether!  The orientation is actually vertical, not horizontal as shown here.

04/03/20 Weds.  Checked out this morning, did a little shopping and slipped our moorings just after midday, motoring over to Muara for our monthly visit.

14/03/20 Sat.  After a 10 day visit, we checked out again with Immigration and sailed at 1400 back to Labuan.  During our time there, we had a trip upriver with Pete on his boat Osprey, to fill up with 2200 litres of diesel.  It made a change for us to ride on a powerboat!

15/03/20 Sun.  Made our presence known to Labuan Immigration (no problems this time with Ana's time limit, or with the coronavirus restrictions).  Started on the problems which have manifested themselves on the trip over and back to Brunei.  We lost the port navigation light due to a fault in the deck plug/socket - I couldn't find another, although I am sure I have one somewhere onboard!  Ordered two new ones from UK.

16/03/20 Mon.  Engine maintenance time!  We had the overheat alarm sound in Brunei, and on the way back here.  Today, I removed the raw water impeller and inspected it, (OK), re-tensioned the belt, topped up both the water pump and injector pump with oil.  Obviously I cannot really check the overheating symptoms until we are next out, if it still does it, then I will change the thermostat.  Maybe the cooling jacket around the block is partially blocked?

22/03/20 Sun.  So here we are in the Covid-19 lockdown situation, all shops closed except supermarkets, movement restricted to one person per household and travel to other countries forbidden.  It's going to be a long time before these restrictions are lifted I think.

On the engine front, there is a small vent pipe from the cylinder head (just above the fresh water pump) to the coolant elbow from the head.  Suspecting a blockage there, (there was) I began to remove it for either clearance or renewal but ran into some problems!  The two securing clips on the rubber section are both rusted solid and refuse to 'undo' and worse, the banjo bolt into the cylinder head sheared off when I tried to remove it!  After a day of trying to get it out by use of easi-outs, I today drilled it out by using progressively bigger drill bits until I reached the limit without hitting the threads.  However, getting the remaining threads out is proving impossible so I will have to wait until I can get a new bolt in order to measure the thread and tap a new thread into the cylinder  head.  Of course, to do all this work, I had to remove the alternator, the water pump, several hoses and associated pipes as well as the injector fuel pipes!

23/03/20 Mon.  Walked over to Alistair's boat (the only other marina resident) to make sure he was OK with this social isolation, spent a couple of hours with him chatting about various things.  Back in April 2019, I renewed the fuel filter system, primarily because access to the secondary filter was impossible and even when I had disconnected it, I could still not remove it from the engine.  While the alternator, water pump and various pipes are off, I took the opportunity to remove it from the engine - and it was still difficult!  On removal, I opened it up and I'm surprised any fuel ever got through the clogged filter.  An inch of crud was in the bottom of the housing also!  Now it's gone in the trash, not needed since fitting the new filters last year.

26/03/20 Thurs.  Happy Birthday to my brother Clive!  Tried to phone him 7 times this morning but no answer!

27/03/20 Fri.  The MCO (Movement Control Order) has been extended to the 14th April, the Malaysian Government originally said they would review the order on the 30th March, but they have pre-empted that and brought the extension in early.  It may cause us some problems with Ana's visa which expires on the 13th April but I am fairly sure that an extension will be allowed.

All my engine parts are on order now but how long they will take remains to be seen.  I have been looking for thread inserts - just in case the broken banjo bolt thread in the cylinder head is not repairable, and it's time for a bit of a rant!  The usual method is to drill the hole slightly larger than the broken thread and insert a 'helicoil' of the right size.  A better method is to fit a thread insert, but neither are available here in Malaysia.  So....the common trade name of thread inserts is 'Time-Sert' and an internet search shows several suppliers, none of which will ship to Malaysia!  That's not quite true though, I did find one in the US who would but.....the inserts and tool are priced around $70 which is fine but the delivery of same is $185 which is not fine!  We are talking of a package weighing just 200 grams, UPS Global, FedEx, TNT, DHL will do, I don't want Donald Trump to deliver it personally in Airforce 1 for crying out loud!  Needless to say, I didn't place an order (I do have some helicoils of the right size).

29/03/20 Sun.  Nothing is happening here, as expected.  The marina is very quiet, no boat movements apart from the odd local commercial boat.  I could voice my opinion of the measures taken to curb the spread of this Covid-19 virus by various governments but I'm sure the majority of the World's populations are as equally baffled as I am by the stupidity shown by said governments and corporate industries - as well as groups of individuals who haven't grasped what's going on yet.

31/03/20 Tues.  I've spent the last two days doing a five minute job.  Well, I thought it was a five minute job, I should know better by now!  This was the port navigation light, which ceased to function on the way back from Brunei.  I fitted the new deck plug which arrived Monday morning and replaced the wiring between socket and lamp, but still no electrickery at the lamp - no power to the deck socket.  Empty the forward cabin to access the hatch to the chain locker, crawl in and trace the wiring back.  OK, some previous owner had piggy-backed the port nav. light onto the stbd. nav. light and the wiring in the starboard deck socket was corroded.  Off with the starboard lamp and deck socket, fit new socket, plug, wiring and back into the chain locker, spend a while lying upside down on 100 metres of chain and rope while trying to fix a junction box with individual cables to each navigation light deck socket.  Finally done, and Ana replaced all the stuff which had been removed from the fwd. cabin while I showered all the sweat and chain debris from my back!

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