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  november 2014


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01/11/14  Today's job is to fix the leak on the watermaker pump in the fwd cabin wardrobe.  First I had to take off the cabin door to give me some space to work!  A further investigation into the leak showed that it would be possible to repair the leaking joint without removing the whole assembly from the wardrobe, which is what I did.  However, a test afterward showed that the actual watermaker under the galley sink had two leaks - they were not there at previous test on the 18th of last month!  It took the rest of the day to remove, repair and re-install the unit!  We spent the evening in the restaurant, making a bottle of Bacardi vanish as if by magic!

02/11/14  Sunday.....and a lazy day of doing nothing.

03/11/14  Ran the watermaker for a half hour to check for leaks again before putting all clothes back into wardrobe and replacing cabin door.  Examined the battery monitor connections for faulty installation as I get some odd readings from time to time!  I will replace the two defective domestic batteries and then rewire the monitor if possible.  Rain for a great part of the day.

04/11/14  Into town this morning, bought two new batteries to replace the domestic ones onboard, did a bit of shopping and returned to the boat for lunch.  A very hot day, so very little done in the afternoon.  We went to invite Rene and Lesley (from Crib) around for dinner onboard, but as Rene had gone to KK, he missed out on roast chicken dinner and we had the pleasure of Lesley alone!

05/11/14  A day of cursing and swearing at the battery installation!  I moved the position of each battery, making it more logical to have house batteries together rather than the common negative going 'through' the engine battery, but re-routing the cables was difficult and very hot work!  The battery monitor is not wired correctly, but at this moment in time I am unable to do anything about it because the cable connectors are incompatible with each other and will need further thought and investigation as to what is available either here or in KK.  We had a walk around the golf course late afternoon.

08/11/14  Took down the old LED strip light from over the cooker and fitted a new one that I had shipped from China....it is of rigid construction (aluminium casing) and has 36 LED's; you can cut them in blocks of three to suit your needs.  The one fitted throws out much more light than the old one.  The drawback is that it does get a little hot - which is odd for an LED light, I shall have to keep a close watch on that.

09/11/14  Soldered the wires into second strip light and fitted it with cigar lighter plug for use at night in the cockpit, should I wish to eat 'al fresco.'  We then went into town for milk and a few other bits.

10/11/14  With Al winching and Astrid tailing the rope, I went up the mast and changed the bulbs in the masthead light and the steaming light for new LED's.  A local guy free dived and cleaned the hull and propeller for me.

11/11/14  Day off!  Went into town for shopping and also bought battery cable and terminals for a future project of fitting two extra domestic batteries to increase the capacity onboard.

12/11/14  We had intended taking the boat out for a few hours today, but more problems have manifested themselves, the gremlins have been working harder than me!  The sailing instruments decided to play up this morning, one of them refusing to register anything except the alarm for a fault.  I may have disturbed wiring at the top of the mast, but I doubt that is the reason for this malfunction.  Whatever it is, it could be a very expensive and time consuming exercise to put it right as the instrument heads are no longer manufactured and all spares have gone!  The dinghy keel has come unstuck from the floor again too, so that has to be re-glued when conditions are dry enough.

13/11/14  Went into town and bought two more batteries, installing them under the lower step of the saloon companionway.

14/11/14  A day of running cables from the new batteries to the 'old' batteries.  Didn't have time to make the end fittings up, so that will have to wait a few days.

15/11/14  I turned my attention back to the instrument problem - for the non sailors amongst you, in the cockpit are three instrument heads and a fourth down below by the chart table.  All these instruments are in fact mini computers and each 'talks' to the others, sharing information such as latitude, longitude, distance to waypoint, bearing to waypoint, time to waypoint, time to gun (for racing), course over ground, speed over ground, X-track error, angle of the wind relative to the bow, speed of wind in any format you choose, depth of water, timers, temperature, speed through the water and many more useful bits of information.  My first problem, and there are two separate issues, is that one of the cockpit instruments is 'scrolling' through various menu options without my being able to stop it or select any of them, and giving out beeping sounds continually.  The second issue is the wind information is not being received by any of the instruments, and my concern is that I somehow dislodged or damaged the transmitter part of the set up when up the mast a week ago.  So......Al came over this morning to hoist me up again to inspect the wind instrument transmitter at the top of the mast but while we were having coffee and discussing the problem, the rain started - and it fell down!  After several hours of it, I decided to cancel for today and Al went home again.  Of course, it cleared up then and was a sunny afternoon....Murphy's Law!

16/11/14  OK, up the mast first thing this morning, cleaned and inspected the connection between cable and transmitter but it made no difference!  I then dismantled the deck connection, cleaned the contacts and resealed the plug part with silicone grease which, I am relieved to say, seemed to cure that particular problem and the instruments now displayed wind data.  The malfunctioning instrument head is beyond my capabilities as I have absolutely nil electronic knowledge!  The only thing I could do was to disconnect the offending head and use only the remaining identical one for any information wanted.  During the evening, Astrid, myself, Rene, Lesley, Brian and Meg (Celtic Castle) went to the Chinese for our evening meal.  This is a restaurant which you phone, they send a car to pick you up, take you to their establishment for dinner and drive you home aferwards.  On this particular occasion, the return journey was done in a Toyota Hi-lux pick up truck to the delight of the ladies who all piled in the back.  The fact that we were stopped by a police road block on the way back only added to the amusement - you just wouldn't get away with that in the UK!

17/11/14  Early morning taxi to Kota Kinabalu - well, that was the plan, but it's Malaysia and 'their' early and mine differ somewhat.  Arrived KK around noon and had some lunch, then picked up a pre-booked rental car and set off for Brunei around 2pm, driving in rain squalls for a lot of the time.  We drove through Papar, Beaufort and Sipitang to the border crossing at Sidumin, checking out of Sabah and into Sarawak, then on to Lawas and Trusan border crossing.  Here we checked out of Sarawak, filled in the temporary import form for the car and checked into Brunei.  Then it was a drive through the first part of Brunei to Limbang........check out again and then into Sarawak again!  Another drive through Sarawak to Kuala Lurah - immigration again - and check into Brunei.......confusing isn't it?  However, despite having no maps, no definite idea of the route to take and terrible road direction signs, we made fairly good time and arrived at the Brunei Hotel in Bandar Seri Begawan at 7pm.  OK, from the outside the hotel looks posh!  Pulled up outside and bellboys took the luggage, a valet parked the car and we checked in - nice!  The hotel is owned by Prince someone or other, one of the Sultan's relatives and it is very comfortable and centrally located in the capital.  We had a walk around the familiar territory and took in the old sights.

18/11/14  After a great breakfast, eggs cooked to order, multiple choice buffet style counters and excellent service, our first job was to fill up with fuel, and here we encountered the first problem!  Drove into the filling station, popped the fuel filler lid and the attendant says....."Sorry, not allowed to fill Malaysian registered cars. You have to go to a station in Gadong."  OK....wasn't aware of that one, but hey, rules are rules, so we get directions to the 'licensed garage' and drive there, fill in the forms (registration details, passport number etc.) and fill up the tank.  Then we killed some time by looking around Supasave, me drooling at all the supermarket foods that are not available in Kudat!  After deciding what I would buy later and take back with me to Kudat, we drove to Serasa and the Royal Brunei Yacht Club to see old friends.  We purposely had not told anyone of our plans, so as to surprise both staff and club members - and that worked a treat!  Regie in the restaurant, couldn't believe her eyes and insisted we have some lunch straight off!  Chatted with Alison, Donald, Jawie, Winsner, Wendy, Pete, Chia, Ruben and several others.  Had dinner in the club before heading back to BSB late that night and with a promise to go back again tomorrow.

19/11/14  Bought a few things to pack into the coolie bag for the return to the boat and packed it all in the icebox of the room fridge until we leave.  Back in the Yacht Club, we surprised Ninet who returned from her Philippine holiday in the early hours.  Alistair and Loren arrived from Labuan onboard their boat C'est la Vie, so it was great to see them both again.  We went out to Pete's boat (Osprey) at anchor, and had a few beers with Pete, Paul, Barry, Alistair and Loren.  We are supposed to be leaving tomorrow to head back to Kudat, but everyone is insisting that we stay for Alistair's birthday bash tomorrow.....mmmm, have to phone the car rental place and extend the hire.....and find somewhere to stay for the night!

20/11/14  Checked out of the hotel after a lovely breakfast and went shopping for an hour before heading over to Serasa during the afternoon.  Alistair has family flying in from New Zealand and Australia today for the birthday celebration and although I offered my services to transport peeps from the airport, it had already been covered by the ex-pats here.  By 6.30pm, the beer was flowing freely despite a few bleary eyed long haul passengers!!  The club laid on a great food spread as usual and we took up residence pool side to celebrate Alistair's 60th - when he slipped away for a few minutes, we all donned yellow t-shirts with the boat name on (his boat is yellow), and told him we were all crewing for him tomorrow!  Shortly after midnight, we all adjourned to catch up with some sleep, Barry very kindly offered to let us crash at his house for the night.

21/11/14  Awake very early.......Barry's house is fairly remote and sort of in a jungle environment and the racket created by monkeys jumping on the roof and tumbling about is unbelievable!  I guess you get used to it after a while.  We set off on the return drive about 9am, but it wasn't as easy going back as it was coming!  We seemed to take a few wrong turns along the way, driving some miles down empty roads before doing U-turns and going back - useless road signs!!  Returned the car to hire company at 4.30pm with around 1,400 extra kilometres on the clock, and made our way to the King Park Hotel again for a one night stay.  Had a walk around two of the shopping malls and the town.

22/11/14  8am bus back to Kudat!  Back onboard at exactly noon, unpacked, coffee, lunch and catch up on the news in the marina.  Our few days in Brunei was magic, seeing old friends and the great food was a real tonic.  Thanks to everyone who made us feel so 'at home.'

23/11/14  Completed my additional battery installation, crimped on all the cable fittings and connected up to the domestics.   We went into town and did some shopping and then spent an hour or so with Rene and Lesley onboard Crib.   During the evening I went up to the clubhouse with Brian (Celtic Castle) to watch the last race of the F1 season, Hamilton becoming the World Champion for the second time.

24/11/14  Bit of an idle day, lazing around and not doing very much!

25/11/14  While Astrid went into town for a few bits, I tied down the diesel jerry cans, put the Aries rudder on, filled the water tank and secured the gas bottle.  We slipped at 2pm and made our way out of the harbour.......the first outing for Rhumb Do in a long while.....just to check that everything was working as it should!  Hoisted the mainsail and motored out towards the tip of Borneo, then turned northward and let out the headsail, cutting the engine and sailing toward Banggi at 5.5 knots.  We were out for three hours, returning to the marina at 5pm.  The intention is to go out again tomorrow to Pulau Molleangan Besar and maybe anchor there overnight, have a swim and look at the beach.

26/11/14  With light winds from the NE, we slipped our moorings at 11am and motored out of the harbour.  We were unable to hoist sail as the wind was very gentle and the sea calm, so we set the autohelm, put out the fishing line and relaxed for the 16 mile crossing to Molleagan. 

About an hour out, we caught a nice tenggiri which was soon cleaned and in a bucket of salt water!  As we approached 'little' Molleangan, the anticipated rain squall hit us and we were forced to slow down due to lack of visibility and poor charts of the area.  When it cleared, we began feeling our way into the reported anchorage but it was a no go....the water was just too shallow over the entire area and the only deep patch was on the SE corner of the island, exposed and vulnerable should the weather deteriorate during the night.  I was far from happy about the safety of anchoring overnight, so we decided to return to Kudat.  With the current in our favour, we cut an hour off the return trip and tied up in Kudat a few minutes after 6pm.  We gave our tenggiri to Al as it would provide a good meal for all his family - maybe even for two days!

28/11/14  Astrid's last full day here onboard unfortunately.  It has been such a pleasure having her here, I just wish we could have done more - like sailing to Brunei as first intended.  Her five week holiday has flown by!  During the evening, we went with Rene and Lesley to Hock Cheong restaurant for a lovely meal and great company.

29/11/14  We went into town at 7.30am and organised a taxi to KK which eventually left just after 9am and arrived in KK about noon.  I checked into the King Park Hotel and we left the bags there while we walked around town, visiting every shopping mall and hardware store!  I bought a few little bits, but importantly, I got some cheddar cheese to take back with me tomorrow!  By 7pm, we were both exhausted and aching with the days walking, so we had some dinner and relaxed for an hour before making our way to the airport for Astrid's flight home.  A sad time for me saying 'bye, as I have really enjoyed the last few weeks - it makes such a difference having company onboard and someone to talk to and shop with each day.  As Astrid went into the departure lounge, I got my taxi back into town - in heavy rain, had a quick shower and hit the hay.

30/11/14  Up early, shower, breakfast and off to the bus terminal to catch the 8am bus back to Kudat, arriving there at 11.40.  I bought some bread and went back to my now very empty boat.

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