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    SEPTEMBER 2017

 

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04/09/17 Mon.  Why is it that anything with a tag of 'marine' automatically inflates the cost?  OK, maybe 60 odd years ago when only 'gentlemen' were able to afford the wooden (now classic) yachts it may have been the case, but it's 2017 now and the mass produced plastic boat has been in existence for a long, long time.  Take a look at 'fridges for a caravan or RV for example, then compare the cost of the same thing for a boat; basically there is no difference in the manufacture, both are either 12 or 24 volt and they use the same parts, so why the price differential?  It's the same with whatever item bears the 'marine' prefix!  I've been thinking for a while that I need to replace a stanchion base along with another which is suspect - courtesy of a power boat driver in Mumbai.  Mine consist of an aluminium block which is bolted to the toe-rail and through the deck as per the photo on the right, and each has a thin plastic insert to prevent the stainless steel stanchion from making a corrosive contact with the aluminium.  My thoughts were to replace all 8 around the boat as I imagine they are all of a similar age, but I would have to import them from the UK.  That's all well and good, they've been manufactured for years now, the patterns and machine tooling costs have long since been recovered and it's just a mass produced 74mm by 74mm block of machined aluminium with 4 holes drilled through........right??  So you can imagine my dismay when I trawled through the online swindlery sites and found they charge between 60 and 70 each!  It's true that I would get 20% reduction for the VAT, but shipping costs cancel that out and more.  OK, September rant over, and no, I won't be changing all 8 bases!

08/09/17 Fri.  Went into town this morning for market shopping and to check out with Immigration, Customs and Harbour Master.  The plan is to sail in the morning for a few days in Brunei again.

09/09/17 Sat.  Slipped the lines at 1015 and made out into Victoria Harbour.  With a forecast of SSW winds of up to 20 knots and the tide against us, it would be a slow passage!  The crossing was uneventful, the sea was choppy but as it was on the bow there was little rolling, just pitching as the bows dug in and sent spray back over the boat.  As expected, it was slow and we finally dropped anchor off the yacht club in Serasa at 1600.  A half hour later, the heavens opened and we had rain on and off for the night.

10/09/17 Sun. We took the dinghy down to immigration/customs on high tide at 1300 and checked in without any problems.  Then we went over to the yacht club, chatted with Regie and Ninet, also saw Paul, Pete and Barry for a while.  When the heavy rain ceased for an hour, we went back to the boat and secured the dinghy before spending an uncomfortable night pitching up and down on a heavy swell with constant rain.  The bridge construction progresses and the main part is almost complete.  It is very upsetting to see the amount of rubbish the workers deliberately and wilfully throw from the bridge - plastic, rope, timber, empty cement bags and take away food containers, I would have thought the management would have strict rules regarding this but seemingly they do not.

16/09/17 Sat.  Time to return to Labuan!  After the first two nights of rain, the rest of our stay at anchor off Serasa was pleasant and peaceful.......and a whole span of the Pulau Muara Besar bridge was built while we watched.  Took the dinghy down to immigration at 0800 and checked out without too much hassle this time, then went into the yacht club to pay our dues and say Cheerio to Ninet and the staff (Regie wasn't there).  Weighed anchor at 1030 and with the tide still running out, we set course for Labuan.  It was a calm day and motor sailing with the genoa out gave us 6 knots all the way.  We tied up in the marina at 1430.

18/09/17 Mon.  Completed the usual check in with immigration and harbour master, visited the print shop and had them print out a manual for my B & G chartplotter (still not used to it!) and did a little shopping before returning to the boat.

25/09/17 Mon. A good night on Craig's boat on Friday, great BBQ and a few drinks with almost everyone in the marina.  A few days ago, whilst cleaning the shower tray filter, Ana dropped the cover overboard so we have been unable to use the shower and several attempts have been made to recover it since then.  Last night I swam the 5 metres to the seabed and twice got hold of it but it slipped from my grasp as I ran out of breath!  Surfacing in the pitch dark to take air, I bumped the bottom of the boat and could not see which way was 'out,' which was a little scary!  So, still no cover and now I have a blocked ear!

26/09/17 Tues.  Another attempt to retrieve the shower tray filter cover this morning, but my ear is hurting still and the 5 metre depth is a little too much for me at the moment.....but Craig came to the rescue with full diving gear and we now have a working shower again!  Bags packed ready to leave tomorrow morning to travel up to Kudat and help sort out problems on Dulce which Maree is selling following the passing of her husband (and my mate) Bob.

27/09/17 Weds.  Caught the 0815 boat to Menumbok and the 0930 bus from there to KK.  Checked into Cititel Express for the night and had a wander around the immediate area and shopping mall.

28/08/17 Thurs.  Went for the 0830 bus to Kudat - when it left the terminal, it turned the opposite way to usual and I wondered where he was going.  I should have realised that Malays have no concept of timekeeping;  at the next roundabout, he did a u-turn and went back to the filling station opposite where we had boarded and proceeded to fill up with diesel.  At this point, a passenger decided to make use of the toilet at the back of the coach - the driver and conductor went berserk!  It turns out there was no 'actual' toilet installed but that hadn't stopped the passenger and the evidence had been deposited directly onto the forecourt of the petrol station.  So, we all sat there for 30 mins while the embarrassed passenger was made to clean both the coach and the forecourt.  So now we are an hour late, and still only 50 feet from where we boarded!  When we finally arrived in Kudat, we had a late lunch in town before making our way to Penuwasa shipyard and Dulce.

29/09/17 Fri.  So we are here to sort out a few problems on Dulce, the first of which is all the tools are missing!  It seems that John of Touche has moved them all to his boat for safe keeping, but he is in China and there is no key to his boat!  OK, go through the boat and see what needs doing, or can be done in a short stay.  The important one is the port engine which John was unable to start, other items include missing U-bolts close to the waterline, exhaust pipes not fitted and exhaust outlets not bolted to the hull.  The windows need attention also, as the bonding is coming adrift.

30/09/17 Sat.  A taxi ride out of town to Kim Chok hardware store to buy a basic set of sockets, spanners, screwdrivers, pliers etc.  In the afternoon, after an hour of getting information on what actually happened with the engine, I started to take the injectors out which resulted in a foot high fountain of water from the injector holes!  A fairly conclusive indication that the head gasket was blown and the pistons were hydraulically locked, hence the reluctance of the engine to turn over on the key!  I pumped out all the water from the bores, gave each a liberal squirt of WD40 and began to strip the ancillary fittings from the cylinder head.  Meanwhile, Ms Wong in the office phoned around agents for a new head gasket - later I looked online as well but without success by late evening.

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