Alone in the Cararies
So, escounced safe in my berth I start to work down "the list" repairing lights, fitting a car radio (again). The car radio is neat - it can play DVDs on the video monitor I fitted in Ireland, via a composite video to VGA adaptor that ebay provided. It also has a USB socket for pen drives and (micro?)SD slot to play music from. Sounds good in the cockpit speakers! I also fit new taps to both heads, get the cockpit shower working and fit a pump out deck fitting with associated sanitation hose and divertor valve - I can now get the holding tank pumped out instead of dumping ( 8-) ) at sea, no shit. Getting the big thick pipes to fit on big thick spigots and valves was hard, very hard.
<<Nerd mode on >>I also fit the ham radio gear but get poor reception - propagation of signals is determined by sunspots, solar flares and storms. The sunspots have an eleven year cycle and as luck would have it we are in the trough. Still, I will try it with a horizontal antenna to see if the high noise level is local - marinas are notorious for generating radio smog and vertical antennas are prone to picking it up. << Nerd mode off>>
Some damp had got into the solar cells on the saloon roof - breaking green water in the gale I expect. The connector boxes have a good IP rating but breaking waves need extraordinary protection. I open up the boxes and seal them with vaseline and good old silkaflex. Time will tell... I also fit on-off switches to the most excellent solar cell controllers, I fitted two of these for redundancy - to be sure to be sure and they do a terrific job - they are modern MPPT types and 30% more efficient than old PWM types. Much more efficient in dim light actually as if the cells are only generating 10 volts or less at sunset the controller converts the voltage up and takes as much current as is sensible. They are smart! The controllers also generate considerable radio interference to the very sensitive ham radio receiver and the sterling mains operated battery charger does not like to be in a tug and war with the them so I will switch them off if I ever need to use the battery charger; the solar cells actually keep the batteries charged in the marina even with the fridge and odd light working (the fridge does not have 240 volt inputs) To be fair I have 5 sets of mains lights, an electric kettle, a popup toaster and a neat single ring mains cooker - I aim not to use gas when in marinas.
The last major job is the windvane, I have thought out how to do this, I also need to get a swim ladder sorted out - a necessary safety item. I order a single handhold step from Compass in Germany who will deliver to the marina for 12 Euro. This will allow attachment of the existing bow ladder (on the transom) and can be hinged up when under way with a slippery hitch, reachable from the water.
The windvane needs minor adjustment of lead weights and then 4 pulleys fitted and an emergency tiller rigged. I work out how to do this - the manual had said a 60 cm tiller would suffice but an email from Mr Poot - the naval engineer who produced the plans says the Hallberg Rassy 41 needs a 1m tiller (with 110kgm force). Oops. This means I have to move the wooden box that contains the compressor (rotate it 90 degrees) possibly refit the rod kicker on the mizzen as well. Also the liferaft may have to go back on the transom. I need space for folding bikes too. All this is connected so I hope the compass order arrives soon - I am tracking it with UPS and it is in Madrid as we speak.
The minor jobs like the new mug stand for the cockpit and a few bits if woodwork and varnishing also need done and time is flying. Alan and Gwen Doyle and Shirley arrive in 8 and 9 days time <gulp> it will be lovely to have company but were did the time go?
As it has been hot (reasonably hot - 23-25 degrees at first but lately 19-20 odd) I have trying to do one job a day and relax the rest of the time. I go for a one to two hour walk every day and stop in one of the cafes at the marina - Marea Baja has the best Wifi and I can download youtube videos and podcasts easily here. With Coffee at 1.50 Euro and Beer (free peannuts!) for 2.50 Euro I manage nicely.
As the first photograph above shows I rig the Christmas lights - seems a bit weird in the heat but on one excursion up the town I see the town is preparing for Christmas shopping - with kids singing carols
It is even cold in Kilclief back in Northern Ireland and Shirley sends me a few photos
Shirley is crushing nuts - thank you Eileen - home grown in Alicante! Note the white paper Angel - if you want to have a go making your own use the photo below for guidance
Shirley had told me that Fyne Tyme was at anchor here - Rod and Julia Kannenbergs old boat, now owned by some Belgians. I take a few photographs for old tymes sake. Rod and Julia had a Mediterranean adventure and I remember Alan Doyle, John Henshaw and I accompanying them in Otago when we left Donaghadee together in Northern Ireland and we stayed in convoy all the way to Brest where I left the boat for the winter (in Crozen-Morgat £340 for 10 months in the marina!) Whilst they headed south. Good times.
Well, that's all for now, I eagerly await friends to arrive. There is not a lot of craic on the pontoon as everyone seems very self contained, I am the only Brit, the boat next to me has a taciturn Finn and we do exchange a few pleasantries every morning - to be fair I have not made a lot of effort myself as I want to get down my "list" maybe soon... (maybe I am a taciturn brit?)