As you'd expect it's been an 'interesting' first few days on the mooring in the bay - and having to survive on our own - not connected to the shore. Naturally there were immediate problems with the big 10kva Generator - with the Voltage adjustment knob - breaking off inside - but after I spoke to Uncle Dick Lunt - hhe advised me to just by-pass it all together and run it set at 240v - and it would be fine - which I did - and it was.
I only run the big diesel generator - for a while in the morning - and turn everything on - heating the Hot Water System - charging batteries - fridges - and even toaster and microwave - all at once - no problem. When that's done - and the HWS has cut out - I turn it off - and then if I still want to use the computer or anything else light - I will start a little 750w generator on the back deck - which is what is running right now for me to do this on the computer. That little generator runs for about 8 hours on 4 litres of petrol - which I suppose is pretty good - but it can soon mount up - so I need to be sparing in how long I have it running each day.
But by far and away the biggest problem I've had these first few days, has been with the mooring itself.
This is a large 6 ton block on the bottom and a heavy chain up - to an ugly old - rusty, barnacle encrusted, giant steel drum - about 6' long - as the mooring buoy.
Now for most of the time - you are hanging back just as in this photo - and if there is any good breeze you are swinging well away from it. But - if wind and tides conspire - there can be times that you will ride up on to it - or, it will end up alongside the yacht - and in any swell at all - it will crash into - and bang the side of the yacht.
Any contact at all with the sharp, rough steel edges of this big drum - is bound to cause damage - and It is quite possible that on a lesser yacht it could puncture the hull.
From inside the yacht - you'd think you were under attack in the war - with horrible smashing noises on the side - and it sounds sometimes like it's going to break through - but that's not possible with the strength of ferro-cement construction. But there's no doubt that with every crashing into the side of the hull - damage is being done.
These are just some of the gouges and scratches from 24 hours - so imagine what shape we'd be in if it continued.
I was really angry that - they could allow me - or any yacht to be tied to this mooring drum. I have been out on deck the first couple of days fending it off with the long pole - whenever the situation occurred - and it was so bad a couple of times the other night I started the engine and pulled away.
It only happens every now and then - and may not happen for days - it just depends on the conditions.
I went in and complained - and Cliff promised to send some men out 'after morning tea' and remove the drum - and replace it with a plastic float (which would need to be pretty large) - need I tell you - that they didn't come - and although the barge came out in the afternoon - dragging to find another lost mooring - they called out that I should come in and get some tyres.
I was pretty furious about it all - and immediately - then late in the afternoon - lashed up 4 of my own roped tyre fenders - that Chris made for me - and I'd been using at the dock - and floated them out alongside the dinghy - and spent a difficult hour or so - manhandling them myself - and tying them to the ends of the drum - and getting a bit cut up in the process.
I'm reasonably confident they're on securely - and they are lashed together lengthways around the drum too - so they can't move out of position. And so far all today - I have not heard a single sound of anything touching the hull - but then we've been hanging off in a pleasant breeze for most of the day - so only time will tell - but they could be good like this, indefinitely.
Yesterday was a pretty overcast and wet day - and on my way back from the 'complaining run' to shore - I called in and saw American Bill - for a quick chat.
And this was the view at the back of our yacht as we returned.
As Penny had not been off the yacht for a week - and I needed to get a new boat hook head - having broken mine off - fending that damn drum away - I decided to go for a run around to the Tom Ugly's Bridge and walk up to the Marine Exchange - Boat Shop.
When we got around there - there was no place I could leave the boat safely - and the Marina right there refused to let me even tie up for a few minutes - because it was a 'Private Marina' - pretty poor don't you think. So we headed all the way back home a couple of Km - and did the once around the anchorage.
And that is how I come to have taken a couple of shots of the old wreck of a 'vessel' - that an old hermit known as 'Machine Gun' (because he talks so fast & with a Russian accent - you can barely understand anything he says) - has apparently lived aboard right here - for 26 years. It's hard to believe - and when you see the condition of the rusting hulk even harder.
I don't know if the homemade wind generators with timber blades are working - or what sort of reception he gets with that piece of curled wire as an antenna.
It's an extraordinary scene - he can be seen quite often - out and about - bailing his old dinghy - or going past with an old outboard that sounds like it's having it's death throes.
Next time I see him - I'll have another talk with him - but believe me he really is very difficult to understand - and talks like a 'machine gun'.
So that brings us pretty much up to now - the generator is still going on the back deck - otherwise I suppose you wouldn't be getting this - Ha!
And once more - I'll leave you with a final word from - Queen Cleopatra - again.
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