Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Engine - Day 7

Big day today again!  Welder on board...made up new engine beds...then grinding away the paint so he could weld them to the hull....very strong supports for the new engine which with any luck will be lowered in tomorrow morning.  Also today worked out the PSS dripless seal for the shaft.  This was a bit more complicated than expected as it did not quite fit behind the shaft support block.  But another plate going in to move the support block forward and all should be well....expecting the shaft and prop tomorrow as well....

Monday, May 30, 2011

New Engine - Day 6

Oh happy day!  Feels like Christmas around here....new engine arrived about 10AM....old worn cutless bearing has been removed (where the shaft exits the hull).....new metal plates will be fabricated and welded inside the bilge (hopefully tomorrow) for the motor mounts to rest on.  The shaft, prop and PSS dripless seal are due to arrive tomorrow as well.

It seems the timing of the engine replacement was impeccable....closer examination of the old engine showed broken metal bits where the gearbox was attached to the drivetrain....it would have failed suddenly, usually in the worst possible location, so it is good we are tackling this now!

Scraping , sanding and varnishing continue on the hatches and the sun is still shining!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Engine - Day 5

Sunday here!  Lots of locals launching their fishing boats for the day and live music in the pub at night.  Sanding the big hatch took most of the day.  More varnishing.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

New Engine - Day 4

Not much to report today!  As it is the weekend here, no one else is working...but that did not slow us down.  The bilge in the engine area received its second coat of two part epoxy base and the bilge sections, going back to where the new PSS dripless stuffing box will go, also got scrubbed out, scraped out, de-greased, washed and epoxied!  Although we don't have the new engine, they gave us a panel and wiring harness so I made a mounting plate for it and ran the harness down through the closet, under the drawers and across to the engine compartment...that's always fun!  Linda is making good progress sanding and varnishing hatches and handrails.  The cockpit table finally got sanded and coated as did the new engine instrument panel.  The weather is wonderful, about 23C during the day and down to 12C at night...very comfortable for working and sleeping.  It is hard to look out to sea however, as it is also ideal for cruising with steady tradewinds and blue skies....

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Engine - Day 3

Friday here....the day when all the workers disappear by 4 o'clock....probably looking for that cold brew...not a bad idea! I spent the day cleaning out the bilge area. After de-greasing and scrubbing it, I applied a coat of two part base expoxy to all exposed metal parts. These are areas that were below the old engine and couldn't be reached in Fiji when we re-painted the bilge. The new engine did not arrive, disappointing, but we are told it is in Mackay just a few miles away....not sure why it would be there and not here but ours is not to reason why, just to do and have a rum punch! I also cut a board to mount the new engine control panel and will run the wiring harness through to the bilge tomorrow. Linda went to town and picked up more sandpaper and beer, our staples lately! So tonight we will stumble down to the yacht club and see what the special is. The old engine and transmission sit forelorn on the concrete...maybe painting it Volvo green before we left was an omen! They call them 'green anchors'...though I'm sure the Swedes would disapprove!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Engine - Day 2

Another busy day! Mark, the Yanmar dealer and chief mechanic came by to inspect my prep work. Ready to go and the crane is ordered! A half hour from when it arrived till the old engine was sitting on the tarmac! A bit of juggling as it came out of the bilge when the support brackets for the feet had to be removed to clear the hatch. The transmission was quick to follow along with the shaft and heavy stainless muffler which will be replaced with a plastic Vetus. The hole in the floor is filthy from leaking oil, coolant and raw water from the stuffing box. Weather is cooperatiing with clear sunny skies and light winds, cool in the morning which is very comfortable. A parallel project sees the exterior woodwork getting a much needed facelift by the first mate!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Engine - Day 1

Up at 0600, coffee on....expecting to be lifted at 0700....1130 they finally are ready for us....Toketie once again visits the yard...and the old Chrysler Nissan makes its final voyage. With 20 knot gusts and the tide running out, it was exciting just getting off the dock! With 18' tides, the lift was higher than usual. But we managed and now are set in the yard. I spent the afternoon disconnecting all hoses, wires, engine mounts and separated the transmission from the engine in preparation for the crane tomorrow which hopefully will lift it through the skylight!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Re-powering in Mackay!

Well, the day has come....not unexpected...in fact have wondered how long our old diesel engine would last!  But working our way North, the cold mornings found us cranking her over more than usual and wondering if she would fire at all....not a pleasant thought when tucked in safely up a winding river around sandbars....turns out the compression is very low so the old girl has served her time and now we face replacing her with a new Yanmar!!  Wish us luck...tomorrow we haul out and I will take all the hoses and wires off so a crane can hopefully lift the old engine out throught the butterfly hatch over the settee...but we are committed (or should be) and see no other way of going forward than to take a giant step back (financially) and move on.....it's a funny old world...pics to follow.....:)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mackay blues!

With plenty of sunshine and great winds, Toketie has managed to get as far as Mackay....with the infamous Whitsunday Islands just in sight....however the main GPS has been failing intermittently which is not critical as we have backup but it sure makes you realize how spoiled we are looking at the chart plotter and seeing where you are...and more importantly where all the lumps around your are!  As we are now in behind the Great Barrier Reef, there are many small islands and shoals and rocks and you need to be watching all the time not to run into any of them....also the old 'iron genny' has been cranky in the morning and not starting easily...probably just because it has been colder but since most anchorages are either up a creek or river or inside a fringing reef, we depend on the engine to get us in and out....so we are stuck in a fancy expensive marina in Mackay, trying to solve a couple of technical problems....also getting more beer, doing laundry, sewing lee cloths, etc.....and now the winds are howling 30 knots....so we read books, do chores, watch movies....and try to cope with the stresses of cruising...still beats going to the office.....:)

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Coastal Cruising!

Safely tucked into the sheltering arms of Port Clinton, an abandoned attempt at loading ships and now part of the military training grounds, we can relax temporarily after three long days and rolly nights on the way North from Bundaberg!  The bay is tucked around a headland so free from the constant swell coming off the Tasman Sea.  Dolphins feed and play around us as we enjoy a 'sundowner' in the cockpit.  One other boat across the bay is our only company.  The forecast is for rain and Northerly winds, not our friend, so we plan to sit here for a day and catch up on some chores.  It has been a good three days plodding our way up the Australian East coast.  Everything from 30 knot tail winds to motoring in calms, so far stopping every night to get what rest we can.  We seem to have overcome the 'sailing blues', maybe the land travel break was beneficial, and though there are always challenges, we are enjoying the sailing once again!  We do not know what tomorrow brings but you must have a plan so our plan today is to make for Cairns, enjoying the Whitsundays and other stops along the way, then hopefully over 'the top' to Darwin and see what lies in store.  We loved Thailand so if we can get Toketie up there we would love to see more of the area.  Most boats join a rally in Darwin and sail through Indonesia.  We have chosen a path less travelled and plan to head straight West into the Indian Ocean to Cocos Keeling Island and then turn North to the top of Sumatra and direct to Thailand.  However, it is a long way and anything can happen so we etch our plans firmly in the sand and they glisten like a Sand Mandala (Tibetan: དཀྱིལ་འཁོར།; kilkhor) leading us on.....

...the pic is Fred and Lesley who made us feel welcome in Bundaberg and introduced us to so many fine people.....

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

"sail on Silver Girl"

It is with a heavy heart that Toketie prepares to 'go troppo'.....

Bundaberg, Australia has been a mixed blessing.....the flooding was one of the most intense experiences we have had in the Pacific Ocean!  For the third time since leaving Canada in 2006, we seriously contemplated giving up the cruising life.  But two months of land travel in Malaysia and Thailand have convinced us to give it another chance.  With all the drama and trauma in Australia though, the silver lining has been that we have met some incredibly fine people and I believe it is mostly their total acceptance of us into their lives, always being there to help us, whether machining the stripped out windless or a ride from town or the railway station....not to mention saving us on the river, that gives us the strength and courage to continue! 

But 'the time has come the walrus said' and the Great Barrier reef and points West are calling so last minute preparations have been completed, provisions have been stowed, fuel, water and all the other essentials for self sufficient living have been seen to and even the weather has finally cooperated with strong SE winds to drive us up the coast to Cairns and beyond to Darwin.

This message, however, is a special thanks to the friends for life that we have made in Bundaberg!  Through Lesley (OCC Port Officer) and Fred, we met a group of serious blue water sailors with many circumnavigations under their collective belts.  And a finer group would be hard to find anywhere!  So to Chris and Ann who bring the concept of 'mi casa es su casa' to life, to Brendan (who literally saved our bacon) and Marina, to Derek and Gill, to Phil and Liz, we can only say that just being who you are, so open and welcoming and willing to help, you have inspired us and given us back our love of this cruising life.  It's not always easy, it's never the picnic that non-cruisers imagine it to be, but it is a uniquely rewarding and fulfilling lifestyle that challenges us at every turn and makes us feel alive!  'Silver Girl' we hope to see you in Thailand next year and we will be keeping a weather eye out for 'Jorga' when your nest is empty and the call of the wild lures you to distant ports once again......rumour has it they are opening China up to cruisers :)

There are no 'goodbyes'....only farewells till we meet again.....thank you Bundaberg from david & linda!