Thursday, September 30, 2010

Aur Arrival

It was an easy trip to Aur. We motored out the Majuro pass about sundown and another couple of miles. The wind filled in and we sailed 35 miles. Then the wind died and we motored the rest of the way.

The World Teach teacher, Todd, and 3 students swam out to the boat. I guess we were too tired to go into the village today, so they came to us.

We'll visit more tomorrow and then decid when to go on up to Tobal.

Monday, September 27, 2010

All Provisioned and Fueled

I don't know how much we forgot to get, but we are leaving this morning anyway. I can't believe we haven't done this for a WHOLE YEAR!!!! I has been since this time last year that we left Majuro with the boat.

We plan to go to Aur for a few days then Maloelap and then Likiep and back here. Then provision again and head for Jaluit in the Marshall's still for a few days then to Kosarae in the FSM (Federated States of Micronesia). Maybe a month there. and continue on west.

I'm looking forward to cruising again.

I haven't tested the radio email in over a year, so don't worry too much if you don't hear from us for a few weeks. Even if it does still work, I've heard the propagation is low lately and I may not be able to connect with the email stations, but I'll try.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Plans, plans!

The neat thing about making plans is, as soon as you make them and announce them you ar at liberty to CHANGE them! heahahha!

We have been trying to leave for an outer-island excursion for 2 weeks and still haven't gotten away. (Need a new propane tank, the old one rusted out and need to fill the boat with diesel. Ya would think 'no problem". The tank truck broke the nozzle for the filler spout, and the island is temporarily out of 5-gal propane tanks! Maybe by Monday, 2 weeks late!)

It was to be a 6 week to 2 month deal.....

Trinda has decided that we are done with the Marshall's. She was wanting to leave and go someplace the minute we got back. The plan then was to leave for Fiji in March and make a loop through Vanuatu and maybe the Solomons and back here before heading west. But no, we'll leave in Nov for points west: Federated States of Micronesia and the Philippines.

So now the loop to the outer islands will be just the close ones we've been to before and for only 3 weeks or so, so we can come back to provision and check out.

It is only 400 some miles to the first island west, Kosarae, then maybe 450 to Pohnopai. So the first couple of months isn't too far.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!

I finally made electricity with the new alternator today. It took a while. First I had to choose an alternator! After days of searching the Internet I found a Leece Nevile 165 amp model in California for only $1905! Turns out it is mostly made in China then finished with American diodes and regulator. Hoping for the best. It came with an internal regulator, but boats need an external fancier one, so I needed an adapter and a new pulley for it. Shipping and all $309, not too bad.

Next, while charging the batteries with the main engine I noticed the old system was not working right. The battery voltage was 15.3 and the old regulator was still in bulk mode, just cooking the batteries. NOT good! So I shut nit off and have been monitoring the charging very closely by hand.

My existing system was a Link 2000R and Ideal Regulator Output module. Obsolete for 7 years with no possibility of replace and very high repair. More searching the internet. I didn't like any of the ones I found. Most of the companies are merged or out of business. I finally chose a Balmar ARS-5 standalone 3 stage regulator and a Xantrax LinkLite (single bank) battery monitor. I have the regulator installed and controlling both the main engine and the aux (watermaker) engine with a DPDT manual switch.

I also have the wind generator working. It is temporarily mounted on a 6 foot pole tied to the bow pulpit. It would get more wind if it were on top of the mizzen mast, but that would mean climbing up there several times to install it. 38 feet and no power assist up the mizzen!

The regulator/controller for the solar panels died at the same time as the alternator. I didn't notice for a while, since they put out so little.

I was so disgusted by the offerings of battery monitors and regulator controllers that I almost decided to build my own regulator. A the last minute I was saved and bought the Balmar ($270). Same with the battery monitor, a fancy volt/amp meter with a memory for amphours, and only for one set of batteries at that, Xantrax $230. I found a company that sells micro computer kits for a volt/amp meter for $15 so I ordered 3 and the various programmers etc. for only $... better not add that one up while Trinda is watching. I'm hoping the mail will deliver them within the week.

The micro computers are ATmega8 family and can be programmed easily from Linux and a USB port. If I can build and program what I think I can, I can make a amphour meter that will tell me how the wind generator is doing and how the solar panels are doing and even watch the alternator output current (which the old one did, but the new one can't) all in one little board 2"x3". It should be fun playing with it anyway.

Mean while, Trinda has me stripping an varnishing so we can take another out island trip. We plan to leave in about a week. Lots of stuff to do to get ready!

I made pizza last night and "sticky buns" this afternoon.