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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wednesday 5th May 2010

It rained last night. My how it rained!

(excuse the colour of the water – there was soap in the glass!)

And the rain continued on and off through the day.

It’s still hot though so it’s not unpleasant to get absolutely drenched, and we were swimming off the back of the boat anyway (add shampoo and soap and that’s our bathing taken care off while we’re here!).

We had planned to leave tomorrow morning but unfortunately we discovered a few problems. First, when I was in the ‘pantry’ getting something out I could hear a hissing sound coming from the engine bay. Turns out it was the sound of water spraying out of the hot water cylinder because a valve had cracked…

A few possible scenarios:

1. We fix it easily and all is wonderful again (highly unlikely, particularly as there are no facilities at all here that could possibly help us or provide parts)

2. We patch it up to stop the water leaking out (which may also mean we won’t have hot water until we can get it fixed)

3. We patch it up and can’t run the engine because it’s somehow buggered up the cooling system on the engine (a big problem because we need to run the engine to charge the batteries)

Thankfully number 2 proved to be the result. Not ideal, but it will definitely get us to Samoa and hopefully we’ll be able to deal with it a bit better, and a bit more permanently, there.

Secondly, upon trying to pump out our toilet holding tank we discovered that in fact nothing was pumping out because the macerator pump seems to be blocked… This has proved to be a rather delicate problem, as after numerous attempts to unblock the pump somehow from the outside we are now faced with the gross reality that we will need to undo hoses to unblock anything. Not having a pump out station here on Fanning Island means that undoing anything will result in about 50 litres of poo flooding in to the bilge…. Needless to say that isn’t even remotely an option! This decision was reinforced when the pressure in the holding tank caused to toilet to backfill, creating an almighty pong (I’m tipping it would beat Ocean’s nappies hands down in the stench stakes!!) and requiring Stu to bail it out with an empty juice carton (pumping it back in to the holding tank would be pointless as obviously it was already over full!). If those few litres of poo-water caused such a stench on the boat, we would surely die a slow, gagging death if we were to release 50 litres. Again, not an option. Ever.

A few other little problems have eventuated too – the navigation lights on the bow don’t work but we can’t find the source of that, and the furling line for the jib needs to be replaced.

So, the end result of all of that is that we will probably be here until Saturday, and we will have to use a bucket for a loo. Nice…

On a more positive note we were talking to another cruiser, Phillip, who has been cruising for about 4 years (all these lucky people with so much time, and we’re due back at work in less than 3 months!!) and he offered to give us rain water to fill our tanks. There is water available here but it would require boiling before consumption so we don’t want to put it in our water tanks. Phillip has a great water catchment set-up on his boat and due to all the rain (it’s still pouring) he has more than he needs. While we have enough more than enough bottled water alone to get us to Samoa easily, it’s always nice to leave a port with full tanks. We were able to put around 120 litres in our tanks and he’s happy for us to get more as we need it – there’s no shortage of rainwater here, and his containers fill in just a few hours. We also spent a nice couple of hours having a few drinks on board his boat.

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