Final preparations

In all my 45 years of driving I have never rented cars so often as I have in the last two years since owning a boat.  It certainly wasn’t something I had expected and over time has become costly, especially when renting for one-way journeys.  There was an initial hire to take all the stuff to Airlie beach to bring the boat home and then due to breakdowns and just plain running out of time there have been trips from Mackay then back later and then from Gladstone. There were also hire vehicles to take items for repair and for restocking and shopping.

The first hire car to take all our personal and boat stuff to Airlie Beach

At least this last one was back to Bundaberg and readying for the final preparations to head north.  Fingers crossed there isn’t a need for another one later.  The intention is, when the time comes to sail all the way back south to Brisbane and keep Veaga tolu close to home.

For the first couple of days back in Bundy we used the car to do yet more shopping.  This time of course for fresh foods and meat and a few more long-life type foods to keep on hand.  More food means more storage and keeping notes on where, what is hidden.  I’m sure in six months time we’ll find some surprising stash of goodies that had been forgotten about.  More food means more variety in how things get stored – out comes the mesh bags, plastic containers, paper bags and the vacuum sealer.  

More beer – that’s three cartons, I’m sure I can get more in
Vacuum sealing meat for the freezer – not confident in my fishing skills so a good supply of meat is essential.

Once the rental car had been returned then it was time for some serious get down and get chores done time.  Fixing the freezer was top priority and was done before we went and bought all the meats and stuff for cold storage.  The tiny pump was a partial success – it worked a treat but for the noise!!!!!!   Plan C – two small 12v cooling fans to blow across the condenser and around the cooling tubes.  Still a little noisy but bearable.   Now we can have ice for ‘sundowners’.

For the whole time of owning the boat the stove and oven have never been great.  The stove top burners always spluttered, and the oven barely had a flame let alone any temperature control. I had always used a reliable gas fitter for work so called on them to come out and look things over.  The fitter was a little bemused at first but following some logical troubleshooting eventually decided on fluid in the gas lines. Apparently, there is an additive to LPG to give it it’s smell and over time it will settle in low parts of gas lines.  The lines are probably original to the boat so over the 30ish years and various quality of gas supply through the Caribbean, Central Americas and Pacific islands there was a build up of a tar like syrup.   After much huffing and puffing the lines were cleared, thankfully the fitter didn’t pass out while gasping for breath.  it was very surprising as to how much had actually accumulated in the lines.

No wonder our gas burners spluttered – lines were partially blocked by this tar like syrup.

Other works has been the installation and wiring of the D400 wind generator, two new solar panels and new MPPT controller, and install a new Racor diesel fuel filter.  There used to be a wind generator on board and the wiring and switches are still in place.  But typically, it looks somewhat ‘dodgy’ and way too hard to try and work out so it was new wiring most of the way.  Crawling into tight spaces to run new wires can be somewhat difficult for an old man – I am certainly not as agile and flexible as I used to be. 

Installing the turbine for the wind gen.
New solar panels installed and wind gen spinning happily

Access to the battery box to connect solar and wind generator wires means removing the companionway steps.   I did forget that I had taken them out and did partly fall down giving myself a nasty bruise on my arm. That’s something else about boats – crawling into tight spaces and reaching over things leaves all sorts of marks on the old body.

New solar controller and wiring for new panels and wind gen.
Next time remember when the steps aren’t there

The weather is shaping up for a good time to leave in the next few days so it will be all guns out to finish installing the new toilet before we go.

Hopefully the next post will include stories of relaxed sailing and lazing in the sun at anchor beside islands.

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