It’s a conspiracy….

Saturday afternoon we went bobbing in the pool and it turned into a bit of a party for a few hours with Jo, Ulla, Charlie and Saundra plus a few others that popped in and out. Was great fun and, of course, I forgot to take a single photo of the festivities.   So here’s a picture of the pool without us.  

We made the conscious decision to shower on board as I certainly have no intentions of utilising the hotel facilities – especially now that I know someone recently found a snake in there. 

Sunday we had a lazy start and a hearty brunch. In the afternoon we started to trace the cable from the arch into the navigation station.  This cable belongs to one of our GPS receivers and goes through the area of the arch we are having altered to accommodate the Iridium Go antennae. We traced and disconnected it before securing two strong cables to act as the draw wire. Check out this wiring maze behind the chart plotter.

We took apart the GPS and as the cable inside is in a sealed unit – presumably to protect from water ingress – Richard started pulling the cable from the arch while I pushed cables up into the arch from the back cabin.  Finally we had mission accomplished and were now ready for the welder.  Last job for the day was to put the fuel cans in their covers. They look great – we shall look so smart when everything is installed and fixed on the rail.   

Late Sunday afternoon we headed to the pool for our customary cool down before another night on board.

Monday morning we were up very early in readiness for things to happen and, of course, it is pouring with rain.  Great – no varnishing again today!   So we took all the canvas off – in anticipation of the welder’s imminent arrival – and waited…and waited.  I got on with the laundry in the meantime.  By 10 am when the rain stopped Richard went off on his man hunt again.  He found them and eventually they turned up along with all the gear.   So we were feeling slight more hopeful of finally getting this done.  Richard showed them the autopilot steering arm which needed to be cut to size. This then frees up a stainless piece to extend the antennae mount. We seem to have things under control – then they decide that to do this they have to go elsewhere. So Richard goes with them as he is not confident that it will either happen or be done to our specification if they are left to their own devices!  So off he goes on the back of a scooter to Fronteras……

Lunchtime and the fridge guy turns up – nothing majorly wrong but he did tweak a few things and install the new thermometer. He also showed me how to recalibrate the Carel thermostat offsets which was part of the problem. In the meantime, I was troubleshooting the Iridium Go unit as it had decided to stop talking wirelessly to the iPad and wouldn’t submit the GPS readings to the tracker. By the time Richard returned the fridge guy was just leaving – so he taught Richard how to use his gas gauges properly. We are pleased to report the refrigeration units are working perfectly now and not drawing as much power. Feeling happy that something has gone well!

I finally managed to fix the Iridium Go….and realised that some settings had reset themselves and, with the wifi being turned off, it couldn’t communicate either.  A complete mystery how this happened but at least I worked it out.  So….woo hoo….the tracker is now live!  You can follow the link from either the right-hand menu or the new tab on the menu bar.   Am so pleased that this has finally gone live – although as you can see we are not going very fast tied to a dock LOL.

The steering arm came back with Richard and the guys had done a good job cutting it down to size and welding it….so fingers crossed for the next bit!

Richard popped into town for a few things while I stayed on board. He returned with fried chicken – the staple diet here – and it was actually really tasty. The welders returned later and cut a hole in the rail….ready for the new fabricated post to be welded in place.   

And that was it for the day….. Finally at around 5.30 we were home alone. Supervising work of local workers is very tiring.   We decided to stay put so after cleaning and tidying up we had a movie night.  

Tuesday morning and the sun came out again.   There was lots of movement in the anchorage as everyone with a deep keel was heading down the river to catch the super high tide across the bar.   Astonishingly by eight we had varnish workers….by nine we had welders. Wow things are finally coming together.

The varnish workers were kept to the bow of the boat when the welders started. We had covered the stern with corrugated cardboard which we soaked in water to catch any stray sparks. And we also had a fire blanket to hand. We were very worried about potential damage.  Anyway….we disconnected shore power and turned all batteries off…and sat on the dock.  Thankfully it didn’t take too long and the welders left to go get some cleaning / polishing materials.   Here’s the latest look….

All going well except that we’ve just realised that the cable itself will fit through the arch but, where the rail is fixed to the boat, the installers have used some type of gunk that has reduced the diameter which is not amenable to being cut nor filed.  OMG.  One problem resolved to find another created…..   Here’s a picture of the gunk!

So we sent an email to the distributors for information on alternative cables we can use – we had actually asked this before we left the UK but was told there wasn’t anything else without a severely compromised performance.    By the time everyone finished for the day it was getting late and we just cleaned and tidied up again…and reinstalled all the canvas.  We were pleased with the end result. 

All we need to resolve now is the cable issue.  Sadly there was too much cloud cover to see the super moon or the Gemini meteor showers.

Wednesday morning we were up early the varnishers came by and we headed into town for some fresh vegetable provisions.   Busy in town again today….   

Back on board and the heavens opened….and then again…and then again. The varnishing is suspended again (sigh) so I did some computer work while Richard got on with the installation of a new helm seat.  

Island Packet build a great boat but the helm seat on Morphie has to be the most uncomfortable ever designed…. The seat back is too far forward causing me to get backache and there is nowhere to brace ourselves in a seaway either – my feet don’t even reach the floor. We decided not to make any structural changes as the seat is fine for short multiple day passages – but definitely not for the long periods planned this year.

So we purchased this seat from West Marine – it folds completely flat when not in situ for easy storage – and Richard did his magic with webbing design again and fixed it in place. He even made me a foot rest.   Here he is testing the outcome.   I found it very comfortable – great job.  We then dismantled it all again – this is something we’ll utilise later. 

We had dinner in the cockpit watching the biblical deluge bounce off the topsides. We got another email from the support team about the installation issue.  They do have another thinner flexible cable we could use – problem is that they are in Miami and have no presence here. This specialist cable is not available in the shops. Well thanks for that. Shame we couldn’t have been given this information when we asked in the UK!   Oh yes and the best helpful comment was….”Have we thought of securing it with cable ties rather than using the arch”. Completely missing the point that it is getting access to down below that is the problem!  Richard held me back from firing a “Dear Numpty” response.  We have now started to call the Iridium Go the Iridium No!!!

We composed together a very polite response saying that having a hatch open to feed the cable into the boat (however it was fixed externally) wasn’t perhaps a sensible idea!  There is an airfreight forwarder here in the Rio who can ship from Miami so we may have to go down that route. Christmas in Guatemala is now looking like a distinct possibility…..

This morning – Thursday – and it is cloudy but dry.   Rubbing down the keepers has happened but the varnisher didn’t show to apply a coat – apparently his bike has broken down.   Oh well….that’s life! Richard has just reactivated our wind generator and I’m blogging…..   We have loads to do but really can’t start on some of the list until the varnishers have finished….for example we are planning to install triple blocks rather than double blocks on the rail to accommodate the lines from either the whisker pole or the boom brake.

We headed over to the concrete mall again later….visiting Rita the Air Freight lady along the way….as it is a definite that we are going to have to order this thinner cable.   This is a crucial bit of kit this year as we need to access weather whilst at sea.

Anyway….we got some narrow handled chisels…and when we got back Richard managed to get the gunk out of the hole.  But it didn’t open up as anticipated – the installers had installed a plate over the hole which also reduced the diameter and this is not accessible to remove.  Clearly they were sizing for the cables that existed not for any future additions.    Damn! 

Anyway we are now sitting in the hotel reception on the internet and have just ordered and paid for the cable and connectors.   We’ve cancelled our Christmas reservation at Fantasy Island and we are resigned to staying here while we play the waiting game.  And, of course, our marina is the only one on the river that has absolutely zilch decorations – very sad!   But was cheered by this snowman made from plastic cups we found in Brunos today. 

Remember the bugs from the last blog?   Well, while sitting here Richard killed a beastie trying to sting him and we were very impressed by the speed in which the ants carried him away.    Dangerous place this LOL.  

Think it is time soon to call it a day and maybe treat ourselves to a bob…  Has been a long, hot and stressful day!

Bye for now