October 21, 2019
The plans have changed! Did I mention that having a schedule is a waste of time on a boat? Okay, they haven’t changed much, and I still don’t know when the boat will be loaded on a ship, but I know that my loading window has moved out by a couple of weeks. Sorry sis, I won’t be around for your birthday.
I suspect that the boat will be loaded sometime around mid-November, but I always suspected that it would be later than planned, because it has to do with boats, so you take whatever dates are given and then add a bunch of time and hope that it still makes sense to go ahead with that plan. Let’s just say I haven’t bought a plane ticket back to Toronto at this point.
Since I am killing time I may as well do some sight seeing right? Well, I really haven’t recovered from jet lag yet on this trip, so I have been avoiding a lot of touristy things, and getting out on the bike a bit. There is a lot of really pretty countryside around here, speckled with cute little towns with great ‘downtown’ areas. The bike paths are EVERYWHERE and as far as I am concerned a bizarre array of paths that end and turn abruptly. If you are travelling at 15-20 kph, then this may be okay but at 30-40, the paths are suicide!
The city is beautiful. In Toronto you get something pretty to look at once in a while when you’re walking. Here, it seems that every five minutes you are looking at another beautiful or spectacular building, edifice, statue, alleyway, something. It’s amazing really.
I may not have mentioned how annoying the helicopters are (kidding, I know I did), but here is the helicopter, back again right over top of the boat. Seems that the protests may be dwindling because it really hasn’t been around long today. It’s raining and cloudy and cold, but I know the police are still out in force and I can hear the sirens again this evening. I will go check it out after I am done writing here.
Given that today and the next few days are supposed to be rainy, I am working on a few things on the boat. One is a new chair to sit out in the rear cockpit to read from. When I bought the boat I had two nice ‘Director’s Chairs’ and one was lost overboard during a storm, and the other had the cushions disintegrate. They are hard to find here (I missed an opportunity for a 100 euro replacement in Bari!! Everywhere else they seem to be U$500). In the end I had given up, but . . . last week I realized that Barcelona has Ikea stores and they have excellent outdoor furniture.
A short bus ride to Ikea and a mere 50 Euros and I have a place to read outside again. Yay. I will get another one at some point, but carrying two on a bus was going to be too difficult and Jinhee doesn’t get here for another few days. After that I will just give up my rights to a comfortable place to sit in exchange for her cooking. Seems like a fair trade by any measure.
After trying out my new chair (with the book Sapiens), I decided to do some boat owner type things. For those that want technical boat type stuff, I have been cleaning a lot of rust spots off the boat (an hour here, an hour there), and also trying to get some of the grime out of the engine room. (Belts give off black soot and soon it is everywhere). As well, I need to run the engines and water maker at regular intervals to keep things from going bad before their time.
One of my ‘bigger’ projects relates to my wing engine controls. There is a good chance that I won’t fix it here in the Med, but I thought I would go through potential issues to see if it was a simple problem. Here’s the detail. Engine controls on bigger boats are often electronic. My main engine works off of a digital controller. I move the throttle and an electric signal goes to a white box in the engine room (ZF Smart Command). Cool and low maintenance. Unfortunately, if something goes wrong, it’s kinda hard to get things going again because usually the problem is electrical.
This is also true for the engine itself which is an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) managed engine. Far more efficient, lower maintenance cost, etc. But when something goes wrong with the ECU, well, you’re kinda out of luck until you get a new ECU. Not good if you’re crossing an ocean or anywhere a long way from land.
The response to that is my backup or wing engine. That engine is dumb as any other pile of metal. It doesn’t think and it does only what it’s told, including engine controls. They are adjusted by two long cables to the pilothouse that tell it to go forward/neutral/reverse and slowest thru to fastest. Well those two cables aren’t doing their job.
So I am trying to figure out what is wrong. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I will come back to that when I know more. Let’s just say the engine room is a dry place on a rainy afternoon and I am staying dry. 🙄