Friday, August 9, 2013

I changed a lightbulb!

Things are looking up! The rain stopped, the wind picked up and we have been having beautiful winter days!
Great napping weather!
Bryce fixed the outboard. It turns out there was lots of gunk in the fuel system that needed to be cleaned out and he now knows how to fix it if it happens again!
We bought a fake owl that was intended to attach to one of the spreaders to scare away birds, but its head was on a spring and looked pretty terrifying! We decided that the potential hassle wasn’t worth the cost of the owl so we returned it and will rethink it if the birds come back. They haven’t made a return visit yet… touch wood! 

We made some friends! Jan & Viola from S/V Lazy Jack are a lovely couple from Germany, living in Australia who decided they needed a change, bought a boat and are sailing up to the Whitsundays. They came for a sail with us and Jan was able to offer some insight into some engine noises that we had. We have read and heard about all of the wonderful people that you meet while sailing but hadn’t actually met anyone since we had had the boat so this was a great reminder of what we have to look forward to! 

Tim came up for a couple of days and was a great help! He and Bryce got a lot of engine maintenance done and Tim also built us a shelf! When I say shelf, I don't just mean a shelf! It is a custom built support for an oddly shaped box of engine spares underneath one of the aft cabin beds. Space is at a premium so we want to take advantage of every inch! This was a huge help!

We had someone come and look at the engine and they were able to really quickly figure out the problem and it sounds like it might be temporarily fixed. The problem appears to be that the diesel return line runs back to the primary filter instead of the tank.  Having the unburned fuel go back to the tank means that any air pockets in the fuel system get flushed out back to the tank and get vented out the tank vents, never to re-enter the system.  The current system means that air pockets get continuously cycled throughout the engine, resulting in it running very rough and causing weird vibrations.  Our mechanic completely bled the system of air and the engine is now running much smoother, and the knocking seems to have gone.  The permanent fix involves re-doing the diesel return system, so that's delayed us another week.  We just have our fingers crossed that that is indeed the cause of the problem and we can cross it off our list.

But the highlight of this post… I changed a light bulb! Since our anchor light burnt out, this required me climbing 50 feet up the mast to do so! The first time I did it took a very long time and when I reached the second spreader we both thought I might have to come down because I was too scared.
Look closely - there I am up the top!
Bryce was down in the cockpit controlling and winching the line that was attached to the bosun’s chair that I was in. This allows me to sit down while I’m climbing to take a break or when I am at the top of the mast doing work or have him haul me up a bit.  I also tied a second line around my self and the mast, just in case anything failed. We are very lucky that we have steps going up our mast that I could climb up. The steps on the top-third can be folded down as needed. It was at this junction that I thought I was finished and would need to go back down! The final step before the second spreader isn’t actually big enough for a foot and I couldn’t reach the pull down steps yet. I sat there for a good 10 minutes thinking about it before I continued! 
Once I got up to the top, I tied a second security line since standing up meant I was no longer secured or supported by the bosun’s chair. While I could definitely feel the wake of boats that went past, it was rhythmic and I could get used to it! What was worse was that I could feel every single footstep that Bryce took on the boat and his movements from side to side on the boat had a much greater effect on me
Aquabat from above!
 For a while, I was afraid to move so was reaching up with my camera and taking photos to see what the situation was. Bryce was very patient as he sat down below for an hour waiting for me to figure out how to remove the light casing !  
The masthead lights
 Turns out it was easy; the casing was twist-off. The casings were very stiff though and I was so afraid of breaking them or sending them crashing down onto the deck or into the water. I (unnecessarily) removed the entire light bulb fixture and came back down! We then went to purchase the light we needed and found out we actually had one on the boat. So the next day I had to go back up the mast to put the new light bulb in! The second time it was much easier and I was much more confident with the entire system and it’s and my limits. It was quite a rush and everything went much quicker! We placed an order for LED bulbs that came in today so I will be going back up the mast again tomorrow morning to switch them out. These lights will hopefully last for a long while and will greatly decrease our power draw .


  1. Replies
    1. If you are lucky you might get to witness it... I am told I get to go up twice this weekend!

  2. Better you than me Alissa, I am terrified of heights. Just that photo looking down on the boat makes me feel sick. Well done! Lurl

  3. Love the photo looking down!.. Well done.

  4. As your mother, I read the whole thing with my hand over my mouth in aghast!
    When you were younger, you were always great at testing the limits :-) , and apparently it's paid off. Such perseverance!!!!! You're amazing!

    1. Thanks ma! I thought about including a warning for you! :) The golden elm taught me well!