Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Darwin: chill; heavy; paneled; BARABSHELA

        Two nights ago Darwin’s temperature dropped below 20°C/68°F for the first time this year.  This is the latest date that has happened since records have been kept going back to the 19th Century.  Darwin has two seasons:  Wet and Dry.  When the temperature first drops below 20°C is considered the start of the Dry.
       Although GANNET does not have good ventilation, heat here has not been much of a problem, except for yesterday afternoon when for a couple of hours we had a flat calm.
        I took advantage of the opportunity to do some maintenance, including raising the mainsail to locate a few minor holes, which I repaired by glueing sail repair tape over them.
        I also gave the winches and jib furling drum a fresh water rinse and lubrication.  Lubricated blocks and cam cleats and the rudder bearing.  Whipped the end of a reef line.  Polished stainless steel that was not stainless.  Wiped the waterline from the dinghy.  And oiled part of the interior.
        Until a welcome slight breeze returned in late afternoon, it was hot.  I drained my one liter water bottle twice.


        While I still have many things to buy, all the heavy stuff is now aboard, although not in its final stowed position.  I filled the third water jerry can yesterday, and will only have to top up the jerry can in use before I sail.  
        I also bought an ample supply of Yalumba box wine, called cask wine here even though it really is a box.  And although it is too hot to drink it, I rectified an intolerable condition and bought a bottle of Laphroaig.  I had drunk the last of the last the evening I arrived.

        I rowed ashore this morning about 11 and my solar panels were conveniently delivered at 11:30.  I walked to the closest grocery store to buy stuff, returned, showered, rowed and was back on GANNET by 1:30.  As all this week, the rows in and out were not hard.
        The new panels are decidedly thinner than the Aurinco.  The wires exiting from them are massive.  The junction box, the usual point of failure on solar panels, looks solid.  Time will tell.
        I screwed them in place and then removed them to fill the holes left by the Aurinco panels.  I also need slightly bigger screws and about three feet/one meter of wire.  They should be operational tomorrow.

        Kent and Audrey, who have an armada of small boats, including a Drascombe Lugger, are involved in a restoration of BARABSHELA, a 20’ long rowing boat with a beam of only 4½’ that sounds like what I need in Darwin.
        The boat was all but destroyed by Katerina and it is less a restoration that a resurrection.  Some of you have the skills to do this.  I don’t and am filled with admiration.
        Well done, Audrey and Kent.