Back in Marathon, we had discovered that our wind transducer had a disturbing bend in the long metal rod that held the anemometer out from the mast, as you can see in the picture above. We had tried to re-linearize it, based on advice from Raymarine, in hopes that this would correct for the difference in wind angle on the instruments. But we were unsuccessful in making this happen. (As we learned later, this was more due to pilot error than the wind transducer, but more about that later.) So, we decided to look for a replacement.
It turned out that Smith Marine Electronics, a business whose offices sit at the end of the dock, had another used transducer that they could use, along with some parts from ours to get us an unbent, working one. We put the refurbished transducer in place and headed out to the Hampton River to calibrate it.
It was on this run that we learned what we had done wrong before. After repeating the calibration process several times (which involved spinning Orion in a numerous circles until we looked like some very confused mariners), we continued to get nothing on the instruments. Grasping at straws, we decided to return the instrument to its factory defaults and then repeat the process.
It worked like a charm. So, if we had done that with the original transducer . . .
But it was not to be. Cathy once again tried unsuccessfully to get the bulb to fit properly and light. It just wouldn’t do it. Dave was thinking the most logical next step was to replace the light fixture itself. Cathy’s confidence was pretty low that she could make this happen, unless the attachments points were identical. So, Dave decided it was time for him to get a first hand look at the problem.
So, up the mast he went, gaining an appreciation for the effort required to haul yourself with our “mountain climbing” apparatus. He much more quickly determined that we could not replace the light unless it was another of the same fixture. Good plan!
While making our trips up the mast, we got to test out our new wireless headset walkie-talkies, which we bought to assist in anchoring. These worked like a charm to communicate from the deck to the top of the mast. The only problem is you can’t mutter those unmentionable comments any more, because they’re likely to hear what you said.
On the same internet site that we found the new anchor light (www.mastlight.com), Dave discovered some reasonably priced LED cabin lights for our G4 fixtures. He ordered one, which fit well and seemed to produce roughly equivalent light to the halogen 5W that it replaced for a fraction of the power draw. We decided to go for it and order replacements for all of the similar cabin lights.
Now we can turn lights on with “reckless abandon” at anchor, without worrying about its effects on battery health. It will also bring us a little closer still to being able to rely solely on the solar panels to recharge the batteries.
Thanks to a comment by one of our live-aboard neighbors on the dock, Dave decided to check out our A/C raw water filter to see if it needed cleaning. Although we use it almost constantly, we hadn’t checked it in a while. It was a good thing we decided to look, but it meant a nasty job to clean it out. After scrubbing the strainer clean and fishing the gunk out of the bowl, we left it in a much better state for efficient cooling. This prompted us to clean all of the other water filters on the boat (except the engine, which didn’t need it). None of them even came close to the A/C filter. And we were reassured to see how clean our fresh water filter continues to be.
While taking a break from traveling, we continued to get some odd jobs done on the boat. Dave ordered new dock lines to replace some of the older ones. We had a diver come to clean the bottom. Dave found a new Infrared Thermometer, which he can use to point at the engine’s thermostat to see how hot it is running. This came to be suggested when we were having problems with the raw water strainer on the engine.
We continue to enjoy being close to our children and grandchildren, who are less than 2 hours away. We got to celebrate Jayden’s (our 2nd grandchild) 2nd birthday on July 29th. He seemed to get into opening the packages, although the one that most fascinated him was the police car from his big brother that made all that noise. We also were joined by Bonnie’s family for an unfortunately brief fishing trip. The forecasted lightning storms arrived minutes after we set anchor near the Hampton Bridge Tunnel. We managed to enjoy a very good dinner at Harpoon Larry’s afterward, so all was not lost.
Dancin' In the Streets
Our first Saturday back in Hampton was spent teaching a CPR class. We were glad to have the chance to do this since it allowed us to extend our instructor certification for another year. So, it wasn't until the following Saturday that we finally decided to enjoy the Hampton downtown street festival on Queen Street. The street is closed to traffic so that festival-goers can enjoy the street vendors and live band. We even found ourselves dancing to a song or two before the night was over.
Thanks to a local radio station at the festival, we picked up a few free tickets to a Norfolk Tides game on the following Tuesday. They were playing the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. (I'm not kidding.) The Harbor Park is on the waterfront in Norfolk, close enough to see the barge traffic behind the scoreboard. We were seated just 1 row back from the 3rd base line, so we had a great view, but unfortunately the Tides lost 7 to 1 to Iron Pigs. I guess it just wasn't their night.
We expect to start moving Orion more in August, now that we have no long road trips planned. (Smart, right? Just when the Chesapeake is at its hottest and sultriest.) We still plan to travel to Deltaville for some engine work at a minimum. So, all those boat projects will be put to a good test.