Archive for November, 2009

I love left handed drill bits!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Engine pulled and rotated to get to the sheared off bolts. Amazingly that’s clean black paint and not oil covering the side. My instrument panel leaks whenever I take of wave in the cockpit so the top of the engine looks like crap, but amazingly the sides and bottom are nice and clean:

My 25hp suzie diesel swinging in the companionway

Well it’s engine pulling time again on Bodhran. This time without Greg’s help things didn’t go quite as smoothly, but she came out eventually and once again the block is free of pesky sheared off bolts. Two things made this endeavor relatively painless. First I happened across a great used tool store here in Whangarei called Downtown Tools. I spent over an hour just browsing a getting the lay of the store and eventually came away with a 2000lb come-along for NZ$35. Between this and my boom vang rigged via a strap over the boom I was able to alternately apply pressure to the two lift points on the engine to allow it to come off at the angle I needed not to screw up the motor mounts. Of course it turns out that one of the motor mounts was completely stripped anyway. Not to worry, I found a replacement and 2 spares at the used marine store next to the marina. The second amazingly slick event today was the deployment of my new left handed drill bits. The first time I had a motor mount block shear off in the engine was in the Marquesas. Drilling out the hardened steel bolt wasn’t too big of a deal and with the help of an easy out, Greg and I extract the bolt end no problem. Of course I didn’t have any hardened steel bolts to replace the sheared off ones with, so I used what I had, stainless steel. Now drilling out stainless is a bit of a problem and here’s where the left handed drill bit is so cool. Instead of drilling a hole in the sheared off bolt, I only had to drill until the bit got a good hold and then because I had the drill in reverse, it simply backed the bolt out of the block with no muss and no fuss. That part of the job took less than five minutes. I then spent 2 hours trying to get the engine up on deck so that I could get in and replace the motor mounts and clean up the engine compartment. I ended up bailing on that so now the engine’s in the middle of the cabin. Oh well. Hopefully the next 3 days or so will find Bodhran with a working engine and a much cleaner engine/compartment.

The left handed drill bit backed the sheared off bolt to here and then I just unscrewed it the rest of the way with my fingers:
Sheared off bolt backed out with a left handed drill bit

Pics from work and Hawaii

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Ahhhhh a whole pot of coffee to myself.  Y’all have no idea how good that feels!  Here’s my pics from Hawaii and my summer working up in Alaska:

Pics from my visit to the Big Island with Bonnie and Greg
Hawaii 2009

Pics from work this last Summer
Western Towboat Pics

Back in New Zealand

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

Greg and Bonnie atop Mauna Kea:
Greg and Bonnie atop Mauna Kea

My week in Hawaii passed all too quickly. Greg got to take a long weekend and we did a little road tripping around the Big Island. Amazing how many different climates can exist on a single island. In general, the high, cattle country was beautiful, the dry, volcanic desert east side was too developed, too busy and too brown for my tastes, the wet, verdant west side was classic Polynesian paradise and visiting the top of Mauna Kea at over 13,000 feet was other worldly.

Bonnie and myself on top of Mauna Kea:
Bonnie and myself on top of Mauna Kea

The other highlights, besides hanging out with friends, were sailing Willow around Hilo bay. Greg and Bonnie may have to haul her soon as they are caught in a bit of a catch 22 situation. The local powers that be are trying to make all the boats moored in Reeds Bay get insurance. Apparently no insurance company wants to insure vessels moored on unregulated moorings on an island that’s in the middle of the North Pacific hurricane zone. So they may not get too many more chances to get her out sailing.  We also went back to where the lava from Kilauea flows into the ocean at night. You can’t get close enough to see the actual lava flows, but you do walk within 100 yards of a new flow. There’s still enough vegetation that to light the path of the lava with burning trees and bushes. Every so often a tree would light up like a flare for a while and then die off to embers again. Then when you get to the sea, the lava itself is obscured by the plume of steam. The glowing plume was mesmerizing as it flared up and receded with every wave that came in. All of this was of course seen experienced on a balmy Hawaiian evening under a clear starry sky.

Sailing on Willow on Hilo Bay:
Sailing Willow on Hilo Bay

The lava flowing into the sea from Kilauea at night:
Lava hitting the sea

So an interesting thing happened to me while boarding the plane from Honolulu to Auckland. The lady behind me on the jetway happened to ask if my tattoo was done by Tihoti. I did a double take, thought about what she had just asked and figured out that yes indeed Tihoti on Huihine did my tat. Well turns out shes a tattoo artist on Oahu on her way to Auckland for a Polynesian tattoo convention. Once again, the worlds a pretty small place. Another interesting occurrence, while waiting for the bus from Auckland up to Whangarei, I struck up a conversation with an old Kiwi waiting with me. Well turns out he’s a banjo player. I don’t know what it is with this place, but every time I come over here, I meet a banjo player my first day in country. I’m not sure exactly whether that’s a good thing or not, but I’m going to sail up the coast and pick some tunes with “Snorkel” once of these days before too long.

Upon returning to Bodhran, I entered a world of mildew. Ahhhh it’s been a wet Winter here in Whangarei. The overhead and bulkheads were ok, but all the flat surfaces were covered with it. So for the last 3 days I’ve been airing out the boat in the immensely pleasant 75 degree weather, washing or throwing away every bit of clothing and bedding on board and repeating my ignition mantra “Left side, left side, left side.” I rented a car for three days so that I could run all the errands associated with my return. I’m proud to report that I didn’t stray into the right lane once. The car sure turned out to be handy. One of the first things that I did with it was to take my propane tank to be filled. My last day here before flying out I was eating coffee beans whole to get my caffeine fix as my propane ran out the day before and I couldn’t get it filled on a weekend. Not wanting to repeat that event, I made sure that I got propane first thing, but upon turning on the tank, I was greeted by the tell tale smell of stale garlic. I had a propane leak. Well my 30 year old, baby poop brown, Seward Hillirange has been patched a time or two, but has always served me well. This time it was the main propane distribution line that had sprung a leak. I may have been able to fix her, but I figured that it was time to put her out to rest. Much driving ensued while I scoured town for a replacement. Turns out there was nothing decent with gimbols in town, so I had to order one from Burnsco and have it shipped up from Auckland. So now the mildews pretty well gone, Bodhran is livable again and as of this evening, I’m cooking in style with my new Eno Open Sea 2 burner stove and oven with, get this, a broiler. My morning coffee is going to be oh so extra sweet tomorrow.

Introducing the cooking appliance of the future…..well my future at least:
Eno Open Sea 2 stove