Thank God for the batteries…

Well today’s experience reminded me that we should indeed thank God for the batteries … and not to forget Ken of course off the nearby motor vessel Trinity Castle.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Beach front Resort (anchored off the …)
15 31.36S   167 09.92E

Every family has its share of accumulated stories and memories.  One of our family’s memories was when James was about three (refer to Mission 1 for more recent images) and after saying grace at dinner he inquired in his loud and defiant voice … “why do we have to thank God for the batteries?”   Naturally, Linda and I were curious.  “What batteries are they James?”  we replied.

“You know … for what we are a battery receive”,   “Oh, you mean … for what we are about to receive …”

Well today’s experience reminded me that we should indeed thank God for the batteries … and not to forget Ken of course off the nearby motor vessel Trinity Castle.

Ken arrived around 8:15 this morning armed only with his multi-metre, torch and small screwdrivers.  Pretty soon he was poking his way into terminals, gauges, wires and connections like there was no tomorrow, all the while eliminating possibilities for the problem before us … an inconsistent digital read-out on the battery monitor, billed in the owner’s manual as …“the world’s most accurate state-of-charge monitor”.

The first diagnosis was that the batteries lacked charge and needed to be charged to within a volt of their lives in order to then enable the monitor, which has been on the boat working trouble free since before we acquired her in 2006, to be reset.  “Equalization” I think they call it.  So when Ken climbed back in his dinghy after an hour or so, we resolved to leave the generator on for the best part of the day and then Ken would return mid afternoon to check on progress.


Well everything was going well there for a couple of hours.  The voltage was rising … 11.65,  11.70,  11.95,  12.25 … you get the picture.  Then all of a sudden we get a 9.6, 10.10, 9.8, 10.25 … not very encouraging when our original target was around 13.40 or thereabouts.  Yet the charger kept showing 14.2 volts going in at the batteries.  I sense you are starting to drift off and your eyes are glazing over … batteries, voltages, amps … they’re all pretty boring subjects … until of course you need the batteries to run your navigational instruments, the fridge, freezer, lights, water pumps, laptop,  watermaker, etc etc.

So Ken came back as promised and after some initial head scratching he was once more assuming the “plumber’s pose”, in fact both of us were, heads in the battery compartment looking for a 2amp in-line fuse as per the manual’s wiring diagram.

Ken found it pretty quickly and sure enough there was a faulty connection; a loose fuse fitting.

Of course, I told Ken it was what I’d suspected all along …he smiled quietly to himself,  it was then time for another coffee and biscuit. Our batteries were now reading 13.40 volts and the monitor was also showing 13.40 volts … how good can it get !!?  Ah, the simple pleasures.

So with fully charged batteries the monitor is back to its usual reliable self and Ken promised to once again return, armed this time with his soldering iron, after buying a new fuse holder in town. These boaties are a friendly, helpful lot  and Ken is one of the best.

While the generator purred away quietly in the background, work on the modified shower base continued.  It was now time to get out the fiberglass matting and epoxy.  The whole idea behind the modification is to increase the speed of water drainage while capturing the … YUCKY WARNING … accumulation of hair and other flotsam that hitherto has made its way into the underfloor pipes and pump mechanism.


I haven’t yet read the owner’s manual for the greywater pump and I probably never will, but I’m guessing there’s something in there about preventing “foreign objects” from finding their way up the intake … and in solving that problem with my new, deeper shower base I’ve fitted an object I found on the shelves of the local supermarket yesterday while we were buying more food and other goodies … a stainless steel tea strainer.  Upside down, with the handle cut off, it looks like it’s a custom designed job.   Follicles do your worst!

Cathy knocked out two more lovely loaves of bread today compensating admirably for the “hot spot” we detected at the back of the stove by rotating the tins every 10 minutes.   One of the loaves was destined for our new best friends Ken and Joy, with the other loaf probably lasting till just before the arrival of the sailing and medical volunteers on Friday night.

Tomorrow will be a big day in town.  We have been invited to talk about the mudbrick stoves and show our DVD at a World Vision workshop and then in the evening we are going to the Santo Rotary Club where I’ve been asked to give a short talk on our work with MSM and PCV Health and who knows maybe we’ll mention something about mudbricks and low smoke stoves  … someone referred to them the other day as No Smoke Stoves and jokingly I had to pull them up and point out that we couldn’t get that through “legal”, they were indeed just Low Smoke Stoves.

Also tomorrow we need to pick up our new (dental) gas stove and (full) bottle, a new boat hook, meat, cheese and there are a few other things too, written down for safe keeping.   And speaking of writing things down, Cathy has been amazing … writing lists, recording drug and spectacle inventories, plus a myriad of other tasks … cleaning it, stowing it, washing it, cooking it, tidying it and fixing it … all without complaint or question.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and thank God for the batteries .

Robert Latimer

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