Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Meet the Twins ..... Dec 2010

24 November - 07 December 2010
Once upon a time .... it looked like this
Our 2 month anniversary in Cartagena is fast approaching.    We have been addressing important issues - mainly organising social activities for the small cruisers community we have here in the marina.  So far we have had 2 successful 'happy hours' at a local tapas bar, with a turn out of over 15 each week.  We also had a bar-b-que on the dock one sunny afternoon, gave everyone 2 hours notice and had a great turn out - with some very interesting nibbles and wine/sangria tastings.   There have been a few free concerts we have attended, then last weekend there was a large medieval market in town with all varieties of side shows, stalls and food vendors, and last Thursday night we went to a free digitally animated movie on the early settlement of Cartagena, it was excellent (just needed English subtitles!!!) In between all that somewhere a group of us went to a local Asian restaurant for dinner to celebrate Marks birthday, another year bites the dust!

So despite the weather cooling down - and boy did it cool down when Northern Europe was snowed under - we are still getting out and about.  The list of sightseeing to do is still long, but the good news is that the boats jobs "to do" list is actually going down.  "The Twins"  have moved in and are the latest addition to the Balvenie family.  After a long wait for the stainless brackets to support them in place, Skipper was out in a very bracing northerly wind to complete the final install.  We are now very happy to have our 2 new Kyocero 135watt Solar panels up, all wired in through a smart regulator and making power even in this low, weak winter sun - yippee.  Maybe we will be allowed to use the computer more next cruising season now.  
 then along came Mark and the angle grinder

Making enough power for your own needs on a boat is an ongoing issue. We have a generator and of course an engine, but we like peace and quiet so prefer not to have motors going.  Last winter we invested in an Airbreeze Wind Generator, had an extra stainless steel arm added on our stern for it and looked forward to 'almost silent' (as per unbiased research articles we read) wind generation.  Alas, no such luck.  Yes, it is almost silent if you compare it (nicknamed "Henry" the Helicopter) to a Jumbo Jet taking off, but Henry whizzes in the wind and also hums through the inside of the boat, in short - he drives us mad and we tie him up to keep him quiet, somewhat defeating the purpose of having him!!!  So although he does make plenty of power if the wind is over about 14 knots, until we can quieten him up it will be up to the really silent  "Twins"  to work hard when we are back at anchor to keep up with our power needs. 

now meet "The Twins" and spot all the
 Our Volvo engine is back in working order, complete with a gleaming shiny new turbo charger.  We ordered our new turbo through an English company Volspec who were recommended  by fellow cruisers.  They did an excellent job of supplying the necessary parts (plus we topped up on spares) and shipped them to us in Cartagena at extremely competitive prices.  Mark, utilizing his ever expanding knowledge of diesel engines, was able to remove the old turbo and replace it with our new one, the engine is purring and sounds like a new one - well done skipper!, another major job crossed off "the list".  
Next, Skipper changed from 'diesel mechanic' and put back on his 'sparky' cap and removed around 25 teeny weeny wires from our B and G Autopilot  processing unit.  It has been dispatched to England for testing, all season "Arnie" our big strong autopilot has been losing his way around the Med and needed constant supervision.  Despite many checks on various components the fault has not been discovered , the compass has already been sent to England and it has come up clean, so off has gone the processing unit.  At 37Euro postage for a 3 kilo part I hope we don't have to send too much more of him away.  

Think  the turbo goes in here....somewhere!!!!
The fender covers and lots of little repair jobs are all completed  - I get the easy ones!!!!  I did spend several hours trying to convince our new mobile phone that we needed it to speak English and not Spanish, such are the pastimes of those of us living in foreign countries.  But in between boat jobs I have been having dental work and gum surgery done - not to be recommended if you don't want to have soup for 10 days ....... but maintenance on Balvenie and us is necessary and ongoing - especially as we are all getting older and this is as good a place as any to stop to do it all. 

I have also been working on the http://www.balveniescruisinginfo.blogspot.com/ and have completed compiling all our cruising notes for the 2010 Cruising season and also the Red Sea. Coming soon will be Croatia, Greece and Turkey.  If all you want is the anchorages, tips and local onshore info this is the place to look.

So the days are ticking by, today it warmed right up and hit 20c, long may it last.  The forecast is looking good for the next week so we have decided to have a minibreak and will leave Thursday morning to go and explore Spain for a week, should be fun.  Hasta luega

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