21/05/2014 – Electricity is a necessary evil!

I’ll be brief, I promise not to moan too much. The systems on the boat require a lot of energy: the navigation lights, instruments, fridge, freezer, watermaker, domestic lighting, water pump, bilge pumps, autopilot etc. Yes I know we could survive without all of these, as they did in bygone times but we choose not to. We have a large battery bank of (originally) about 600 amp hours for domestics and 120 for the engine start. The solar panels can produce enough power during the day to meet our needs and put some charge into the batteries which, unfortunately, are slowly dying and will not hold their charge as well as they used to. The engine has two alternators, one to charge the domestic battery bank, which is working well, and one to charge the engine battery which now appears to have stopped charging (it’s belt is very loose). To cause further concern, the generator started yesterday and ran sweetly but refused to deliver any power. I am beginning to hate electricity though fortunately John understands it! Our charging problems are unimportant at the moment because we have been motoring for about 30 hours and we can connect the two battery banks together to charge the engine start battery if necessary. The downside of motoring is the constant noise and the expense of the diesel. We could probably sail just about fast enough to reach Niue in time because the wind is nearly on the beam. Unfortunately we left the pole rigged to port and the reliable easterly winds are now north north east so we need to set the genoas to port. This means the pole has to be put away and we don’t do foredeck work at night unless it is an emergency. Before breakfast we will be playing with the sails again. We had a passenger yesterday afternoon, I can’t see if he’s still there at the moment. It was a sea bird with webbed feet, dark brown in colour with a much lighter crown and a long, slightly curved, vicious looking beak. He was standing on the central rib of the hull of the upturned dinghy on the foredeck, later on he wandered about a bit before sitting down, facing forward, on a flattish bit of hull. At least any calling card he leaves will disappear when we launch the dinghy. Yesterday’s menu was rather Middle Eastern inspired. I’d cooked some chick peas using the vacuum flask method so made half of them into hummus. Lunch was tortilla wraps stuffed with Middle Eastern tuna salad. Dinner was meatballs in a Middle Eastern inspired sauce. I’ve made both recipes before and they are very tasty. Today I must make bread. Joyce Postscript: our visitor is still there and didn’t move very far when John passed within a couple of feet of him.

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