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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

6/8/2011 - Jobs

Our Frigoboat keel-cooled refrigerator has a plate bolted to the outside of the hull that acts as the heat exchanger. Same thing as the fan and radiator set-up on your home fridge but, instead of dissipating the heat removed from the refrigerator into the surrounding air, our heat is dissipated into the surrounding water. Anyway, the plate is made of bronze, I believe. "Sintered" bronze to be more descriptive. In order that electrolysis doesn't dissolve this plate into nothingness it's protected by 2 sacrificial zinc anodes. Last time these zincs were examined was back in the boatyard in Newport, OR. It was time to take a look. Past time actually. Of course, this is an underwater job so it falls to Lulu.

So, yesterday morning was the day. Dave from s/v Kievit offered to loan us his hookah, which is a 12VDC compressor attached to a really long hose and regulator. You basically use it like an aqua-lung except that all you have to carry is the hose. The "lung" remains on deck. I ran a piece of line around and under the boat so Lulu would have something to grab to help hold herself down and Dave also loaned her a 10 lb. weightbelt. With these and armed with an allen wrench, down she went. Sure enough, the zincs were completely gone but she said that the plate still looked OK. So, she installed a new set of zincs nice and tight and that was that. Today she's suffering from a few barnacle cuts but don't worry, she's treating them with Neosporin. She managed to do this job without dropping anything to the bottom. And that includes when she had to hold a zinc with its machine screw in one hand and the allen wrench in the other. Good job, Looie!

Today I had two jobs, one fun and one not. First the un-fun one:

We've had some minor mechanical problems with our Airhead composter lately. There's a little lever handle that opens the trap door to allow poo into the compost bucket. Several times, the handle has come off. It's held on to the actuator rod by a set screw that is very tough to turn. The last time it came off, the setscrew head was all boogered up and I decided to replace the lever with a small pair of vise-grips. But that wasn't the unpleasant job. When the trap door is opened, a spring holds it open and, when it's closed, the same spring holds it closed. Awhile ago, we heard a SNAP! After that, the trap door wouldn't stay open. I had to pull the bowl off the compost bucket and try to reattach the spring. It's a lot harder than it sounds and took me the better part of an hour. Well, about a week ago, it happened again. So, my unpleasant job today was to open the toilet up again and reattach the spring again. Of course, the light in the head is fine for reading the Bathroom Reader while sitting on the pot but it's dismal for doing any kind of close-up work. And then, there's that open compost bucket staring at me the whole time just waiting for me to drop something into it. As it happens, I did drop the cotter pin that holds the spring, but not into the compost bucket. No, I dropped it right down the sink drain! So, now I had to close the thru-hull, disconnect the drain hose and hope the pin was still there. Fortunately, it was, I'm sure you realize that to take the drain apart required me to empty about half of the stuff that's stored under the sink. And, of course, it's 90 degrees and I'm sweating like a pig throughout this ordeal. To top it off, the parts on the trap door lever are getting worn and I have no confidence that this fix is going to hold. In fairness, I e-mailed Geoff Trott at AirHead and he's sending me some new parts gratis since there have been some design improvements since my unit was built. I just hope the repairs hold until we get the parts, otherwise we have to hold the door lever open while taking care of business. And, since that's normally my page-turning hand....

Now for my pleasant job: I had to spend several hours today fishing to try to provide some protein for the table. I lucked out almost immediately and caught a little sand bass of some sort. Not very big but plenty for one person. Now I just had to catch one more to make dinner complete. Well, I caught 2 triggerfish that were too small to keep, although triggerfish is actually what I was going for. And I caught way too many puffer fish. Either that or I caught the same one over and over again. These guys are a wee bit too poisonous to eat. They are also tough!. They can chew right through nylon fishing line and one actually turned a treble hook into a double hook in which only one of the remaining hooks was usable. The other was bent into a circle. I'll post a photo when we're back in internet land. Anyway, try as I might I could not land a second keeper fish for dinner. Guess I'll just have to try harder tomorrow. We did eat the bass and it was delicious.

I suspect we'll spend one more full day here and then head north on Thursday.

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