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News from Ushuaia - update no.3

I found this little spot full of gay-coloured flowers near the waterfront in Ushuaia.  The town also has an abundance of different-coloured lupins everywhere - they clearly love the wet soil and rainy weather here!

Monday 17 Jan 2011

Summer came briefly to Ushuaia - a lovely warm sunny day today - everyone was out on the dock chatting or getting on with outside jobs!! That included me... busy on the Hydrovane windsteering - I managed (see photo!)

to free and remove 3 of the 4 bolts and all 4 nuts, with a bit of help at one point from English cruisers Roger and Vicki ('Le Vagabond') who came by in their dinghy - their boat is on a nearby club mooring. Roger will come by tomorrow to help me remove the unit from the stern so it can be worked on in safety - without losing any more tools in the water - as I did today (I dropped a lovely shiny, new double-ended number 17 spanner/wrench into the water...) We had a little teaparty in the sun on "Nereida" with some of my French friends when I'd finished removing the bits and pieces...!

Then, in the evening, an East wind came - bad news for boats on that side of the dock, since the fetch along the Beagle Channel is several miles - so a nasty swell built up quickly. The best thing for those boats then was to move off the dock that they were being pushed up against and bouncing about on...

Tuesday 18 Jan

Heavy rain all day..... and still some swell/chop. Hoped Swedish parcel was on its way - but boom still not arrived from Selden... Photos being sent so I can see if correct items in parcel.

Fortunately had talked on Skype to John at Hydrovane (Vancouver) - was doing the wrong thing trying to remove complete unit - not necessary. He put me right and talked me through what had to be done - so when Roger came to help, we were able to replace bolts wrongly removed and then take off just the top of Hydrovane unit. Later Gaspar came by to take it to his workshop to remove the embedded end of a bolt belonging to the knob which had broken off on way down here - my wiring 'fix' had worked fine but now I'm hoping to replace the missing part once the friends flying out to 'Uhambo' arrive from France...

Decided it was time I came to grips with my Sigmar diesel heater ... eventually got it going - but then it died -no more fuel coming through .. likely suspect is the needle valve in the metering valve in supply line - have a spare - so that's on the joblist now....

Wed 19th Jan

More rain all day....

Boom finally arrived in Henan, Sweden, from Selden - so parcel should be sent from Najadvarvet tomorrow - reckon I should expect it to take a fortnight or so of journey time to get here. Looked at photos sent - not all correct so took photos and sent to show what I needed... Internet connection slow... camera playing up...

Found my spares kit for metering valve in Sigmar heater but busy with other jobs- another day.....

Spoke to Mastervolt in Netherlands - confirmed that I definitely have to remove input/output cables from transformer in order to bypass it and confirm if transformer is the problem.

Alain helped to wrap carbon pole in glass fibre to protect from loose strands of carbon where pole broke in half - repair looks good and strong and this is more cosmetic and protective than strengthening. When dry, will need to paint it.

Evening - relaxed with Vicki and Roger on 'El Vagabond' - nice to chat with fellow cruisers!

Thursday 20th Jan

Rain finally stopped mid-morning - nice sunshine later

Phone call from Najad just after 7am - parcels (two) being sent by road today to airport - will take well over a week for flights to final airport... Then more
time needed before I get all parcels on board after waiting for agent to organize Customs clearance etc - and then plenty of time needed for fitting parts and final repairs..... Patience... patience....

Found shop to buy shore-power cable and ends - had been lent one by Fred, who's leaving soon. With sunshine and a dry cockpit, climbed into cockpit locker and finally by-passed transformer by joining its input and output cables together - so now have shorepower into boat - hot water and fan heater now working as much as I want!! (Had help from Fred with shorepower input - standard European input connector not right for the boat - it's perfectly normal for a simple job not to be straightforward on boats...!!! Murphy at work again... he just loves boats...!)

Friends of 'Uhambo' arrived (only a day late!) - with my Hydrovane part .. We all had a good evening together. My contribution to the meal was an English
Christmas pudding (Anne had found some cream to go with it) - we flamed it in true Christmas style to bring it to table and everyone loved it!

Friday 21st Jan

Downloaded photos taken by Bob Potter (visiting from Portland, Oregon) from local boat 'Ksar' which moored near me after I'd rounded Cape Horn and was anchored in Caleta Martial to rest before continuing on to Ushuaia.

Day started with sunshine, although occasional slight rain and grey clouds by afternoon - a Low is coming in. Several boats leaving, or already left, now - so I'll be missing quite a few friendly faces very soon...

Had been told where to buy a fan heater - so walked to town and got that - good news, since (when battery power permitted) had been occasionally using one lent to me by 'Uhambo' - but they are hoping to sail to the Falklands on Sunday.

Spotted someone in divegear working on a prop underwater nearby - "Por favor, ...."  - would he mind looking at my rudder, to remove the end of my furling line which I think is caught on it?  Wish my Spanish were that good!  But with a piece of cord in my hands to show him, a bit of arm-waving, lots of smiles and a few words of my broken Spanish, he got the message - and kindly agreed.    Took him no time at all to retrieve the knotted end of the line and pass it up to me - that's quite a relief, to have it freed from the rudder....

Washed saltwater residue out of loose carpets in clubhouse big sink, hosing them down on the grass slope outside to rinse them off.

While they were draining, got help to replace heavy Hydrovane top part after metalworker Gaspar returned it with broken bolt end extracted, so it's now all back together and looking fine - rudder alignment turned into a simple fix as part of replacing of top part on shaft.

Then back to clubhouse to hang up carpets to dry - and came upstairs to 'wi-fi' room to compose this and send it off to website.... I'm looking out over the water, with the snowy mountains wreathed in mist and low grey cloud behind the town. A family below are organizing a birthday party and I'll get back to "Nereida" to cook a meal shortly. The town had a delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables on Wednesday and I coincidentally got to the nearest small supermarket for the first time yesterday - to find everything I needed for ratatouille .... mmm! Now I've hot water and heating, I'm slowly beginning to make better progress in cleaning up and sorting out the inside of the boat and drying it out - which feels good, because I 've been getting fed up with being in a mess still..

It's also been very heartwarming to receive more 'well-wishing' emails via my website link ... several of which have offered help from people coming to Ushuaia willing to bring items for me if that will work out - which, in one or two cases, I think it will. One such offer came from Barry Hutten who emailed to say he's coming out to sail on 'Alaska Eagle' at end of month from California - he's very kindly agreed to bring out a replacement series drogue, being put together in time for me by Ace Sailmakers in Connecticut -very much appreciated, Barry!

Written by : Mike

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