A Stressful Extraction

Our Gelderland experience is coming to the, we left Arnhem this morning to head north along the Ijssel river.

I’m still feeling a bit under the weather and am now thinking maybe it’s related to walking into the pole on Friday.  But we need not go there.

Docked at Watersport Centrum in Arnhem
Docked at Watersport Centrum in Arnhem

This morning, I paid Robert, the owner of Watersport Centrum Arnhem, and I explained to him how I wanted to get out of our tight space. By the way, it’s really not a Watersport Centrum, but it is a great boat yard, popular because they let you work on your own boat and a large, well-stocked marine store.

Tied to the dock on our port side, stern towards the exit, with about 50 feet, 15 meters to a large Hatteras docked on the opposite side, I decided to throw a line to someone on the Hatteras and have them pull the stern out.

At the same time, I had a bow line coming from the starboard bow cleat, around a midships cleat on the dock and back to the boat near the pilot house door. Ivan held this light taught, not letting the bow get very far from the dock.

Bas, the son of our Dutch friends, Margriet and Sierd, had joined Ivan and I yesterday.  He will be with us until the end of the month.  He will be with us for the Friesland part of our journey, made a bit more personal as that is where his father grew up.  The Fries language spoken in Friesland is also the closest relative to English.  An English speaker will recognize about half the words.

Bas was at the stern and kept me informed of how much space we had left.  As the boat became perpendicular to the dock, I then used the bow thruster to about 45° at which point could use the main engine with full left rudder to complete the U turn.

The closest we got to the Hatteras was 1.5 meters, a little less than 5 feet.

Bas and Ivan did an outstanding job and I’m sure we will have a great time together.

Unexpected Noise is Never Good

I am striving to post twice a week.  Sometimes it will be more and sometimes less, but at a minimum I like to have a post out by Saturday morning.  I didn’t make it this week, because I’ve been sick with the flu or something these past few days, having absolutely no energy to do anything.

It’s even one of the reasons we are still sitting in Arnhem today, Monday.

Dauntless in Arnhem
Dauntless in Arnhem

Nijmegen and Arnhem are special places for me.  My ex-wife Leonie is from Nijmegen and her sisters have lived in Arnhem the past 30 years, so it’s like coming home.

So in spite of my feeling not the best, it was great to have people over every evening for dinner, since Wednesday, to see the D, aka Dauntless.  Dauntless does appear to have gotten bigger in Europe, either that or all the docks and marinas are smaller.

So after entertaining the Vinks all weekend, I awoke this morning, with a goal to sit in my chair and do nothing.  Doing nothing is really hard for me.  That Corona ad, where the guy goes to the beach and sits with his beer watching the sunset, looks like torture to me.

So this morning, I figured, maybe I would sit in my chair in the salon and organize the two large bins I have of stuff that keeps growing, yet seems unclassifiable, so I can’t put it where it belongs.  Maybe I’ll just store it and let Leonie sort it when she and her husband Martin come out in August.

Dauntless in Nijmegen
Dauntless in Nijmegen

Speaking of Martin, Dauntless has three battery chargers.  A Heart Inverter/Charger, A Neumar True Charge and another one with a yellow case.

The Neumar is the only one that can take shore power here at 230 volts and charge the batteries.  Of course when I spent that week in Horta, we were hooked up to shore power and I tried to get it to work and for the life of me, it seemed dead.  Would not even work with the generator, the way it used to.  In the Azores, I was also delayed in fixing it in that I could not find that female plug that is ubiquitous in the US for computer power supplies.

I had removed the cover that says, so not remove under pain of death, and even checked the fuses and everything else I could find.  Neumar sent me the wiring diagram and offered to send another selector switch.  This while helpful, ended up misleading me.

Even after I came back from the US in the fall, I had a cable and plug, I had labeled it all, ground, neutral and load.  Blah, blah, blah.  NO luck.

But with the solar panels and not really needing much 12 v power form the batteries while at the dock, it got put to the back burner.

So finally yesterday, while I am burning our dinner on the bbq, Martin seemed fascinated with this Charger, so not to look a gift horse in the mouth, I got him the electrical meter and found a plug we could use for the 230 system.

Locking with Willie carrying 1,000 tons of sand
Locking with Willie carrying 1,000 tons of sand

He gets it all wired up again and plugs it in.  I said this is how far I got, but once plugged in, I never saw any power past the plug pins.  He plugs it in and within a minute it starts working!

Frankly, I was as flabbergasted as I was grateful.  One less thing to worry about.

B y the time I finished washing up, I was exhausted, so I got to bed early, feeling not so good, slept on and off until 09:30 and frankly did not feel that much better, thus the decision to do nothing.

So I’m looking at the Victron battery monitor and see a draw of 7 amps.  Other than a phone charger plugged into a cigarette lighter outlet, there is nothing else on.  I take the flashlight to check the charger, and sure enough, it is not working, but then I knew that, otherwise I would not have seen the negative 7 amps (yesterday when working it was putting 20 amps into the batteries).

The back of Willie
The back of Willie

I check the fuel levels to write in the log and then I hear it. A slight whine.  But I can’t place it. It’s not the fuel polisher, which is much nosier.

It seems to be coming from the rear section of the engine room, near the charger.

I open the salon deck panel and look down into the bilge and see a foot of water flowing rapidly, almost like a garden hose full open.

My initial panic, within seconds gives way to measured panic.  At least the bilge pump is just keeping up with it as in the little time I’ve been watching it, it has not gotten higher.  But this also explains why the batteries were down 220 amps this morning.  That poor little pump had been keeping us afloat all night.

Of course, this was one of the topics of conversation over the weekend.  I explained that while Waterford is a great place to leave the Krogen, once I’m gone for two weeks, I start getting antsy and must return within three weeks.  And I gave the example of a thru hull failure that lets a lot of water into the boat that the two pumps can keep up with only so long as there is battery power.  So even though I have friends in Waterford who keep an eye on Dauntless, they could go by every day and see nothing out of place, then all of a sudden, the batteries finally go flat and D sinks.

So all of this is going on in my mind in the first minute.

I see all this water rushing around, but where is it coming from?  I turn off the generator thru hull, because it’s right there and I figure I ran the generator for the first time since October last evening and this started last evening, so maybe they are related.

No change in flow.

Look under the engine, see nothing, but close the main engine thru hull. No change.

I look all over the engine room, the stuffing box had been my first guess, but just it’s steady drip, drip, drip.  I can’t figure out how the water is getting there. So I decide to take the chance and turn off the bilge pump and then I can see where it is coming from.

Turn it off, run over to the hatch look down and it’s the same amount of water, just sitting there sedately.  Not getting deeper; now just calm.

I turn on the pump, the whirlpool starts again, turn it off, it stops.

So, I don’t have a leak, this is the water that has come from the stuffing box in the last 12 hours (I do need to tighten it, I like a drip every minute, now it’s up to every second).

I pull the hose up to get the pump out and the hose comes up without the pump.  That explains that.

Two hours later, I’m sweating like a pig (it must be the flu, the boat is not even warm), but I put a new piece of hose on the pump with a new clamp.  The failure was caused by the old clamp disintegrating.

At 12:30 I am finally able to sit and do nothing.

So I end up spending the next three hours trying to get my wxx3 email with yahoo to work again. It just stopped working last week.

And an hour writing this, it’s 18:30, almost time for bed.’

Another day done just like that.

Oh by the way, remember I said that I initially had the charger problem in Horta last August?

It seems pretty obvious to be now that the reason the charger did not work was that the solar panels put out enough power, the charger would not be able to see the true state of batteries with the solar panels on.  Here in Arnhem yesterday, not only are we much further north, but it was also cloudy.

So I will sleep tonight knowing that I spent countless hours on that charger looking for complicated problems when the simple solution was right in front of me.  All I had to do was turn off the solar panels.

 

 

De Echte Bossche Bollen

If you understand that you can not die and go to heaven until you have had an echte Bossche Bol your life will be quite simple.

De Echte Bossche Bollen
De Echte Bossche Bollen

The following was written Thursday morning.

It’s 08:00, I’m tied to the wachtplaats, waiting dock, for the Henriette Sluis just on the north side of ‘s-Hertogenbosch.  We have been here since yesterday at 18:00.  Turned out to be very convenient for some Dutch friends to come visit, as it is right next to the bicycle path, but then most things are in the Netherlands.

Yes, you think to yourself, he is a sly one, thinking we will not notice the use of “the Netherlands” instead of Holland, just because he is now not in the provinces of Zuid Holland or Holland.

Back to the De Echte Bossche Bollen.  So as I sit here, listen to the birds talking, (which they have been doing since 05:00) and savior the exquisite cream, chocolate and pastry of the Bossche Bol, I marvel that is was just last week that I was fighting winds, currents and local harbors in settings that were far from tranquil.

De Echte Bossche Bollen from the Jan de Groot bakery
De Echte Bossche Bollen from the Jan de Groot bakery

As has been said before, the most dangerous part of any ocean passage is entering and leaving port.  This is just my way of saying that if you ever find yourself in Oostende, maybe it’s best to pretend you don’t know me.

But Dauntless can slalom well, even if it’s between moving commercial boats.  And I’m sure their yelling at me was their way to congratulate me on such fancy driving.  Oh those cute Belgies.

Though I got into and out of Vlissingen without incident, a seemingly rare feat this summer so far, and Willemstad was an absolute marvel.  To be tied to a dock, really rafted to a Kadey Krogen 39, in a beautiful quint Dutch town, is a treat beyond words.  Restaurants, cafes, grocery and even a well-stocked marine store, within feet of the boat, make it all worthwhile.

The fact that this docking, with water and power costs only 2 Euros per meter or about $35, is even sweeter.  Docking in northern Europe, except for the U.K., is very reasonable.  For our KK42, the price usually ranges from 1 to 3 Euros per meter, that’s  $12 to $40.  And of course, the free places, which I covet, with only the rumble of the occasional passing barge, like this past night.

So, even at the worst case, if one was to pay $40 per night, every night for a month, that’s only $1200.

The Orange Windmill in Willemstad
The Orange Windmill in Willemstad

And $1200 is hundreds cheaper than our apartment in the Bronx, so one could envision, going from cute town to cute town forever and never seeing the Bronx again.

Our Night at the Waachtplatz
Our Night at the Wachtplaats

Don’t tell Julie.

Yes, it’s hard life, but someone has to do it.