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Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 18 – 20, 2012 Island Hopping toward Townsville…Cape Upstart & Magnetic Island

Another 6:30 AM departure and another 10-hour day ahead, we departed Cape Gloucester under gray skies and with the semblance of decent winds. With recent erratic weather, however, the ocean was chopped up. We managed to pitch about until Destiny found a relatively comfortable point of sail, and at times we flew at up to 9 knots.  All day long the sails went up, the sails came down, we pushed to 9 knots and dropped to 4. We smoothly cruised onward and we pitched and rolled.  The sun came out; the rains poured down under threatening skies. One cannot accuse this day of being a boring one. Our concern and focus was arriving at Cape Upstart before sundown. We are constantly reminded not to cruise these waters at night, and although some cruisers do, we prefer to keep it to day trips.

We finally rounded the point to Cape Upstart and moved along the shoreline seeking a reasonably calm spot to drop the hook for the night. We made it in about an hour before dusk. Perfect timing. I'm bushed and just want to have an early dinner and sleep.  This weather is getting tiresome. Although the anchorage is quite safe and well protected we heard loud whistling and thundering bullets gusting and pulling at Destiny all night long. Frank mostly slept through them, but I was awakened several times, so that 5:45 AM came much too soon.

Up and away we caught great wind and spent a wonderful 12-hour day sailing to Magnetic Island in spite of the rainstorms and dark skies.  This time, arriving after dusk, we dropped the anchor in Horseshoe Bay at 5:30 PM. It appears to be a great spot to go to shore, enjoy some good food, have some fun and explore this popular island, which the locals nicknamed "Maggie", but the weather was absolutely dreadful.  We opted for dinner onboard and another early evening.  I was able to pick up intermittent internet access and got an email from some other cruisers with news that our friends on Scallywag blew out a headsail on their trip to Cairns.  This is not good news, as it rates among the top ten of a cruiser's worst nightmare. Poor Scallys!

Meanwhile aboard the good ship Destiny, our generator had begun acting up and then quit altogether, overheating. Captain Frank flew into troubleshooting mode, checking all of the through hulls and hoses, filters, etc. I asked him several times (in my annoying wife-way); "Could it be the impeller?" He would firmly answer "No". Then after more of his unsuccessful searches, I asked; "Are you sure it couldn't be the impeller?" Response "No, it could not be, it only has 300 hours on it".  After hours of failed attempts locating the source of the generator's failure and having to run the engine to charge the batteries, watching my husband become more and more exasperated I insisted; "Why don't you just check the impeller?" Guess what???? The impeller had blown to bits – literally. Frank was none to happy about only getting about 300 hours out of a 1000-hour product. Fortunately we had a spare, which got installed immediately, and then we began to look for the shredded pieces that had come off which are normally found scattered about the bottom of the housing.  They, however, where nowhere to be seen and seemed to have vanished into thin air. Frank eventually located where they had been sucked into the seawater discharge pipe, and gingerly picked them out with the angled needle-nose pliers amazed that 6 or 7 of the little rubber blades ended up packed in there. What an exciting night, and we thought there would be nothing fun to do.

Moral of the (generator) story: So, ladies – no matter how much your men roll their eyes and treat you like a pest don't give up on your gut instincts. I am often in a position of ineptitude and helplessness in this new life because I am always "still learning". I do not have as much self-confidence as I do insecurity and fear, so if I let that drive me then I lose the baby steps I have gained thus far.


Judy & Bill Rouse aboard S/V BeBe said...

Frank, for what it is worth, I get between 250 and 500 hours on the Onan 7.5kw Generator impeller. I now routinely change the impeller at 400 hours, if it makes it that long. About half of the time, they make it to 400, so I am thinking about reducing it to 300 hours. A little trick I learned on getting the blades out of the heat exchanger is to use a shop vac on the water hose in and out or by removing the end cap of the heat marvelously...and if you have the wet/dry shop vac ready, you can use it when you open the end plate of the water pump so that you get zero salt water anywhere except the vac. Of course, you have to have inverter power to use the shop vac. Hope this helps...Bill

Sabbatical III said...

Love this blog. Sorry you are having such lousy weather. You never know what you will get along that coast. We had pretty magnificent weather and terrific sailing from Cairns all the way up. Hope you get that too!! Laura (Sabbatical III)