Thursday, July 21, 2016

Stormy Pancake Creek & Gladstone

Been a while since the last update of the blog. That was mainly due to power problems. Due to a storm that had pulled over Pancake Creek whilst we where there (it was planned, so we had shelter) we got stuck in there for a couple of days. With the sun none present we had some mayor power issues. S.V. Hyue does have a wind generator, but after talking to a couple of people it seems that for all they do, a lot of power production is not something they are accredited with. It could also be due to Allans set up of the electric system, but I'm not knowledgable in that department. A few blogs on the internet explain pretty well how the electric system can be built up for maximum efficiency. Due to the aformative mentioned power drop, my laptop was of the grid for all the time, on that note all systems on the boat where set back to twelve volt only. Luckily my phone and iPad run on 12V, so I never ran out of books as Pancake Creek has phone service, too.
Apart from the power system the days where spent nearly all indoors in the warmth of the boat. Or so we wished. Both Allan and me have no idea why, but our boat seemed the most unstable of the dozen of boats there. Hyue would line up nice and straight when the current and the wind both had the seem bearing, but on tide changes things got interesting. For roughly six hours every day we where on the tips of our nerves, checking the GPS I had brought along to make sure we where still in the good. Allans GPS Chart-plotter does have an anchor warning which will start blaring an alarm when set up correctly, but it is outside in the cockpit. It is a lot nicer sitting inside whilst the wind howls outside than in the cockpit. Over the course of five days I estimate we had to reset our anchor about ten times. The maximum on a day was five or six times. To the start of the storm we had a relatively good spot, but one of our neighbours upstream started drifting down towards us. As two anchors twisted together is not what we wanted, we pulled ours in and went a bit to the side. It took us a good half an hour to grab their attention in darkening twilight. After that incident we could not find a good spot anymore. It didn't help that the anchor winch stopped working after a few times and from then on it always had to be pulled in by hand. As mentioned before the days where spent with nervous glances at the GPS the whole time and as soon as the weather permitted we left the Creek for Gladstone, the nearest city up north. On that passage I had my first real experience with sea sailing. Motoring out of Pancake Creek was acceptable, but as soon as we where clear, sails up and motor off. We where heading along at a good sped of nearly six knots. Don't know how much of that was due to the sails and how much was thanks to the swell pushing us from behind. Some big ones in them to. On the horizon we could see the large tankers and container ships waiting for entry in to Gladstone, before we got to the pylons marking the way in to the industry port. 
We followed a large tanker in and spotted some dolphins skipping out of the water a few hundred metres away. The journey along the trench was a bit of a battle. Until we got in to the shelter of an island in front of Gladstone we had a wind from behind. It was pushing the boat everywhere and the autopilot on the boat did not like that. As our power was low anyway we turned of the pilot for a while and manually steered it.
Closing in to Gladstone we had to throw the motor on again, as the time was against us for getting to the marina and lodged in. Arrived and one of the first things we did was have a shower. Allan has got a shower on board, but if you can't run a generator (which we couldn't in the weather we had in Pancake Creek) you get a cold shower. Plus it is a bit of a tight squeeze in there for a small person. Someone standing at nearly two metres, close to impossible. Then bed and the next day a ton of washing to do. I hadn't worn any shoes for a few days, too (they where soged thoroughly).
As of the current state we have spent a few days in the marina now. Allan is looking in to getting some more solar panels, so his power is not as problematic. His current ones are rather old. As of the time now we have found out that the problem might be with the alternator.

Oh, and I have tried a bit of Pokemon Go, too.  
Track at GPSies.

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