Friday, July 29, 2011

The Far-From-Normal Normal Routine

We have been extremely lucky with the systems we have on Rutea, of which there are many. We have a complex electrical system and buried in that is a complex electronic system which includes computers, navigation equipment, radar, etc. Our plumbing system is much simpler but a key component of that is our watermaker and although we have the simplest model available, it still has three different pumps and four different valves. Of course, we have a powerful propulsion system (the main engine) and a diesel-fueled generator (which is actually part of the electrical system). Our refrigeration system has two separate compressors and gets a real workout here in the tropics. In addition to that, we have the sails and rigging which are a system unto themselves. Some of the cruisers I know spend an inordinate amount of time trying to keep all of their systems running. We've been luckier than many.

Still, systems need to be maintained and things break. Sometimes it's as straightforward as changing the oil and sometimes it's a completely mystifying problem that keeps me awake at night. For example, we have a massive battery bank on Rutea that's comprised of eight batteries that are typically used in golf carts. If we were to draw one ampere per hour, our battery bank wouldn't be dead until 1,040 hours had passed. Granted, a one amp draw is nothing and between the refrigeration, radio, stereo and other components that might be in use at any given time we can easily be drawing 30 or more amperes per hour. However, for some reason that I have yet to figure out, our batteries are now draining at a much faster rate than they have been and it's got me preoccupied. Normally, I wouldn't post technical issues on our blog.

Life here at Suwarrow Atoll is pretty simple. A big event for the day is when a boat arrives or departs. This tiny community was tittering about the delivery skipper and his crew that arrived one morning, got incredibly drunk that night and was asked to leave by the warden the following morning. They left in pretty rough conditions with other cruisers reporting seeing the small boat roll from side to side as they made their way away from the atoll. That would not be fun with a bad hangover. Yesterday we walked at low tide out to a small islet that's a nesting area for thousands of birds (80,000 birds was the last count but we wondered - how do you count birds?). Last night a group went back out to the same reef hunting for lobster and we could see their flashlights beams bouncing in their search. Tonight there's a pot luck dinner and the eleven boats that are here will pitch in to feed all 29 people, including the wardens.

The winds are due to fill in to about 25 knots and the seas increase to 4 meters. There are several boats heading this way from Bora Bora and it sounds like they're going to have a rough passage. We're keeping in touch with them on the radio. Once the weather gets calmer, we'll probably jump off for American Samoa as our supplies are starting to get low (we're almost out of beer!) and there's some parts we're having shipped in that we'd like to get our hands on. Plus, it's just getting time to move. A big thank you to all of you who have taken the time to write us - it's great to hear about what's going on with you. We wish everyone good health and much happiness.
At 7/28/2011 7:17 PM (utc) Rutea's position was 13°14.87'S 163°06.48'W

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