Thursday, November 19, 2009

For the longest time, we had been planning on getting together with our good friends Steve and Diane Koch. We met them last year at a Defever owner's rendezvous. Steve and Di are, besides being really nice people, experts at anything that has to do with Defevers. Steve and I spent three days down in the engine room where he showed me the finer points of taking care of our Lehman diesels. We cleaned the fuel injectors, reset the valves and installed some extra gauges. Along the way, Steve discovered some suspicious looking hoses and took care of a nagging leak we had back by the rudders.

But by the far the biggest project we tackled though, was replacing the ship's battery bank. As you may remember, Maya has a large cache of batteries that are used to supply our electrical needs while we are at anchor. From the microwave to the TV to the lights and pumps and yes, the blow dryer, the batteries have to have enough juice to make everything work. Like anything else, the batteries have a finite lifespan and ours were near the end of theirs. While we might have been able to squeak out another 6 months to a year on the current ones, with Steve there to help I thought it a good idea to make the change now and not have to worry about it later.

Maya had twelve of these batteries and they were all located down in the engine room. The space down there is a little tight and the batteries are located in a spot that is not easy to get to. Each one of these things weighs about 125 pounds and they are filled with acid. As we were to find out, some of them were leaking. Not good. This was not going to be one of those quick in and quick out 10 minute jobs. It was going to be a backbreaker.

One by one we lifted out the old batteries and hauled them onto the deck. From there we had to lower them onto the dock and get them out to the car where they would be then taken to the store and swapped for a new ones. Twelve bad ones out and 8 good ones in.

Thankfully, Steve had to foresight to ask around the marina and found some eager young turks who wanted to make a few extra bucks. Once we had them on the dock, the guys took the batteries off our hands and swapped them out at the store for us. It saved us a lot of time and probably kept my back out of traction. You know, I am not that old yet but watching these young guys struggle with the batteries was very satisfying to me.

It took the better part of a day and a half to get rid of the old and install the new and I will tell you that I was really feeling it there near the end. My only solace was that those twenty something year old guys were feeling it too. That was until I invited them up for a beer when we were finished. "Naw, thanks," they said. "We are on our way to the gym now to work out." "Thanks anyway."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If you were a child of the 70's, you might remember reading the best seller, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a novel by Richard Bach. The story is about a seagull who wasn't content with the lifestyle he was living. Instead of 'flying with the pack', he chose to go off on his own and experience life in a way different from those around him. You might say he was the Jack Kerouac of the avian nation.

In our latest travels, we didn't see too many 'Jonathans' flying around. There weren't a lot of loners.

When Maya cuts through the water, her two big propellers move a lot of water. It takes that to move our 44,000 pounds along. With that, the water gets pretty much churned up causing all kinds of fish and plant life to come to the surface. The seagulls love this as it makes it easier for them to feed. And for a seagull, that is all life is about (unless you are Jonathan).

We took this video to show you how many friends we had following us on our latest trip. We generally left first thing in the morning which worked out great for the birds. I think they were hungry from the night before. As Maya chugged along, the seagulls dived in and out of our wake looking for food. They followed us for hours.

When they weren't eating, they were buzzing the flybridge or doing loop-d-loops in the air. It was great fun to watch. They also can make quite a racket, all their cooing and cawing. I wonder what they were talking about? We really enjoyed having their companionship with us....being part of nature and all that.

Later on in the day, I think I figured out what they were squawking about. Above our flybridge is a canvas bimini top. It protects us from the sun (and rain if we were in it). It is nice and white and I just spent several hours cleaning it before we left on this trip. Seems like the birds like to use it for "target" practice as well. I can hear them laughing to each other right now.

"Hey Fred, watch this one!" Plop! Or perhaps they were saying, "Look at those two in the boat smiling at us! What buffoons. Wait till they see what we left them."

I suppose all that food they ate had to go somewhere. I am just wondering that will all the wide open water they had to work with, why did they choose our boat to make their 'deposits'? Later that afternoon, I got to climb up on the side rails of the boat and reach out and clean all the presents they left for us. Mother Nature....what a mad scientist she is.