Monday, August 9, 2010

The end of our long stay at Puteri Harbour Marina

Our younger son, Aaron, arrived last week to fly back to the States with his daughter on August 17. I am afraid he has endured a boring time during his short stay with us in Malaysia, as we have done nothing other than the typical marina things -- walks, bike riding and pedal boats.   I suggested renting a car and driving to Malacca or somewhere else, but none of us were keen on that idea.  Aaron stays very busy in his normal work life at home, so maybe a few days of kicking back and lazing around the boat was just what he needed for the beginning of his vacation.  Plus adjusting to jumping ahead 13 time zones takes its toll on anyone's energy level.  Most of our time the past 5 days has been spent couped up inside the boat sucking up the air-conditioning either because it was raining or it was too danged hot to tolerate being outdoors.

Late this afternoon one of the guys on the marina staff took us to the PTP (port?) terminal and assisted in clearing us out of Malaysia.   It is very nice of the marina to provide transportation to the distant port facilities and to provide staff to handle all the paperwork.  They handled our clearance both into and out of Malaysia for a total cost of 50 ringitt ($15.85).  No place else we have visited provides services and transportation like this for such a low fee.  In about 2 years the authorities will have a clearance office situated at the marina.  That will be very convenient for cruisers berthing at Puteri Harbour Marina.  There also will be a fast ferry to Singapore.  Lots of improvements are planned for this nice marina.

Yesterday Bill kitted up and dove under the boat to clean away any marine growth that had accumulated in the past 2 months since we moved back into this slip after our short trip to Singapore to pick up the grandkids.   I think the last time Bill donned a scuba tank was in the Caribbean more than 2 1/2 years ago -- and possibly even 3 years ago.  Everyone else we know enjoyed beautiful diving spots throughout the South Pacific, but I do not like diving so Bill did not have a diving buddy and he missed out.  Yesterday he was breathing very hard and managed to suck up a full tank of air while cleaning the boat bottom.  He found about 8 barnacles on the entire hull -- pretty darn good for bottom paint applied in New Zealand 17 months ago!  Micron 66 is a very good anti-foul paint.  During that same haul-out, we had Prop Speed applied to protect the prop and it did not hold up nearly so well.  It worked beautifully for the first year, but at the end of that year it the effectiveness stopped completely.  Yesterday Bill found the prop was covered in marine growth about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick on both sides of each blade..

Bill surfaced shortly after going down and said "that prop does have 3 blades, doesn't it?  I can only find 2 blades."  Well, that sounded like very bad news!!  But the water was so murky that he simply could not see much of anything down there.  He had to clean the prop by feel rather than by sight.  After chipping away the growth on the first identifiable 2 blades he was able to find the third blade.  Whew!  We carry a spare prop, but changing the prop out in this murky water was not something either of us wanted to think about having to do.

Next he moved to the front of the boat to check our speed sensors.   The speed sensors on our Amel are not the usual paddle-wheel type.  Amel installs B & G Sonic Speed sensors.  Basically, one sensor is on the front side of the keel and another sensor is mounted on the front area of the bottom of the hull, facing backward.  The 2 sensors face one another and somehow determine the speed the boat is traveling through the water.  When we took the boat over to Singapore a couple of months ago, the speed sensors were not working.  When we apply anti-foul paint, we are very careful to tape off these 2 sensors.  They are the only spots on the hull beneath the waterline that are not painted, so we figured 1 or both sensors had a barnacle growing on top.  Sure enough, the forward sensor (rear facing) had a good-sized barnacle growing on it.  Bill grabbed it and pulled it off.  Luckily, he surfaced to show me the barnacle.  He obviously does not wear his eyeglasses while diving.  He has corrective lenses inserted in his diving mask, but he really cannot see well underwater with those.

I looked at the barnacle and could see there was something rubbery and black on the bottom side.  I scratched off the barnacle growth and found a rubbery circle about  the size of the nail bed on an adult's finger and 1/2-inch thick.  It had a small indention all around the bottom of the circle.  Very obviously this rubbery piece was a part of the sonic speed sensor.  I returned the cleaned-up piece to Bill and he dove again and replaced it.  I pulled out a hammer and he tapped into place as tightly as he could -- considering that he could not see much of anything in the nasty water.  We emailed Amel and learned that this piece is a protective cover for the actual sensor and that without this cover that the water turbulence might cause incorrect speed readings.  But at least we don't need to worry about water leaking into the boat if the cover is lost.  

Tomorrow morning we will slip the dock lines and head over to 1° 15 Marina on Sentosa Island in Singapore.   We hope the rubbery piece is still in place when we arrive at that marina.  The water there is very clean and clear and Bill should be able to see much clearer to make sure it is properly inserted to cover the sensor.  Waterproof epoxy should do the trick.

As much as we have enjoyed staying at Puteri Harbour Marina for the past 9 1/2 months and traveling almost all of SE Asia, I cannot express how delighted I am to be moving again -- even if it is only 30 miles to another marina in Singapore.

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