|A good day in the Maunie Bakery - Graham's bread rolls and Dianne's choc-chip cookies and fruit loaf|
It's very much like that aboard Maunie (and we're far from retired), even when we aren't sailing from place to place or diving or canoe-building. At the moment we are on a mooring in Viani Bay, a favourite haunt, and just spending a couple of days catching up on boat jobs and admin.
Our outside activities are very influenced by the short tropical days (it gets light at 06.30 and darkness arrives suddenly at 18.30) so we tend to be up at 07.00 to enjoy breakfast in the relatively cool morning air. We check Maunie's vital signs of life every morning - battery voltage and fresh water stocks - and study the sky to decide whether the solar panels will be sufficient to recharge the batteries or whether we need to run the generator. Though they are described as 12v batteries, their voltage will be 12.8v when fully charged and 12.2v when 50% full and we never let them fall below 12.2v in order to maximise their life; they only have so many discharge-recharge cycles in them and they recover less well if deeply discharged - at around £600 for a set of batteries we aim to make them last at least 6 years.
When we do run the generator (on average it's about once a week) on less sunny days we start it at breakfast and it throbs away for a couple of hours. We plug in computers, camera chargers, the water immersion heater and even the electric kettle to get best value out of the one-and-a-bit litres of diesel it consumes per hour and we run the watermaker at the same time to make about 25 litres per hour of fresh water from seawater. Once the generator has given the batteries a decent boost, the sunshine is usually enough to allow the solar panels to continue charging batteries and to run the watermaker (which uses about 9 Amps) for a few more hours so that the voltage is back to 12.8v as the evening light fades.
Apart from these daily rituals, our activities on board include boat maintenance jobs (a little bit every day is our plan), finding ways to keep fit and doing some exercise, routine cleaning and washing, preparing food (we usually cook meals that will do us for two nights and bake bread rolls every other day) and, at the moment, catching up on internet admin which seems to always zap an inordinate amount of time. Our return to internet coverage after the null-spot of Fulaga has given us the chance to catch up on news and discover the ability to download free copies of the Economist and BBC News to our Kindle via a program called Calibre. It has also cost us serious money this week, as we've had to pay up our annual medical travel insurance as well as other bills.
|A fiddly and time-consuming maintenance job |
- replacing all the stitching, destroyed by UV light - around the letters on our cockpit dodgers
|An early-morning view from the cockpit at the start of another busy day|