Saturday, 3 March 2012

B-52s, Ducks and Antennas

Hi everyone,
February was a busy month with both of us hard at work increasing the cruising kitty.  We did get out to visit the Darwin Aviation Heritage Museum, monitored the rapid growth of the resident duck family and did a little boat work.

The museum has one of few B-52s outside the US, a Sabre fighter, many other aircraft and lots of interesting exhibits (for those interested in aviation of course).

B52 cockpit
A family of ducks is doing well this year in the marina.  Apparently last year none of the ducklings survived.  This year there are still six of the original nine (or so).  Amazing how fast they grow.

Aside from all this fun we've been working on the boat.  Recent achievements include:
  • had gas piping replaced after the regulator was destroyed by break-down of the lining of the old gas line;
  • installed aquapanel "whiteboard" in the navstation (very useful those headliner offcuts!);
  • built and installed wooden boards to secure jerry cans of diesel on the side decks;
  • mounted a new set of galley knives inside a galley locker door (nice solution to that problem!);
  • received a Comar Systems NMEA-2-WIFI unit to relay instrument data to our iPad/laptop; 
  • installed and tested the OpenCPN navigation software package on our Mac OS X laptop;
  • received a set of spares for our Yanmar engine from Diesel Engine Parts in Sydney;
  • built and installed an antenna cross-connect panel; and 
  • sorted out insurance for our 2012 cruising overseas.
The antenna cross-connect allows us to connect our four antennas (HF backstay, HF whip, masthead VHF antenna and pushpit VHF antenna) to our four radios (HF transceiver, HF DSC receiver, VHF transceiver and all-band receiver).

Oh yes, we also bought a labelling machine!  :)

It's been darn hot in Darwin recently.  NSW and Victoria seem to have stolen our wet season.  Our $50 air-conditioner is wearing out.  It occasionally sounds like an old car's worn-out differential.  We have to WD40 the fan motor bearings frequently.  Hopefully it will last another month!

Two months to go until the cyclone season's over and we can finally escape the marina and go sailing again - can't wait!

Hope all's well where you are.

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