Rene went to Brisbane for a few days one last time for work. He had to show his replacement "the ropes" (hehehe). While he was away, I sorted through our first aid kits and filled a big box with extras (and out of date bandages) to give to those more needy that we're bound to meet along the way.
|Just some of the first aid stuff we've accumulated.|
I also re-organised some storage areas to make more room for food. And, annoyingly, discovered beetles (really tiny ones) had ruined a bunch of the spices I had in storage. Grrrr! Luckily they didn't get destroy too many things. I'm taking on board (oh! another pun!) the technique of putting food in the freezer to kill the bugs and their eggs. I really hope it works! I also spent ages sorting through my files on the computer and making a back up of everything. I plan to send one hard drive home to be stored at my parents place.. just incase! I'd hate to lose all of my photos.
More sewing - this time, creating storage bags for the cockpit. I wasn't planning on doing this job until we had set off, but Rene suggested I do it earlier because water is getting into the little cupboards. My design will hopefully stop the rain getting inside the wood. And it also means that the ropes can be stowed away while we're sailing which will mean less stuff to get tangled up in! They aren't installed yet - been too wet! But here is a photo of what they look like anyway.
One of the jobs that I'd read had to be done to the engine was checking the alignment of the propeller shaft. To do this, Rene would have to defeat an ancient enemy. The dreaded thrust bearing. The thrust bearing had previously foiled the attempts of three strong men with a car jack and a number of other large metal tools to shift it from it's stuck position on the propeller shaft. After talking with local expert, John from Water Frontier, it became apparent that it may never move - as stainless steel tends ball up against objects that are fastened on to it and such objects are regularly cut off with angle grinders when they can't be shifted.
(what follows is Rene's account of an entire day spent tackling this mammoth task)...
Despite my emnity with the thrust bearing, I respected its ability to hold the prop shaft in place and stop it oscillating, heating up and potentially sinking us by allowing water through the stern gland. With respect in mind, I began to gently attempt to once again to wedge it free. To my surprise, after tapping with the screwdriver as a wedge, a lot of WD-40, then turning the prop shaft while it was under pressure, the bearing snapped forward with a loud "SPROING!" and much cheering (well, inside my head, but cheering nonetheless!).
|The initial thrust bearing having just "sproinged"|
Cerae convinced me that it's OK to ask people for advice. While posing the problem to some other yachties a number of theories were formulated, with the best one seeming, sadly, to be the 'angle grinder' technique.
Just as I was about to touch the angle grinder to the bearing, John popped by to inspect my work and patiently clarified for me exactly how the "taper" aspect of "taper lock bearing worked - there is no way it would move backwards, no matter how much force was applied, but it could still move forward. The news was refreshing, but there was no room left on the shaft to shift it forward - the locking nut was jammed up against the shaft coupling. I took off the nuts on the flexible coupling and figured out that I could take it off completely by turning it to turn the nut on the end of the prop shaft - this gave me an inch of play, if I stuffed it up a second time, I really would have to cut it off!
Thankfully, logic reigned, and it "SPROING"ed forward again. This time I worked the taper sleeve backward while it was free and experienced immense satisfaction. At this stage I was awarded 1200 XP and went up a level. I assigned my extra skill points to "boat mechanics". I have now cleaned up the rust that was being hidden by the bearing for many years - the next installment will be the engine alignment.
|Rene with the removed flexible coupling - FINALLY!|
|Cerae getting greasy in the engine.|
|A perfect moment - July 2010 - Scawfell Island|