Saturday, November 28, 2009

On the quay in Msida Marina - at last

We woke up early this morning, before the wind got up, took a couple of pictures of Moondancer in the water - 'yawn' and then made ready to leave Amazon's mooring and come around to Msida Marina. It looks good for space in here now for the next couple of months. We'll wait until Monday to check in officially, as we want to deal with the manager, not his staff.
Where we are on the quay is very ice, there are trees and flowers and birds singing and people walking by, stopping to admire our lovely home, and some stop to talk which Tony loves, and our new friends dropping by to welcome us. After a few months in the yard this is very welcome.
Tomorrow there will be a barbeque on the dock for all of the liveaboards in the marina who want to come. We look forward to getting to know our neighbours.
So, a couple more pictures of Moondancer and then - well whatever the next phase brings.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Engine problem solved!

This morning we woke up thinking things should be o.k. But alas, they were not.We tried to start the engine but it only ran for a short period. Yesterday we tried bypassing the racor filter and that seemed to work for a while.
So maybe it's time to check the forward tank to see if there is micro crap inside. We pumped out 25 gallons into our jerry cans and found some crap but not enough to warrent our problem. so after cleaning the tank and then pouring the fuel back into the tank via a baha filter which has 3 screens to filter out crap and then down to sludge and water, this must be the cure!
O.k. Nancy turn over the engine. Yea it's running. Then quit again! Is it time to call a mechanic. Nancy say's maybe we should bleed it some more. I say we've tried that.By this time we both are ready to call it quits. I say "i want to try one more thing" i disconnect the fuel lines from the forward tank and the aft tank which connect to a ball valve. We open it up and lo and behold it's full of crapola! Then we clean it out and wouldn't you know it everything is just peachy!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Click on the pictures

I've posted the pictures in a smaller format which takes less time to download. To view them larger just double click on the picture.

Cockpit Pictures

So you may be sick of these pictures by now, but we have put so much work into making Moondancer look good, that we have to show the evidence. Here are a couple of cockpit pictures.
We are more optimistic about the engine situation. It seems to be fuel that's the problem. We did an experiment yesterday and by-passed the raycor filter. By doing so the engine ran for a couple of hours at low revs. We did a bit of research on bio growth in the fuel and the fuel we emptied out of the raycor filters showed small sludgey particles which we think is bio growth. So we bought a product - a very expensive product which we put into the tanks which is supposed to kill the bio growth and absorb it. As suggested we gave the tanks a shock treatment - which means put it all in - and today we are going to try again.
We are hoping to go into the marina today - if there's room.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Going in the water

So those videos were then and this is now - Wednesday evening on the same day at 8.45We're in the water, we motored out of the sling out into the bay and got about 10 boat lengths before the engine died. One of those deaths that usually means fuel starvation caused by something simple.
We coasted up to a mooring, which incidentally happens to belong to a classic old converted steamship called Amazon who we met in Bermuda.
They aren't here but we are. Tony managed to steer her up to the mooring without the engine and we grabbed it and have been tied to it all day.
We've worked most of this day changing fuel filters, twice for the racor and one for the primary, pulled off fuel lines to check they are clear, which they are, and have not reached a conclusion. The engine sometimes runs for a short while gulping a bit of fuel and then stops. The bowl at the bottom of the racor filters have been full of muck, which sounds like we have a batch of dirty fuel. But we did a few miles after filling up in Gozo on our arrival here and there was no problem. It seems to have something to do with being immobile for almost 3 months.
We are dreading the possibility that the fuel pump has packed up.
So what's good about today is we're in the water, we're tied up to a very prestigious mooring very safely, we've cleaned most of the boat though she really needs a good hosing down and we have the name and phone number of a Maltese mechanic who comes highly recommended.
So we hope you like these videos. We have a few more but they take so long to download.

Another video of our launch

Malta launching day

Today's the day we go back in to water. Everything all prepared and ready to go. It feels like ages since we have been swaying about!

Monday, November 23, 2009

more pic's, almost ready to go back in the water

November 23rd, Where did the time go?????

Actually we know exactly where it went. We have worked and worked and worked on our home, MoonancerX and it sure has paid off. She looks gorgeous, better than she has ever looked since we've owned her, not to mention some of the underwater issues that we have found, and dealt with properly. She has 4 coats of paint on her hull, the cockpit is completely scraped, sanded and cetolled with the recommended 3 coats. Our living quarters right now look like hell and its hard to move around because so much of the 'stuff' that usually lives up on deck and in the cockpit is stored down below. Anyway here are some pictures of her from the outside, we'll post cockpit pictures later.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Royal Artillery Insignia

The wall on which this was carved was entirely strafed with bullet holes. The royal Artillery was my father's regiment. I wondered as I stood there if he had also stood in the same place as a young gunner.

Living on the hard in Malta

Living on the Hard in Malta

It has been brought to my attention that my blog entries have been tardy of late. Actually they’ve been non-existent. Could that be indicative of how interesting our new life in this boat yard is? Yes it could appear that way, but our in-communicability has been very frustrating, and we have been working very hard on MoondancerX.
When we got a good look at her on our return from Canada/England we thought she looked very sad and shabby, and the initial chore which in itself was major – scraping and re-finishing all of her woodwork, has now turned into a mammoth task. We are now re-painting her entire hull aswell. And when all that’s done before we return her to the water we’ll give her a couple of coats of bottom paint. Painting the hull has incurred lots of preparation work, and locating the paint a lot of leg work.
So during these days of hard physical labour, where are upper bodies are either being built up to gargantuum proportions OR just wrecked rotator cuffs, at the end of our days we have tried to find internet cafes which are open and somewhere that we will not get smoked out. I have also bought phone cards and got up really early in the morning to find phone booths which are compatible with my phone cards. No luck. Those days were disheartening, and I’ve discovered that I really need regular contact with my family and friends to be happy away from home.
So now we have the Dongle, which is a mobile internet stick which goes into a USB port and guarantees us internet whenever we switch it on, providing of course we are within the range of Vodafone Cellular Wireless Network. Being such a small country that covers almost everywhere, so we are very happy with this new situation and can phone whenever we like over skype.
We haven’t done much sight seeing since we’ve been here but we have done a little. We go to Valletta fairly regularly as we are pretty close. There is a ferry from closeby which runs every half hour – we prefer this to a bus of course because it’s a boat and we love to be on boats. We’ve seen a little of family and have met new family, such as my Cousin Annie’s son Neville who has been a great help to us.
Last weekend we went to an open weekend at the Fort at Manoel Island. Manoel Island has been mostly purchased by a large development corporation called Midi and part of their deal with the Government of Malta in order to get the land they want to develop was they had to renovate this gorgeous old fort. Part of the fort were army barracks during WWII which made it a target for german bombs and bullets. The evidence of bombing is horrendous and so is the bullet (strafing) damage on the walls of the bastions. Walking around the fort I saw a Royal Artillery insignia carved into a wall and a bullet hole through it, I wondered if my father had stood in the same place as I was during the war.

I don’t know much about the politics of Malta – in fact practically nothing, but I like what Midi is doing. Their plan is to create a very exclusive Marina Village incorporating Manoel Island Yacht Yard, which the existing employees are resistant to, but along with this development they will create more employment and instill new accountability into the workers and management. There is a very obvious level of lethargy among the workers at the yard who up until Midi takes over are indirectly government employees. And there are far too many chiefs. I have sat in one of the offices in the main building using their internet connection and listened to the money being wasted almost all day. When presented with our bill, which is very high its hard to join in with the fun atmosphere. The fun they have when they come to work each day is costing their customers an unfair amount.

On the other hand there are many small businesses working very hard to make a living. Neville took me yesterday to a computer sign maker to have our name plates re-made. They had a good workshop and produce good work for less than half of what the same work would cost in Canada. The same thing applies to the small shops we regularly visit, the Tool Box run by Charlie who bends over backwards to find whatever we need, and the small supermarkets. The minimum wage in this country is very low – about 3.50 Euros per hour, which is about $5.00. The security guards looking after the yard earn 3.50 Euros per hour. These jobs seem to be done by new immigrants, Eastern Europeans, Serbians and Croatians or less educated Maltese. Servers in restaurants are largely Eastern Europeans also. When I was a child living in Malta the only foreigners here were British. We see that some of the African refugees are working in real grunt jobs, such as cleaning/scraping the bottom of boats, heavy loading and unloading of trucks, street cleaning. Doing their time coming into a new country. I remember doing that when I first emigrated to Canada, working as a housekeeper until I got my status.

Along with the work we are doing to Moondancer X we have registered with Crewseekers to see if we can find paid work on the water. We’re trying to find work together as Skipper/Cook/Steward or as members of crews on larger boats. So far we have already had a few good leads, so we are optimistic we will find something soon. I have also met a person who’s looking for a seamstress to repair a whole suit of sails for his own 50’ sailboat aswell as canvas and upholstery work. He has a workshop area but wants to buy his own machines and pay by the hour; we’ll see what will come of that.

We joined the Royal Malta Yacht Club yesterday. They’re a very gracious Club with reasonable membership fees and good reciprocals with other Royal clubs. They used to be in one of the ancient buildings on Manoel Island but have recently purchased and renovated abuilding close to Msida Creek Marina. This will give us a nice place to go occasionally where we will be able to talk sailing and perhaps get on a race boat for the Fall racing season when we are here.

We have also made new friends, Wendy and Phil (Phil is an R.Y.A sailing instructor for a small Maltese Company) who were our neighbours here in the yard for the last few weeks. A very nice English couple from Harwich who have come to live in Malta.
We hope to spend more time with them in the future. We’ve trusted each other with our entire movie collections. Other people we have met in the yard are here for a short time while they are preparing their boats to be left for the winter. Then they return to their homes or travel to other parts of the world that they don’t want to take their boats to.

Fishing with Anne and Mick

Here's one video - I think

A couple of videos

Here are a couple of videos which we found recently after our return from Canada and England. A very unfortunate thing happened to most of the pictures we took. The C-drive on our computer filled to the point where it would take no more - and while transferring the entire My Pictures file over to D-drive I lost some. Fortunately the videos were still in the camera, I had not cleared them out. So here they are - Playing pool with Nadine and Lorne in Canada, and fishing with brother Mick and Ann in England. Sorry that I could not furnish more pictures, there are a few on webshots which I put there before losing the files.