20 August, 2012


What a great city.  It is made for bicycles and people.  I dont know about cars but one can ride all over the place either in special bike lanes with their own traffic signals or on designated paths or even on the sidewalk which have road crossing up and down ramps.  What a great joy to ride except over the last few days it has been HOT and I mean HOT with not a breath of wind so riding has been confined to early mornings or later in the afternoon.
I visited Antonio Gaudi Sagrada Familia and went inside to look at the columns.  They are just like a forest reaching up into the top of a wonderful canopy.  The most dramatic church I have visited.  The choir stalls will hold 1000 choristers - now that must be a sound.  Only one organ at the moment but planned to have four. The two finished sides of the outside are interesting - the one old world the other new world style sculptures.  The third has not been started and is just concrete and reinforcing rods.
Two more days before i set sail south to ports unknown.

Starting to be a magical moment on Malua

15 August, 2012

Never Disturb a Frenchman on Lunch

Infact never disturb a Frenchman any time to do any work.  My experience in Port St Louis was that they did not wish to work at all.
Now the AIS I posted at $170 is sitting in Marseille Chonopost Customs section for more than a week waiting on some paperwork.  No contact via email just a short terse statement on the tracking system.
An update.  there is no way one can communicate with the French Post except via phone which has as you expect a series of menus.  Press any key and try to speak to someone just get a response of "no English" and switched back to the menu.  Fine what alternative --- None.  Get a fax number and fax a request - on lunch.
Send an email?  to what address - again on lunch
So register as a user.  Send and email to the response - again on lunch.
The tracking system records -- no response within the time limit: return to sender - fine that is Australia.  Next entry insufficient documentation.  Sorry we are on lunch.

The international postal union is the next recipient of my emails, fax and phone calls.

Not a Magic Moment on Malua

Water Wheels

My water wheels finally said enough.  The Yamaha 8 HP outboard purchased in New Zealand decided to stop never to go again, just when it was needed most.  Malua is now in the Costa Brava of Spain which is rocky with few places to stay but all requiring a dingy to get to shore.  A day or two ago I had to swim to get the us back to the boat so yesterday we went to Cadaques, rented a mooring and took the water taxi to shores to acquire a new outboard.  The Information Centre’s map indicated a marine chandler so off we walked to find it.
There right in the front of the shop was a selection of small outboards.  The lady assistant, in her best Spanish tried to tell be the advantages of one over the other but there is only one outboard for me – Yamaha.  I had looked at purchasing a similar one before in Greece but the time was not right then but now there was no option.  Hand over the plastic, enter the PIN and I am the owner of a brand new 2.5 HP fourstroke outboard. Up on my shoulder and back to the water taxi and we are mobile again – with less chance someone would steal the outboard.

The 2012 To-Do List

Cruising is inevitably about doing boat maintenance in exotic places however it is all based on how well prepared your vessel is before you set off for those exotic places.  In the case of Malua I strongly believe that a well prepared vessel will visit more exotic places before it need maintenance.

With this in mind I set about tackling this years to do list, made longer by the fact that last year Malua was not a proper yacht and many of the systems and items were not used in the French Canals.  In addition to that I added a wind generator which is a major electrical and physical addition to the boat.  The AIS was also added and wired into the other systems.

As with all list they had to be priorities using some principle which in my case changed over time as the time to launch drew closer.  Items that I thought were important moved down the list as I ran out of time believing I could do them while cruising.  As with all boat list it get longer as one discovers new things that need repair or just regular anti-rust maintenance.  Not to list all items but to record the major achievements prior to cruising I have listed just a few jobs accomplished:

* Installed Vespermarine Watchmate 850 AIS
* Installed new external GPS and independent AIS antenna
* Fitted rope cutter
* Serviced and reassembled Autoprop propeller Blade 1
* Added new switch panel to switch box to accommodate added equipment
* Fitted Eclectic Energy D400 wind generator on stainless steel pole
* Wired in Karasouli 2 bank regulator and dump resistor
* Rewired three battery banks to accommodate new setup
* Polished topsides
* Touched up boot-straps with navy blue paint
* Changed to Navy blue Micron Extra antifouling about 3 litres
* Cleaned generator water cooler and added Castrol rust inhibitor
* Spliced eye into new main halyard
* Install LED in anchor, masthead navigation and stern lights
* Install new LED navigation lights on bow
* Install additional antenna at mast head (why? Just in case)
* Fixed dings in keel and epoxy, under coated damaged areas
* Run lines and halyards
* Bind on all sails

That is the list that will be recorded as completed.  Still to be done is outboard, water maker, wind vane and new grey water container.
Malua also needed a good clean in all areas because the Meltemi can blow in Port St Louis and fill every crack and crevis with a black dust which just wont go away easily but that will have to wait for another day.

10 August, 2012

2012 Cruise has Begun

Malua left Port St Louis three days ago for a dream crossing of the gulf and we are now on the coast of Spain on the boarder with France.  The coast line is very much like that of the Balearics with rocky coves and indents.  As always in August there are a lot of day trippers who thankfully leave in the evening and a few cruisers stay to enjoy the tranquillity of a great anchorage.
A magical moment on Malua

02 August, 2012

Olympic Opening Cerimony

How short our memorys are?  Do you remember the great event that was Sydney? A bicycle the frew in the sky.  The greatwide open spaces.  What I saw was non productive agriculture, smoke stacks and a fellow who could not play the piano.  The ordinaryness of Britian is just that... average.  When will GB be Great again?