A surprise visit to Australia last month let us join Shaun and Sarah for their engagement party in Melbourne. It also allowed us to stock up on the bits and pieces we needed for the forthcoming cruising season. Back in Miri (Sarawak) we dived into some serious boat maintenance. In between the inevitable dock parties and cruiser dinners we've put a solid three weeks into maintenance, repair and refit work. Payback time.
First off the block was the Onan genset, which needed to be stripped down to isolate a fault (again) in the drive train. This time round we attacked it with advice and support from the technical team at Cummins (who now own Onan) and we believe we eventually found the culprit - a dodgy bearing in the idler pulley of the auto belt tensioner. No Onan parts within a thousand miles or so, so we headed for town and managed to have a replacement bearing pressed in for the grand total of 20 ringit. About $8.00 Australian. We hope it lasts until we hit Singapore in November, where we'll fit a complete new self tensioner. Not having complete faith in the little Onan devil, we also bought a compact Honda petrol genset, as a get-out-of-gaol device. It's stowed in the lazarette and we hope we won't need it for a long while.
This is definitely the month when the maintenance bugs bit hard .... a new pressure vessel was fitted to the fresh water circuit, and a new over-pressure relief valve to the hot water service. A rusty spot on one chain plate has been repaired and re-painted, along with paint touch-ups around the aft steps. A new forward navigation light, plus a repair to the stern nav. light. A full service (1500hrs) on the Cummins engine. Adjusted steering cables, greased rudder bearing, new protective coating on shaft. Repaired the hose on the dinghy foot pump, backwashed the watermaker, cleaned both sea strainers. New leather boots on the aft lower chain plates. New hand controller on the anchor windlass. New engine start batteries (the old units died at seven years of age). Re-installed repaired water bladder in aft tank, touched up paint areas inside the tank. Bow anchor and chain re-galvanised and re-installed. I think that's it, thank heavens !
The last of the jobs was completed yesterday, today we tidied the boat and made ready to go to sea. Our next destination is the Lasa River, then on to the Rajang and our Iban friends at the longhouse "Rumah Lidam" on Sungai Tulai. In November we'll cross to Singapore and move north to Penang and Langkawi. Departure will be on the high tide after midnight tonight, and we should enter the Lassa about 36 hours later.