Barry's Blog #146 - Gunky fuel, dead diodes and time travel

Have you ever had a moment in time when you're mentally juggling too many balls and you drop all of the balls because you're just overloaded?

Looking back at the footage we had for this week's episode, we've definitely just been through one of those moments in time.

We missed filming the tech guys being on the boat, we didn't get enough b-roll and I had a hard time stringing together a coherent sentence and correctly naming various boat bits.

Everything at once

So what were we mentally juggling that was so distracting?

Firstly there was the issue of the continually fizzing prop shaft anode. Which we suspected was being caused by either stray DC current running through the prop shaft or that the anode was made of magnesium. Neither theory could be verified while we were traveling through the Greek islands or at anchor.

Then there was the dinghy outboard engine which we'd had serviced the day before we left Limini harbour on Evia island, Greece. It decided to stop running when we were at anchor at Samos island.

We also had an issue with the main engine alternator potentially not charging the starter or bow thruster batteries.

Throw into that mix that we needed to exit Greek territorial waters before the end of the month or we'd have to pay another whole month of Greek cruising tax even if we only used a single day of it and there was also the unknown factor of either Greece or Turkey instantly closing their borders due to new Covid-19 restrictions.

Not much to worry about at all really.

D-Marin Marina at Didim

As I mentioned in last week's blog our check into Turkey at the D-Marin Marina at Didim was seamless thanks to enlisting the services of Atilla, the resident check in/check out agent.

Once we were checked in there was a mental sigh of relief that at least we were now in Turkey and within reasonable sailing distance we had access to some of the best yacht maintenance services Turkey had to offer.

After a long Hollywood shower, a superb meal with our old mate Jim and his son Matt, we had an early night and collapsed into a long slumber.

The next day we began our search for a tech that could help us with our outboard engine issue and a tech that could troubleshoot our alternator and maybe give us some better direction as to why our shaft anode was fizzing.

The outboard engine issue turned out to be an operator error due to a lack of knowledge of the chemical makeup of modern gasoline. Lesson learned.

The large red fuel tank that sits in the dinghy was half full when we arrived at Livaditis boat yard for haul out at the end of October 2019 and it then spent the next 8.5 months stowed neatly under the cockpit table while the dinghy languished on the ground below A B Sea.

When we finally departed the boat yard in early July 2020, I simply topped off the half full fuel tank with fresh fuel and thought we were good to go. Not so fast there tiger!

It seems that modern gasoline has a shelf life and if not used within a few months it goes off and becomes gunky. This gunky fuel will still burn and will allow the engine to run, but only for so long before the carburettor becomes totally clogged up with gunk and the fuel stops flowing. And that's what happened at Samos.

The tech guy at Didim cleaned the carburettor, disposed of the gunky fuel and refilled the tank with fresh fuel. That relatively easy fix was one concern off my mind.

Securing a visit from the electrical tech took most of Friday to organise and he came to the boat mid-morning on Saturday. I explained the situation to him about my suspicion that the alternator was not charging the starter and bow thruster batteries and he set to work checking things out.

In the end he concluded that the alternator was working normally and it was charging the house batteries, but not the starter or bow thruster batteries and that was because the old diode battery isolator, which distributes the alternator electricity to the battery banks, was faulty. A new one would be required before he could do any further investigation. Off he went in search of a replacement.

A few hours later he returned and explained that he couldn't find a replacement part locally and our best option to buy one would be Bodrum or Marmaris, both of which were 2 or 3 days sail to the south.

Glad to have confirmation of my concerns about the battery charging situation and disappointed that we hadn't really made any progress with troubleshooting the fizzing anode, Saturday drew to a conclusion and we went to bed with thoughts of our departure from the marina the following day.

We spent 3 nights at the D-Marin Marina and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The onsite facilities are spotlessly clean, there's every kind of service you could need and the marineros were excellent. We'll be visiting again next time we're in the area.

Heading south

Sunday morning was spent getting A B Sea ready to head further south. Our first major planned destination was Bodrum where we could buy replacement parts at a very large boat porn shop.

With A B Sea ship shape we left our pontoon berth and tied up at the marina fuel berth. It was a bit of a tight squeeze getting in as it seemed that almost half the marina boats were also getting fuel before heading out to enjoy some Sunday fun on the water.

We topped off the diesel tank with 112.4 litres (29.7 gallons) of fuel and I then began considering my options for exiting without bumping into the boats in front and behind us. The fuel guy was already on to it and had radioed the marinero who came zooming up in his dinghy, attached a line to our stern port cleat and pulled the back end of A B Sea out from the fuel berth. All I had to do was reverse a little further, bring the bow around to face the entrance and we were away.

We wanted to get as close as possible to Bodrum before stopping and by 18:20 hrs we were dropping the anchor in a quiet bay called Aspat Koyu. It has great protection from the north wind but is wide open to the south east where a little bit of swell was coming in, but the persistent wind kept us pointing mostly in the right direction so it wasn't too rolly of a night.

With plans for a 09:00 hrs departure the following day for Bodrum we enjoyed a sundowner, dinner and an early night.

Time travel

As a general rule we like to keep the story of our journey very linear and in comparison to many YouTube sailing channels we are probably the most up to date (real time) sailing channel out there. By that I mean there are some channels whose weekly episodes are portraying a story line that's over a year behind real time. Many are 3 or 4 months behind real time and a handful, like us, are just a couple of weeks behind real time.

Where are you going with this Baz?

During our last few episodes where we have been sharing our fizzing anode issue, a few viewers have expressed their frustration at us not (so far) reaching an absolute conclusion as to what was causing the issue and what the fix was. The reality is that at the time of writing this blog (27th August 2020) we still don't have those conclusions.

With limited resources and limited knowledge about boat electronics, troubleshooting is taking a lot longer than we anticipated. We're not trying to draw out a story line or leave our viewers with a cliff hanger each episode, we're simply telling the story in a linear fashion and sharing with viewers the range of emotions, frustrations and stress that we're going through in real time.

That's why, in this week's episode #136, we broke our rule and put in a segment explaining roughly where we're at in real time with tracking down the cause of the fizzing anode.

The story of us and our journey with A B Sea is a real life story and in real life there is no time travel, unless you're reading this blog way after I've written it and you can skip ahead several blogs to find out what happens in the end.

That's one of the odd things about documenting our journey on YouTube, it's all potentially there for a very long time to come, who knows who'll be watching our story a hundred years from now and I wonder what they'll make of it!

To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.

Link to Barry's next blog

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