We left Salvador at 04H15 on 21 June 2015, drove the long road back to Cabedelo. The roads are crazy and it is not easy to navigate - thousands of short distance road signs but hardly any long distance road signs, hundreds of speed traps, 112 speed bumps (yeah, we counted them), hundreds of idiot drivers, stray dogs and donkeys, zillions of potholes and thousands upon thousands of gear changes due to a plethora of road speed changes. However, the return trip was much easier than driving to Salavador as we did not have to a do a huge detour adding many extra hours of driving. When we drove to Salvador, it took 16 hours to get there - but it only took 11 hours to get back to Cabedelo. Anyway, we are back on Revelations - safe and sound.
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I woke up yesterday morning at 06H00 and after visiting the toilet, I get this dull pain on the left side of my lower back. In my early twenties, I had a kidney stone so this time around, I immediately recognized the pain. Typical on a kidney stone, initially the pain is dull and persistent but escalates as time goes by. Waiting for everybody to get ready so that we can leave for the hospital, the pain dramatically increase. The pain is intense, sharp, throbbing and I start breaking out in a sweat. Finally we get into the car and drive to the hospital, perhaps it was the shaking and vibrations of the car for as we start filling in forms at the hospital, the pain is gone. Feeling like an idiot, no longer feeling any pain, there is little sense seeing a doctor - so we decide to leave.
Later the morning I briefly feel more pain but this too soon disappears. Marcello in the mean time, sends a message to a doctor friend of his who specializes in kidney stones. The doctor friend advises that I go back to the hospital for a check up and sonar scan. Later the evening we once again visited the hospital where I briefly got checked over by a doctor, they also took blood and urine samples. The blood and urine test result returned some time later and another doctor then made arrangements for a sonar scan. Some hours later after checking all the results, the doctor announced that I have three small kidney stones - two stones in my left kidney and one in my right side kidney. He recommends that I visit a doctor with the view of removing the kidney stones. We finally left the hospital and arrived back at Marcello's home at 02H00.
We now plan to leave Salvador early tomorrow morning and drive back to Cabedelo.
At 15H00 today, we went back to the business premises of Mr. Igor Stelli to hear the outcome of their tests done on the B&G ACP2 unit. We were once again well received and I was led to the back of the workshop where I found the ACP2 unit connected to an array of sailing instruments including a rudder sensor, hydraulic pump and ram - a complete simulation of a typical yacht. They tested the unit for 3 days and found nothing wrong - this coincides with our own testing on board Revelations where it worked for days on end without fault.
Not mentioned before, a local electrician in Cabedelo found a power wire attached to the B&G instrument circuit breaker - this was done when we had new toilet pumps installed in Salvador. We could not get 24 volt pumps and bought 12 volt pumps instead. The electrician in Salvador then did a temporary connection to the B&G instruments which was 12 volts. This connection has now been removed from the B&G instrument breaker and is connected elsewhere. This together with the stray wires I cleaned up seems to have had the desired effect. The technician also explained that pressing the course change buttons in rapid and quick succession overloads the system and this is probably why we encounter fault 115 after the above changes.
They will still be testing the ACP2 unit until around 10H00 tomorrow morning. If the unit proves to shows no errors, we will the collect the unit from them, leave Salvador and drive the long road back to Cabedelo.
On Monday morning, we drove the short distance to the business place of Mr. Igor Stelli. We easily found the road but had difficulty in finding the premises as the numbers are confusing and not in sequence. There we were met by a friendly face, Marco who was expecting us. Fortunately for us, Marco speaks English and it quickly understood the problems. They are now bench testing the ACP2 unit and by Thursday, we should know the results of their testing.
We had loose plans about our road trip to Salvador and planned to find and stay in a hotel when we got there. We hardly left Cabedelo when Sue informs me that she received a message from Marcello Brocchini, our good friend in Salvador. "You are welcome to stay with us when you get to Salvador." it said. A couple of messages later, we gladly accepted his invitation. This would make our stay in Salvador a whole lot easier - Marcello is Portuguese, he knows Salvador intimately and will be most helpful assisting us in may ways including us finding our way around. Thank you Marcello and Fernando (his lovely wife) - MUCH APPRECIATED!!!
We left Cabedelo in the late morning in a rented car on our way to Salvador. The road to Salvador is not easy and nothing like the national roads back in South Africa. We must have crossed more than 200 speed bumps along the way - most are clearly marked, but there a couple of the them had no markings nor any warning. The road was fraud with speed traps, easily more than 100 of them, dogs, donkeys and potholes. There were very little road signs leading to Salvador making the route quite challenging. The allowed speed also varies from 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 100 kilometer per hour and not always sure what speed to drive made the many speed traps quite challenging. We arrived in Salvador at about 06H00 on Sunday morning and we were quite exhausted.
If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain. For the past 2 weeks now, we have desperately been looking for a B&G technician to visit Revelations and look at the B&G Hydra 2000 autopilot system and the puzzling problems we are having with the system - but to no avail. If there are no technicians willing to visit Revelations, we will instead visit the technicians. We are renting a car as from tomorrow morning and will drive around 1100 kilometers back to Salvador. We are taking the suspect ACP2 unit with us and this can then be tested at the B&G technician's workshop. If there are any problems with the unit, this will hopefully be sorted out fairly quickly and whilst we are there. We will then discuss the need for a technician to visit Revelations and check out and calibrate the rest of the system.
We hear that the the roads are bad, full of pot holes, hectic and reckless drivers, not roadworthy vehicles, then also driving on the wrong side (drive in the right hand lane) of the road and as yet, we have no clue which roads lead to Salvador - I think we are in for an interesting trip to Salvador. But this will also be an opportunity to see more of Brazil and a welcome break from what we have been doing to date.
A couple of days ago, I cleaned up all the loose wires and stray wire strands inside the B&G Hydra 2000 Autopilot ACP 2 unit. On Tuesday afternoon, we took the yacht for sea trials and activated the autopilot in "Power" mode and then later also in "Comps" (compass) mode. Each time the autopilot immediately worked and engaged properly first time around. I then started altering course by pressing the 10 degree and then the 1 degree buttons – both to port and starboard. The autopilot responded correctly and altered course according to the instructions. I kept doing this for about 30 minutes and the autopilot worked perfectly. I then pressed the 10 degree button repeatedly, about 8 times in quick succession and then the autopilot stopped worked and showed "Fault 115". We reset the autopilot but it would not engage again – each time showing Fault 115 – we did this about 10 times.
We switched off the entire system (instruments and autopilot) and after 10 seconds, we switched it back on, but the autopilot kept showing Fault 115. We did this a couple of times, but to no avail. We then returned to the marina and switched everything off. On Wednesday morning still moored in the marina, before removing the unit to take to Salvador, I decided to test it again – this time in "Power" mode only. With the yacht moored, not moving, the speed indicator shows 0 it is not possible to test the autopilot in the other modes - "Comps" or "Wind". The autopilot has now been on for more than 4 days continues and has not shown any faults. I also pressed the “On” and “Off” buttons several times, switched the system off and then on again, engaging and then disengaging the autopilot – for the past 4 days, the autopilot has worked perfectly. The 10 and 1 degree course alterations work perfectly and the rudder swings accordingly. I’m really dumbfounded by all this! We decided to remove the ACP2 unit in any event and after taking a number of photographs to allow me to rewire the unit correctly later, I started losing all the wires. It's now some 40 minutes later and the unit is out.
On our way to talk to Brian, a Englishman who settled here in Jacare Village some 45 years ago and who runs a boat repair yard, we came across this Gypsy style motor van parked under a tree. It has been there for quite some time and we saw and greeted the Gypsy woman who stared at us as we took a couple of pictures. The motor van is highly decorated in a weird and unusual arty style. The motor van is incredibly detailed with metallic stuff and objects welded|bonded|glued to the body in what we thought look typical Gypsy style. We could not spend any time with them but we are planning to go back, have a chat to these people and will hopefully be allowed to take detailed pictures.
Unable to wait any longer for some suppliers to get back to me with prices, I decided to go ahead and order the replacement parts we need to repair Revelations from mauriprosailing.com in Texas, USA. We need to get going as we only have another two months left on our Brazialian visa's and we still need to get the parts to Cabedelo and then only can we commence with the repair work. We also bought a new compass to replace our existing but leaking compass and some blocks to allow us to control the spinnaker from the helm. Maurisaling claims that the goods will be ready for collection within the next 3 to 4 days after which a courier service can collect the package and ship to us at Jacare Village Marina, Cabedelo, Brazil. Shipping is not cheap, it actually costs more than the parts we ordered! Then I still have to pay a clearing agent to clear the goods with Customs as duty free - at 100%, the import duty on marine goods in Brazil is extreme! Such excessive taxes must surely have a huge negative impact on the local boating industry. In addition, the import process is lengthy, excessive red tape and damn complicated. From a yacht owner perspective, Brazil is the last place you want to do any repairs - especially importing parts.
This morning we decided to lower the dinghy and motor around Ilha Stuart which is opposite the Jacare Marina Village. It is quite a big island of about 6 x 1.8 kilometers, uninhabited and with lush vegetation. The idea was to do it picnic style and have a relaxing day slowly motoring around the island, stopping at various places on the opposite river banks. "Jacare" means "crocodile" and although now free of crocodiles, rumour has it that every now and then a crocodile will make it way down river into the vicinity. Two years ago, they found a big crocodile close by which washed down the river during a flood. so who knows, we might even discover our own crocodile.
Sue packed some food stuff and cool drinks in a cooler bag - with sunblock, sunglasses and all the trimmings we might require, we set off on this outing. From Jacare Marina Village, we slowly motored diagonally across the wide river to the opposite bank and made our way down river to where we need to take a left turn into a side channel. The in and out going tides are quite strong and water flow of 4 knots per hour is the usual thing - four times a day. But it was the phase between low and high tide, so there was virtually no current and since we motored with the wind, it was an easy comfortable ride.
But as we neared the channel which we had to turn into, the water was especially flat and calm - for good reason as it was very shallow and then we got stuck in the mud. We reversed out of the shallows into deeper water and tried to enter the channel from a different position - again we got stuck. The fishermen and people in the couple of pirogue's in the vicinity must have laughed their arse's off as we got stuck in our attempts to enter the channel. So a couple of times, we pretended to sit back and relax as if this was the place we intended to be - right there stuck in the mud.
Unlike the shallow draft pirouqe's and the long tail propellers which they can lift out of the water, our outboard propeller is fixed and sits deeper in the water. After several attempts to enter the channel and failing, we conceded defeat and decided to motor back to Revelations - but this time against the wind and a small chop. Regardless of our failure to go around the island, it was a nice outing, we had some exclusive alone time, shared a couple of laughs (mainly at ourselves) and took some pictures - although it was mostly overcast and this did not lend itself for great pictures.
We required some diesel but the marina does not have a filling dock, so they carted diesel in 25 liter containers to Revelations. It took awhile to siphon the diesel into our tanks as we first had to let it run through a 10 micron Racor fuel filter. This filter allows diesel to flow through but totally prevents water form going through - in addition it also prevents dirt and grime particles over 10 micron in size. Quite essential equipment on a yacht as diesel can be quite dirty at places. When done, we indeed found quite a bit of solid particles left behind in the filter, which would otherwise have ended up in our tanks. Unlike elsewhere, the diesel was a Rosé wine colour. Muscling 18 of these 25 liter containers onto the yacht, moving them around and lifting them ensured I got my daily exercise.
Just for your Brent, as requested, here I am in the flesh! Still fat but much healthier.
Quick breakfast this morning.
Due to our recent problems with our B&G Hydra 2000 autopilot and advice received from a number of sources, I located and opened the ACP2 pilot processor in our starboard engine room. I found severals wire with loose strand touching other adjoining terminals - clearly sloppy and bad workmanship on the part of DH Auto Marine Electrical, Cape Town who did the electrical installation on Revelations. I removed each wire, soldered the ends, cut of all the loose strands and then re-connected the wires. Why this job was not done properly in the first instance is beyond me. It is this sort of bad workmanship which gives DH Auto Marine Electrical and the marine industry in South Africa a bad reputation. Not good!