Friday, 30 March 2018

Engine and electrical problems, octopuses, sunrises and a rainbow

Photo of Phil working on the heat exchanger on Ravensdale's aft deck

Phil working on the heat exchanger on Ravensdale's aft deck

Ravensdale is out of action until after Easter due to a discovery Phil made while replacing the heat exchanger on her port engine.

It’s also been a frustrating week on the electrical front after a problem at the 240V fuse box left us without hot water and with no power to two sockets, including the one used to heat the en suite head.

On a lighter note, we made our first delivery of crabs for the octopuses at The Aquarium on the harbourside in Maryport, Cumbria, UK, this week.

And we were rewarded with a free visit to the Aquarium 😊

Return of the heat exchanger

We decided the heat exchanger and intercooler on Ravensdale’s port engine should be cleaned after this work was carried out to her starboard engine to cure an overheating problem.

On that occasion, we asked a local man called Norman, who looks after his family’s fishing boats, to do the job.

This time, Phil felt able to tackle some of it himself. He removed the heat exchanger and intercooler from the 300hp Volvo Penta engine and we took them to Norman for cleaning.

Photo of Phil preparing to refit the intercooler

Phil preparing to refit the intercooler

Meanwhile, we ordered new thermostats for the port engine as the ones he removed didn’t appear to be working.
Photo of me cutting a gasket for the intercooler

Me cutting a gasket for the intercooler

We collected the heat exchanger and intercooler from Norman on Saturday and Phil refitted them the following day after I’d cut some new gaskets for the intercooler using the gasket paper we'd ordered as spares after the last engine was done. He also fitted the new thermostats.
He then tried starting the engine and was delighted to see a good flow of water coming out of the exhaust outlet.

However, he was less pleased to find that there was also water flowing into the engine room bilges because one of the seals on the heat exchanger was leaking, so he took it off again and I cut a new gasket for it.

He put it back on, started the engine again only to discover another leak.

This time water was leaking from a pipe joint on the heat exchanger.

Removing the pipe again revealed that the rubber seals at both ends of the pipe were perished.

Photo of Phil working on the heat exchanger in the engine room

Phil working on the heat exchanger in the engine room

We think removing the pipe caused the seals to break up as it looked as though it hadn’t been touched for a very long time, but the pipe had to be removed to take off the heat exchanger.

We ordered new seals, but the company didn’t have them in stock so there’s no way we’re going to get them until after Easter.

This means Ravensdale won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, but we both agree that it’s better to discover and sort all these problems before we take her out to sea again.

Thankfully it doesn’t look as though the weather’s going to be that good for the next few days, so we probably wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere anyway.

Storage wars

Photo of the contents of the saloon cupboards waiting to be neatly stowed away

The contents of the saloon cupboards waiting to be neatly stowed away

One of the jobs I tackled this week was sorting the contents of the cupboards along the port side of the saloon.
Photo of our newly tidied cupboards

Our newly tidied cupboards

I pulled out all the stuff that had been randomly pushed into the shelving, sorting it into new plastic storage boxes, which I then labelled.

Hopefully, it will be so much easier to find things in them in future and pulling something out from the bottom won’t result in further items falling from the spaces into which they had been wedged 😊

I wish I’d thought to take a photo of the mess that was in the cupboards before I started, but I didn’t so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it really is so much better now 😊


While I was tidying the cupboards in the saloon, Phil decided to remove a double socket that was inside one of the lower cupboards and never used.

Removing the socket involved taking a cable out of the 240V fuse box.

Photo of Phil removing the unused double socket

Phil removing the unused double socket

He used the now redundant double socket to replace another one in the same room that hasn’t been working properly for some time.

Only one side of it was working and it’s in an important location so we really needed to be able to connect two plugs at the same time.

However, changing the socket somehow stopped it working altogether. It also knocked out the power to the water heater and the socket in the en suite head for our bedroom, which provides the power for the space heater.

He called our marine electrician, who was unable to get here until Friday.

In the meantime, we started the starboard engine or boiled a kettle to provide us with hot water.

The following day, Phil decided to have another go at getting to the root of the problem and started trying to trace wires from the fuse box and the sockets that were out of action, both of which proved impossible due to the crazy wiring system on Ravensdale.

Photo of Phil studying the 24V fuse box

Phil studying the 240V fuse box

It’s impossible to see where the wires go from the fuse box as they come down over the diesel tank in the engine room and immediately disappear into trunking that is out of reach.

Further investigations at the socket revealed that the positive and earth wires were obviously connected at the fuse box, but the negative side was not. He then returned to the fuse box to take another look and was over the moon when he discovered the cause of the problem.

The cable going into the fuse box had somehow got pushed too far in, presumably while removing the cable for the cupboard socket, so the screw was doing up on the plastic covering rather than bare wire.

And I was delighted that normal service was resumed after having to wash in tepid water on Wednesday morning.

Crabs, octopuses and other marine life

The prawn pot that we drop from Ravensdale’s bow hasn’t been catching much in recent months, but we've found more crabs in there over the past week and, on Tuesday, we discovered we'd caught a dogfish as well.

Photo of Phil with the dogfish that found its way into our prawn pot

Phil with the dogfish that found its way into our prawn pot

Photo of some of the crabs we took to The Aquarium

Some of the crabs we took to The Aquarium

We released the dogfish but kept the crabs as we'd said we would save them for the octopuses at The Aquarium.

As we were having difficulty collecting a bucketful, we asked the staff at The Aquarium if they wanted what we had so far and were told to bring them over.

We took them a bucket containing 13 crabs and they let us in to have a look around.

I was like a kid in a sweetshop.

I totally loved the displays and suddenly realised I was standing on a step meant for small children to get a better look at the rays and dogfish in a pond that’s made to look like Maryport harbour.

Photo of the dogfish and ray pond in front of a photograph of Maryport

The dogfish and ray pond in front of a photograph of Maryport

A notice nearby said it was OK to touch the rays, so I just had to try it and discovered their skin to be very rough.

Photo of one of the octopuses at The Aquarium

One of the octopuses at The Aquarium

All the displays were fascinating, but I especially liked the seahorses, the jellyfish and the conger eels, which were hiding in holes in rocks with their enormous heads poking out watching us watching them 😊

I can’t believe we’ve been here for almost 17 months and had not been to see the displays in the Aquarium until now despite visiting the building several times a week for coffee, lunch or breakfast and to buy bait from the onsite fishing tackle shop.

We were told that we can have another look when we bring more crabs for the octopuses, so the pot is down and I’m hoping it will fill up very soon.

I will definitely take my camera with me next time as the images I took on my mobile phone really aren’t up to much, but that isn’t going to stop me sharing a few more of them here 😊

Photo of jellyfish


Photo of conger eel

Conger eel

Photo of sea anemones

Sea anemones

Photo of Thornback ray

Thornback ray

Photo of another tank of sea anemones

Another tank of sea anemones

Photo of seahorses at The Aquarium

Seahorses at The Aquarium

Sunrises, sunsets and a rainbow

I’ve made a concerted effort to get out in time for the sunrise this week.

My first attempt was on Monday when sunrise was at 7.02am.

Photo of a fishing boat in Maryport harbour

A fishing boat in Maryport harbour

Photo of reflections on the still waters of Maryport harbour at sunrise

Reflections on the still waters of Maryport harbour at sunrise

And I was up and out for the sunrise again yesterday (Thursday) when it was at 6.54am.

Photo of Maryport lighthouse at sunrise

Maryport lighthouse at sunrise

Photo of Maryport pier at sunrise

Maryport pier at sunrise

Photo of sunrise over the Solway Firth

Sunrise over the Solway Firth

Sadly, on neither occasion did I get the full-blown sunrise I was hoping for, but at least there was a bit of colour to the sky.

I decided this week was my best chance of catching a sunrise without having to get up too early thanks to the clocks going forward at the weekend for British Summer Time (BST).

I managed to capture a half decent sunset over the marina on Sunday evening as, by the time I saw the sky changing colour, it was too late to go any further afield, so I grabbed a few snaps from Ravensdale’s aft deck and our pontoon.

Photo of sunset over Maryport Marina

Sunset over Maryport Marina

Photo of sunset from Ravensdale's aft deck

Sunset from Ravensdale's aft deck

And on Wednesday I dived out to photograph a rainbow that I spotted from the boat. Again, I had no time to go to a better location so just had to grab what I could get.

Photo of rainbow over Maryport Marina

Rainbow over Maryport Marina

Sunshine, showers and a chilly wind

This week has been another mixed bag where the weather is concerned.

On the good days, it has felt decidedly spring-like and, on Monday, I headed out for a walk in a short-sleeved T-shirt for the first time this year.

Photo of colourful graffiti on the ruins of an old building next to Maryport lighthouse

Colourful graffiti on the ruins of an old building next to Maryport lighthouse

We haven’t needed to put our heater on by day for most of the past week as the sun shining through Ravensdale’s large windows has kept the boat lovely and warm, even with the door wide open at times.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday were all lovely sunny days with very little wind. Just the sort of days that would normally have us thinking about heading out to sea, but this week it was not to be.

Photo of a calm, sunny day on the beach at Maryport with the Scottish hills in the distance

A calm, sunny day on the beach at Maryport with the Scottish hills in the distance

Photo of Maryport lighthouse in the sunshine

Maryport lighthouse in the sunshine

The highest temperature recorded locally on those three days was 7.5C (45F), but it felt much warmer and we enjoyed coffee breaks on Ravensdale’s aft deck in the sunshine.

It was still cold overnight on Sunday/Monday with the temperature dropping to 0.5C (32F) and it rained overnight on Monday/Tuesday.

Tuesday was a less pleasant day. It was overcast most of the day, with brief showers and average wind speeds of up to 22mph, gusting to 30mph.

Photo of a heavy sky over Maryport Marina

A heavy sky over Maryport Marina

The temperature went up to a daytime high of 7.6C (46F), but the westerly and northwesterly winds made it feel cooler.

We had rain overnight and Wednesday morning was overcast with occasional spits and spots of rain. The sun came out towards lunchtime with the temperature rising to 6.3C (43F). It felt cool but not cold.

Overnight Wednesday/yesterday (Thursday) was less cold than of late with temperatures falling to just 1.9C (35F) in the early hours of the morning.

Photo of early morning light on Maryport pier

Early morning light on Maryport pier

During the morning, we had sunny intervals with the odd light shower and the afternoon was cloudy with further showers.

The top temperature was 8.5C (47F), with a 16mph south-easterly wind. Today (Friday) is a lot cooler with the temperature so far peaking at 5.3C (41F) in a cool easterly wind.

Photo of Ravensdale early yesterday morning

Ravensdale early yesterday morning


  1. Just discovered your blog Sue! Love the photos!
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    1. Thanks Roy. Glad you enjoyed my blog and thanks for the info about Paintmyphoto.