Friday, 24 August 2018

Wi-Fi woes, troublesome leaks and a milestone birthday

Photo of Ravensdale at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK

Ravensdale at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK

Wi-Fi problems have made doing anything online very difficult over the past couple of weeks, which has been extremely frustrating.

They even stopped me ordering the card I wanted to get for Phil’s 70th birthday on Sunday

I had a personalised card set up to order online when the Wi-Fi dropped out and didn’t return until it was too late, so he had to make do with an off-the-peg card from the local card shop. Yes, I know I shouldn’t have left it to the last minute 😊

Despite the lack of a decent card from me, he enjoyed his big day, even if bad weather meant we were unable to take Ravensdale out for a birthday cruise on the Solway Firth in Cumbria, UK.

Meanwhile, he’s been busy trying to fix the last of the persistent leaks that started a few weeks ago when it rained heavily after a long, warm, dry spell.

My camera and our TV also chose this week to go wrong

Wi-Fi woes

The Wi-Fi here at Maryport Marina in Cumbria used to be good but has become progressively worse, so much so that we frequently lose it altogether and, even when we can get online, the connection is very poor.

Photo of me using my laptop in Ravensdale's dinette

Me using my laptop in Ravensdale's dinette

We’ve repeatedly reported this problem to marina staff, but the situation hasn’t improved.

Photo of the lowest broadband speed check reading on Tuesday

The lowest reading on Tuesday

We were getting so frustrated with it on Tuesday that, when I eventually managed to get online, I did a couple of broadband speed test checks.

The first one gave a download speed of 1.92 Mbps and an upload speed of 0.57Mbps.

The next test, just minutes later, gave a download speed of 0.54Mbps and, for uploads, the figure was 0.40Mbps.

The accompanying summary stated: “Your internet speed is very slow. Your internet download speed is very slow. Web browsing should work, but videos could load slowly.”

I took a screenshot of the two readings intending to email them to marina staff but was unable to do so because I then lost my connection again, so I wrote the figures on a piece of paper and took it up to the marina office.

We met the manager on the way there, gave her the note of the speeds and explained the problem.

Photo of today's broadband speed checker results

Today's broadband speed checker results

Her response was that she was too busy to deal with it that day and would look at it the following day.

We later spoke to the marina foreman about this and he tried rebooting the router.

Yesterday (Thursday) the Wi-Fi seemed to be a bit better than it was earlier in the week but was still not good.

The speed checker gave a reading of 5.49Mbps for downloads and 0.63Mbps for uploads. On this occasion, the summary stated: “Your internet speed is slow. Your internet connection should be able to handle one device at a time streaming a video. If multiple devices are using this connection at the same time, you may run into some congestion.”

But today (Friday) it's worse than ever with uploads showing as 0.09Mbps and downloads at 0.08Mbps. At the time of writing this, I have managed to get online but Phil is still unable to do so.

And the speed checker summaries about web browsing being possible at this speed are no comfort at all as it's looking at the Wi-Fi for the whole of the marina and advising on what it would provide for a domestic customer. In reality, there can be any number of people on boats and on the marina’s caravan site using it at the same time.

I’m just hoping I will be able to post my blog this week…

If you’re reading this, you will know I was successful 😊

The big “70”

Photo of Phil on a recent fishing trip

Phil on a recent fishing trip

Phil is now three score years and ten 😊

He reached this milestone on Sunday and a friend came to stay on Ravensdale to comfort him at this difficult time 😊

Only kidding, our friend and his dog, Sid, came to stay to celebrate with him.

It was a shame that the weather was pretty awful the whole time they were here as we'd hoped to take them out for a little cruise on Phil’s birthday, but it was not to be.

However, we went to Maryport Tandoori, the local Indian restaurant close to the harbour, for a meal on Saturday evening and had a fantastic time.

We hadn’t been there before, but we’d heard good reports about the place so decided to give it a go and we weren’t disappointed.

The food was delicious and, amazingly, so was the house wine. The men were drinking red and I had white and we were all very pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted.

We carried on drinking when we got back to the boat, but no one had any room for nibbles as we were all so full after our Indian feast.

We wished Phil “happy birthday” at midnight and he opened his presents and cards.

I had no idea what to get him – a problem we have every birthday and Christmas as we tend to just buy what we want when we want it.

So, I got him a new tablet as his other one had packed up on a recent fishing trip.

His best present was from our friend who presented him with a bottle of rum and a large wrapped box.

Inside the box, he found a new fishing reel and a wide assortment of fishing gear.

To be honest, it looked as though our friend, who knows nothing about fishing, had taken part in a trolley dash in a fishing tackle shop 😊

Photo of Phil with his fishing-themed birthday present

Phil with his fishing-themed birthday present

He told us he’d gone into the shop and explained that he wanted a present for a friend who goes sea angling from a boat.

The assistant asked where Phil was fishing and how much our friend wanted to spend, then packed up an assortment of useful gear.

Phil was delighted and spent ages going through it and sorting it all.

Most of it was either stuff he already uses or things he’s looking forward to trying, but there are a couple of items that he’s still trying to identify. No doubt one of his fishermen friends here will be able to enlighten him 😊

It was lovely to have our friend to stay again and I enjoyed the opportunity to have a cuddle with his dog.

Photo of me having a cuddle with Sid

Me having a cuddle with Sid

Troublesome leaks

We’ve had plenty of rain this week and discovered that we still had water coming into the shower from the aft deck despite Phil sealing around the door/window frame and drilling new drainage holes in the metal channel in which the door runs.

Photo of Ravensdale's aft deck near the door

The water was coming in on the port side of the aft deck near the door

He was considering lifting the section of teak decking next to the door to see what was happening underneath it but decided to try removing and replacing the black caulking in that area before taking the drastic measure of lifting the timber.

He removed the old caulking and pressed new into the joints.

This has been left proud of the teak and needs to cure for 48 hours before it can be chiselled off and sanded.

We’re really hoping this has done the trick as it has rained since and, as yet, no water has made its way into the shower.

We also discovered that water was still coming in at the bottom of the window at the back of the dinette after Phil had sealed all the way around it.

And, just when we thought we were getting on top of the leaks, we discovered water in the forward cabin while getting ready for our friend’s visit.

Photo of Phil replacing the window trim on the port side dinette window

Phil replacing the window trim on the port side dinette window

Photo of one of Phil's birthday cards

One of Phil's birthday cards

However, the window that runs across the back of the dinette extends into this cabin so it’s probably the same leak rather than a new one, but we weren’t aware water had been getting in at that end of the window.

Phil has sealed all the joints around this window again and removed and replaced some damaged window trim in that area so hopefully the leak has now been fixed.

I guess the next torrential downpour will tell us whether Ravensdale is now properly watertight again.

This birthday card Phil got from his twin brother, Len, seemed rather appropriate given our experiences on Ravensdale in recent weeks 😊

But we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’ve reached the end of the leaks now…

The death of our TV

Sadly, our TV - bought new when we moved onboard Ravensdale in November 2016 - packed up on Phil’s birthday.

Photo of our old TV during the England v Croatia World Cup semi-final

Our old TV during the England v Croatia World Cup semi-final

It mysteriously turned itself on while we were out for a walk with our friend and his dog on Saturday afternoon.

We turned it off and didn’t touch it again until after our friend had left on Sunday afternoon when it started flashing on and off, then wouldn’t come on at all.

Phil checked the aerial and the leads, but nothing made any difference. It appeared to have died.

He then checked out the fault online and discovered that it was likely to be the main board, so we decided it would be better to replace it than to pay for it to be fixed.

Fortunately, Phil had downloaded a couple of films onto his laptop while we had a Wi-Fi connection in case we lost it and couldn’t get Netflix, so we watched one of them on the laptop on Sunday evening.

On Monday, we went shopping for a new 32” television.

We ended up with exactly the same make and model as the last TV as it was the only one we could get in the right size with the features we wanted.

And, this time, we paid for the five-year extended warranty 😊

Growing swan family

Photo of one of the three cygnets that regularly visit Maryport Marina

One of the three cygnets that regularly visit Maryport Marina

The cygnets are beginning to get their white feathers now and are always very hungry.

They’ve been regular visitors to Ravensdale again this week and, when the marina gate closes and they get shut in, they turn up almost hourly looking for more food - and sometimes more often than that 😊

They’ve also become much more confident.

We measure out their food in a plastic beaker and one of the parents and one of the cygnets peck at the edge of the beaker to get me to tip it into the water.

Sometimes their beaks peck the side of my hand while trying to get to the beaker, but it doesn’t hurt at all.

Photo of one of the swans pecking at their food beaker

One of the swans pecking at their food beaker

And Phil had the adults and cygnets happily drinking from the hosepipe while he was holding it for them on Tuesday evening.

Photo of the cygnets drinking from our hosepipe

The cygnets drinking from our hosepipe

Other marina wildlife

Photo of a starfish underwater on the marina wall

A starfish underwater on the marina wall

While walking from Ravensdale to the marina facilities, we spotted a starfish on the harbour wall at the bottom of the ramp.

Photo of the tiny spider crab we caught in our prawn pot

The tiny spider crab we caught in our prawn pot

I decided not to disturb it so went and got my camera and tried to photograph it in situ.

The photos are not as clear as I would've liked as they were taken through the water. It seems I also captured another sea creature in the image above, but I have no idea what it is.

We still put our prawn pot down to catch crabs as fishing bait and to see what else is living in the water under our boat.

And, among the usual shore crabs and a couple of small whiting, we found a small spider crab, sadly minus a couple of legs and one of its claws.

We’re also told the otters have been seen again this week, but we haven’t seen them ourselves. Apparently, they were munching on fish at the opposite end of the marina to where our boat is moored.

Camera problems

I haven’t really been out for any proper photography walks this week, partly due to the weather and partly due to my camera having to go away for repair ☹

But I have taken a few shots while out for other reasons, such as our walk on the beach with our friend and his dog on Saturday.

Photo of waves on the shore at Maryport

Waves on the shore at Maryport

Photo of the view looking towards the Iggesund Mill at Workington

Looking towards the Iggesund Mill at Workington

Photo of another view of the shore at Maryport

Another view of the shore at Maryport

Photo of a turnstone on the beach at Maryport

Turnstone on the beach at Maryport

Sadly, my camera has gone wrong again and this is the one that was bought to replace the one that went wrong before (I hope you managed to follow that 😊)

The shutter jammed on my last camera, so we replaced it in May and the replacement is now refusing to focus when the lens is parallel to the ground or higher. If I point it downwards, it works.

At first, I thought it was a lens problem, but it’s now doing this with other lenses that work perfectly well on Phil’s camera, which is the same model as mine, so we’re thinking it could be a problem with the connection between the camera and lens.

Anyway, it was still under warranty, so I’ve sent it back for repair or replacement.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping Phil will let me borrow his from time to time…

Weather watch

Subtropical storm Ernesto was expected to bring torrential rain and gale force winds to the UK last weekend, but it didn’t really affect us here.

It was wet and very windy last Friday with similar weather over the weekend, but the wind speeds were a bit lower on Saturday and Sunday.

The wind became stronger during the day last Friday. The average wind speed peaked at 24mph, gusting 33mph, and it started lashing down with rain at about 4pm.

Saturday was windy with a mixture of sunshine and clouds. There was a damp feel to the air and the top temperature was 16.1C (61F) at 5pm. The highest average wind speed recorded locally was 18mph.

Photo of waves being whipped up by the wind on Maryport shore on Saturday afternoon

Waves being whipped up by the wind on Maryport shore on Saturday afternoon

It then rained overnight and was wet first thing on Sunday. It remained cloudy until late afternoon when the sun came out and the wind dropped. The highest daytime temperature was 18.6C (65F), with a top average wind speed of 21mph.

We had a damp but fairly calm start to the day in Maryport on Monday with fine, drizzly rain. The wind dropped still further, but it remained overcast and damp. The top average wind speed was just 6mph and the temperature reached 17.4C (63F). We considered going out fishing but decided it would not have been pleasant in the drizzly conditions.

Photo of calm water in Maryport Marina on Monday afternoon

Calm water in Maryport Marina on Monday afternoon

Tuesday started overcast becoming brighter as the day went on. However, the wind picked up during the day from 3mph at 7am to 19mph at 5pm. The highest temperature recorded locally was 17.1C (63F).

Wednesday was a day of sunshine and showers with the emphasis on showers, but it brightened up later in the day. The temperature peaked at 16C (61F) and the average wind speed reached 17mph.

We woke up to heavy rain yesterday (Thursday) morning and it felt considerably cooler than of late. It rained on and off throughout the day clearing up later in the afternoon to give a sunny evening. The temperature only reached 14.9C (59F) with a top average wind speed of 17mph, gusting 29mph.

Photo of Maryport shore when the sun came out yesterday (Thursday) afternoon

Maryport shore when the sun came out yesterday (Thursday) afternoon

And, It was very windy overnight last night (Thursday/Friday) with average wind speeds of up to 29mph, gusting 37mph.

We had a very heavy downpour, then hailstones first thing this morning (Friday) followed by sunshine and heavy showers. The high winds are continuing with average wind speeds up to 26mph and gusts of up to 37mph.