December 2016 - Malaysia

1 December 2016   Straits Quay Marina, Malaysia
Another run and then another day pottering about on board.  Glenys finished the bimini, while I did some small jobs.  In the evening, we went out for a Chinese meal with “Per Adua”, “Sea Monkey” and “Reverie”.

2 December 2016   Straits Quay Marina, Malaysia
After a late start, I removed the tachometer from the engine control panel and replaced the engine hour display.  This small LCD display is notorious for becoming dimmer until it is illegible and we’ve not been able to read the engine hours since we left Ecuador nearly three years ago.  Volvo’s solution is to sell you a new tachometer for over £500 and it took a lot of searching to find the £45 replacement display from a small Swedish company ( 

xxThe bubble in Glenys' eyexxx

It was a fiddly job, but only took an hour to strip down the tacho and put it all back together.  For the past three years, we have been estimating the engine hours each day and we thought that we’d done 3,727 engine hours, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that the actual hours are 3,691 - only 34 hours difference - not bad after several years of guessing.  I’m relieved because it means that I’ve been done the correct amount of 200 hour engine services.

In the afternoon, Glenys went for her second eye operation.  It all went okay, but she complained that it was stinging more than the other eye had done.  The doctor said that she had a little bit of bleeding and had to do a little extra work to stop the blood getting into her eye. 

I’ve been tasked with putting three sets of eye drops into her eyes four times a day.  As I was putting in her six o’clock eye drops, I noticed a 5mm disk floating in her in her eye, which moved about as she put her head back.  Was it an air bubble and her eye was leaking fluid? Or had the new artificial lens come loose?  Don’t Panic Mr Mannering… 

I rang the Eye Clinic, and after an anxious fifteen minute wait, they rang me back and told me that the doctor had deliberately put an air bubble in Glenys’ eye apparently to help seal off the incision and make the eye air-tight.  It would have been nice if they had told us before we panicked.

3 December 2016   Straits Quay Marina, Malaysia
Glenys went for a for an eye check-up.  Both eyes are healing fine and the doctor said that the air bubble in her eye would be absorbed after a few days.  

Glenys went back to the boat while I went to do a few errands.  I picked up our iPad from the repair centre.  They’ve found that the GPS is faulty, but want to charge over £100 to fix it.  We’ve had a few repairs done over the last two years and I reckon that it’s time to move on - I can buy a cheap Android phone for less than £100, which will be good enough to be a backup chart plotter.  

Rascal Bars

I walked back to the marina via a couple of hardware stores.  There are no big hardware stores in Penang - they are all small, mostly Chinese run shops, which are chaotic places, with narrow aisles lined with shelves packed with a jumble of things.  I only managed to find a couple of things off my long list.  In particular, I’m keen to get hold of some antifreeze/coolant for the generator, but the hardware stores don’t have any and neither do the petrol stations, so I’m at a loss where to buy some - it’s weird how some things are hard to get in each country.

We’ve been reading reports from cruisers who have recently crossed the Indian Ocean and there have been a number of robberies in various places with locals climbing on board yachts at night. Our strategy for handling these rascals is to prevent them getting inside the boat.  We are able to lock all our hatches, but we often have the aft cabin hatch open for ventilation while we sleep - this is obviously a weakness in our protection.

With this in mind, I’ve had a set of stainless steel bars made, which I fitted to our aft hatch this afternoon.  It’s a simple frame with two 10mm diameter pegs that slot into the wooden surround and two 10mm bolts that screw into holes on the other side of the surround.  It looks reasonably elegant and we’ll probably just leave it in place all the time now.

Having prevented rascals entering the boat, the next stage of our defence is to set off a siren and put on all the deck lights, hoping to scare them away.  If they get access to the inside of the boat, then we have two choices - let them rob us and hope they don’t beat us up; or try to defend ourselves.  For defence, we have Pepper Gel spray that will shoot 12 feet and a couple of 3 million volt hand-held Tasers for close up fighting, but it’s probably best to avoid troublesome anchorages. 

4 December 2016   Straits Quay Marina, Malaysia
Our mobile phone is a very old Android phone which won’t run modern applications like Uber-taxi and WhatsApp, so I thought that I’d try to install a later version of Android.  Five frustrating hours later, I’d failed completely, the phone had locked up and I’d lost the will to live…

In the afternoon, I serviced our 15hp outboard, stripping down the carburettor and fitting new seals. After reassembling it all, I had the engine running sweet.  Glenys had a quiet day recuperating.

5 December 2016   Straits Quay Marina, Malaysia
Glenys was feeling much better and her eye is settling down, so she pottered about doing some more sewing jobs, this time working on the sprayhood.   I had another go at upgrading our mobile phone, but eventually abandoned the attempt and went back to the original version of Android - a waste of eight hours of my life.

In the afternoon, I carried on servicing the outboard, changing the spark plugs, inspecting the electrics and cleaned out the rotting sound-proofing from the hood.  With the engine reassembled, I went out for a blast outside the marina and the outboard ran well at high revs.  Unfortunately, when I got back to the boat, the outboard wouldn’t run at low revs.  

Working on the carburettor

I suspected the fuel needle valve, so I removed carburettor again and cleaned the fuel reservoir, flushing out various ports with carburettor cleaner, but it’s still hard to start and won’t run at low revs - very frustrating.

6 December 2016   Straits Quay Marina, Malaysia
I spent the morning running a few errands - mainly buying some more carburettor cleaner.  The outboard was still playing up, so I removed the carburettor again and, while stripping it down, found that a ball bearing in the primer chamber had jammed in its spring.  I reassembled the outboard and it runs really sweet - thank goodness.

Flushed with success, I serviced our 2.5hp outboard, which has sat on the push-pit and not been started for the last 12 months.  I stripped down the carburettor, cleaned it and reassembled it; changed the spark plug and checked the electrics. The poor thing wouldn’t start, but after twenty minutes of fiddling, I managed to get it running.  It runs okay at both low revs and high revs, but is a bugger to start, so I’m going to have to have another go at it tomorrow.