KatieKat 2004 Cruise Chapter Two

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GoBackTo 2004 Cruise Chapter One
8 February 2004 Marina Battery Excitement
29 February 2004 Tassie Tourists (brief)
22 February 2004 Melbourne Tourists
29 February 2004 Ferry and Tassie Tourists
GoFwdTo 2004 Cruise Chapter Three

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8 February, 2004 -- Marina Battery Excitement

At 0630 a very pronounced WHUMP reverberated through the marina - you could feel it and thus it was definitely more significant than simply someone's hatch cover slamming down. Heads popped up out of all the occupied boats and we gradually narrowed the search to an unmanned catamaran nearby. One of the neighbors had the keys to it and, sure enough, upon opening it, a residual vapor cloud emerged. After opening all the boat's hatches and aerating the boat, the culprit was uncovered: one of its large batteries had exploded! We disconnected the other batteries and lifted the remains up from the pool of acid - the batteries sit in a well which captured all the acid! The catamaran's battery compartment appeared undamaged and one of the neighbors graciously sponged and washed out everything after we brought out the other two batteries (the owner is overseas).

[Exploded Battery] Battery after it had exploded. Happily, this battery was NOT on KatieKat but on another boat.

Now, I'm one of those people who had, in the past, poo-poo'd such a possibility, but was now confronted with the evidence. First of all, the battery case had exploded but there was no evidence of fire, leading one to suspect an excessive internal pressure buildup and not a hydrogen explosion (which, I suspect, would have had far more drastic consequences). This pressure buildup shouldn't happen, as all batteries are supposed to be vented (even 'Maintenance Free' batteries). Now, shorepower was disconnected, so there was no shorebased power source and it was too early in the morning for the solar panels to be putting out anything significant. A quick check of the the battery voltages showed that this blown-up one still had 12.5 volts across it, but the other two read 11.1 and 12.6 volts. All three batteries were hooked up in parallel. Hmmm. I speculate that perhaps the low-voltage battery had developed a shorted plate and the other two were trying to pump current into that one which could generate a fair amount of heat and outgassing in all three but the battery that blew up perhaps outgassed faster than its vent holes could handle. I dunno, but most unpleasant to contemplate that happening on one's own boat. Since battery size is often dictated by space available and simply by what one can manhandle into position, then here's a strong case for installing two high-capacity 6V batteries and running them in series instead of two similarly-sized 12V batteries and running them in parallel (for the same total ampere-hour capacity). I have a mix of 6V and 12V batteries on KatieKat and hope to soon be discussing the entire topic of electrical self-sufficiency on board.

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29 February 2004 - Tassie Tourists

By early February we had a dilemma: we had wanted to sail down to Tasmania for the summer, but were running short on time as we need to return to California in late March and do our (expletive deleted) taxes. With afternoon thunderstorms all along the coast, I didn't relish the prospect of dodging them with KatieKat (I've had enough lightning, thank you) ... but with Brisbane temperatures predicted at 42degC (108degF) I also wasn't about to hang around there. We wimped out and flew down to Melbourne, spent a few days there, and then took a ferry across Bass Strait and are now touring Tasmania by car. We're presently in the Hobart area and are re-visiting our old haunts. We drove up to Lake Peddar and Gordon Dam this morning (29th) and there was fresh snow on the surrounding peaks!!

[Kathy Joe Ferry] On the ferry about to leave Melbourne - hey, I know I've always been a prime candidate for the clothing makeover show, but it was cold and I'm wearing all the clothes I brought down with me!

I'm not about to bore you with more typical tourist snapshots, but if you like steam trains like I do then here's a shot:

[Steam Train] ABT steam train leaving Queenstown.

'Nuff, already. Hope to find a phoneline to borrow so I can upload this to the website.

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A Digression

Over time, I've come to realize that this website is an incredible open diary of our life. Whereas the original focus of this website was to provide family and friends with an ability to keep up with us, my not too-hidden agenda was to communicate with the sailing community and give prospective multihull cruisers an insight into that lifestyle.

Recognizing that we have barely sailed the boat in the last few months and, instead, have been sightseeing Australia, I'm including just a few from the hundreds of snapshots we've recently taken - this will continue our chronology uninterrupted. Now, I personally find vacation snapshots incredibly boring and thus ask my sailing friends to ignore this stuff for now, as I do intend to include meatier technical boat-related writeups in the future.


Backtracking a few days...

22 February 2004 - Melbourne Tourists

From Brisbane we flew down to Melbourne to escape the heat and stayed in a popular seaside suburb called St. Kilda.

[Exposed Garage Door] This photo of garage doors without a garage is either a tribute to a persistent salesperson or the ingenuity of a designer who recognized a need and filled it. This concept struck my funnybone.

[Kathy Pastry Shop] Pastries to die for! Eating some of them has undoubtedly shortened our life span.

[Victoria Market Facade] [Polish Deli]

The Queen Victoria Market is a bustling feature of Melbourne. Among the hundreds of stalls and shops was a very popular Polish Deli. That's an exhausted Kathy's face in the lower right-hand corner.

[Joe Ferrari] [Ferrari Suspension]

I was sure impressed by the number of beautifully-made and finished carbon-fibre components in this Ferrari. The Formula 1 races were going to be held soon, and the hoopla surrounding this event was evident all around town. Fun!

[Kathy Seawind] [Seawind Sea Magic]

Walking along the St. Kilda pier, what should we spot but a Seawind 1000 like ours! Couldn't resist taking a photo of Sea Magic

[Luna Park Entrance] [Luna Park Kathy] [Luna Park Roller Coaster] [Luna Park Description]

Luna Park in St. Kilda has an interesting roller-coaster connection with Coney Island.

[Kathy Plane Drawing] [Plane Description] [Plane Description]

Among the many places we visited near Melbourne was the RAAF museum. The wartime design/development schedule for this airplane is incomprehensible by today's standards.

[Kathy Point Lonsdale] We drove out to Point Lonsdale to see where our ferry to Tasmania would be going out through the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. A number of commemorative displays lined the cliff.

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29 February 2004 - Ferry and Tassie Tourists

We took the ferry across from Melbourne to Devonport in Tasmania on 22 February. We first went to Marrawah on the northwest corner, and then drove a wiggly route down the west coast to Hobart.

[Map of Tasmania] Tasmania, from the Spirit of Tasmania ferry brochure.

[Kathy Ferry Breakfast] Sleepyhead on the ferry before her first cup of coffee.

[KathyJoe Table Cape] Table Cape is just one of many lovely areas on Tasmania's north coast.

[Duck Amongst Seagulls] In Smithton, this duck was having an identity crisis.

[Cradle Mtn Sign] [Boathouse] [Cradle Mountain Lake]

Dove Lake beneath scenic Cradle Mountain is sure pretty.

[Tullah Lake] Tullah Lake on the West Coast is just one of those formed when dams were built for hydroelectric projects. We stayed at a lodge above this picturesque lake.

[Joe Shaving] For about the fourth time in recent years I had started to grow a beard, but was amazed at the difference in people's attitudes when one looks, uh, scruffy. Anyway, Kathy thought it was a little too rough...

[Panorama] Above Queenstown is a hill named Spion Kopf, from which we took this photo. The countryside had been ravaged and permanently scarred by mining, the scenery reminiscent of Virginia City in Nevada.

[Steam Locomotive] Another photo of the steam train in Queenstown.

[Conservatory] Kathy loved the Conservatory at Hobart's Botanical Gardens.

[Gordon Dam] [Gordon Dam] [Gordon Dam] [Gordon Dam] [Gordon Dam]

Gordon Dam is spectacular, especially when you see how thin the wall is. Note the "adventure" climber being lowered down the face. No thanks!

To be continued...

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