Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Taking a Break in La Paz

La Paz, Baja California Sur

We sailed from Isla San Francisco to La Paz in two hops, stopping in Ensenada la Gallena on Isla Espíritu Santo the night before last. There we were overrun by a swarm of bees who I feel took advantage of my good nature towards them. There were hundreds on the boat, maybe a thousand, landing on every source of moisture they could find.  One followed a drop of sweat down my back into my shorts. I slowly removed my shorts as I spoke reassuringly to the bee. I looked up and a tour boat of Mexican tourists had come by to admire Intermezzo. What they saw was a gringo with his pants pulled down seemingly talking to his perineum.  The tour guide quickly left at high speed.

After that, I didn’t leave the cabin until the sun went down and they flew off back to their hive.

Yesterday morning I got up at dawn when I heard a few bees buzzing about to get the hell out of Bee Town. By the time I weighed anchor, they were everywhere, on me, one in my ear, all on their never ending quest to find water. As they realized the boat was moving away from their home, they flew off, hovering for a moment above the boat as if to say goodbye. As much as they are a bother and took advantage of me, I still like them.

We arrived in La Paz late morning and dropped anchor in our usual spot.  I then set about trying to track down the stray current (ground fault, earth leak) that is eating up my propeller anodes at an astonishing rate. The testing procedure involves using a multimeter to measure voltage, resistance and current in circuits to find out if some electrons are escaping the boat into the water and, if so, from where. It took me a while to get my head around the theory and I kept on making mistakes while testing in the blazing hot sun.

This morning, I resumed testing in slightly cooler conditions and concluded that there was leakage from the engine electrical systems. Two possibilities eliminated.

Next I disconnected the two flexible solar panels that came with the boat and don’t seem to do anything so that I had one less device to worry about. Before I disconnected them, I measured their voltage output at only 1.5 volts. While  didn’t note the before condition, when I looked at the battery monitor after disconnecting the panels, the main solar panels were charging the boat at higher rate than I have ever seen before in similar conditions. It seems that the flexible panels weren’t just not generating any power, they were sucking it up. I’m glad to be rid of them. I’m hopeful that they might be the source of my stray current, though assigning any likelihood of this is beyond the limits of my knowledge of electricity.

Next I’ll measure the house battery system to see if I discover any leakage. That’s a more complicated diagnosis.

Meanwhile, Robin arrives this afternoon and I’ll be taking a break from my San Francisco Bash (and blogging) while she’s here for about a week.