FPB 64-3 Iron Lady: Parked In Palmyra

The crew of Iron Lady, bellies still full of fresh Yellowfin tuna, have dropped anchor in Palmyra Atoll. Mark Fritzer reports:

We arrived in Palmyra this morning at 0600. Since the passage is open and inviting, we drove right into the interior of the island and set the anchor in 3M of water with a 3-1 scope. Our current location is 5°53.20N by 162°05.32W. The conditions are mild with a light wind out of the South. The sea temp has climbed to 86.8° F and the air temp a cool 91° F. The local scientists tell us they receive roughly 1/2” of rainfall daily and that seems to be about right.

This is an extremely beautiful place. We were met by the Nature Conservancy manager, Perry, and the local Fish and Wildlife officer, Meg, who gave us a briefing on where we can and cannot go, where to snorkel and general behavior while in the preserve. From the looks of it, they are all doing a fantastic job. The mandrake and palm grow right to the emerald sea with very little beach. We are going to walk out on the island we are allowed on this afternoon, and then join the local scientists and crew for a bonfire this evening on the one real sand beach there is.

The walk around Cooper Island was amazing. The island is teeming with wildlife, from many different crab species to spiders the size of a silver dollar. The Boobies are nesting and you have to be quiet and respectful when passing, as they eye you suspiciously from their nests. The black tipped reef sharks treat the shallow as a nursery and is full of baby sharks. Within 10’ of the shore, the reef is teeming with just about every variety of tropical fish you can imagine. Tomorrow we intend to do some snorkeling in the areas the locals are raving about.

We’ve had some feedback from Steve Dashew and Todd, who has been coordinating with Victron, about the behavior of the chargers when on generator power with the alternators charging simultaneously. Fortunately, we have the software and cabling on board to allow us to access the Victron Multiplus units and make changes while underway. We connected to the Multi’s through the Victron Ethernet adapter with a “straight” cable and MKII USB adapter. After spending an hour fiddling with the device drivers in Windows, I find I am still glad I made the switch to Mac a few years back, but I digress. Upon connecting to the Victron units we found a check box not checked that I believe we need to have checked, and that is “enable weak AC”. I believe that allows the inverter/chargers to connect to an AC waveform that is less than perfect. We are awaiting an email answer from Todd/Victron confirming this before we make changes to a working system.

Update: we received the confirmation email and made the changes this afternoon. In addition to checking the “enable weak AC” box, Victron suggests we set the charge curve to “fixed” and uncheck the box enabling “UPS function”. So far, the changes appear to have corrected the problem.

Since it was due, Steve and I then changed the main engine oil. I have heard that some of the earlier versions of Reverso pumps don’t have quite enough lift to prime, so it was interesting to see firsthand. It would appear the newer, “heavy duty” series currently being installed have the ability to prime at greater distances, and Pete will probably change his as the current model has a very hard time priming, when it primes at all.

One update on the fuel consumption figures I presented in my last email. The owner likes to run the boat a bit heavy and pay the price in fuel consumption, so we are running with the forward and aft fuel tanks being drawn down evenly. The forward water tank stays between 75 and 90% full. If we have a chance, I am going to see if we can drain the forward tank and make some comparisons.

Well, that’s it for now. It’s time to take a little swim…

Posted by admin  (August 26, 2013)

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