Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Our heater is dead... and the marina has problems of its own

Dex snuggled up under his blanket

More than 10 days after the heater broke down on our boat, we are still without a proper heating system.

And we have no real idea when normal service will be resumed.

Our powerful Eberspacher heater, which kept us so warm for the first couple of months living onboard Ravensdale, packed up on Thursday January 5 and we took it to the agent in Carlisle for a service the following day.

On Wednesday of last week, we got a call from the agent to tell us our heater could not be repaired as it was obsolete so the parts were no longer available – not what we wanted to hear L

Dex claims the seat nearest the heater

This left us with no choice but to buy a new heating system, which would cost us thousands of pounds that we had not reckoned on spending. However, we have since decided that it was probably the best thing that could have happened as, once our new Webasto heater is installed (hopefully sometime in the next couple of weeks), we will have a new, more efficient system that should last us for many years to come.

We have been very fortunate that the weather has been relatively mild for the time of year, but we have had a couple of nights when we have been cooler than was really comfortable and we ended up watching TV wrapped in blankets to keep warm.

While we wait for our new heating system, we were using two portable electric heaters and the heat supplied by dehumidifiers, which we worked out cost us about £30 for the first week.

The cooker doubles as our main heat source while we wait for our new heating system

We are now leaving the gas cooker on and door open when we are cold and it has definitely reduced the electricity consumption, but will obviously mean we will have to buy more gas sooner than would otherwise have been the case.

Dex seems to be happy enough, despite the cooler temperatures on board as long as we wrap him up in a cosy blanket when we put him to bed at night.

Just hoping we will get a delivery date for our new heater soon, preferably before temperatures start to fall again.

Sunset at Whitehaven Marina

Plotting a passage for homework

Meanwhile, we are spending three hours a day, three days a week on Keith Morgans’ much warmer boat in Whitehaven Marina for our yachtmaster course.

This week, we have mostly been learning about navigation and plotting a passage using marine charts. It certainly seems strange being set homework again after all these years :-) 

Very low water at Maryport Marina on Monday morning

The most dramatic occurrence this week was waking yesterday morning to discover the water level in the marina was considerably lower than usual.
The lower section of the harbour wall that would normally have been underwater was covered in stinking mud and the access ramp from the marina facilities to the pontoons was extremely steep.

The steep climb up out of the marina

We soon discovered the reason for this – a cable in the gate that controls the water level in the marina had snapped so the water drained out down to the level of the sill between the marina and the outer harbour.

Thankfully there was still enough water in the marina for Ravensdale to remain afloat and amazingly we still have a TV signal even at low tide, despite being much lower down behind the wall than usual. We have no idea how this is even possible, but we're not complaining :-)

The swans attempt to find their way into the marina

Yesterday morning, two swans that spend a lot of time in the marina appeared to be confused by the situation and were sitting on the outer side of the sill trying to work out how to get in.

One swan solves the puzzle

After swimming up and down their side of the sill several times, one discovered that, with a few flaps of its wings, it could get up onto the sill and off the other side. The other then followed suit. Presumably they left again when the tide came in sufficiently to cover the sill again.

Work to repair the cable began yesterday and was continuing as we set off for Whitehaven for our course today.

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