Yesterday started a little earlier than most, I awoke to the sound of silence. The air conditioning in our room wasn’t working … well, the fan wasn’t running. Now, our AC has always been broken, since it never goes off … the thermostat doesn’t work, so it is either on or off. Now, this morning the AC was off :(. The last time our air conditioner messed up (last week), it was a cooling water pump bearing, which made a horrible screeching sound … So … almost 6A, and silence … better check it out :).
I went to the salon to find that the air conditioner was also off in there … ahh … progress, maybe we lost power. I check the breakers, and yep, the main breaker was off … I reset the breaker, but still no power … Oh, maybe it is out in the marina. I head outside (stopping to put on shorts) and find that the marina has power, but we don’t. Discovery is plugged into a pedestal, so I check the breaker in the pedestal … yep, breaker off … hmmm … I flip it on, to be rewarded with flames, a large pop and a interesting odor … the plug we are connected to is now on fire.
I unplug Discovery from the pedestal and now have to figure out if we caused the problem, … 615A, need coffee … but that needs power, so back onboard to try the generator. I switch everything off and get the generator running. I then turn on each load one at a time and everything goes great … phew, at least the electrical system on Discovery is still Ok. I make coffee and watch the sun head higher into the sky.
The pedestal on the dock is designed for superyachts, which take more power than we possibly could. This means that on the pedestal is a second 50Amp plug that I can use … maybe its just the plug. I switch plugs, put my coffee down and turn the breaker on … I am rewarded, with fire, pop and smell … I quickly turn off the breaker … ugh. Maybe it’s the cord.
I bring the cord onboard and get my tools out … I take the cord end apart to find some corrosion, but nothing that should have caused the problem. I now spend the next 45 minutes, cutting the end of the cable, stripping and putting the connector back together. At least I know that I have a “corrosion free” connection on my side.
I try the pedestal power without anything plugged in … to find that it still catches fire, make a pop sound and starts to smell … well, at least it isn’t us! It’s now almost 9A :(, no internet, no air conditioning, and kids starting to complain. I explain the problem to the marina office and ask them to configure another pedestal near us … you see, there really is no standard in the world for electrical power and depending on where the boat was built, it is either 50 or 60 hz, 120, 240, 380 or 480 volts, either 1 phase or 3 phase … so we can’t just plug in … we need the office to configure the plugs for 60hz, 240V, single phase. Almost 10A and we are back to normal, plugged in to a new pedestal.
In conversations with the marina guy and electrician I learned some interesting things … electricity on the island is very expensive (our bill for the boat for 1 month was higher than our home bill in Florida). I commented about that, and they laughed … they explained that a typical superyacht’s electric bill is over $1000/day … that’s $30k+ /month … wow!
I cleaned up my tools and hung out with Jack, taking measurement to see how many solar panels I could get on the boat … being told that electricity is more expensive in other islands, made me want to consider alternatives.
I take Jack and Genna to Phillipsburg with me to pursue a lead I got about cheap Kayaks … all gone :(. We head back to the boat and pick up everyone else and head out to lunch and explore a part of Marigot we had not been to before. Marigot is the capital on the French side. We find a parking spot by the Louis Marina and go for a little walk. The big attraction is the “mall” for the girls … which turns out to be 6 expensive boutiques … we walk into a little cafe and try to grab lunch.
The owner/chef, doesn’t speak English … he calls a dutch friend who speaks English and French … and between the lot of us, we get taught how to order what we want in French … he was very nice and we had a great lunch. Girls added 10+ words to their vocabulary and practiced them … we’ve found everyone here to be very helpful and it is so nice to watch the kids try to order in French, say merci, s’il vous plaît, and other things …
Back to the boat … I take Genna and Jack to Jiu Jitsu (or ninja training) and then head over to wait for Kate an Jaci who are doing their sailing lessons at the yacht club … although the morning started rough, the afternoon was shaping up nicely … watching the girls sail, while sitting at the sailing club having a cold beer … not bad.
Back to the boat and dinner time … Kate is performing at Topper’s tonight, so I volunteer to drive her to the dance studio (she likes to ride with the other performers) … a swing by work for an hour, then head out to watch her perform … She did great, got lots of compliments and entertained a large crowd … me beaming in the back with pride.
Back in the car, and home around 10P … tomorrow is another day, not sure it will be typical either.