October 29th, 2010

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October 29. In Svishtov with my usual Mazeltov

Friday, October 29th, 2010

The whole problem with the transmission has been solved. For some unexplained reason a large nut had come unscrewed on the flange that connects the transmission to my propeller shaft. It could have been caused by the shaft being too close to the nut and unscrewing it in reverse or the factory just did not have it torqued enough. I needed a 32 mm open end wrench/spanner to tighten this large nut in a very tight space between the nut and my propeller shaft.  The Bulgarians had me fixed up with this enormous wrench in 5 minutes. So, I am off to Galati again tomorrow morning. I might be able to reach Giorgiu by tomorrow and then I will consider a bus ride to Bucarest to find a church service that I can understand, for Sunday. I am right now “uptown” in Svishtov. From the water, see below picture, it looked like an uninteresting industrial city. Not so. It is oneof the three largest Danube ports in Bulgaria. The history of it traces back to the first century. After the Ottoman occupation had been defeated it lost much of its importance.  I like Bulgaria. The guys at the Harbor Master and the Immigration/Custom office were of a lot of help trying to be sure I got all the help I needed.

Thursday Oct 28. My Fiume Dolorosa?

Friday, October 29th, 2010

It was a beautiful crisp clear day. Saw White Pelicans. But the day ended very badly. Around 4.30 p.m. I had reached my intended anchorage at k.m. 647 the entrance to Vadim on the Bulgarian shore. The book had warned of shallows, so, I very slowly searched my way in. But the depth dropped too fast and the current pushed me further into trouble. I backed off right away but made hardly any back way. Then the shaft spun loose from the transmission, or worse, the transmission from the engine.

Fortunately there were hardly any waves andthe water was relatively calm. I called a MayDay. Back and forth with the Romanians and the Bulgarians. In the end the Harbor Master launch from Swistov, about 10 k.m. up river, came to the rescue. But they, just like my experience the night before Calafat, were not very expereinced in boat handling. And by coming alongside on the up current they pushed me even higher on the shallows. It was a jet boat, without a prop, thank God but they would have wrapped the tow rope around their prop, but very difficult to maneuver in the current. Then they would swing around in an enormous spurt and take a hard jerk on the tow line. The fair lead broke right off, my bow pulpit took a beating. I need todo a second check on the keel bolts that they are not seeping.

I just phoned the dealer of the new engine. I hope that there is no major repair job involved. I probably have to remove the transmission, right a way. It is a cold day, frost on the ground this morning. No heat in the boat. But it is sunny and dry. I can dress for that.

Wednesday, Oct 27 K.M. 650 Danube

Friday, October 29th, 2010

The daylight hours have shrunk much since September 11. From 8 a.m. till 5.30 p.m The day started out grey and dim then it rained and drizzled then visibility dropped to a couple 100 feet in a mist/drizzle next that nasty Easterly came up around 1 p.m.  The short waves had the boat hobby horsing slowing it’s progress.  Not exactly what the Danube travel brochure described, When I saw a decent potential anchorage around 3 p.m. I took it. With the current going east and the wind coming out of the East I had the same predicament as the night before I reached Calafat and I dragged anchor in the same storm conditions. I anchored from the stern this time and led the anchor rode through the wind vane support so that the rode would be far enough away from the transom hung rudder and not foul it. But the wind at times was still be stronger than the current and push the boat against the anchor chain.
But I believe I have found the solution. I set my Danforth spare anchor up on the bow, then slowly motored forward into the wind at the same time slackening the rear anchor line, then
quickly went forward and let the Danforth down. Then I winched the stern anchor back in. It works great.

Oct 26 1st On the road again

Friday, October 29th, 2010

I am at anchor at KM 739 43.50.50 N 23.16.40 E, just down stream from Lom, Bulgaria.
That is a 50 k.m. day. I did not get the anchor up in Calafat till 11.30 I went to check my mail at the O.K. Restauarant at 9 a.m. and to say good bye to the ladies who took such good care of me and to Claudio the manager. Christi came at 9.30 to have a farewell coffee with me. Last night we had a drink together at Neru’s pontoon, with Marian. Neru filled up my two 20 liter canisters with Diesel at a very reasonable rate. I decided to get a few clothing items for the cold weather at the local market. I did not bring much in the way of winter wear since I had expected to be in Turkey before the winter. Yesterday I bought warm training pants. Today I added two sets of tites, long underwear with feet. Two pair of warm socks. The market lady was so sweet and made sure I had the right sizes. Beautiful smile even though she is missing  a few teeth. Then I wanted something that just does not exist in even the most outrageously priced foul weather gear and that is an outer garment that is water proof after using it a couple times. So I ended up spending $ 8 on a knee lengths camouflage vinyl coat. Wait till I tie up at the  Saint Francis Yacht Club and walk in in my Romanian foul weather gear….  The sales man decided to try the one other language than Romanian he knew on me. Bingo!  Dutch. He had lived in Holland. His daughter works in a Wassenaar restaurant. All the other stall owners who by now had seen me every day in the market could not figure out how I could be in this lively conversation with one of them. He made sure that everyone around him was made aware that he can speak a totally weird language. He got a bit carried away when another potential customer asked him a question he answered him in Dutch…

I did not like the amount of vibration in the engine so, after the first few k.m.’s I put the anchor down and messed with the engine mounts once again for a couple hours. This has helped but it is not a permanent fix. What I had noticed when connecting the drive shaft is that I need to replace the cutlass bearing. There is a lot of play in the shaft. I have done this once before in 2004 and all the motoring has worn it down once again. Replacing the cutlass bearing needs to be done out of the water. The engine also kept losing rpm’s and then coming back. But that has worked it self out. I am keeping at just around 2000 r.p.m., which is probably around 65% of it’s capacity but it gives me 12 k.m.s. per hour, with the current and that is as good as the old engine could do. I need to run the engine in anyway and needs to stay at a modest speed. I like the fact that the block and the radiator keep the cabin nice and comfortable for a couple hours.