Life at the end of the road

December 20, 2016

A ferry nice meal :-)

Rumour had it that today (Monday) was gonna be a ‘pure peach’,


I kinda had my doubts as I left Sonas feeling rather ‘chipper’. It was pishing with rain at 6:30 and the clear sky promised showed little sign of appearing on the 30 minute drive to work. I was on great form cos I’d been to the ‘works do’ last night and these things are inevitably accompanied by headaches and much vagueness the ‘morning after’. Not this Monday though, for I’d been ‘a good boy’ and the dedicated driver Smile 

The evening meal and bash at Raasay House  had been exceptional and a good time was had by all.

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The special menu they’d put on for us was first class and even the Christmas pudding my wife had looked good Smile I hate Christmas pudding Smile


Me, I had the steak, not something I usually do on account of rarely ever having a good one. Methinks I’ve been spoiled by home grown pork and venison but I usually try one occasionally, if I’m in a hotel at my employers expense, though it’s inevitably the last thing I do try after a week or so of the same menu. It’s generally the most expensive item on there and seldom lives up to expectations. The rump I had last night however was just right, most ‘rare’ ones I’ve had are usually overcooked, this one was still wriggling Smile Just how I like it Smile

A very busy day


A sign of the sun over Crowlin, Sunday morn, the first brightness I’ve seen for a while and the only daylight I see on my daily commute whilst working at this time of year.

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Raasay’s east side and the white sandstone cliff south of Brochel.

The normal ‘laid back’ Sunday was anything but, as Christmas day is next Sunday it meant double the number of drills on this one. So, as well as doing both anchors and the rescue boat launch we did a full blackout and recovery. I gotta say I just love blacking the ship out, though it’s actually quite hard to do intentionally. Well it should be shouldn’t it, after all the boat is diesel electric so when you ‘pull out the plug’ it stops Smile

The blackout

First thing you gotta do is move from ‘Hybrid’ mode to ‘DG’ mode cos it’s impossible to black the ship out when the batteries are ‘online’.

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So here we are just on one DG on the left screenshot, then I hit the ‘start all DG’s’ button. This brings all three DG’s online very quickly bypassing the ‘power management system’ and leaving them ‘on the board’ independent of load. You would only really do this in a SHTF moment but we test the function monthly.

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Next test is to check the Emergency Stops on each of the three DG’s and this is when the blackout will occur, as soon as the last one stops.


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Not totally dark as the emergency and transitional lighting remains on and within a minute the Emergency generator will be online. In it’s regular mode ‘Emergency’ the EDG will start up automatically as soon as it senses no voltage on the main ‘AC bus’. If in ‘Harbour Mode’ it will not, but when started manually will continue feeding the entire ship via the ‘Feeder’ a breaker that opens automatically if voltage is lost on starboard switchboard.

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Then, just for good measure I go and activate the emergency stop on the EDG Smile Turning the EDG’s battery off at the same time, thus preventing it from restarting once the stop is reset. This gives me the opportunity to do another monthly check, the EDG hydraulic start. The EDG has an accumulator below it which is pumped by hand to around 200bar, enough to start the EDG with its secondary hydraulic starter twice. Now this test is not the top of my list on pleasurable experiences cos it seems to take about ten minutes of hard pumping by hand to bring it back up to pressure afterwards Sad smile 

Once it has restarted though I then start to reset everything manually even though the ship can do much of it automatically. Again, running and synchronizing the DG’s and drives is part of the monthly maintenance so it’s good to do it all in at once. Inevitably there are a few wee glitches on the way back to full functionality, but that’s why we keep doing it Smile

Pumps and sensors

So that was Sunday, Monday was a busy enough day,



though it barely got light until 10:00 the cloud was so thick with no sign whatsoever of XC’s predicted sunshine Sad smile


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First job was changing a couple of pressure sensors, one on a fire pump and another on one of the Volvo’s. The fire pump one had failed during yesterday’s routine maintenance checks and the Volvo one because they’re carp!! Seriously these things are around £300 each and have been changed on all three DG’s, this one twice!! The last time in July!!! you would think at ten times the cost of one for Ford Fiesta they’d at least make them robust. You can bet the Mexican that made them saw precious little of the money. The German made fire pump one was less than half the price and even that’s a rip off for what it is, a simple 4 to 20mA sensor used for thousands of industrial processes.

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Next job was ‘Auxiliary drive cooling pump 1’ in the aft prop room, it had developed a slight leak so I decided to change the seal.

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Sadly that turned out to have a bit of damage on the sealing part of the shaft so it’s very much ‘work in progress’ at the mo. It’ll be interesting to see what Desmi want for a replacement shaft Smile

Better lash everything peeps

The forecast isn’t half as bad as they were saying yesterday but it’s still pretty grim for the festive period. The 80MPH gusts of Christmas day have been revised downwards to a mere 60MPH. Even Friday and Saturday aren’t looking quite so bad now, but as it stands at the moment I’ll be telling my son to come home on Thursday instead of Friday. Today, Tuesday aint looking great either and I’ve been awake since 3:30 worrying about our caravan getting blown away over Christmas. So, methinks I’ll just finish me cuppa and go and attach the Land Rover to it Smile



  1. Why not put the caravan in the workshop over Christmas to stop it blowing away?

    Comment by Steve — December 20, 2016 @ 7:25 am

    • Why not put the caravan in the workshop over Christmas to stop it blowing away?

      Not so easy Steve but Barbara has now passed without incident at Sonas and I don’t think Conner is as ‘hormonal’ 🙂 Was pretty scabby at the sowf end and I’m hearing the power was off for a few minutes too 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 23, 2016 @ 11:14 pm

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