Two steps forward one step back.

I guess the first explanation must be about the Hejira website which has been inaccessible since an attempt was made to delete it over Christmas. This is a long and complicated story but, thankfully, the attempt was thwarted and no real harm done. Hurrah! Diligent ‘backing up’ has enabled a phoenix to rise out of the ashes and I’m so pleased you’ve managed to find the new location. Welcome!


Picking up the story of the winter projects, John and I returned to progress the tank job on the 8th of January. John had fashioned a comprehensive array of packing pieces to support the two tanks in position and these and the necessary tools were arranged in three hold bags which we duly checked in at Gatwick. Unfortunately, only two arrived. The third containing much of the equipment and tools required for the proposed work was finally delivered by courier the night before we were due to return home – very frustrating and disruptive. The removal of the diesel tank had revealed two other problems which had vexed us for the preceding 6 years. Since the 2012 Northshore installation there had been a background diesel smell and it became clear that the drain plug was not ‘fit for purpose’. Northshore had supplied their own fittings (rather than have the tank manufacturer TekTanks supply the fittings) as a cost saving and not used a suitable plug. As a result there had been a continual minor leak. We have now been able to carry out a proper installation with the correct fitting and sealing compound. Another conundrum was also solved and it was even more damming of Northshore! We had ruminated on our Atlantic crossing over the problem that the Diesel Generator would cut out when the supply was switched to the port tank. In removing the fittings on the top of the tank in order to remove it, we discovered that incredibly, the ‘take off’ for the generator was from a ‘fill’ fitting that didn’t have a dip tube to the bottom of the tank so it was only ever sucking air. I despair! The close inspection of the diesel tank also revealed some black ‘blobs’ in the bottom with the largest the size of a squashed orange. Miraculously, using a rod with a hook fashioned at the end, I managed (I wish I had taken a photograph) to extract them all as they had the consistency of sticky jelly. I have always treated the diesel with biocide to combat the dreaded diesel bug so maybe I just took on some dodgy fuel somewhere on our travels.

The trip was not shaping up well and it didn’t improve when the forward heads became blocked with a tissue and I spent the whole day contorted into the bowels trying unsuccessfully to unblock it. It remains completely blocked. Then, I suffered food poisoning (or effluent poisoning) and was completely ‘poleaxed’ for 24 hours. Thankfully, John soldiered on with only sporadic and largely ineffectual assistance from me. He managed to complete the installation of the tanks so we left having achieved some progress but also knowing that there is still an awful lot to do – AND there remains the plumbing problem !

Tanks in place


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  1. Great to hear that the Tanks are installed. What a drama. I dread the thought of having to do that repair. Great that you are back to cruising. I have been obsessing over the issues of Winterising our boat and am determined to eliminate the need. The first big issue is to do with ball valves that can rupture when frozen in the off position. The issue is the “plug” of water in the ball expands with huge force and cracks the ball and or the housing. There is a solution supplied into the US and Canada where the problem is accute, and that is ball valves with a rupture plug on the side. I will be importing and trialling some of these on Auroa Leigh, and if necessary reverse engineering them in Aluminium Bronze. Stage one. Stage two is to reduce the number of through hull fittings. Stage three is to find an affordable auto valve closing solution so that we can shut the boat down from the hatch as we leave. I am thinking DC linear actuators at this stage, happy to hear of other ideas.

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