Stabilizers, Fuel, and Chores in Gibraltar

Eric is starting to stress out about the Atlantic crossing. We were originally going to be here for only three days, leaving us lots of time in the Canaries to get things ready for the big crossing. Now, thanks to the stabilizer delay, it looks like we will only have a few days in the Canaries to get things ready. The “to do” list is long, and sadly, most of it is last minute stuff.

So, needless to say, yesterday and today have been chore days. The biggest and most important news is that ABT repair technician came today at about noon for the stabilizers. He was done by 1400. We now have a new hydraulic cylinder actuator. This time we had to pay, which is OK. We don’t think any other stabilizer manufacturer would have honored the warranty as long as ABT did, and we can’t blame them for deciding that after 23,000 miles the warranty is expired. But it was expensive at $3100 USD.

The other biggie was that after the technician left, we fueled up. Getting out of our oddly shaped spot was not easy, requiring a very tight U-turn. Thank God the wind was light. If the wind was strong we would have crashed into dock for sure.

The fuel dock in Gibraltar is big with a nice, long, easy to maneuver hose and a fast pump. Fuel was 95 cents USD a liter ($3.59 a gallon) and from what we can tell it looks to be super clean. In Gibraltar they don’t charge tax on the marine fuel. We took 3450 liters. After we paid for the fuel, our credit card spontaneously combusted.
Interestingly, road fuel is actually more expensive here since it is taxed.

Fortunately, the marina let us tie up to a different spot after fueling, one that is easier to get out of in general, especially in heavy winds. We pulled in next to a boat we had met in Salalah, and he immediately came over to say hi. He told us he was going to Gran Canaria, as well, and would be doing his crossing about the same time as us. He told us the reason he was lingering in Gibraltar was because there are no slips available in the marina for another 6 days. There is an Atlantic Rally Crossing event with a bunch of boats in it, all leaving in 5 days from the marina we were planning to go to. We feel much better about being delayed in Gibraltar now.

Here is a rundown of the rest of the projects we have worked on yesterday and today. First on the list was finishing up the water pump project. It has worked fine for the last two days, so Eric was feeling confident in mounting it and properly connecting up all the wiring. Mounting was easier than he had anticipated, only needing one new hole drilled to get it to work. Of course, with the right pump, mounting would have been as easy as turning a few screws.

We charged up spare batters for the Iridium phone and handheld radios, making sure they have maximum life capacity should something go wrong. We also got some more spare batteries for all the things in their ditch bag.

Eric patched the dinghy up.

We plotted our exact course from Gran Canaria to the Caribbean. After much debate, we chose a more northerly route in hopes of not hitting the trade winds, which is most unconventional.

We spent lots of time reorganizing, both to make room for Colin and to make the things more functional while at sea. After tons of shifting, we never did manage to make any room for Colin. But, we’re hoping things are more functional for sea life.

Then Eric went on a mad lighting frenzy. Our navigation light located about halfway up the mast went out on our last passage. Eric changed it, and while he was at it, changed all the other navigation lights, too.


Before we left San Diego, we had replaced about several of our interior overhead lights with LED’s. Nordhavn’s lights are hot, bright, and suck a lot of juice. The LED’s are dim, create no heat and use no power. We found the combo made for a nice mix of lighting and power consumption. However, it turns out the batch of LED’s we got were defective. There are several little tiny bulbs within each LED light, and one by one, the little bulbs flash like strobe lights, then burn out. As each little bulb dies, the overall light obviously gets dimmer, then the next one will start to flash”¦ Eric has been changing them out only when they completely burn out, but we have enough dim, flashing lights left to be easily mistaken for a nightclub. Eric decided he was over the disco look and changed out all the LED’s.

His new lighting appetite had apparently become insatiable. Nordhavn also put a bunch of reading lights all over the boat, which is a nice touch. But most of them have gone dead due to bad switches, not bad light bulbs. Eric suddenly decided those all needed to be fixed and went on a switch hunt. Switch, not witch. No luck, though. We have to continue to make do without reading lamps.

The only new thing we have tried is a classic Spanish soup called Picadillo Soup. It has a chicken broth base with pasta noodles, small pieces of chicken, ham, and egg, and topped with croutons. It tastes like chicken noodle soup.

2 thoughts on “Stabilizers, Fuel, and Chores in Gibraltar”

  1. Low voltage on LED’s cause the current to rise and the reistor that has not been sized for the higher current at lower voltage to fail. This issue is what kept LED lights out boats until recently. Same issue that may have caused your water pump failue. Are you sure your 12v battery bank is in good shape ?

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