Pendana’s World Trip Update #2
Pendana’s World Trip Update #2. I was planning on doing another blog post our trip north to the Gold Coast but to be perfectly honest there is simply too much going – and, as such, another download (for what it’s worth) was required.
Firstly, I must say that photographing boats is not always the easiest thing in the world to do, especially when their super structure is white making light reflection a real issue. The glare this causes is, well let’s just say that sometimes, it can be a little extreme. That being said, after numerous attempts, a little patience together with a tad of inspiration thrown in from Steve D’Antonio, I was able to capture this photo of Pendana at anchor in Sydney Harbour just the other day.
Pendana at rest in Sydney Harbour.
We recently spent eight days in multiple locations in and around Sydney Harbour as soon we won’t have the opportunity once we exit Australia for distant lands. Now, lets me say that I am a pretty careful chap when it comes to anchoring and ensuring distance off measurements are precise however, I always seem to be the one boat anchored further away than anyone else. So, as we approached Chinaman’s Beach, I was hell bent on making sure we got closer than usual for a change.
Chinaman’s Beach, Middle Harbour, Sydney.
As we approached the anchorage I measured once, twice and three times as I wanted to position Pendana close enough in that if our anchor chain was pulled hard the stern of the boat would still be floating with 1 metre/3.28ft of water left under her keel. All going to plan, Claire lowered the anchor in the precise location and we set the anchor as per normal practice. We went about the rest of the day feeling happy with ourselves that we were now not the lonesome boat, anchored miles out all alone!
As one day turned into two, we were enjoying our time in this location and the sense of being close to land. The girls went swimming and Claire and I relaxed. Interestingly enough, the latest forecast, predicted, called for 30kts from the east which would mean my maths on the anchor chain length and distance off was going to be tested.
As the winds started, both mine and Claire’s anxiety increased with every knot of wind that increased. Pendana slowly but surely swung from a southerly aspect to an easterly aspect and with every degree of wind Pendana’s stern edged closer and closer and closer and closer to shore.
Still a respectable distance off.
As the wind started to creep up from 5 to12kts Pendana slowly responded and moved her position (overtime) which was reflected from within the anchor circle. I fired up my Splashtop App and the IPad so that I could make sure all was good and could keep a close eye on things from the Salon rather than running up and down to and from the pilothouse.
IPad above with Splashtop App running.
Haven’t heard of Splashtop? Well, Splashtop Streamer is a great little App that lets you share and I might add, take control of any device over a wireless network. Splashtop is the fastest, easiest way to access anything on your PC or Mac from any computer or device, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Kindle and Blackberry and what’s more simple enough that even I can manage it! If you want more info then go to http://www.splashtop.com/personal.
In my defence and before I am labelled a worrier, let me show you what the view actually looked like from the pilot house after the wind had touched on 27kts and our anchor chain was at full stretch. The photo below is correlated with what my eyes were actually seeing from the rear window in the Pilothouse. Emm I’m thinking way too close!
Starting to feel very uneasy.
Claire and I were transfixed on the shoreline while I kept thinking, my maths is right, my maths is right, until out of the corner of my eye I saw a boat dragging its anchor and go whisking by. I then realised that any slip, drag or other issue with our ground tackle (anchor and chain) and we were goners. Being so close to the shore we simply would not have time to react fast enough to prevent impact. With that, Claire and I both looked at each other and said, Lets go!
As reported in the last blog Abi, our 14 year old recently sat and passed her boat and Jet-Ski license test and as such was keen to get some training on Pendana’s tender. I must say that she took to it like a duck to water or duck to boat in this case and after several training sessions she was docking the tender with ease and authority of a seasoned boater. Emergency stops, anchor deployment, heavy traffic – even me turning the battery off as she was motoring along didn’t faze her.
As I prepared to de-board the tender and set her free there was a very real feeling of sheer terror at the thought of all that could go wrong. That said, experience is the greatest teacher so there was no getting around it and as I cast her lines she set off into the sunset! Ok no sunset but you get where I am coming from.
The moment of truth fast approaching.
…and with that Abi, took off and for her first time was on her own and master of her own destiny.
Abi handling the tender all on her own.
Now, onto preparation for the trip, and a few items we have purchased to make life at sea easier and safer. The first item that we felt necessary to have was a defibrillator. As you would know, Pendana carriers two large and very comprehensive medical kits with just about everything required to perform open heart surgery. As such, we felt that on the medical side the only thing that we should carry that we didn’t have was a defib unit. After much research we ended up with the ZOLL AED Plus which is the world’s first and only Full-Rescue Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) that instructs the rescuer with both CPR and defibrillation. The AED Plus supports the complete chain of survival and provides defibrillation, step-by-step CPR instructions and Real CPR help feedback on compression rate and depth to help rescuers provide the best manual CPR possible. Importantly the unit comes with VOICE instruction that will hopefully bringing the necessary focus if the time should ever arrive.
I met with Paul Jones the head at Australian Defibrillators for Australia/New Zealand (www.aeds.com.au) who said “Sudden cardiac arrest will strike over 30,000 Australian every year (around 90 per day) and less than 5% will survive. While CPR is important to buy you some time, the only definitive treatment for a cardiac arrest is defibrillation which is most successful if administered in the first few minutes. Modern automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) that you see in airports and shopping centres are designed to be used by non-medical people in those first few minutes to return the heart to its normal rhythm. An AED will only shock someone who is in cardiac arrest so they are very safe to use. They will talk to you and instruct you step-by-step thru the entire rescue until help has arrived”.
Paul interestingly went on to say that, “Our AEDs have saved many lives over the years including two on Sydney Harbour and three in the last few weeks. While training to use an AED is not required, we provide all of our clients with online training that allows them to confidently use the AED at the worst possible moment.” I for one am glad we have the defib unit on board as chances are it will be me that requires saving!
While some may view defibrillation units an expensive waste of time the stats don’t lie. Defibrillation given within 3 minutes increases the chances of survival to soar from 5% to over 70%. Either way, I for one hope that this will act like an insurance policy, i.e. one never has to use it and I accept that it’s probably money spent to gain peace of mind rather than anything else.
Press start and follow the instructions – could be a matter of life or death!
Pendana, as most know, has some pretty sophisticated satellite communication equipment on board led by the mighty KVH V7 satellite system. This particular satellite system provides global communication coverage and reasonable access to the internet, weather services, email etc together with a fixed phone line to Pendana for making and receiving calls. The issue with this system is the cost of access and while reasonable for my needs if I were to open it up to everyone on board I could easily run up a bill in the tens of thousands of dollars which would not be good.
There is no mistaking that we are all a little too addicted to the internet and like some other fellow boaters (not mentioning anyone in particular, Ken!) suffer the foibles of the modern age. Typically we consume around 2GB per day while on the boat which is seriously insane and something that has to change and while better than our consumption rate at home of closer to 3.5GB per day it is not anywhere close enough to acceptable as such, an affordable solution had to be found.
That solution was the new Iridium Go!
Sat Comms via IridiumGO.
The IridiumGO is powered by the Iridium Satellite network and this compact, rugged and portable unit creates an incredibly reliable global connection point for voice and data communications for, wait for it, up to five smartphones or tablets and Iridium has cleverly set up access to the satellite system via the use of two simple to-use Apps.
The IridiumGO App is used in conjunction with the device, the application enables you to easily and simply make voice calls, send quick GPS or check-in message, configure your settings, send a Twitter post (why one would want to is beyond me!), set-up Wi-Fi data calls and Activate Emergency SOS via your smartphone, iPad or android device.
The Iridium Mail & Web App easily paired with IridiumGO enables applications such as Iridium Mail & Web. Simple to use capabilities which include: compressed and optimized email and data access, photo transfer capabilities via email, Facebook and Twitter, social media support and access to weather forecasts. With the option of crew accounts and push email services available there is no fear of missing any emails while at sea!
With external antenna mounted and plan subscribed to all Ellingford household devices connected easily and simply to the Iridium network. For a one off payment of around US$1300 for the unit (with external antenna) and a few hundred dollars per month the girls can now talk, email, sms, post to Facebook and do as much or as little as they like for a fixed fee on the Unlimited Plus Plan. I have also subscribed to the new Extreme Track service (http://www.extremetrackplus.com/) via the IridiumGO and as such will be uploading a new auto-loading location map to pendanablog.com once I have worked out exactly how to do it!
Iridium Go mounted and ready for action. The blue unit to the left is the much loved and often raved about Wilson booster.
Communication at sea is important and while the obvious safety aspect is paramount ensuring we stay connected is also just as important. In short, Pendana now has three dedicated networks on board each with a different purpose. These communications networks I refer to are called, KVH V7, IridiumGo and Aircard/cellular.
KVH V7 – This system is fast (ship to shore 1Mbps / Shore to Ship 4Mbps) and reliable, truly global but expensive. Our KVH V7 is primarily used for port voice communications and driving weather GRIB files to our primary navigation system. My own PCCD connects to this network wirelessly via the new and improved D-link wireless network adapter which provides speeds of up to 300Mbps (2.4GHz) or 867Mbps (5GHz) to deliver superfast wireless speeds with less interference for maximum throughput.
IridiumGO – This system is primarily used by all, for easy access to email, text, Facebook, news and phone voice calling. This truly is a global solution but is slow (2.4kbs) although very affordable making it an ideal back stop for the children on longer trips so that they can stay in touch.
Aircard 4G box – When in port, we access the local 3G/4G network via this unit as it is far cheaper than satellite communications and much faster. This box is linked directly to the Wilson 3G booster system which makes for communication via terrestrial 3/4G network (Vodaphone/Telstra Sim Card etc) possible up to around 100-200nms offshore or takes a weak one or two bar signal and makes it five bars.
The Wilson boosters, are in a word, incredible. Speeds via our Aircard box are around 2.9Mbps download and .42Mbps upload making it fast and importantly much cheaper. How much cheaper I hear you ask? Well consider this! KVH’s U40 plan which is their top speed plan, gives the user a 40GB monthly allowance and costs US$7,995.00 per month with each GB of data over 40GB costing $200.00. Compare this to an Aircard 4G plan which is around $195.00 for 80GB (no doubt cheaper in the USA) and you can easily see the difference is considerable!
Below is an image of Pendana’s network with a few critical bits of information blanked out as one can appreciate.
Just a quick note before I get to the real news; Pendana has a new logo! I was recently contacted by a previous owner of Pendana who said she had logos deigned for Pendana but unfortunately never got to use them. She kindly went on to offer them to us for our use. After reviewing the options supplied we jumped at the chance of using the below image as our new logo. Thank you very, very much Angela, most appreciated! The logo is now in use and much loved.
New Pendana logo above. Ain’t she a beauty!
Finally, now onto the real reason I wrote this blog, we have just completed the installation of the FLIR M625XP camera system. Mounted 9mtrs/30ft up, situated on top of Pendana’s coning tower she is a sight to behold.
Levi (The Surgeon) from Olectric Systems mounting the FLIR M625XP firmly in place.
The M-Series is a thermal imaging camera which provides crisp, clear thermal imagery in total darkness and is the perfect solution for night time navigation, shipboard security, man overboard situations, anti-piracy and many other applications.
Importantly, and on advice from Guy from Olectric we decided to pair the FLIR M625XP with the Furuno TZ9 (due to space couldn’t go any larger on screen size). The reasons for the Furuno screen were three fold; 1./ It’s Furuno, 2./ Wireless connectivity; and 3./ With a touch of the screen the FLIR camera which links with the Furuno TZ9 can track an object automatically while the boat continues to move. This feature would be critical in a MOB situation.
The reasons for the FLIR Camera are four fold; 1./ Alleviates tension coming into an unknown port on a moonless night. 2./ Ideal for MOB situation 3./ Can spot unlit, small fishing vessels, fishing buoys in and around the Pacific Islands; and finally 4./ Who doesn’t want to see in the dark!
One thing that always concerns me is if someone falls overboard on a moonless night as it would mean certain death. Finding someone in the water at night is honestly trying to find a needle in a very large moving haystack.
Rescue Me PLB pictured above.
To combat this fear (real or imagined) we will all be wearing personal locator beacons with GPS (PLB’s) while at sea. This way if someone does fall overboard they can activate the beacon which will then send position data to search and rescue organisations around the world. Those on board can then contact the rescue organisation for the persons GPS coordinates. With the FLIR system fired up and in use we can then position Pendana to come alongside the person in the water so that they can be bought aboard. This all may seem like overkill but better to be safe than sorry and there are rarely any second chances when things go wrong at sea.
So, new screen, new backing plate made after a slight reshuffle of instruments in Pendana’s pilothouse and new FLIR camera and we were ready for the install. Once again Levi from Olectric Systems came all fired up and ready to turn my pristine pilothouse into a scene from a horror film as he and I ripped into headlining, climbed the coning tower and pulled wires through holes I was convinced nothing larger than a human hair would fit.
The horror before the hooray!
Must admit the guys from Olectric really are incredible. Guy (Furuno God) the owner, is a bit of a legend in these parts – what he doesn’t know is simply not worth knowing. Levi (The Surgeon) is methodical and as careful as a surgeon performing open heart surgery which is how it should be and Grant, while not present on this install is a master craftsman. Grant in fact, had just finished the electronics design and installation on a Pilot boat in Melbourne and was kind enough to shoot me up a few photos. Just goes to show these guys are very, very good at what they do and Pendana is lucky to have them aboard.
Melbourne Pilot Boat.
Grants electrical design and install of equipment in Pilot vessel.
The Surgeons (Levi) liking for cable ties on Pendana has to be seen to be believed!
Anyway I digress. After two days installing the equipment the Pilothouse was finally all back together and was looking as it should.
The moment it all comes together!
I must say I am very grateful to Peter De Ieso who is the Country Manager for FLIR for his help and support during this process (http://www.flir.com.au/Home/), JN Taylor & Co (http://jntaylor.com.au/sectors/home) for supplying all items required in a timely manner and of course the folks at Olectric who yet again performed the necessary surgery with great aplomb! (http://www.olectric.com/).
So, how did it go? Well at this stage I have no idea as I am yet to test the system at night BUT the good news is that I will, very shortly, and you will get to hear about it in the next blog. We are heading north shortly to the Gold Coast which will allow for thorough testing of the FLIR unit and TZ9 and full report to be given. Joining me for the trip north will be Capt. Mark and Capt. Rod who have been around for a very long time and who will also be putting the FLIR system through its paces. Bottom line, you will get to hear three different opinions with two of them being from far more experienced mariners than I. Stay tuned, full FLIR report in the next blog.
So all-in-all come mid-November Pendana will be back in Sydney and about as ready as she can be to take on the world’s oceans safely and enjoy the serenity, sights and sounds that will follow.
In case you have missed it the latest interview has been posted featuring the spirited Mr Peter Sheppard and is forever equanimous wife Margaret ( http://www.pendanablog.com/Guest-Interviews/2014/09/30/Peter-and-Margaret-Sheppard—Skie-N55 ) .