Slowing Time


Apologies in advance for the slightly longer than normal blog but this blog covers a fair bit of territory. From Chocolates to Walter White (Breaking Bad), Psychology of time to Miele washing machines and from the Blue Angels to freaky Halloween costumes lots to get through and hopefully something for everyone!

Claire and I have recently realised that we have a very special, new talent. This talent, (now some may laugh), is the ability to literally slow down time. That’s right, as in tick-tock, tick-tock! We can and have and continue to slow down time!

Time for us does not run at the same speed as most and for us hours seem like days, days like weeks and weeks like months which is a direct result of what we are doing. Some of you may be rolling your eyes in the back of your head about now, or thinking perhaps a few too many Mount Gays or even too much sunshine but please bear with me just a little longer.

Another perfect day in paradise

The other day Claire and I were having our regular morning coffee when I said to her, “Wow what a year we have had”, to which she agreed. I then said, “Hang on a minute we have only been gone from Australia for five and half months!” We realised very quickly that both of us would have sworn on a stack of bibles that we had been away for at the very least, a year. Vanuatu seemed to have been about 14 months ago, Samoa twelve months ago when, in fact, we were in Samoa and Vanuatu just a few months ago. How could this be? There must be a reason for this phenomenon as such, I decided to delve further.

So what does the science have to say about our new time bending powers Well, as it would appear lots.

“When our brains receive new information, it doesn’t necessarily come in the proper order. This information needs to be reorganized and presented to us in a form we understand. When familiar information is processed, this doesn’t take much time at all. New information, however, is a bit slower and makes time feel elongated” – David Eagleman

Neuroscientist David Eagleman goes onto say, “Can you remember a period in your life when, if you look back on it now, time seemed to stretch on forever? When a week seemed like four, or an hour seemed like it went on for days? What were you doing during that period? Chances are, you were probably doing something (or a whole bunch of somethings) that was brand new to you and demanded your attention. The funny thing is, by focusing on what you were doing, you actually slowed down time (or how your brain perceived that time, anyway)”.

So there it is, we do have a new skill proven by science and beyond any doubt. Claire and I have slowed down time. When you come to think about it, we have been bombarded in the last five/six months with new sounds, sights, people, places, experiences that far outweighed our old land lives. So is this then, living?

When we both think back to how we used to live and how we now live, there is no doubt that what we are doing now is actually living. A little like grabbing life and squeezing every last ounce out of it, the good, the bad, the amazing and not so much, but the relentless newness of everything has delivered the positive side effect that we are now acutely aware of, and that is, that for us, time has literally slowed down.

The same photo as previous, just a little later in the day

So, with all that new found time on our hands it was time to get the final few jobs on our list sorted but not before, Brandon, Port Captain recently asked if I could help move a boat for him. I said “Sure”. Moving a boat in current and even a little wind is much harder than one would have thought. Apparently I was to take the bow and to allow the prop to dig in and give me as much directional control as possible I was to do this all while reversing. “Oh great, this should be fun”. My real concern was making sure I didn’t get trapped in the pen with the boat being moved bearing down on me. Anyway, I happy to report all went well and Bianca took some photos to prove it.

The move begins

Apparently reversing gives more control

Not wanting to get squashed in

Quickly moving to other side to nudge her over

…..almost there….

Job done!

There are three, no make that four remaining jobs that require attention on Pendana and require skilled folk to execute because frankly I wouldn’t know where to start. Firstly one of our Cruisair air-conditioner chillers needs replacing together with the master cabin air handler. Secondly, our new, you beaut, Miele washing machine needs to be installed, thirdly new rams on both port and starboard stabilizers are going to be replaced as a preventative maintenance measure and finally, I need to work out why my Trace inverter has gone offline.

Firstly, as some may be aware, one of our two air conditioning chiller units died as did one of our air handlers – after fourteen years of service. With one chiller down it meant that I could only run two, at a push three of our air handlers at any one time. Consider Pendana has seven air handlers we were basically running on half speed. Thankfully help came in the form of the folks at Southern Cal Marine with ordering parts required and one lovely chap named Captain Robert (Bob) Frost from San Diego heading up the install project.

I called Bob ( Ph: 619 647 1781) in need of help and he responded in spades. What a great bloke, if not, and it needs to be said, entirely unconventional! Apparently he is a bit of an air-conditioner guru and he certainly knew very quickly the best way forward for Pendana and kindly agreed to fly out to Hawaii when the parts were all ready and waiting for him on board Pendana to fix the problem. So with Frost at the ready, Southern Cal and Cruisair/Dometic making the parts required all that was left to do was sit and wait.

New chiller finally arrives and is ready for the install

With parts in hand and Bob on Pendana we both soon realised that the first issue we were to face was moving the 70kg/154lbs and while I had a precision plan in place it was not required.

Bob in the hole!

Bob soon realised that the seawater pump had failed so quickly went about replacing that. Then I suggested, “hey why don’t we test the run and start capacitors”, to which Bob agreed. Finding they were both in spec but only just we decided to test the new capacitors I had ordered and as they spec’d up much better, Bob changed them over. As Bob was about to start dismantling the old chiller, I suggested “Hey Bob, why don’t we try and run it just in case it was the capacitors” to which he agreed. Low and behold if the unit didn’t work perfectly! Emmm so that’s a $10,500 spare part (chiller) I now own. Grrrrrrr…….

Next we needed to install the new air handler unit in the master cabin which had been off line since Samoa.

Bob taking a few notes re wiring

Within a few hours this too was complete.

Just about done

The following day Bob came back and checked over my system from head to toe and gave it a clean bill of health. Finally cold air once again!

Another job was to finally replace the nasty, useless, rubbish, fit for nothing Asko washer with our new shiny and bright marine grade Miele. The folks from American Cabinetry, Miele’s #1 Hawaiian rep company swang past and with hours had the machine installed, tested and running perfectly thanks to Ryan, one of the owners and chief installer and one of the nicest guys I have met in a long time. For those in Hawaii who need folks you can trust, Steve Pak ( and Ryan were simply first rate. It must be said that Darlene Battista ( and Adam Sandler (Ph 808-778-1378) both from Miele USA were also simply superb and helped no end.

Ryan and Lance using lift straps to remove old washer

There was not enough room even for fingers either side as they moved toward the Salon

Finally that nasty piece of work, ASKO, is gone

Ahhhh, the new machine, working perfectly and finally in place

The next job to do as a maintenance item only was to replace both rams on the port and starboard stabilizers. As most would know I have, in the past, spent more time than anyone should in my stabilizer lockers when in Hilo and refuse, simply refuse to go there ever again. That being said however, I did notice that over the last 12-24 months there has been a wee hydraulic oil leak coming from my port ram. The definition of wee is, about two thimbles worth on, say, a five day passage. Anyway, the bottom line is, that’s two more thimbles than it should be and these rams should be changed every 2000 hours. With our Alaska trip looming and the Gulf of Alaska preparing, no doubt a few nasty surprises for Pendana as she ventures north, I figured a ram failure is not something that would be remotely tolerable and as such, went about having both replaced..

Dave Wright, all round nice guy and TRAC Guru to the stars (Sorry James Knight) was kind enough to visit Hawaii and venture into the dark space to replace both rams. Within a few hours Dave emerged having installed and tested the system to proclaim all was done and Pendana was 110% ready to take on what the Gulf of Alaska could throw at her.

New ram ready for install!

Dave getting stuck in

One done, one to go!

After Dave finished installing the two new rams Claire and I decided it was high time Dave be introduced to an Australian food staple, Vegemite. Dave was keen so we quickly prepared some toast and Vegemite for him to try.

Poor Dave, basically it was not what he was expecting!

As Dave was coming over I mentioned to a few other Nordhavn owners here in Hawaii, mainly at Ko Olina Marina that Dave was coming over and if they needed him maybe a good opportunity. Richard Barnes from Ice Dancer II, a Nordhavn 57 took me up on the offer and before long had a list of things he wanted Dave to look at while in Hawaii. Once Dave was finished on Pendana I drove him to Ko Olina where I got to meet Richard for the first time and also see the lovely Ice Dancer II.

N57 Ice Dancer II (L) and N57 No Plans (R) at KoOlina Marina

Claire and I spent some time aboard No Plans catching up with Larry and Mary who are always good sports!

Endurance which sits proudly at KoOlina while her owner, John McVie is in London on tour with Fleetwood Mac, yes, the Fleetwood Mac

Infinity also calls this marina home – shame Andy and Julies weren’t about while we were there!

The final job to do was get to the bottom of the TRACE inverter going off line. Had it run its course? Was it’s life over? I hadn’t a clue but someone who now lives in Hawaii and who was the original owner of the great Pendana surely would. Mickey Smith arrived on time and soon went to work – within minutes the 300amp fuse had been replaced and the inverter was once again online. Ah so that’s where the fuse is!

Mickey Smith strikes again!

It must be said that Mickey Smith looks remarkably like Walter White from the TV series Breaking Bad – Better call Saul!

Mickey Smith is truly a bit of an electrical guru, no doubt about it. Dave is a great guy and again I can’t thank him enough for flying out from Bellingham WA to spend some time with the folks on Pendana. Bob Frost who knew more about air-conditioning than most would learn in thirty lifetimes and finally, a special thanks to Steve Pak and his crew from American Cabinetry who have finally fixed our ongoing nightmare with our old Asko washing machine and installed the new Miele with the precision of a brain surgeon.

The other morning while having a coffee and my usual thirty cigarettes a text message flashed up on my phone from Steve and Carol Argosy N62 Seabird with a photo of Pendana at berth here in Waikiki. Hang on, aren’t they in Spain I thought to myself? As it turns out, Steve and Carol were in Hawaii along with what sounded like 7,652 family members for a wedding!

Steve and Carol both came to Pendana to meet the crew, less one, as Claire was in London and they spent some time talking boats and the generally catching up. It is always little surreal meeting folks you’ve read about for years for the very first time. A little like a blind date if you will. Will you like them, hate them or feel indifference altogether. I am glad to report that they are both lovely people and I could have spent hours with them talking boats and all things nautical. No doubt Steve is pretty darn knowledgeable about boats in general and Carol is no sloth either when it comes to the engine room, nav systems and electronics. Just a real shame Claire wasn’t here to meet them as she is the nice one out of the two of us no doubt about it!

Steve and Carol Argosy visit Pendana while in Hawaii

As we are headed to Alaska and Canada next year I decided that a new addition to Pendana was in order. A new camera! I figured that next year we will be in one the most beautiful parts of the world, if not the most beautiful and why not make sure we capture the majesty of the place with the right camera gear. So as a birthday present from Claire and the girls a new Canon full frame 5DSR with 24-105mm L series lens arrived. This professional outfit is quite a toy and takes remarkably good photos – then again it should! Note; none of the following photos have been enhanced using Photoshop, Lightroom etc which is how it should be in my book!

I surprised myself with this one!

Looking towards the Waikiki channel

One of the reasons I was asked to help move a boat was that a vessel by the name of MV Starr was coming home after being away a few years and required the slip in question. MV Starr, owned by Don and Sharry Stabbert is a Northern Marine goliath and a boat that had just carried her owners and crew safely across the North Pacific to Hawaii in complete comfort. I must say, I was amazed at how fresh the owners and crew appeared after what was, a very long run from Vancouver.

MV Starr in the last minutes of an eighteen day passage

MV Starr edging a little closer

Owner Bob Stabbert securing the lines

For those who have yet to read the interview with Don & Sharry on MV Starr it can be found HERE

Some folks who have been following Pendanablog for a few years, Pam, Molly and Mike called and said they were in town. I offered Mike (who is a real Nordhavn junkie) and his family if they would like to come and see Pendana in the flesh which they gladly accepted. Mike, his wife Pam and daughter Molly were all charming and we spent a few hours talking boats, boats, boats!

Mike and I on the rear deck

Pam and Molly in front of Pendana

Pam and Mike bought with them a lovely box of chocolate. Yes, they were as good as they look!

While in Hawaii and at the Waikiki Yacht Club (“WYC”) both Abi and Bianca have decided to take the opportunity presented and take up sailing (Bianca) and kayaking (Abi). WYC has tremendous programs for younger folk and the girls are loving it. Abi’s instructor re kayaking is two time Olympian Shelly Oates-Wilding who is from Australia of all places but now based here in Hawaii with her husband. The other day Shelly and Abi were on paddle boards outside the breakwater wall when Abi said “Look Shelly, dolphins!” to which Shelly replied, “Abi, they are not dolphins”. Abi took another look and realised they were a pair of 8-10ft Tiger sharks with one of them coming within about six feet of Abi to take a look. Abi said it was surreal as this mammoth of the sea rolled over and looked her straight in the eye. The next day in the newspaper there was a story about the sharks with the headline of “Non Aggressive Sharks Sighted off Waikiki”. You’ve got to be kidding me! Tiger sharks, non-aggressive? I don’t think so!

Tiger Sharks hit the news!

Bianca learning to sail here at the Waikiki Yacht Club

Abi & Shelly coming back from a Kayak

The girls and I were able to go and recently see the USA Navy Blue Angels the other weekend here in Hawaii and wow what a show. Claire unfortunately was still in London and as such missed the show. While it was a long day out, it was certainly something none of us will forget anytime soon. Truly amazing stuff.

Safely back on the ground after another successful flight display!

Likewise speaking of amazing stuff we recently invited Julie Nemier over for Halloween and to say the night aboard Pendana. As a touristy thing to do we went to dinner at Dukes followed by a walk along the beach and a ride through what was the most incredible display of folks dressing up to ward off evil spirits. Apparently Waikiki puts on the best Halloween displays of any of the US states. So say the folks in Waikiki……

A few Waikiki locals!

Some of the costumes were insanely good and some not so but we were all surprised at how well the crowd behaved. Mind you it was still early, and how much fun people seemed to be having just walking around Coming from Australia where the whole Halloween thing is only just starting to gain traction it was a real eye opener. Even Julie mentioned she had not seen anything like it before.

Not sure what these costumes have to do with Halloween!

Again same thing here, although didn’t seem to matter

The main drag of Waikiki choc-o-block full of people in costumes

Bianca, Claire and Julie outside one of the many waterfront hotels along Waikiki Beach

Harley on Pendana (Julie and Andy Nemier’s dog) wondering where the heck Caesar the Magnificent was…or where the cats were…..!

The girls with their Halloween masks on!

For all the Aussies who read this blog, you will never believe this, we travel half way around the world, pull into Waikiki and what do we see opposite us but a Riviera 47 named Golden Aussie. Quiet incredible! For those non-aussies amongst us, Rivieras are everywhere in Australia. There are literally thousands of these sport boats along the east coast of Australia and now it would appear one here in Honolulu!

Golden Aussie standing proud a long, long way from home.

Just as an aside, NordhavnRegistry recently did an interview on Pendana and I for its website. Link above.

Screenshot from NordhavnRegistry

Nordhavnregistry is the brainchild of Geoff Potter and in Geoff’s words “After a promotion early this year, I started looking for more information on adventure cruising, having been an avid reader of Ken Williams blog since just before the NAR in 2004. My thought was, “Maybe I can finally start planning to do something after I retire.” After finding several blogs I found the Nordhavn Dreamers Yahoo group. I quickly joined and started asking questions. After a few posts, my questions started getting more specific because I wanted to know details about various Nordhavn models. Being in IT and having previously tried Talkspot’s web tools, I thought that I could start a website to aggregate the data I was collecting, but I thought I’d better ask before starting anything. I posted on the Dreamers group asking if anyone had any interest in me starting a website to collect and share technical data on Nordhavn. The response I received was overwhelming with one caveat, “DO NOT COLLECT AND SHARE PERSONAL DATA.” which I agreed to wholeheartedly. It’s been slow going since the initial excitement but I believe in the project and am hopeful it will help a few dreamers (maybe even me) to turn their Nordhavn Dream into reality”. If you have yet to visit Geoff’s site then it’s certainly worth a look! Link here: NordhavnRegistry

A few other jobs being taken care of:

Old light fell straight off

No hope of repair!

Lance installing new exterior deck light as old one had literally wasted away

New exterior light done

Lance working away changing out the four M-Series duckbill valves

Engine room ambient temperature gauge installed

I have recently uploaded a new video to YouTube with a scary intro showing our trip from Sydney to Vanuatu and our departure from Vanuatu. The link of the video can be found HERE

Sydney to Vanuatu video

Also there is a drone video of Waikiki which shows Pendana on the end of the first arm to the right. LINK HERE

Pendana top right – reminds me to get my drone into the air

Pendana to the right

Pendana bottom right of this shot – this image found doing a google image seach!

When the lovely Julie from Infinity was over recently she mentioned to me a product that she uses to clean her deck drains etc which is called Blast it Out. Blast it Out is a complete system for flushing and clearing obstructions and clogs from water, waste, and other lines on marine vessels. Traditional methods of clearing obstructions are time consuming and as I know first-hand rather messy. The Blast It Out system clears them quickly from inside the vessel, eliminating the mess and clean-up that is normally required.

Blast It Out uses pressurized water from the vessels fresh or raw water system (or from a dockside connection) to push obstructions out of the lines. The Control Unit connects to a garden hose with a standard female garden hose fitting. A Flow Control Valve controls the flow of water through the unit its that simple! A family of Sealing Stoppers, each of a different size, is used to create a watertight seal with the line to be flushed. Great product that’s for sure so kudos to Julie for finding this one! A must have for every boater!

Pendana has two battery banks each consisting of eight Lifeline 8 GPL-DL batteries with one bank being for 12V and one for 24V, plus there are another two engine start batteries making one hell of a lot of batteries. Anyway, before leaving Australia my 12volt bank was getting a little weak so all eight batteries were replaced in Sydney and now here in Hawaii, I needed to replace my 24v bank as they had decided enough was enough and as such, died very quickly indeed.

With charges continuing to push charge to batteries that had seen enough the end result is not only dead batteries but heat and lots of it! Now, when I say heat, I am not talking hot day heat but rather furnace type heat. The heat given from these batteries, (four in particular) had to be felt to be believed. Anyway I quickly turned off the charges and returned to the battery bank, installed two fans to get some cool air on them, tuned up the A/C and I even managed to remove the terminals on all four batteries but not without burning myself a few times. With Walter White, oh sorry, I mean Mickey Smith at hand, the job to replace all eight batteries would go smoothly and to plan. Pendana should see us through another 3+ years (dependent of course on the number of charge cycles) from these new batteries. Moving over half a tonne of batteries on and off the boat is about as much fun as paying for them! Lesson here, don’t push your batteries too hard as it will end in tears! I wonder just how many boat fires have been caused by batteries being used that are well past their use by date?

I am pleased to report that Pendana is finally getting some much needed wax on her after six months of nothing other than a soapy wash which, for Pendana, is unheard of. Morgan (ph 808 277 2009) is a master craftsman who applies wax to a boat a little like a surgeon applies a skin graft. Attention to detail and an uncanny ability to work in the hot Hawaiian sun sets Morgan apart. Another few weeks and Pendana should be back to her sparkling self!

Morgan prepping his products for the day

Morgan working on Pendana’s hull

Yep, that will do! Good work Morgan

Another no so fun job to tackle was the master head. We were experiencing a small problem with our master head in that anything other than liquids were causing a problem. So, with Lance at hand (always good to give the young experience!!) we decided to remove the old pressure tank to see what was going on. Well, what was going on was the exit hole which takes away all waste from the master head was almost blocked by a concrete like material which is formed overtime (14 years) when uric acid and waste mix.

Rough diagram showing vacuum pressure tank and the system overall.

There was no doubt that this was the reason for our head issue. With new pressure tank ordered and delivered it was time to get stuck in, so to speak. Anyway, I will leave the explanation of all things Pendana to the photos below.

Looking inside pressure chamber after we had cleaned it as well as we could.

Looking inside the new pressure tank.  Just a wee bit of difference, excuse the pun!

Pipe build up clearly evident and it’s as hard as concrete! While this is not enough to stop the system the same can’t be said for what we originally found in the pressure tank

Lance holding the new tank after all fittings have been put into place – time to install it!!

Lance applying some corrosion grease to bow thruster pump.  Why these pumps are placed in this location to this day is beyond me – may speak to TRAC about relocating when in the USA

After a long day on Pendana Lance decided to go for a sail with his dad and a few friends!

If you are ever in Hawaii and need the services of a really good all-rounder then Lance is your man. He can be contacted via phone: 808-728-9932 or email:

So with prevention the key to all things I had a chat with James Knight from NordhavnOnly in Florida and he couldn’t speak highly enough of a product called NoFlex Digestor. NoFlex Digestor is made by a Canadian company called Gemini-Ltd – odd name!

NOFLEX Digestor has been used for several years in the commercial industrial work place to reduce sludge build up and control unwanted odour in waste treatment and holding systems on land as well as high efficiency treatment systems aboard marine entities such as the Coast Guard and Merchant Vessels.

Originally developed to enhance the treatment system, NOFLEX is now available in retail packaging for private use in Marine and RV holding tanks and home septic systems and is available from NordhavnOnly right now. NOFLEX cleans the waste that coats the inside of the piping as it is flushed through the system stopping smells from leaching through pipe connections and hoses. Once inside the holding tank, the product instantly reacts, neutralizing odors instead of masking them.

NOFLEX introduced into the system, being heavier than water sinks to the bottom of the tank were anaerobic (dead bacteria sludge) concentrates. Upon contact it reacts with the sludge lifting it into the main stream releasing micro bubbles of oxygen that break up waste. This also releases the proteins out of the sludge that act as an additional source of nutrition for live bacteria. The oxygen and additional protein turn the unit into a super friendly medium for maximum growth capability.

NOFLEX is not a bacterial treatment enzyme biocide or perfumed product but a blend of chemicals that, when introduced into your sanitary system will very quickly neutralize hydrogen sulphides (unwanted odors), clean pipes and liquefy solids in your holding tank. NOFLEX is also safe on plastics, cast iron and copper piping.

As NOFLEX works into the tank it breaks down the organics in the waste water, liquefying solids and greases to facilitate easy pump-outs. The spent residue from the reaction is sodium carbonate (baking soda) which helps buffer the solution for discharge to waste treatment facilities.

So with that kind of explanation at hand, and James Knight master of most things waxing lyrical about the product, I ordered a case and have now started treating my system as per instructions.

Wow, NoFlex going to work!

Ok, ok I couldn’t finish up on blog with those head/vacuum chamber photos being the last thing you saw so here are a few happy snaps to help erase the memory.

…and yes this has been heavily modified from the original!

Another perfect sunset with MV Starr in the foreground

Pendana at rest!


The view from Pendana’s pilothouse


Its official Pendana is now a pin up girl! Yes, Pendana has made the Nordhavn 2016 calendar and can be seen in the month of March.

The Nordhavn 2016 Calendar with the lovely MV Starlet on the cover is available to order from Nordhavn direct HERE

So, all in all, I am pleased to report that Pendana is now clear of all items on her jobs list and is in tip top shape all round! Sorry for the longer than usual blog but there has been lots going on. Time now to take Pendana out for a run and relax!

Safe travels


3 thoughts on “Slowing Time”

  1. SUBJECT: Re: Slowing Time
    Hello James:
    Nice boat. Did you have the flopped stoppers installed while you owned your boat or is this original equipment?
    Thank you,

    REPLY>>>>> Michael, thank you for your msg, the Flopper Stoopers are original kit when we bought Pendana and we are all glad to have them when at roly anchorages. Video of deployment and retrieval of floppers can be found here: (


  2. Many thanks James for a great update as usual. Inspiring us on our own journey with ‘Gypsy Belle’, currently on a mooring in Brooklyn awaiting new props and shafts. Lots to look forward to. Best wishes to your family for the continued adventure!

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