Lots of shopping; watermakers

With my ongoing downtime thanks to LASIK that is prohibiting me from fun activities like sanding or spraypainting that involve particulate matter or aerosols, I have been busying myself with trying to source all kinds of bits and pieces for various projects.  I spent almost the entire day today walking around my core stuff-hunting-zone of Jalan Besar, with an excursion over to Beach Road, seeking various stuff.

I was looking for someone to make a few nets, particularly ones to put over my exposed bookshelf type areas behind the settees, to keep everything in them from going flying in rough seas.  I’ve also been thinking about having a few nets made to hang on some of the stanchions or on the solar panel targa just to stow stuff in.  Based on my Google calculations there was one shop in Singapore where I might have some hope of having these made, so today I went there.  And, I just typed all that so I could say: it was a waste of time and they shooed me out of their shop faster than you can say “only big nets can make lah”.  I think I may just end up ordering nets from the US.

A positive side effect of that mishap was that I ran across a new dive shop, popped in, and found that they had a 30 cuft dive tank, which I have unsuccessfully been looking for for about a month.  I bought it, to pick up next week after they get it filled.  Ironically another shop finally found a similar tank and emailed me 20 mins after I bought it.  Sorry.

I also picked up a whole bunch of 3/8″ marine ply and some 3×0.5″ planks to build some small shelves for the nav station, where I’ll be reorganizing all the wiring and mounting of the electronics and communications gear.  I also found a shop selling the Icom M-422 VHF with a remote mic and a flush mount kit for really cheap (less than US price).  I’m mulling that over; my current (very old) Icom VHF works fine but has no DSC, no remote mic (which I’d like in the cockpit), etc.

By random chance I finally found something else I’ve been hunting for for months: a pony-sized horseshoe buoy to replace my ancient sun-damanged one.  It’s a common story for me lately: decide I want to buy something; Google a lot; send about 10 emails; hear back from 2-3 suppliers, with wildly varying quotes and abnormally long delivery times; give up for a while; try again and find a few new suppliers; and then eventually either find someone by this route with a reasonable price, or (as happened today) run into what I’m looking for totally by chance while wandering around town.  So here’s my new horseshoe buoy, which I bought for a mere S$60 today, after months of quotes ranging from S$100 to S$250 for similar items:

I do like the hardware on the old one a bit better so I’ll probably just transfer it over.

By the way, nothing gets you strange looks in Singapore like stepping onto the MRT with a small stack of plywood under one arm, a big horseshoe buoy under the other arm, and a bunch of random pine planks sticking out of your backpack.

I have been looking at my watermaker (a Powersurvivor 80E) again recently.  It’s currently totally out of commission but should be pretty easy to get up and running again.  My concern is the last owner probably didn’t take very good care of it.  He said he pickled the membrane, but who knows how many years ago that was.  Today I dug out the spares kit for the watermaker to see what was in it:

Turns out, well over $500 worth of stuff: some spare prefilters, a seal repair/replacement kit, and a whole bunch of biocide and acid/alkaline cleaning solutions.  I think I may hook the pump back up (took it apart to remove the watermaker during the electrical overhaul last year), replace the prefilter, and just try running water through the old membrane for a while to see what happens.  I think it’s probably likely I’ll need to replace the membrane, however — not cheap, as I need two of these.  The ridiculous Singapore price quote of the day was ~US$700 per piece for those membrane replacements that run $340 in the US; and US$1800 for this preventative maintenance kit that costs 1/3 the price in the US.

I also dug out the Survivor 06 handheld watermaker from my grab bag to take a look at it.  Turns out some silicone grease must have leaked out of it somewhere as it’s covered in goop.  Not sure if I can do much maintenance on it myself though.

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