Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Furry friends

Exploring the rock also included an occasional sideshow by the locals. These cute furry creatures seemed to have no problems around us big cousins and our clicking cameras but we were reminded by our guide that they were still wild animals and we were not to feed or try to pet them. Yes- they can be aggressive, but they seemed to enjoy climbing on a few people as we passed by, and play effortlessly on the railings, along the rocks and roadside as we walked past to our next point of interest.

The Apes (I have a tough time calling them apes) are a species of tailless monkeys called Barbary Macaques. These Macaques can be found in Morocco and Algeria, with those in Gibraltar being the only free-living monkeys in Europe today. Here on the rock our guide told us there are four clans that dominate different areas. The British army takes care of the population and their well being. They actually get fed every day partially because they otherwise come down into town and have been know to wreak havoc in the city.

Cute little guys tho- everybody likes monkeys!

The Pillars of Hercules

According to Greek mythology, when Hercules had to perform twelve tasks, one of them was to bring the Cattle of Geryon from the West to Eurystheus. On his way he had to cross what is now known as the Atlas Mountains.

Instead of climbing the mountains, as he easily could, he used his superhuman strength and his indestructible mace and split the mountains in half. That split connected the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and the rocky outcrops left behind on either side became known as the Pillars of Hercules.

The stretch of water between the two is now known as the Gibraltar Strait, and it was these pillars that the Mediterranean people believed nothing lay beyond except wild seas, the lost continent of Atlantis and the Isles of Hesperides.

On the northern side is the Rock of Gibraltar and on the south, Monte Hacho also known as Jebel Musa, in Ceuta.

The Gibraltar Strait is just 7.7 nautical miles or 14.24 km of sea at its narrowest point and it ranges between a depth of 300 and 900 metres. It is a natural gateway from the calm salty waters of the Mediterranean Sea with almost no tides into the rougher tidal Atlantic Ocean.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Back to the basics

There has been a recurring statement that keeps popping up and I think most people might have had the same thoughts at one time or another.

"If we were only back home at the shop this would be a breeze!"

Still, we somehow manage to figure out how to get things done. Today's project was how to mount the high output aux alternator. We hashed this over for a while and found several non-ideal places where it would almost work but in the end found one great one. The problem was that it was where the normal one was mounted. Since we need to use both we also had to find a new home for the outcast one too(it's complicated). Since it was smaller we found a suitable location for it too. A tape measure and a few scribbles on a pad later I was up making a wooden mockup.

We have the tools and materials for wood crafting here- No problem. Richard finds a wooden example presented to a fab guy is much better than any amount of scribbles on a page. We also have the ability to set it into place to make sure it will work how we want it to before someone goes to all the time making the real thing. Rapid Prototyping is being used quite a bit in industry.

It's amazing what can be done with a few basic tools and scraps of wood scrounged from the dumpster. Sure, it would have been easier with all the proper tools back home, but the view wouldn't be near as nice. I did make quite a mess on deck tho.

Off to the steel fab guy tomorrow.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Out of the tube!

The days continue to be a flurry of activity above and below decks. The engine has been micro-nudged into position and left alone a couple of days to sit just to see if it will settle different on it's mounts(it didn't) and we decided to finally lock it down and call it home. He got it to where a 3 ths feeler gauge would slip in anywhere around the coupler without any difference in drag. Today I custom cut the bolts and put them in the flanges and connected it to the prop shaft. It might not mean much to outsiders but it kinda means another milestone has been accomplished here.

I have spent most of my time since my last post down below decks crawling around what I would describe with a geek reference as Jeffries Tubes. Star Trek fans know what the technical function of these are but were actually used as some sort of pause in the story for some random dialog exchange. The difference here is that the tubes in my ship are not nearly big enough for another person to have a conversation with, and also if a passer-by outside was listening close enough all they would hear from me would have been a random dialog involving alot of swearing. I have bruises that make me look like a battered spouse.

I finally think I properly re-coated all the odd surfaces and corners where I continuously stuck my head, elbow, knee or butt (pick one or multiples) and made it out of there. I also managed to hang the random lengths of tubing, clamps and exhaust hardware, tacked up a new copper bonding strip(ham radio thing), as well as tidied up a few wire cables on the way out. This tube is very schmick now! Richard tossed a bunch of crap into the lazarette (my way in) so I cant wiggle down there again.

On to the next project! We are getting close.