Geraldton now appears to be big enough that you can actually manage to find what you want without the 900km round trip to Perth. In fact, it turns out that for solar stuff, prices are very competitive, plus I've got somewhere local to go for advice. Especially when the steam starts erupting from my ears once the brain totally overheats. Nah, it's not that bad.
Trouble was, I'd left all my ski paraphernalia in Perth, and I really had to go pick it up soon, as Lil and Hans' place ain't exactly a mansion and that stuff sure is bulky. But then, due to good ol' Facebook, one of my friends messaged to say she was in Perth and very kindly schlepped over to pick up my gear and bring it home. All I had to do was venture south to Wandina and retrieve it, thanks Sharon you're a legend!
So, back to the local suppliers, where I managed to procure two 85W panels and a 120Ah AGM battery, all the required cabling and connectors, plus a few weird tools as well. And when I bought the wrong sized fittings (yet again!) I only had 10km to drive to exchange them. Big advantage!
Back at the ranch I began the serious job of designing and making a "state of the art" battery box which fits snuggly in the front toolbox, and drilling appropriately sized holes for the cabling. Seriously, do not underestimate the amount of mental concentration involved in nutting out just where and how all this stuff fits together, developing a game plan so that you buy enough - not too little or too much - cable, and that you run your cable through before (yes before!) you connect the end lugs.
And then you notice that there's another little job that you just might think of doing before you put the cabling through....
Yep, good old camper trailer maintenance. The trailer has a fair amount of surface rust - kinda goes with the territory when living on the coast - and I figure it'd be a whole lot easier if I touched up those areas where the cabling is going BEFORE everything is tied down and sealed. This is a job I started last summer, but it went on the back burner for the year so there's a wee bit of catching up to do. But I'm pretty handy with the drill and the wire brush attachments these days, so with safety gear donned, it's not such a bad gig.
Then the wind blows. Really blows. Like 30 knots plus, and a 3.5m swell. And I gulp down lunch and head up to Coros for a wild session in maxed out conditions. Clean waves, a 3.5m sail that keeps me in control, and when I get airborne (frequently) I seem to float for ages before landing. And I get some sweet rides with 2-3 bottom turns per wave, not bad given the power of that wind! Awesome fun, but today I'm knackered. Totally.
It's blowing 30 knots again today, but as much as I think I should get back out there I just can't hack another session, so I'm wimping out at home writing this blog. I'd rather put another coat of primer on the trailer and fire up the drill for some more rust busting!!
The wind looks a bit more reasonable for tomorrow, more around the 20-25 knot range, though the swell is dropping.
I may lose my "Nugget" pseudonym with this kind of talk, though after yesterday's session Kate decided to change it to "Hell-chick". I think I can safely keep the latter even if I take a day off...
There goes another gust - is that a roof top flying by??