31st Jan: New Clock and Sleeping Bag

The weather has continued to be mainly zonal with strong winds on most days. Now the wind is turning northerly and it’s cold. Seatern has remained at the jetty all month!

To compensate I’ve been doing some shopping! I hardly ever use the light over the sink (it’s too bright), and I’ve decided it would be useful to have a clock which I can just glance at, rather than using the clock mode of the Meteoman. So I’ve replaced the light with a reproduction “radio room” clock. It’s a bit of nostalgia… when I first went to sea ships still had radio rooms and a wireless operator who (at least on Discovery) worked for Marconi Marine. The coloured segments on the radio room clock represented the radio silence periods for 500kHz (in red) and 2182kHz (in green).

I’ve also splashed out on an Ocean Sleepwear sleeping bag. This has a breathable, waterproof outer shell with two fleece layers inside. The idea is that it will be more practical when I’m away from the jetty in cold weather. Without the luxury of the mains powered dehumidifier condensation will be a problem, and this sleeping bag should continue to function even if getting dripped on! Tried it out last night in near 0C temperatures and must admit was a bit disappointed. The hood section is very large and stiff and doesn’t seal around my head as well as my previous sleeping bag. I’m not sure how you are supposed to seal yourself inside in cold weather! I had to transfer the fleece liner from the old bag in order to keep warm. However it may get less stiff with use and it does have good zips which open just by pulling the bag sections apart. They are designed to allow one to get out of the bag quickly in an emergency. For now I’ll reserve judgement on whether it was a good buy. +

Yesterday the replacement for the BS100 gas cooker arrived. The flame detection device had failed on the original unit and I returned it to Bright Spark under warrantee. The heat control (and the heat produced) for the BS100 “indoor” cooker is superior to my older Bright Spark 110 “outdoor” cooker. I’ve been using the latter to power my Pan2000 heater during the interim. Since the heater is in the enclosed cabin, the chances of the flame being blown out are low, and the chances of it being blown out and my not noticing even lower. But the flame detection device on the BS100 adds safety and qualifies it as an “indoors” heater. Lets hope this new replacement performs properly.

+[Note added 6th February: I’ve got more used to the new bag. It seems to work best by folding the head section over like an envelope. How the pillow case (which is attached using velcro) is supposed to work I don’t know. It seems like the bag is designed for warmer climes where one sleeps with head exposed! It definitely needs the extra fleece bag liner I’m using in it to keep me warm in the present near zero temperatures – but the combination of 3 layers of fleece is certainly snug to initially get into. I think that buying a good quality bivi bag and using my sleeping bag inside it might have been a better move. On the other hand, being able to burst the zips apart makes it easy to get out of and could be invaluable in an emergency.