A quick update. We dropped the third anchor and finally fixed the water maker.
When we were putting the spar in the water one of the lines got tangled up in the propeller of the boat. We were able to get it free but not without damage. We dropped the anchor and returned to land.
The next time we went out we found that there was one mooring ball floating free from the spar and there were only 2 lines on the spar. This was not too big of a concern since one anchor is sufficient to keep the spar in place but three is better. Also there is a slight turn to the spar with the current. This is a natural phenomenon where the current passes around the cylinder causing a rotation affect (this affect willl lessen with enough coral around the seastead). Oil platforms have a helix around their spars to deal with this affect.
With only two anchor lines attached this meant that the spar would rotate a lot in bad weather along with the big waves. This gave a whipping motion which was not pleasant in high winds. The whole station would turn 90 degrees or so. A slow pace of about 10 seconds or so but still unpleasant. In low waves it is not that big of a deal, you just see different views every once in a while looking out the door.
We have been waiting a while because the logistics of getting another anchor out there is not easy. We used a local fishing boat to do it last time but I’m assuming that the large gash put in the side when we dropped the 200kg anchor over the side left the boat owner hesitant to do it again. Our usual sailboat is fiberglass and would not fare so well from dropping an anchor, and there’s really no place on board to drop it from.
When Nadia and I bought our new boat we realized that the swim ramp on the back was perfect for holding up an anchor. So we waited until the boat was ready to take it out. We loaded the anchor and two chains with the long rope and went out to the site. We attached the chain to the spar then let out the rope and attached the rope to the chain and drove off at a 120 angle from the other two anchors. We pulled for a while but the current kept pushing the boat in one direction toward the other anchor. Without forward movement the boat could not use the rudder to turn.
After using the dinghy to line us up at the right angle we dropped the anchor (attached to the rope). Checking it out the next day we were closer to 70 degrees as opposed to 120. As we were getting back to the correct position the rope had formed a curve so it was off by a bit.
But the third anchor showed a noticeable difference. Any rotation movement was cut down quite a bit. It still rotates but around 10 degrees at a time.
With the anchor all set, we got to work on the water maker. This has been my number one priority since we moved in. Most of my days have been spent trying to get the thing working (after I got the toilet working which was the first high priority).
The water maker is gravity fed. On boats this is fine because they just put the water maker below the water line. But with the seastead we do not want to put any unneccessary holes in the spar to act as weak points that could eventually sink it. So we tried many different things to find out exactly how much suction the water maker has. Not enough to pull water from the sea but we were able to put a bucket in the floor and it would pull from there. Verifying that the water maker worked by pouring water into the bucket we realized that we had found a solution.
We had a pump and we had some line but we did not have the attachments for them so we tried using what we had there to get it to work but in the end we needed the correct fittings for it to pump water up 2 meters. We bought a bilge pump that can be submerged and brought that to the site. Only to find out that our hose was a different size. Again trying to jerry rig things it was not successful.
Finally in our last trip to land we bought the right sized hose and we bought a water level switch.
We got the pump into the water below with the hose going up to the bucket. The switch sits on top of the bucket and turns on when the water gets too low. With everything set we were successful in filling the bucket with sea water with the pump turning off automatically when it reached a certain level. Then we were able to turn on the water maker which sucks the water out of the bucket and converts it to fresh water. As the water level in the bucket goes down it gets refilled by the pump. A bit crude for now but it works. The production version will have a similar setup but a bit more elegant.
Now we have fresh clean water which makes a very big difference for living. Water was the main thing limiting the amount of time we could stay and we hate bringing water bottles out to the seastead. Now we can get some sort of Brita filter and drink the water we have in the house.