Baking at Gigha

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While in California back in 2013, we bought a Zojirushi Home Bakery Mini. We weren’t sure how available bread would be as we travelled around the world, and at certain stages of the trip we wanted to be able to devote more freezer space to meats. We’ve found good fresh bread readily available in most locations, so we haven’t ended up using it that much. We’ve brought it back into service now that we’re staying on board and not planning to shop for weeks.

During the first couple of weeks in April, in between storms and boat projects, we’ve been baking bread, muffins and cinnamon buns and continue to enjoy our anchorage at the Isle of Gigha. The Easter Bunny even found us here. :) And we also really apprecate the islanders who have come out to check on us, offer assistance, and let us know that the local grocery store would deliver anything we needed.

Below are trip highlights from April 5th through 15th, 2020 at the Isle of Gigha in Scotland. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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It’s been 16 days since we last shopped, so we just finished all the berries. But we’re far from out of fresh fruit. Today we’re having grapefruit with breakfast.
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Beautiful pink sunrise from the anchorage at the Isle of Gigha.
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We’re expecting winds up to 41 knots overnight in our anchorage (white circle at center of image) as a storm system passes through (click image for a larger view).
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Pulled Back
With strong winds from the southeast, we’ve been pulled back all the way on the anchor chain and carving a small arc in the chartplotter display. (We didn’t have the chartplotter on for the initial few days we were here, otherwise the path would show a lot more randomness as we drifted around at anchor.)
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56 knots
We did get our big winds overnight. We saw 56 knots around midnight, well above the 41 we were expecting. The barometer is now way down at 985 mbar compared to the extreme high of 1046 a week ago.
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Blueberry muffins for breakfast using a new recipe. They turned out wonderfully.
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The brief 120V inverter outage also knocked over the Synology DiskStation that we use as a file server on Dirona. When it came back up, it requested a file system check. This took over 2 hours, but it eventually came back up and has been working well since. Losing the Synology would be a real pain, so we’re considering putting it on a UPS.
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Local Support
We’re enjoying our anchorage at the Isle of Gigha and really appreciate the locals who have offered assistance. A few days ago, several islanders came out to make sure we were ok and didn’t need anything. Today another group came out to let us know that the local grocery store would deliver anything we needed to the dock for us. Wow, impressively helpful.
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A bright, near-full moon setting over the Isle of Gigha this morning.
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Custom Router
While at Gigha, we’ve made a few upgrades to our custom network router. Before the upgrades, the software would automatically switch between the primary connection, secondary connection, high-speed satellite and unlimited channel satellite (V7hts), depending on availablity and other settings. Or we could explicity request a given connection.

You would think that having the system automatically switch between four different connectivity methods would be more than adequate. But we’ve now added support for a fifth. The way we are using the system right now, is we have three different cellular options, and two satellite options, for a total of five. But we could also have primary on a Wifi station, still support the three cellular providers and the two satellite providers, for a total of six.

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Happy Hour
With the temperature at 52F (11C) and a boost from our Heatstrip patio heater, it was warm enough to have Happy Hour outside in the cockpit.
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Zoetermeer, Netherlands resident Hans Nieuwenhuis, who has been watching our YouTube videos, travelled through Bergen in 2018 on a motorcycle trip to North Cape in Norway. In going through his pictures recently, he realized he had some with Dirona in Bergen and forwarded them our way. They brought back some great memories of our time in Bergen.
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Our recent power event knocked over the Synology DiskStation that we use as a file server on Dirona. The Synology recovered after a multi-hour checkdisk, but losing it would be a real pain, so we decided to put it on a UPS. Here James is pulling out the surge protector we have use for the Synology and the stereo (foreground, right) and another power strip and will replace both with an APC BE850M2 UPS.
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Vacuum Sealing
Vacuum sealing the flour we bought in Ramsgate will allow it too keep, moisture-free, for months if not years. We also store extra staples such as salt and sugar in vaccum-seal canisters to keep moisture out and extend their life.
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Rear Main Oil Seal
Towards the end of the day after doing laundry, we found a light oil film on the generator cover. There’s not enough oil to even drip but there is a patch of oil residue. It appears to be blowing out of the generator end cooling fan. Of course, there is no oil anywhere near there so we looked for leaks above, but there are non. The rocker cover remains bright white with no oil leaks in the area. There are no external leaks. The only source of oil we can think of in that area is the main engine rear main oil seal.

We talked to “Lugger Bob” Bob Senter of Northern Lights, who said a good check was to remove the plastic plug shown above (normally houses a magnetic RPM sensor on engines so equipped). Here you can see there is a some oil collecting. Not enough to drip below the engine but enough to confirm the rear main oil seal is just starting to leak slightly. We checked for excess crank case pressure, which can force oil through the seal and, unfortunately, found none. So we know the seal is becoming less supple through heat, or is wearing. More likely the former. It’s a very large job to replace this seal, where the entire generator section has to be removed from the engine and pulled back. We’re in no rush to take that one on, but it’s rare that seals get better on their own.

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Dyed Fuel
The two fuel filters in use at the left show the red-dyed fuel we picked up in Portland. The backup filter on the right shows non-red fuel that we purchased in Helgoland, Germany.
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Corryvreckan, the demonstrator boat for the Redbay Boats Stormforce RIBs 1250 model, arriving into Gigha. These boats are designed for extreme conditions—Better Moments, the adventure company we went snowmobiling with 600 miles from the North Pole in Svalbard, owns three Stormforce RIBs.
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First Smell
Spitfire getting a “first smell” of Scotland. He doesn’t like wind and cold weather, so hasn’t been at all interested in going outside since we arrived. Well, he’s been interested and hangs by the door, but as soon as we open it, he rears back when the wind and temperature hit him. We joke that he’s hoping to find the “Bahamas door”. The winds are now calm and it’s warmed up enough that he’s been finally been eager to spend some time outside.
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Anchor Ball
The result of 56 knots of wind: the anchor ball we secure between a bow cleat and the bow flagstaff nearly parted. We replaced the line.
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Happy Easter
James with his haul from the annual Hamilton Easter Egg hunt. The Easter Bunny apparently ignored the lockdown and found us here in Scotland.
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Bread Machine
We bought a Zojirushi Home Bakery Mini while in California back in 2013. We weren’t sure how available bread would be as we travelled around the world, and at certain stages of the trip we wanted to be able to devote more freezer space to meats. It was one of the top-rated breadmakers on Amazon, and has a small footprint that fits conveniently in our appliance garage behind the stove top.

The loaf quality is good, and the size is nice for two people as well. We haven’t ended up using it much, as we’ve found good fresh bread readily available in most locations. But now that we plan to stay on board and not shop for weeks, we’ve brought it back into service.

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Our Zojirushi Home Bakery Mini loaded and ready for action.
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V7HS Traffic
Another feature of our custom router software that we have been working on at Gigha is improving our network traffic reporting. In doing so, we discovered traffic going to the V7hts high-speed channel while the V7 is off. We traced it down to two devices in the network constantly contacting the address

The two devices contacting were the newest video cameras recently installed. Tracing down the other address was more difficult. We could see immediately that it was an Amazon Web Services (AWS) server in Europe, but since AWS rents out servers, we didn’t know who operates it. Someone on-line had traced the lineage back to Reolink, which makes sense, given the devices that were contacting it.

It appears that the newest cameras shipped by Reolink come with a rather dangerous feature. They ping off-boat every couple of minutes, which could get expensive quickly when we’re running on our satellite system.

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Reolink Camera
In digging deeper into the traffic from the two new Reolink cameras and the Reolink server running in AWS, we found that Reolink actually is implementing two dangerous features. The first is they are frequently pinging their servers and consuming network bandwidth, and probably also exporting data that we don’t want exported.

The second feature is even more annoying, where they make the video feed from the camera available to anyone who has the UID. The UID is a Unique Identifier for the camera. If you can guess the UID on one of the newer Reolink cameras as they are shipped, then you can have access to the live feed. This has the potential to consume vast amounts of bandwidth, and since James isn’t always dressed when he checks the engine, it’s probably not the video feed we most want to export. :)

If you clear out the UID, it’s supposedly no longer possibly to access the video feed, but the camera will still call home every few minutes, consuming network bandwidth. We cleared the UID to disable that security vulnerability. We also put a firewall rule in place preventing any of the 8 cameras from accessing the internet. And while we were at it, we also disabled access from our printer, stereo receiver and television. The firewall block is a simple off/on switch, so if we want to patch software or other administrative action that requires internet access, we can flick it on, do the work, and turn it back off.

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The final product emerged from the bread machine after five hours of various noises, sometimes rumbling, sometimes beeping, but requiring no attention from us. The loaf has a bit of an odd shape, but is tasty, with a great crust.
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Creatorele Boat Remote
Blog reader and graphics designer Andre Verhoek sent is a mock-up of a much-improved labelling design for our Creatorele Boat Remote, showing the direction the boat is facing and coloring the button labels to represent port and starboard (red and green).

What makes this job more difficult is that the button pairings supported for a crane remote don’t closely match what you’d want for a boat. Each opposing function, such as forward and back, needs to have an interlock preventing both from being picked at the same time.

Ideally we’d use the third row of buttons for forward thruster left and right, and the fourth row for rear thruster left and right, where you could put both left thrusters on together or both right thrusters, but not a left and a right. On the remote, however, the left buttons in rows three and four are paired and cannot be used together, as are the right buttons.

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Remote Labeling, Take Two
Inspired by Andre Verhoek’s design, we relabeled the keys on the new boat remote. What makes this a bit challenging is the remote has interlocked pairs of buttons that need to implement opposing functions, like engine forward and back, in less-than-intuitive positions. So Andre and us are both constrained by this limitation. We’re further limited by not having the color coded-options Andre proposed, but we think this labeling is easier to understand than our original and appreciate the suggestion from Andre.
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Dough Cycle
Our bread machine ready to go again, this time on a dough cycle to make cinnamon buns.
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Spitfire attempting to tear the jugular out of a piece of string. When inspired, he’s lightening fast. Spitfire is doing amazingly well for an almost 17-year-old cat with chronic kidney disease. And he’s really enjoying all the extra attention he’s getting during the lockdown.
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Dough Ready
An hour and 45 minutes later, the bread machine produced a nicely risen ball of dough for cinnamon buns.
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The work boat from the nearby fish farm returning to the mooring at Gigha. The mooring is attached to the seabed with a heavy chain, and has two smaller mooring chains dangling from it. The crew hooks up to the mooring by lifting it high with their crane, then attaching the lower ends of two mooring chains to the boat. Once attached, they drop the mooring back down in the water, put away the crane, and head ashore in the RIB.
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Cinnamon Buns
Delicious cinnamon buns topped with pecans, fresh from the oven, with dough made in our bread machine.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


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2 comments on “Baking at Gigha
  1. Andy says:

    I have been curious, what is the size of the scuba tanks stored in yiour cockpit? They look like 50cu ft? Steel or aluminum?

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