Since the last update we have sailed down the East coast of Morocco and into the Canary Islands, allowing the hunt for potassium chloride (KCl) to begin. KCl is a type of salt and a supplement taken to allow proper functioning of the heart, muscles, kidneys, nerves and digestive system so theoretically it should be quite easy to acquire. If all else failed I could use a prescription from doctor Alba.
We've now been 4 days at harbour and after visiting every pharmacy, health food shop and supermarket in the city we've been unable to find KCl in a pure form. I had some very kind Spanish help from Alba to talk to some labs on the island in an attempt to buy wholesale KCl. However, this was only available in minimum 20kg loads. Better than nothing. Unfortunately, the lab providers were unresponsive and didn't appear to be on the island anyway. With too little time to have any delivered to the island we had quite the dilemma.
Some luck! Potassium chloride is also used in diet salts to as an alternative to sodium chloride (NaCl - normal sea/ table salt) reducing high blood pressure caused by the consumption of too much NaCl. A super helpful member of the voyage crew, Martin, found diet salts sold in the supermarket! This is a composition of around 33-40% NaCl and 60-66% KCl, so our next venture will be to separate the two salts. To do this we will boil the diet salts in distilled water (to avoid any other impurities) and filter the solution. KCl is a lot more soluble when boiled than NaCl so theoretically, after a few go's, we should filter out the NaCl and be left with pure KCl in the beaker. It's a fairly simple at home chemistry experiment and should be good fun to involve the voyage crew with!
Once I have the pure potassium chloride and we have set sail again, I will be able to trawl and conduct some experiments on my samples! Looking forward to heading out into the Atlantic.
All the best,