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Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Painting Blues

Okay, we have been very slow in updating this blogsite - but right now we're wondering just where did June and July get to ? It seems we've been working even harder, with only occasional stops to smell the roses.

The Painting Blues

After deciding to re-paint our decks, the painting crew faced many challenges right through May, June & July. The rainy season arrived early, high temperatures, strong winds and high humidity all contributed to repeated delays and failures as they repainted our deck.

But other issues were also lurking ...... contamination in the finish. The contractors (Pro Yachting) replaced the air lines, the compressor filters, the spray gun, insulated the tent lining and even brought in an air conditioner, but still no-one was happy with the paint finish. We went through the spray the paint on/sand the paint off cycle more times that any of us care to count.

The head painter (a Thai Buddhist) was so discouraged by all this that he decided to stop eating pork, on the basis that we were located on traditional Muslim land. Superstition runs deep over here.

In the end they purchased a new tin of paint - SUCCESS - really glossy paint on the deck, and no corruptions ! The painting team was so happy that after a really hard night celebrating, they all forgot to come to work the next day. No-one is sure how the original paint became contaminated, but it was an emotional and expensive time for all.

Visas & Birthdays Every three months we need to renew our Thai visas, which can only be done outside of Thailand (go figure) - so in June we flew to Penang to celebrate our birthdays and renew our tourist visas.

Visiting Penang is like going home for us - its like putting on an old (well worn) coat. We rent a motor scooter and ride everywhere, enjoying breakfast in Little India and lunches in our favourite Chinese vegetarian restaurant, where lunch is self-serve from fifty plus trays of delicious curries and mixed vegetables, with "chicken", "beef", "prawns" and "eggs". There are many of these Buddhist vegetarian restaurants in Penang and all the protein served there is made from tofu.

Penang must be the greatest food city in the world - sorry Singapore ! So many choices - and we shared Yum Cha with Bruce and Audrey from SV Envy. Neil chose dinner from trolleys stacked high with bamboo baskets of dim sum - translucent rice pastries filled with scallops, prawns, pork and vegetables.

If you would like to see where our favourite eating places are in Penang, click here.

Downsizing Way back in March we imagined that our boat would be near completion by the end of June, so we found new tenants for the house we were living in. Wrong move ....

Of course Crystal Blues was not ready by the move out date, so we had to downsize from a house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and garage to a very small one bedroom apartment plus a four metre square storage shed, both located close to Crystal Blues here at Boat Lagoon, Phuket.

In typical fashion, our Thai friends all helped out with the move - "Aon" loaned shelving for the shed and a desk for the apartment, whilst "Ai" stored a pile of clothing and the barbeque in her spare room. "Kaew" fed us countless times during those frantic weeks - its the local people that make Thailand so special.

Recycling As part of our re-fit we replaced the genoa furler and some rigging, plus the pushpit and pulpit railings.

Gradually our stockpile of old stainless steel and aluminium built up.

Neil eventually cut all the metal into smaller bits, loaded up the back of the truck and we went out to haggle with the local junk yards. The dealers here are pretty tough - they use super strong magnets to asses everything you offer them - the small amount of residual magnetism in our old rigging wire was enough for them to say it was not stainless - sure was news to me. We tried several places but they all played the same game - in the end we managed to dine out for a few nights on the proceeds.

Our boat work is now proceeding at a great pace, and we can see the changes every single day. The freezer box had been re-installed, the mast is almost completely rebuilt and another two days will see the reconstruction of the forward hold completed. We're also still juggling our time between the boat and our video work, which we'll tell you about in the next instalment.