Thursday, 22 November 2012

Life on the Hook

Koh Yao Yai beach - not busy at all
We escaped from Boat Lagoon in Phuket last Friday, and Koh Yao Yai is a lot more exotic than the boatyard and hardstand ...

The jungle grows right down to the sand along the gracefully curving beach of Yao Yai.  The water is warm and aquamarine, gently rocking Crystal Blues.  A low key resort on the beach welcomes cruisers, with both meals and massages at reasonable prices.  This is a big island, predominantly Muslim, very friendly and peaceful.  We're anchored in 7 metres of water over sand and the beach is accessible at all times as there is no fringing reef.  Perfect !

Repairing the vacuum
All is good until the vacuum cleaner decides to stop working and the dinghy pump refuses to pump.  Nothing else to do but repair the broken bits.  Well,  we have to do something constructive, can't lounge around reading books in the cockpit all day, that would be slothful.

Placing the modular units of the water maker
So once again we are in work mode, after a brief day of R&R.  Next job is  planning the new reverse osmosis water maker installation - all the parts are laid out and then we place all the modular pieces exactly where we plan to install them.  We even take a photo to record the placement.  This time we're installing an ECHOTec water maker, manufactured in Trinidad.  Our 10 year old Schenker unit from Italy had given us good service for a few years, then it became problematic and unreliable.  We contacted Schenker direct to send the 12 volt energy recovery pump back to Italy for a service, but their reply was not what we wanted to hear, "we'll send you the parts, you can fix it". This attitude and the lack of a local dealer in Asia pushed us into junking the unit.

So we now have an ECHOTec 390 AML.  It is not fancy, a manually operated unit that is built strong and sturdy using "off the shelf" components.  Yes we'll miss the automatic functions of the Schenker, but we won't miss the foibles and problems.  Before we ordered the ECHOTec we spoke to many cruisers, read the online testimonials and then dealt directly with the man who makes them.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

She Floats !

We hauled Crystal Blues out of the water back in March, here at Boat Lagoon in Phuket. We initially intended a short stay on the hard, but this eventually turned into a larger commitment to refurbish the hull inside, in areas we had not previously touched.  Doing that refit work now, here in Thailand, was easier and less expensive than tackling it elsewhere in the world in future years - and we have great local resources here in Phuket.
Floating At Last, image by Dana Fowlkes

So the refit has been extensive (again), and Crystal Blues is better than new in many areas - certainly the hull, rig, machinery and electrics are far far better than they were when we initially moved aboard. In the seven months here we've tackled an awful lot of projects, discovered new ways of working and even found parts of the boat we'd never seen before.

If you're "into boats" you can check the partial job list at the end of the story.  In that same seven months we've managed two visits to Australia, a northern Thailand holiday and Neil has spent many weeks working in India.

On November 1 we re-launched - and what a great feeling it is to be floating again.  The travel lift picked us up at 8.30am and Crystal Blues spent an hour hanging "in slings" whilst we touched up the anti-fouling paint under the keel. By 9.30am the procession to the water began, and we splashed around 10.00am, an hour or so before high tide.  We spent the next 30 minutes checking for leaks in areas we had serviced, before giving the yard crew the all clear to remove the slings and move the machinery away.