Monday, November 29, 2010

Phuket Boat Lagoon – Sat 27 Nov 2010

My last missive was from Renmark and that already seems so long ago. Rosie and I made it through to Burra. We had a wonderful trip together and while it was wonderful to see the Thomas’ again it was tinged with sadness at the thought of once again having to leave my beautiful little Rosie. The trip made me feel that I would really like to do a road trip to Perth in the not too distant future – its on the list!!!

Andy, Robyn and Katie dropped me at the airport on Sunday 14th and I stayed at a lovely hotel near the airport in Melbourne and flew out to Kuala Lumpar on Monday 15th. Suffice to say it was a long and tedious trip exacerbated by the fact that there was absolutely no wine on board and after a huge delay while we located our plane (Gate 8, gate 4 then we found it at gate 7!) that wasn’t helpful! Arrived at KL about 2 hours late and my bag was about the last one off the plane so ran upstairs to get the connecting flight to Phuket which turned out to be a lovely hour and ten minutes with bags already there when we got off and no customs and straight through. Peter had only just arrived!

Peter had done a lovely thing and organised a surprise belated birthday party for me (it was a big one – 60 - can you believe it!!!) for Tuesday night. I thought we were just going out to dinner the two of us and when we got there Geoff, May and their daughter Ruth off Wave Sweeper were there and James and Sandra from Cilantro and Bryan off Kristie 1 so that was a huge surprise. Peter had organised all the food and asked them to get a birthday cake which turned out to be a Svenson ice cream cake – so yummy. So everyone by all accounts had a wonderful time.

While I had been working my tail feathers off in Brisbane Peter had been doing it pretty tough in Boat Lagoon staying on the boat climbing over all the stuff from the shed (back of boat) every night to get to bed. He had to pull off all the fittings on deck and the mast was removed. We are out for a full paint but they found more rust than we anticipated and Peter had the entire toe rail cut off and stainless soldered back on. Then they found a big hole in the steel above the companionway hatch and that had to be cut out which meant that the ceiling had to come down and all in all the boat is a huge mess. Peter had to sit inside the boat when they were grinding to put out any spot fires which started in the paint so he had a pretty tough time. Then he went to book a unit for us only to find that there weren’t any available until the 21st. One of the Kiwis took pity on him and let us have his unit while he was away which was a lifesaver!! We moved into a lovely unit overlooking the marina on the 21st ($580/mth) so are well ensconced in the air conditioning! – At least I am – Peter is over at the boat working. They have made us both honorary Samran workers and given us both a Samran work jumper – Peter at least has earned his. Yesterday when I went over he had the jumper on, the breathing apparatus on and the rag tied around his head and the only way you could tell it was him was by the pants!!! I had tried to do some sanding but the carpenters came after me and redid it so there is really not a lot I can do at the moment. My time will come when we have to clean up the inside.

Peter is desperately trying to move things along as it looked as though we were going to be stuck here for Christmas but should get out the week before. Boats can only leave here on high tides as the channel is not dredged and is very shallow and there are only a couple of opportunities with the tide over the next few weeks. The boys are all working very hard though and work is progressing well. They are a lovely bunch and although there is not much English spoken they all have a huge sense of humour.

Our new tender was delivered a few days ago – a rib which has a hard bottom and he has been named Bob (thanks Phil). We have his name here ready to go on when we dig him out from under the tarp where he is hiding from all the paint and dust.

We have been eating out every night – the food is fantastic and we really look forward to Brett arriving on the 3rd December. Cilantro left Friday – went out at 12 o’clock on a 2.8 metre tide. They reported that they went down to 0m but didn’t touch bottom! When I left the unit at 11.20 I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye behind the pile of sheets which had been taken out of the rooms and next thing a metre + long snake took off and headed to the units on the other side (we are on the third floor!!). Extremely disconcerting!!!!!

Peter and Bryan did a visa run last week. A minibus picked them up at 10.15pm on Sunday night along with 6 other people and they drove through the night to Penang in Malaysia, dropped their passports off at the Embassy, had a night in a lovely hotel, collected their passports at 2pm on Monday and were back here at 10.30 Monday night. All meals were included and they thought it was pretty good value for $150. Peter now has another two months on his visa.

The Freedom III came in last week pretty well patched up all over the front of her. She was the huge cat which hit the other boat in the tsunami. The boys were telling us how huge the wave was. Couldnt imagine seeing a boat of that size bearing down on you as well as the huge wave – terrifying stuff.

Anyway work continues. I will try to do something with the photos soon. Hope this finds you all well.

Much Love
May the wind be always at your back
Dell and Peter

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On the road again!!!!

To all those people wondering if we are ok yes we are and to all those people we did not manage to catch up with many apologies. We flew back into Australia on 4th August and collected our car and Rosie from Andy and Robyn in South Australia. Drove home via Sydney to see the kids and then it was home and a whole lot of work. Peter worked on the house and we managed to get a bit of babysitting in with our beautiful grandchildren. Peter flew back to Langkawi on 19 September to take the boat single handed to Phuket to haul out to do some work on her. Following is an email I had from Peter:

Well what a day. We were delayed by one day as Brian snapped his throttle cable. Went into town and luckily sourced a new one and had it installed by 3.30pm. We departed Rebak at 7.30 and made our way to Telaga so Brian could get fuel. When we left there we were half way up the west side of Langkawi when I started taking on water, lots of it. Checked all the hoses on the motor but eventually found that water was gushing in at the propellor shaft seal. Had the big electric bilge pump going and also the hand bilge pump and made the 2 hours back to the marina. Tim off Raven gave me a hand as it was still gushing in tied up to the dock and the travel lift wasn't working today. Found the cause and fixed it. The two grommet screws which hold the pressure ring against the shaft seal had worked loose and the ring moved up the prop shaft separating it from the seal and allowing lots of water in. Eventually fixed it, phew and left Rebak at 1.15. Going the clappers to get to the anchorage before dark when Brian broke a fan belt. He eventually installed a new one and we got into the anchorage at 7.00pm, still light. Brian just called and he has cooked his batteries, they are smoking. Have to wait for them to cool down before he tries to find the problem. Hope tommorrow is a better day.

Well he finally made it and put the boat up on the hard only to discover that we had a heck of a lot more rust than we ever knew! So Peter has been working super hard on the boat at times holding the fire extinguisher to make sure none of the sparks from the grinding etc caught the boat alight. He has been living aboard among the dust and the grime. They have to use water when they are grinding and this turns to a nasty sludge in the boat. Anyway grinding has finished and Peter has cleaned out the sludge - a huge job by all accounts and now they can start on the original job of painting the boat - obviously a bit behind schedule and a blow out on the budget!!

I have been working very hard on our house getting ready for new tenants and also moving all our furniture from one storage facility to another one - financially it was worth it but it was a huge job. Many thanks to Darren, Stuart and Brett for all the help. Couldnt have done it without you all. It was so lovely to be surrounded by all our wonderful family. Will miss you all terribly especially little Jessie (such a wonderful little boy - missing your cuddles) and little Charlie (such a happy cheeky little girl).

I am currently writing this in Renmark - Rosie and I have been on a road trip to drive to Andy's. Finally finished packing the house up on Thursday night and stayed with Stuart - what a relief to finally be finished. Friday night was with Judy in Yamba and then Saturday drove all day in the rain to Sydney so stayed Sunday as well. We camped at Narrandera and then last night at Renmark and today we make Andy and Robyn's. I fly to Melbourne on Sunday 14th and on Monday 15th will be back in Phuket to inspect all the work!!!

Anyway time to get back on the road again