05/08/2012, Vuda Point Marina
Well, we finally got hauled out only about 90 minutes late. The lift needed some care and maintenance so we got delayed a bit. We were half way between high and low tide so we were running out of time just like yesterday. The lift was finally available about 1100 so out we came.
Once out, we were hauled over to the high pressure wash area where George(Marina Forman) took a good 45 minutes to clean off the hull. In years past, when we got hauled out of the water there has always been a good bit of growth that needed to be cleaned off. It's been 19 months since we painted the boat back in San Carlos, Mexico and while we complained at the time about how much the paint cost us, we both wish we had 4 more gallons of it to put on more coats. We were darn close to clean when we got hauled out. Very few barnacles. The only place we had them was on the forward edge of the keel and a few places where we had scrubbed the hull to clean off earlier growth. We had the expected slime that alway grows on anyhing that is the water(you should see our dock lines) but it came right off.
We were in our rack by 1300, just in time for all the yard workers to go to lunch. Everyone was back by 1400 and we started in. We've hired one of the locals to work on our boat with us for $7.00Fijian(about $3.85US) per hour. Out here, that's a great wage believe it or not. Most only make about $3 to $4 per hour. We gave him one of our scrapers and turned him loose. Now we have what we refer to as a "Super Scraper". It's incredible at taking off old paint. Our new worker had never seen one like it and loves it because it is so fast and easy to use. While he started in, Tracy started in or other areas of the hull while I went to the office to see if we could get some power where we were. The outlets near our boat are both dead. One of the local yards loaned me a LONG extension cord but something was wrong with the wiring and lights on our main circuit panel showed a "Reverse Polarity" warning. Not a good sign. One of the main managers came down and looked at the problem and promised us an electrician in the morning. Sure hope so since we still need to keep our batteries full and the air conditioner running to keep us cool when we aren't working.
I stripped all the barnacles off the prop and will be working on it some more in the morning. I want it right down to nice shiny bronze the way it is supposed to be.
So tomorrow will be another day of getting things scraped and sanded and all ready for the new paint on Thursday so we can get two coats on by the time we are ready to launch. It's going to be a labor intensive few days but well worth it.
I'll post some pictures in the next day or so so stay tuned.
05/07/2012, Vuda Point Marina
George(marina boat foreman came by about 45 minutes ago and we undid all the lines to shore and the lines to the center buoy. With the engine started, we slowly motored out to the buoy and tied off waiting for the lift to be put in place. The engine on the lift was started and suddenly quit. Now there is a very tall ladder propped up against the side of the lift. I'd say something has gone wrong. In the meanwhile, here we sit right in the middle of the marina waiting. Hey, it's Fiji after all. This is like cruising without leaving the marina I guess.
05/06/2012, Vuda Point Marina
We were scheduled to be pulled out of the water this morning but it didn't happen. The way the Vuda Point Marina is set up, lots of boats are pulled in October and November and "buried" with their keels set in trenches and the hulls supported on old tires. It keeps them cyclone safe to even the strongest winds. Well, our friends-Terry and Christine on Teka Nova were having their boat taken out of it's "hole" and move to a set of stands to have it's hull painted. To move their boat, the boat that was "buried" behind them had to be moved and re buried in another hole. Well, that took some time and by the time Teka Nova got moved, we had lost the high tide we needed to allow us to have our pulled. With the "super moon" during the last couple of days, we've had some really high and really low tides that make getting on and off the boats a challenge some times. Well, by the afternoon, we were at a tide low enough that there was no way we could be pulled out. So we got bumped to tomorrow in the early morning.
With all that being said, it has given us a sort of a day off. Something we rarely get since we have been pushing ourselves to get all the jobs done that we can so once we are back in the water and re-provisioned, we can get out of here and see the rest of Fiji. We even stopped by the local mini market and got ice cream bars for a treat. The first we have had since we got here last October.
So, tomorrow, we should be pull, put on stands and begin the paint removal and repainting so Zephyr will be set for another season. Lets hope so, it's been a long "winter" here in Fiji with all the rain it has brought.
05/06/2012, Vuda Point Marina, Fiji
Yesterday, I went from the highest highs(twice) to the lowest lows(numerous times). With that being said, the highest high was up to the top of the mast(twice) to install the repaired wind gauge that Paul on Star Struck brought back from the US last Tuesday. I'd mailed it back to the US back in February(took 21 days to get there)for repairs and he was nice enough to bring it back. I headed up the mast with Tracy using our Milwaukee drill to get me up there(along with me using the steps I installed before we left Mexico). Once up there and plugged in, Tracy went below and turned it on. Nothing came up on the screen. So down I came and headed below to see what might be the problem. When I removed it, I'd not only labeled every wire as to where it went, I also made a schematic of where they went and then took pictures just in case(paranoia is my friend). Well, I'd installed it alright but what we missed(myself included when I reinstalled it) was an "ON" switch on the back of the unit. It normally turns "on" with a master switch on the front panel. Once I toggled that switch, she came right on line. I had to go back up the mast as I'd forgotten to take a product called "Rig Wrap" that's used to fasten wires down so they won't blow around. Much like an elastic strap that gets stretched and once stretched, will adhere to itself making a nice durable bond. Another project done.
Next, on the replacing one of the bales(rings that are attached to the boom that the boom vang(rope contraption that holds the boom horizontal when big winds blow)attaches to. When we had Zephyrs rigging replaced, the rigger used a line called "Amstel Steel" that is as strong as steel cable. Not the stuff you want on a boom vang that is supposed to stretch when a big load is put on it. During our crossing, the Amstel Steel line made two big blocks that hold the line explode. And I do mean explode with a BANG. I'd replaced the line with a simple three strand line that worked much better. Unfortunately, the pressure on the fitting during the crossing started to tear the stainless steel plate that holds the bale to the boom. I had the replacement so we did the job of sliding off the old one and putting on the new one. To do this job, we had to take off the end of the boom and unscrew every fitting on it and there were lots of things screwed to the boom. Off with the old and on with the new. Tighten a bunch of screws and done. Another job down.
Next, down the the "lowest low". Into the bilge, the darkest stinkiest place on any boat. Ours was filled with a mixture of water(leaking water heater and holes in the deck), oil(broken oil cans under the stern bunk--3 gallons lost) and soap that we had poured in to try and break up the oil. It was a big slop of slimy, slippery gooey black yuck. It all needed to come out. I had to stick my head through a pair of small doors under the stairs and stick the top half of my body down just so I could reach the yuck. First, I had to disconnect the wires to the bilge pump and drag that messy piece of equipment out so Tracy could clean it. I used a plastic glass(never to be reused) to scoop up some of the yuck and pour it into a bucket, slither out of the hole, hand the bucket to Tracy who poured it into a bigger bucket and then head back down into the yuck. All in all, about 2.5 gallons and too many paper towels to count before it was all done but done it was.
By now, I was a sweat soaked mess of a person with my shirt not only filthy, but literally soaked with sweat and dirt. The head bands I wear to absorb the perspiration off my head--I was on my second one since the first was already soaked beyond absorption. Once we were done with that job, I headed off for the showers with lots of soap and a stiff brush to get all the yuck off my hands and arms.
While I had gone from the top of our boat to the bottom of our boat all in one day, we accomplished three very important tasks in one day. I'll take that any time.
05/04/2012, Vuda Point Marina, Fiji
Well the heater is finally in and working fine. We had a few more problems--bad fittings, leaking hose(needed replacement), wrong fittings(needed new ones) just to name a few things that went wrong that we fixed. Add in the coolant tank got an air bubble in it and wouldn't allow more coolant to be added and it's been just a thrill getting this heating installed, but get it installed, we did. Now we can heat water with electricity as well as get hot water when the engine is running. Both a plus for the two of us on Zephyr.
Next, we will be putting the floor back in the main salon since we had to rip up the teak.holly sole to get to the heater. Tracy dry fitted it this afternoon and it will go back in just fine.
Tomorrow, I'll have my upper body upside down in the bilge cleaning out the last of our oil mess so we won't have to worry about pumping it out into the water around the boat. That's frowned upon out here.
We also go the generator started today after two month of nut being used and flushed the outboard of sand and stuff by getting it started as well. All in all, a good day for projects.
We're on the schedule to be hauled out on Monday to have the bottom scrapped and repainted. WIth luck, we'll be back in the water by Friday. Guess we will see.
04/29/2012, Vuda Point Marina, Fiji
I know, you've heard it before in the last two posts. "We're almost there". And we are almost there.
To bring you up to date, my illness descended into a full blown case of a sinus infection which came with an unpleasant fever just for fun. After having a fever and really bad coughs since Friday night, as I took a shower this morning(first one since Friday-yuck), Tracy was in the marina office finding a doctor to take me to. I don't think I've ever had a fever sit around for three days and it was even starting to worry me. I've had pneumonia several times in my life and the coughs I was having brought back some bad memories. So, fresh out of the shower, off we went in a taxi to the doctors office. I was seen quite quickly. From what it appeared to me, ahead of other patients that were already in the office. He checked my pulse(fine), blood pressure(fine amazingly) and listened to my chest(also fine). He listened to me outline my symptoms and came to the diagnosis that I had a sinus infection and needed some antibiotics to kill it off. He handed me a prescription and off we went to the pharmacy. The bill for the visit--$25.00Fijian($13.75US). The prescription for the antibiotic was $20.00Fijian($11.00US). For that kind of money, you don't even get in a doctors office in the US. So hear I sit, antibiotics coursing through my body hopefully doing what they are supposed to be doing. I guess I will know in 24 hours.
So, back to the water heater. Well, the small drip that started when we first installed it has continued and Tracy wanted it stopped. Easy to understand. We both want this job over and done with and poor Zephyr put back in shape. So, with me sitting on the sidelines giving instructions, in she went, screwdriver and wrench in hand. Her daddy taught here well. I pointed here and there for what to undo and redo and she was on it. I prepped the new fittings(brass to go on brass) with LOTS of teflon tape and even added some more of the Plumbers Putty for good measure smeared in the threads just for fun. On went the new fasteners and hoses and clamps and she was done. We mopped up what water had poured out of the tank and then crossed our fingers and hit the switch to turn on the water pump. One small leak that was stopped with the tightening of one of the hose clamps and we were done. We put a towel under it and sat back for 10 minutes and it was still dry so that part of the job is now done. We have pressure and we have lots of hot water. A big difference we have noticed is that the floor boards above the heater no longer feel warm to our feet as we walk over them. The old insulation was shot probably when it got so wet from all the leaking it had been doing.
When we were in town last Friday, we picked up the rest of the fittings we need to connect the heater to the engine so when the engine runs, it heats the water in the heater. Tomorrow(health willing) we will tackle that part of the job.