Sleepless In Kuah
29 January 2021 | Langkawi - Last Day!
Some readers might remember I had a TO-DO List which has kept me busy over these long Covid lockdown months. Busy re-prioritising and re-ordering every now and again but not actually doing many. You may also recall I had a second list of “Things, Some Day, I’ll Wish I’d Done During That One Year Of Lockdown”.
Well, I’m pleased and not a little surprised to report the To-Do list is almost complete, however there are gaping holes, literally, in the Wish List. And so, with just seven days to go before we plan to leave on our 6,500 mile Indian Ocean Covid Cruise, including a dash round the South Cape, we are chasing around like maddies trying to commission engineers to build watertight bulkhead plates. And failing.
You see, Time Bandit’s previous owner had to cut a hole in the port aft engine room bulkhead , the one that separates the transom, under the back step, from the engine room. He cut the hole to fit the Watt&Sea towing generator which is through bolted on the transom. When I say “gaping hole” I really mean it. It’s man sized, as he’d have had to get wriggle right in, up to his waist, to secure the nuts. All that was understandable. What was less understandable was that having discovered so much “storage room” under the back steps, he decided it would be a great idea that rather than fill in the hole, hey, let’s cut another matching hole in the bulkhead in the other hull.
Now, you might be thinking, “watertight bulkheads - not at the top of Stuart’s priority list?” Well, not being entirely stupid, some months ago I checked with Outremer whether these holes were a good or a bad idea. A bit to my surprise, although I’d heard the rumours, they said, “no problem, all new Outremers are supplied with these holes” and to be fair to our previous owner, I’m pretty sure he also checked and got the same answer. All in all, it was enough of an excuse for me to put the job at the bottom of the list.
Then, last night, as I really knew would happen some day, there we were, chatting with Keith, our new best friend from music night, when he brought up the case of the Lagoon cat that sunk last year awfully near where we’re heading. Nobody knows what happened other than they were taking in water, but our cruising buddy Brent, who owns the same model of Lagoon, suspects the stern of the boat was compromised, possibly around where the swim ladder is.
And there at a stroke, went a good nights sleep.
Checking Brent’s Facebook posts I’ve seen that he has spent many happy hours over the last couple of months burrowing around the back of his Lagoon’s hulls in sweltering Queensland heat fitting new watertight bulkheads. And of course, after last nights chat and tossing and turning, I’ve spent the morning burrowing around the back of our hulls in sweltering Malaysian heat, measuring, estimating and making drawings ready for a day or two of Malaysian DIY.
The difference between Malaysian DIY and, say, UK, USA, New Zealand or Aussie DIY is, first, you don’t get sold a hot dog on the way in. And second, Malaysia, or at least Langkawi, doesn’t yet have B&Q, Home Depot or Bunnings. The Langkawi DIY / hardware stores, of which there are many, are more like the car garages we used to have at home in the sixties. All dark alleys, dusty dark shelves and all a bit of an organised shambles.
The good news is that the staff know their stuff........ and if they don’t, are happy for you to climb around the racks, pass down a sheet of 8’ x 4’, then slice it up in the middle of their shop...... without having to bear a forty minute safety briefing from a fourteen year old and donning safety glasses, gloves snd steel toed boots.
And that was how we spent our morning, pencil behind my ear, Jig Saw in hand. All these hours in Tech Drawing and Woodwork turned out useful after all. Even more hours later, a few skinned knuckles, another few quid in the swear box, and at least three return trips to the DIY shop, I got it done. Check the video.
As I always say, “don’t do today what you can put off until tomorrow”.
And tomorrow, we’re off for the Maldives! ...... now, what does that red rope do again?