Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Empathy and Energy

This last week, I watched videos on youtube of the tsunami wreaking havoc upon the coastal communities of Japan. I bought the paper and read the horrible facts and tolls. I tuned into the radio to listen to the nuclear disaster unfold. I gave money to the red cross earthquake appeal and looked out for friends updates on facebook who live in Japan to see that they were ok. 

Amongst all of this, I realised why I have been reacting so strongly to the most recent natural disasters. Empathy. Yep, Cyclone Yasi may not have destroyed everything but the lead up (3 days of knowing she was going to hit hard and being told to expect the worst) changed me irrevocably. I know how devastatingly scary it is to be living through a natural disaster. I know that cyclones are very different to earthquakes but there's something similar in that feeling of being out of control. Of not knowing if you are going to survive. Of dealing with the chaos afterwards. 

With this new understanding, I'm feeling less like this is the end of the world. This most recent spat of earthquakes is what Dr Karl Kruszelnicki explained as 'clustering'. Basically he said that they tend to cluster together (in time). He made an analogy to flipping a coin 100 times. The total tally would result in about 50 heads and 50 tails but the way that they appear as you flip them looks different. They usually cluster together in groups - the maximum group being 7 of one type in a row. So, these recent earthquakes are clustering together and we can expect there to be more - the West Coast of America is due for one too (but it could arrive between now and in 100 years!). 

I figure with all of this uncertainty, it's best to just try and make the most out of each day.

Back in 2008 (while I was in Japan) Rene took Anima out for a sail in Moreton Bay with his brother and some other relatives. He had such a good sail in fact, that the floor of the bowsprit (extreme forward section of the boat that hangs out over the water) wooden floor broke off into the sea! For all the years since then, we've just been really careful while working / playing in that area as there was a great hole that you could slip into! We took advantage of having our bows over the jetty here in the marina, to build and paint a new, stronger floor. Rene got to use his new angle grinder to cut the stainless steel supports which was pretty exciting for him I think. Hearing the angle grinder makes me think of our crazy anti-fouling experience that we had last year. 
Rene happy at having just completed the new bowsprit floor.
I persisted with sewing our cockpit awning and am really happy with it so far. I did however, make a mistake with the zips - it was my first time sewing in a zip and I did them both the wrong way around! I tried to amend my mistake by cutting off the zipper start and re-sewing it back on further up the zip but it didn't work. So I unpicked one zip and cut off the other. I bought replacement zips yesterday but can't bring myself to take it all down again now because it looks so amazing being up! Rene helped me glue and attach the hooks onto the cockpit roof so that the awnings can be tied back securely and quickly. Now I just need him to help me secure the awning down on the other end with eyelets and stayputs. 
Zip fail. My attempt at fixing also failed. Learning!

Me happy with my new cockpit awnings!
Rene installed an LED light into our electrics board as an indicator of the fridge being on. The old system used incandescent lights which would always die. This is the beginning of a very big retrofit job - making the old electrical system new. This is one job that Rene will be able to whittle away at while we're cruising. He has a new approach which I think is pretty wise. Before we set off (in one month exactly!!!), he wants to try starting all of the jobs we have on our big 'to do' list. We've learnt that inevitably, each time we embark upon a new boat job, we'll discover that we don't have the correct parts/tools/knowledge. So, with Rene's cunning plan, we'll hopefully be able to at least get the tools and parts before we go. The knowledge we can work on! 

Rene also installed an LED light witch that comes on when we turn on the gas for the stove. This is to remind him to turn the gas off again! This job also requires more work to make it neater but it's a start. 

Rene climbed the mast to sand back the masthead plate that he installed there months ago. He looks so small up there on the top!
Rene up the mast again!
I installed anti reflective stickers to our laptops. This is to reduce the amount of glare we experience while trying to view the screen in a very sunny environment such as Anima. I bought two different types of screen and think that one company far outweighs the other.
Applying the anti-glare sticker to the laptop.

I took advantage of some sunny days to oil the teak on deck. This is not absolutely necessary to do before we go, but it's a job I enjoy. Also, the waste created from painting is easier to clean up and throw away while in port with access to bins.
Oiling the wood on deck & hoping it doesn't rain!

Millions of moths invading our hazelnuts - grrrr!
I'm waging a war on the pantry moths - they had been secretly gathering (breeding) their armies in the darkness of the pantry. I've had to throw out all of our rice, some dried fruit, some of our nuts, all of our flour and a few other small things. One night I managed to kill 20 that were flying about in the boat! After researching online, I've found that the only real way to get rid of them is to clean obsessively. So, I've been wiping out all of the pantry shelves and killing all of the moths. I hope I win this war - it's an expensive battle to lose.

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