Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Itchy and Cold Feet

As we get closer and closer to our departure, my feet are feeling simultaneously itchy and cold. I'm eager to leave and travel again and yet at the same time, I realise that there will still be scary times and stuff will inevitably break and we won't be able to have showers or air conditioning or a car once we leave. I'm a little nervous about setting off overseas in our little boat but am also really keen to go!

Lots of little jobs have been getting ticked off the lists this week:

One of my ideas for improving our cockpit was to somehow cover the large emergency pump with a stool that could be used to perch upon or to serve snacks on. Of course, if there was an emergency that required the use of the pump, the stool would be tossed aside in seconds - but now, the area is less of a hazard. I think just about every person we've had on board Anima before this, has left with a bruise from that big pump!
The new cockpit stool.
 I installed a catch system so that our toilet lid will stay open while we're sailing and not fall onto the unsuspecting visitor (I keep it clean but there's something gross about toilet lids!).
The new toilet lid catch.
I devised and installed a simple method of securing the navigation laptop while it's in use inside. I think of it like the laptop's seatbelt!
The new navigation laptop 'seatbelt'

Rene about to dive into the marina..
I installed the hand-me-down BBQ that Rene's parents gave us from their cruising days. I had figured out that the best way to install it was to attach a stainless steel handle to the underside of the wooden railing that runs around the aft of the boat. Just as I was measuring where to drill the holes for the handle, it fell from my hands and sank in the water below! Rene bravely donned stinger-protection and dove to the bottom (about 5 metres) around 12 times but no luck. It had sunk into the marina mud and disappeared. I managed to buy another one and this time, tied it securely to the boat so that it wouldn't fall in. The BBQ is all ready to go now - I even cleaned it up a little with rustbuster to make it shiny. We're looking forward to cooking up some freshly caught fish on a fire of drift wood while anchored somewhere gorgeous. mmmmmm

The new BBQ
The cockpit awning pattern (made in January)
Me finally tracing and cutting the patterns.
The patterns were finally put into use for the cockpit awning. I had created very detailed diagrams and patterns a while ago using some old charts. The marina staff here allowed me to use the floorspace of a vacant building they have for lease and I got to roll out my special marine grade green canvas (ordered online through a company in Sydney) and mark out my patterns. Now I just need it to not be so windy so that I can double-check the cut-out canvas against the cockpit before embarking on another sewing marathon.

The new bookshelf
Me vs. Jigsaw
More wood-work. This time I did the whole thing on my own (and have the blisters to prove it). A relatively simple job of cutting some wood to fit the starboard bookshelf (the existing shelf was made from 2 under-sized planks resulting in a very wobbly situation). My first time using the Jigsaw. Rene was too busy working to help so I tried to do it alone. The first cut was easy and I thought 'yeah!' and then the next cut was agony. The jigsaw was jumping around crazily and making a mess of the wood (and my hands). I tried changing the battery thinking it was being so violent due to lack of power. Upon cutting again, it was just as bad. Eventually I realised that I was hitting the concrete (of the jetty) with the saw blade! I didn't have the wood elevated high enough! I realised this just as one of our neighbours came out, beer in hand, to tell me that it sounded like the blade was hitting the concrete (It had been making a terrible racket). I was quite embarrassed! But, after sanding and oiling it, the wood looks alright and the area is much more stable now. Another job done!

The second AGM battery in place
Rene pulling apart the boat.
Rene is still working on the battery installation. He is being very thorough (as usual) and is improving the system as he goes. The second battery is now secured in place. Because these batteries are AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat), they can be installed on their sides (even upside down if you are that way inclined). Rene then pulled apart the bulkhead, cupboard and desk to get at the wiring. It meant having to pull out the battery he'd already installed last weekend too! The wood panels were re-cut and I re-stuck the wall vinyl to their new shapes. The wiring is now more easily accessible and won't require us to pull apart the boat in order to work on it. There's still plenty to do with the battery job. I'm wondering if it will ever end?

We're starting to tick off some of the purchases we need to make before leaving too. I love my new inflatable life jacket. I put it on after it arrived and an hour later, realised that I still had it on! The one I used to wear was so uncomfortable that I'd take it off at every opportunity (not always safe). I'm excited too about our new binoculars as the old ones were all so old (they were hand-me-downs from our parents) that the lenses had grown some strange fungus over them and could barely be seen through.
The new lifejacket
Upon arriving back from our short trip south, we discovered to our dismay that our $20 air conditioner had died. We suffered through 4 days of constant sweat. Any skin-on-skin contact was torture! I used the local newspaper to buy another second hand one. It works better than the old one and we're so happy to have it. I want to smuggle it with us when we leave here but know that (a) there's no room and (b) we won't have the power to make it work. When we get to Singapore, we will definitely get another one. I am totally into aircon in the tropics!! Of course, when we are at anchor (and not tied up in a marina) the boat is much cooler as the wind channels down inside....

No comments:

Post a Comment