Sunday, January 29, 2012

Counting Down to Splashing

Jan 28. 
The sky today is cloudy, grey and threatening rain - not good for painting. Instead, Rene embarked upon reinstalling the aft railings which have been suspended a few inches above deck for the past 2 months. He discovered (of course) that this job was more difficult than expected (why is it never easy on the boat?) because the metal had warped during its time in the air. I reattached dorade vents to the deck and the spray dodger frame before realising there wasn't much else I could do and so retreated inside to continue TESOL. Local workers finally fixed the electricity cable that had fallen from its support and been lying on the ground (often in a puddle of water). They dug a hole for a new pole and then pulled the large cable up using their bare hands (!) in a cherry picker. Ren also reattached the portside winch and painted the last of the topcoat. We didn't quite have enough to paint everything - there are a few spots left around the place that are still waiting for a second coat. They'll have to keep waiting! In the afternoon I started peeling/scraping the old masking tape from the green stripe that has been there for nearly 2 months. Have discovered a new sundowner thanks to another yachtie here - beer on ice! Makes it go further and is more refreshing too. I'll have to make do with my ration of one of these each day for now as we can't afford to drink wine anymore :(

The old pole is pushed over, note the wire on the ground

New pole in, wire is pulled up by hand in the cherry picker

Jan 29. 
We're booked to splash back in the water on the 2nd of Feb. Can't wait! There's still a lot to do but I think if we keep working we'll be fine. Have been bitten by a few mozzies lately - I really hope they're not disease ridden. Today we worked together at scraping off the old masking tape from the green stripe. It was tedious, soul-destroying work. After a few hours though, it was done (many hands!) and we set about sanding and cleaning it ready for painting. I was cleaning the stripe from above, leaning down and over the edge when I stood up and nearly fell overboard. Luckily I could hold onto a rope and steady myself before tottering inside to collapse on a seat for a while - my head reeling. As usual, my hypochondriac tendencies started to go rife. Rene didn't help - when he finally came inside to get something and saw me lying there he said 'do you need to go to hospital?'. 'I hope not!' was my reply. Looking at the clock I saw it was past 2pm - maybe I'm hungry? I forced myself to make lunch and eat a sandwich. Then I took an iron tablet - we've barely eaten any meat here because I can't bring myself to deal with the way it's sold here. So, while I lay around trying not to panic that I'm dying, Rene got on with the boat work, taping and painting the green stripe. After about an hour, I felt OK again and so ventured back into the heat of Malaysia to continue work. Ren was enjoying painting the green enamel paint (far less toxic than the two pac paint he's been using lately) so I busied myself taping up more areas. Then, a finishing touch - our name sticker is back on the back!
Check out the difference in green on our stripe

Ren working at making Anima pretty :)

Painting over the non-slip on deck

Jan 30. 
I scrubbed the deck with turps and then soapy water until my hands bled - literally. ouch! By the end of the day, I had cleaned, taped up and painted 13 non-skid deck sections. Phew! They look great and I'm impressed with how much I achieved in one day - though am not impressed with the blisters and cuts I received as a result. Rene worked on the hull. He sanded all of the little spots that had been exposed to steel by those nasty little barnacles, then he cleaned and painted those spots with Jotamastic before painting half of the hull with antifoul paint. Busy busy busy!
Rene paints the first coat of anti foul - Jotun Sea Guardian 60

Jan 31. 
Rene concentrated on the hull all day again. Firstly he painted it in antifouling, then painted those spots from yesterday with Safeguard before embarking upon painting a second coat of antifouling. He is still at it now as I quickly type this up at 8.15pm before showering and trying to figure out what to rustle up for another late dinner. I spent hours in town with some other yachties in the car - my last chance - to stock up with food for the coming week/s and sort out other things like getting our new name sticker! When I returned, I pulled off all of the tape from yesterday's sections and then installed the starboard side safety railing. Much cursing was involved at some points when those bloody bolts and nuts just wouldn't cooperate! I succeeded in the end and finished off with doing more hand washing. A new record - I killed 6 mosquitoes who were all biting me while I did this annoying, never ending yet necessary chore. Tomorrow we go up in the haul-out machine so we can paint the bottom and points we're held up with currently. It's all happening finally!!! 
Rene ended up painting into the night. He finally knocked off at 1am. 
Anima with the first 2 coats of antifoul on.

Ren working into the night.
Feb 1. 
Our alarm went off at 5am and Rene got straight into it. He had to paint the final coat of antifoul paint early enough so that it would dry by the time the machine lifted us. I got up early too but instead of launching into work, I did an hour of Ashtanga yoga. It felt soooo good to do the primary series. I should get up that early more often! While Rene concentrated on painting and setting up the anodes, I installed the portside railings and cleaned up all the stuff (ropes, jerries, gas etc.) that was hiding out under our tarpaulin on the ground. A few toads escaped as I scrubbed and hosed for hours. I somehow managed to convince Rene to agree to us chucking out a bunch of stuff that we don't use and which usually lives on deck (clutter!). A lot of it will be recycled by the marina here which is cool. Our air conditioner broke. We were just talking about selling it / giving it away and it started making a very loud shuddering/vibrating noise. As I write this, sweat is sliding off various bits of me and gathering in other parts. Oh yeah, the joy of the tropics! Anima is looking great. The highlight of today was being lifted up onto the haul-out machine. Tomorrow we splash! 
Our beautiful, multi-coloured home!
Anima sitting in the Pangkor haul-out machine
Job nearly done!

Rene happy that he only has a little more painting to do!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cerae's Special Egg Burger Recipe

I've been perfecting this recipe over the last year or so. We are mostly vegetarian and so eat a lot of eggs for protein and energy. This burger is so delicious that I want to share it with you all. 

This recipe is designed to be read from the bottom up, as it lists all of the ingredients in the order they're layered into the burger.

Toasted bun / bread top
Traditional Mustard Pickles
Sliced cucumber
Sliced tomato
Sliced cheese
Tomato sauce or salt and pepper (or both if you really want)
Fried egg/s - done until the white is solid but the yolk is still runny
Toasted bun /bread bottom

I hope you like it as much as we do!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Will This Haul-out Ever END?

Jan 20.
Rene paints topcoat on the forward section of deck. I tape up more areas for him to paint around. Rene nearly passes out from the heat of working in the sun on deck. I feed him lots of water, 100plus and food. I get a ride in Tasha's car to check out getting a new name sticker made. Rene sands back the Penguard and the cockpit. He has to rewire the sander and gives himself an electric shock. Handwashing. After sunset (7.30pm) we walk over to Annwn to have catch-up beers. They generously give us a Bintang all the way from Indonesia and it tastes like good times. Lightning flashes all night.
Ren's bandages from wearing the gas mask so much.
Ren painting topcoat

Jan 21.
We get up before sunrise (doesn't really rise above the mountain before 7.20) and tape up the holes on the topsides that Rene made when grinding away the rust / old paint. I feel depressed about how long we've been here and how it feels as though we'll never finish but help him anyway. We use some left-over Kossan Kofill filler that our friends from Tasha D.M left behind when they splashed back in the water. It turned out to be a great solution! Rene filled up the worst of the holes and sanded them back ready for priming tomorrow. I wrote lists, tidied up, tried to get rid of useless stuff and painted the inside of the dorade vents bright red. I managed to also paint my hair - I'll have to cut the top off now! Rene painted some more Penguard and then some topcoat in the late afternoon. I worked on my TESOL course but am not enjoying it - I'm finding the coursework very tedious and not very helpful. I managed to procrastinate a lot by reading friends blogs and helping Rene.

Magic stuff
Ren applies Kofill

Jan 22. 
My glamorous laundry
Heavy rain lashed at Anima all night and then continued well into today. Not good weather for painting. Rene had a terrible time trying to remove the masking tape we'd applied yesterday to mark the areas he needed to fill in. I looked up solvents for masking tape and discovered WD-40 and Acetone are commonly used. Ren stuck with it for hours and eventually removed enough so he could sand back the surface to a smooth finish. He really regrets surrounding the areas with masking tape as it was extremely frustrating to remove it all afterwards. I shared a car trip to Giant and Tesco with some other yachties to stock up on groceries. We are eating in a lot more often here because the marina is quite a distance from any good, affordable restaurants. I painted the second coat of red enamel paint inside the dorade vents - it is a real pleasure to paint such a rich, bright colour. I also was finally able to start the process of reinstalling deck stuff. Today it was the rope spool that lives under the bench at the stern. Rene painted the last of the Penguard and is disappointed that we didn't order more earlier on as he would have liked to build up more layers. More handwashing at sunset before a cold beer while we looked over our progress.

The re-installed rope spool
Freshly painted dorades

Jan 23.
Kung Hei Fat Choi!!! or Happy New Year! Today is the Chinese New Year and is now the year of the Dragon. We heard fireworks throughout the night and things in the shipyard were pretty quiet during the day. Rene painted the second coat of Hardtop on deck - a big moment!! It took ages of course - he painted all day and only managed to do half of the deck. I finished another TESOL unit - this time on the future tense. Once the paint had dried, I was able to embark upon the process of removing the tape I'd layed down along the edges of all of the areas requiring Hardtop. As with all boat work, this task is seemingly simple in theory yet laborious and difficult in reality. The tape only sometimes lifts up in one piece, often it tears into tiny fragments which have to be painstakingly picked by hand. The most annoying part is that it has left a sticky residue that I'm hoping will wipe off with thinners. If not, it's going to add days to our time here. Rene kept at painting until dark. I made the most amazing burgers for lunch. I'm so impressed with how tasty they are (it's a recipe I've been perfecting for over a year now) that I'm going to share it in a separate post. After sundown we visited Annwn who had invited us over to help them drink a bottle of Champagne they'd hidden away in a locker. I'm always happy to help!! We had a nice evening chatting under their red lantern lights before heading back through the yard to Anima.

Robyn and Wal from Annwn
New Year mandarins from the marina.

Jan 24.
I continued to work at removing the tape from areas on deck that have been painted. In particular, I was finally able to cut free the tape from the butterfly hatch glass panes. They've been covered since we arrived and are finally pretty much completed. Ren moved the huge old air conditioner (bought in JB) to said butterfly hatch and then we had to deal with the rust spots that had been hiding out under it all this time. I helped out sanding and identifying rust spots until Ren
Ren painting and painting and painting topcoat

Jan 25.
Ren started today by applying a second coat of Jotamastic to the areas that received a first coat yesterday. He then lightly sanded and cleaned the port side topside before we worked together to tape a new waterline. After our experiences cruising through Indonesia and getting the topsides all dirty with slime, we're lifting the waterline up by about 2 inches. The stern was a little tricky to measure - the old waterline (that we stuffed up last time) was too low and we had to figure out a new one. I worked at cleaning the tacky stuff (left after removing the tape) off the back deck using a variety of products. I tried Kerosene, Turpentine, Eucalyptus Oil and Citronella Oil. The most effective are Kero and Turps - though the turps keeps on disintegrating my gloves so I'm a little worried about the toxicity. More hand washing. More TESOL work. More painting. I kept working till late tonight - we've run out of alcohol and it's my ritual (while on the hardstand) to have a drink at the end of the day. Eventually I realised we had some rum in a hip flask stashed away. It's empty now too. I wish alcohol was more affordable in Malaysia!!
Working at removing the stickiness

Ren taping up our new waterline
Jan 26.
Happy Australia Day! It didn't feel like a typical 'Straya Day' as I stepped around deflated Chinese Lanterns that had fallen in the boat yard. We had to keep working on the boat - no time for lazing around drinking and playing backyard cricket!! I borrowed Tasha's car and did a Tesco / Post Office run before embarking upon taping up the green non-slip sections on the aft deck. It took ages!! By the end of the day I was finally able to paint in these areas. We're using Emerclad that came with the boat. When I opened it, there was an old paint scooper (rusty tin) and block of wood inside! Whoever used it last, did not pack away properly. Rene painted topcoat all day. He did the final coat on most of the top decks, including the cockpit which now looks very nice and shiny! After sundown, we joined the other yachties at the boat shed for a BBQ. I was most impressed with Mary's meat pies which she miraculously baked in her Weber BBQ!
Painting new non-slip green paint on the aft deck

Mary with her homemade meat pies!

Progress shot. She's starting to come together finally!

Jan 27.
I got up early and only did a few sun salutes before starting work on deck. Now that the topcoat is finally done, today I had to remove all of the masking tape that I'd previously stuck down to protect anything not requiring topcoat. We have learnt that masking tape is not friendly. If it isn't removed within 2 days, it can behave in one of two evil ways: firstly, it can leave all of its stickiness on deck which needs to be removed with lots of elbow grease and thinners; secondly, it can dry onto the deck so that it needs to be painstakingly scraped off with a Stanley knife and my fingers. I did the latter for 12 hours today. My fingers ache. My brain feels weird. What a strange thing to think about all day!
Rene painted all day. He firstly did a few touch-ups on deck and then continued with the topsides. We're exhausted. I'm worried about the Emerclad paint I applied yesterday - it was quite sticky and tacky and hasn't quite set yet. I hope it does soon. All of this working in the sun means I'm getting my "tan", my freckles are all getting quite dark!
Stubborn tape and my trusty tool today

Working in the early morning, coffee by my side

Sailbirds getting there slowly

Check out my freckles!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Old and New Friends on Pangkor Island

Old friends from our early BrisVegas days travelled past and stayed on Pangkor Island while new friends from the Indonesia rally cruised up to anchor on Pangkor Island - both on the same day!! It was raining so we took the ferry across the Pangkor Island and hired a motorbike for 30RM (he asked for 40RM, Rene said 30RM and he said 'OK', how easy was that bargaining?). The west side of Pangkor Island is beautiful. We zoomed along the hilly road, fringed by sweet-smelling jungle and breathed in the natural beauty. If only I could bottle the smell of a rainforest! It's the best smell in the world... well, one of them. 

Biking along quiet, jungle-fringed roads = bliss
Storm RiderZ - the bikie gang unite!
Our friends Amie and Linc were staying in a guesthouse which we located easily. They also hired a bike and we rode about the island as the bike gang, Storm Riderz! We hope to reunite again for more biking adventures!! 
Sailbirds swim with old friend, Amie
Coral Beach was lovely for our first Malaysian swim (no pollution for once) while the waterfall had warning signs about the hazards of swimming there (possibly due to the monkeys?).
Clean water and white sands at Coral Beach, Pangkor Island
Luckily the warning sign was also in English..
We met with the Molonga crew on a different beach and shared ice-creams at a semi-deserted resort bar. Fun times! We hope to cruise in Thailand with these lovely folk in the near future.
Molonga arrives on Pangkor!
Common thing, cats begging while you eat

Amie takes (probably) even more photos than me so I love to hang out with her because we snap away like crazy!! This often results in some fun, terrible, amazing, embarrassing and beautiful shots. I love the pink wall shot (below) that her camera snapped of us. It automatically took it when it detected smiles!! We wish Anima was in the water so we could take these awesome friends out for a sail... not to be this time, but definitely next! 

The Long Haul (out) Continued

We returned to work on Anima (after spending a full-on week travelling with relatives through Malaysia overland) refreshed and full of renewed enthusiasm - we will get this done! Rene arrived before me as I had a job interview in Singapore. While he worked in the hot sun sanding the decks, I caught up with friends and made new ones. My interview went well - the strangest part for me was having to perform it barefoot! The preschool doesn't allow anyone to wear their outside shoes inside!

***After a month of trying to get an answer from the school's HR department regarding my payment package, I sent an email with an ultimatum: let me know your answer by Friday or I'll have to look elsewhere. The answer came back within a few hours. The job is on hold. I would have loved to have tried out being a preschool teacher, especially because the class size was only 8 children (very different to the 6 x 25-30 per day that I had in Australia).
I'm disappointed that I was led to believe the job was mine for so long. I could have saved money and not flown to Singapore for the interview. Now we are back to square one - sort of - trying to figure out our next move. More on that later.

I took the overnight bus from Singapore to Lumut and despite being woken countless times with lights on, random stops and too-cold aircon, I arrived in one piece. I set straight to work with Rene on the boat for a few days. We hit a new milestone when instead of painting Jotamastic 87 over bare steel, we moved on to the second coat - Penguard. This 2 part paint is toxic stuff. I felt my eyelashes curling from the fumes and after a few attempts at helping, Rene decided that it was too dangerous for me. He insisted on doing it all himself to save me from damaging my ovaries with the toxicity!! 
Rene painting and painting and painting
My job became chief taper. I've used up over a dozen rolls of masking tape so far, taping off the edges of paint areas, taping over things that don't require paint, re-taping these things after it rains and the tape glue disintegrates. Rene has been working like a demon, often until 8pm to try and get Anima painted so we can move on. 
So much taping!
We worked full-time for a week on Anima and progressed from sanding / painting over bare steel with Jotamastic 87, to painting the second coat of Penguard - and, in some areas, the final coat of Hardtop A.S.

Rene goes a little troppo.. paint fumes?
Dealing with the rust spots has been a little bit like shaking dandruff from the hair - no matter how hard you try, there's always a few more. For the major spots, ie at least 2 cm x 1cm and deep, we used a technique handed down by my dad - a kind of 'band-aid' of tissue, soaked in pool acid (HCl or Hydrocloric Acid) with plastic to keep the fumes from evaporating, and tape on the edges to hold it in place. Left overnight, this will eat away at the rust significantly, cleaning out the small pores that are so hard to get at.

A cheeky rust spot

Rene inspects his rust-removal acid technique

The work continues! So much still to do but we're getting excited about sailing to Thailand next to enjoy Anima for a little before getting serious with work / life etc.
Anima waiting to return to the water

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Whirlwind Malaysia Adventure

Kuala Lumpur
Our friendly hardstand neighbours, Des and Marilyn from Tasha D.M again offered to drive us into Lumut to catch our bus. Travelling with Sri Maju bus, the trip to Kuala Lumpur was smooth. Rene continued to work on learning Linear Algebra while I took the opportunity to sleep and look out the window at Malaysia. It's a beautiful country - if you shut your eyes while driving past the thousands of acres of Palm Oil plantations.

As our bus inched along in a traffic jam, I started getting a feel for KL – the capital of Malaysia. What I noticed was different to the smaller towns we’ve visited was the higher number of homeless men sleeping, sprawled out over benches throughout the city. I also noticed a lot more rubbish and LOTS more people. We arrived at a bus station somewhere and bumbled our way along trying to navigate the complicated train, LRT and Monorail lines. They don’t all match up and the tickets are not always transferable. I leveled up with my navigation skills and found the way to our hostel, the Matahari Lodge, near Pasar Seni station. We only got lost once. The hostel was welcoming and had a great little balcony lined with bamboo plants. Ben and Chihiro soon arrived along with one of Chihiro’s old school friends, Akame. She lives in KL and took us out to an up-market restaurant and performance venue. We were the first to arrive and dug into the wide selection of local and western foods available in buffet style. Rene and I gorged ourselves on lasagna – a deliciousness of cheesy wonder we’ve not been able to eat for over a year!!

Indian-Malay Dancing
Indigenous Malay performance
The performances were professional and well costumed, the MC was a very flamboyant gay man with an interesting way of pronouncing some English words. ‘Selamat Datang, Welcome, ladies and gentmen’. Both Rene and Ben thought he said ‘men’s testicles’ but Rene asked and he actually said ‘men tease the girls’. I had fun taking photos with my new camera, enjoying the 14x zoom and rapid shutter speed. The performances displayed dances and costume from each district and cultural group. I loved the Indian dances and the Dayaks who wore feathered head pieces and fur, reminiscent of Native Americans. One of these performers demonstrated shooting a blow dart to pop balloons. The MC asked for a volunteer to have a go at shooting with the blow dart and I looked over to Rene who was already on his way up on stage. He never lets an opportunity to perform pass by! Ben, Rene and Chihiro all ended up on stage with some other volunteers to learn some dances and try out a bamboo jumping technique.

Ben, Chihiro and Rene learn some traditional dance moves on stage.
Full of food and with the song ‘Malaysia, the heart of Asia’ in our heads, we walked out towards the Petronas Twin Towers – formerly the tallest buildings in the Southern Hemisphere (Taiwan has now taken the lead). These towers are pretty spectacular – I ended up with a sore neck from staring up so much. Inside them is big-name brands and we looked around a little before heading back home using the LRT system which is a monorail over the city!
Kuala Lumpur - Us posing in front of the Petronas Towers
All too soon it was time to wake up and take another train, this time to Batu Caves. These caves are special for Hindus, so are decorated with colourful statues of various gods and their mythology. The most spectacular being a giant aqua monkey opening its heart to reveal Sita and Rama inside – and an even larger golden Buddha, nearly as tall as the mountain. We walked up, behind this golden wonder, scaling the steep stairs to reach a large limestone cave above. The air was deliciously cool – a welcome reprieve from the oppressive heat and humidity of KL. More statues decorated nooks and crannies of the cave, devotees were blessed by Swami’s – some having their heads painted gold beforehand. Monkeys ran about fighting over food and water dripped into people’s eyes as they looked up to see the cave ceiling. Pretty magical.

Batu cave floor
Batu Cave - outside
Can you spot Rama and Sita inside his heart?

Batu Cave - inside
Back on the ground again, we introduced Ben and Chihiro to fresh Coconut juice and Roti Canai before heading back to our wonderfully located hostel for a nap!
The afternoon saw us braving the sweat-inducing heat to explore Chinatown. Chihiro wanted to visit a particular restaurant advertised in a tourism magazine and Ben tried his hardest to find it. This usually easy task (in Australia) is incredibly difficult in the ever-evolving KL – a city with only the occasional street sign and maps that become outdated within months of being published! He persisted nonetheless and we stumbled upon some cool sights.
Beautiful floating incense coils discovered in a random Chinese temple - KL
KL is crazy - Cars, taxis, busses motorbikes and pedestrians all swarm along in a chaotic rush. In order to cross the road one must make a desperate dash. Getting off the train means pressing against all of the people rushing in while taking care to avoid the large gap down to the tracks below. We saw an accident outside of the restaurant where a motorbike was struck by a car. There was no blood but he was very shaken (I reckon in shock) and the car driver was irate!
KL accident - the roads here are dangerous!!
 The rest of the week we spent travelling with Ben and Chihiro passed in a blur of go gogogogogoogogogo! We visited KL, Malacca and Penang all in 6 days. We visited so many temples and historic sights. We ate sooo much delicious food. We walked a lot and I took over 1000 photos. Rather than explain our journey, I've decided to simply tell it through photos (with captioning). For my Facebook friends, some of these images are repeats to the album 'Whirlwind Malaysia Adventure' but I've tried to include different ones too. Enjoy!
Cool temple scultpure

Buddha salutes the sun!

Something about this photo is awe-inspiring

Beautiful. Simple.
New Year's resolution - donate to friendly street-beggars who are selling something
Brothers having their feet cleaned by fish.

I much preferred reflexology foot massage to fish eating!

The small balcony towards the top, middle of this image is the Matahari Lodge where we stayed in KL. Busy busy!

Guesthouse in Malacca
The oldest stool in the oldest Chinese temple in Malacca
Ben was always captain navigator!

Cool architecture in the old Portugese district, Melacca
Sunset over the Malacca Straits viewed from the old fort
Chihiro loves cute cafes and coffee
Sailbirds find a birdy boat!

Asleep on the job - a common sight here.
Eating in Malacca is serious business!

Sunset on the water in Malacca listening to Reggae
After an all-night bus trip to Penang, we arrived early morning in darkness.
Celebrating good times at a Hawkers Market

Rene was obsessed that we go here because of their promise 'where the enjoy never ends'. It wasn't enjoyable though, just a loud, smoky arcade-game level with shopping levels below.

A lucky shot - the clouds looked amazing just as I was passing under this cool dragon-topped entranceway.
Another temple (left) and another cafe (right). I liked the cafe more :)
By freeing this bird, I released one of my worries. Trying out a traditional practice.
It seems the more incense burnt, the better. Check out the furnace of incense to the right!
Serenity at the floating mosque, Penang.

A nice moment at the beach on Penang Island

Where the forest meets the sea = my bliss
Brothers unite after a hard day at the wheel in Penang
Wow - what a week of travel through this crazy country called Malaysia. It was so good to catch up with some relatives and to escape the monotony of boat work. Thanks for visiting Ben and Chihiro!!