Blue Heeler’s teak deck is progressing well, thanks to the capable tradesmen on the job and overseeing by Nai. A team of three spend each day skilfully shaping and chiselling intricate teak contours and putting the pieces together much like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Three weeks have passed since we arrived and I’m impressed with the progress they’ve made. The bimini and davit work hasn’t yet commenced, but until much of the teak is fixed, not much else can commence.
A typical day begins each morning watching Australia’s news on Australia Network. It’s painful to watch the number of homes and lives affected by the current devastating fires in New South Wales and I only hope the fires are under control soon before more lives are wrecked. Wayne has a thousand jobs on the boat and contentedly works away all day. Fortunately no major work is required, just those jobs from ‘the list’.
This week I replaced the sun weakened flyscreen hatch covers. Finding the flyscreen material wasn’t as simple as a quick trip to Bunnings though. A local upholsterer was asking over 800B per yard for flyscreen, but after talking to a local woman, she suggested I try the hardware shops along Thalong Road in Phuket Town where I could buy it “much cheaper”. Thalong Road is popular for people seeking bed sheets, hardware, fabric, and other bits and pieces. I waved down a songteow on the busy Thepkasattri Road and within 45 minutes arrived at the centre of Phuket Town. After visiting my favourite Zebra store on Bangkok Road (good selection of home/catering items), I walked the short distance to the interesting Soi Rommanee and Thalang Road. I found the stores recommended to me and bought a few metres of flyscreen at only 60B per metre – massive saving.
Using the old bimini fabric, and designed from our original covers, I made four new hatch covers and small screens for the porthole windows all for less than A$20. But I did arrange for an upholsterer (Mr Peh) to quote for new cockpit cushions. Although I’d made some covers of our old foam cushions back in Brisbane, I’d used navy blue naugahyde, which although looked good, unfortunately is extremely hot to sit on once the sun heats it up. I’d often hear blood-curdling screams from Wayne as his bare legs sizzled on the scorching seats so to avoid ongoing torture, we’re getting new cushions made with Sunbrella fabric. I could have made these cheaper myself, however, sometimes its worth paying a little bit extra rather than running around trying to get the materials needed to do an average job. Plus the fact Mr Peh is well regarded for his quality work and I’m happy to pay the bit extra for a great result.
On the return trip I stopped off at the handy post office on the busy Thepkasattri Road across from the Royal Phuket Marina entrance. From there I walked the short distance to the Surapol Phuket Chandlery right across from Boat Lagoon’s entrance. The selection of stock doesn’t appear to be as wide as AME or East Marine within Boat Lagoon, but the few items I had him price were cheaper. I bought a new seat for our Jabsco toilet and it was cheaper than both AME and East Marine. I’ve ordered a new LED tri/anchor light direct from the USA, as the locals couldn’t match the price. I thought a trip to Tesco would be worthwhile, so I took a motorcycle taxi to Tesco (about 7kms away) and bought some supplies. Really though, the local supermarket within Boat Lagoon has pretty much everything we need and the prices are comparable to Tesco.
Not much has happened with the rudder this week, although Wayne has appointed Manop from Tavisuwan Engineering to do the machining work. New bearings and seals we now have and the photo to the side need no explanation. While our anchors and chain have been sent off for re-galvanising, the quote for a new bow roller came in way above what we’re prepared to spend so Wayne is rethinking options for this.
So as week four commences and we transition into November, we’re still hopeful all work will be finished by Christmas. As 2014 looms, it’s time to shift our focus towards sailing to South Africa. We’ve caught up with a few yachties as they return to Thailand from various corners of the globe. Some have returned to prepare for the big trip to South Africa, while others have returned to enjoy another sailing season in Thailand. It was great to catch up over dinner recently with the crew of Keris, Mike and Juanita, at the Silverspoon Restaurant.
A small group of yachties we know are leaving for Sri Lanka – some leaving in January, while others are holding out until March. A couple of boats we know are booked to have their vessels shipped in March to reach the Med a little quicker and no doubt have a more comfortable journey than sailing around South Africa. Other yachts we know that were on the 2012 Sail Indonesia Rally have made good progress and are already in South Africa’s Richard’s Bay. We are still planning to leave when we’re comfortable that everything is done.
Busy weeks ahead for the crew of Blue Heeler…