Already Blue Heeler’s teak deck is almost completely laid, apart from the cockpit. Applying the black gooey Sikaflex in the gaps between the teak strips will require a steady hand and attention to detail to finish the job. Nai expects her workers to complete this work soon. Nai comes by most days to check on the progress. She’s a good operator and most helpful to us. With a team of 42 workers, four working on our boat, she’s got plenty of boats in various stages of repair within the yard. Half of her team are carpenters, while the others are a mix of painters, general hands and the like.
Work off the boat is underway, too. A much needed replacement was the cockpit’s teak grate floor. It was originally constructed using dowels and had deteriorated badly so her boys have remade a much stronger grate without using dowels.
In our bathroom (head) we have five small original cupboard doors constructed with white painted MDF. Unfortunately the two lower doors are exposed to shower water therefore in some spots the MDF is swollen causing paint to peel off; generally looking a little shabby. One of Nai’s workers made two replica replacement doors for us and they look great. All five doors will have a fresh coat of paint and brand new latches to match. So with freshly painted doors and new latches, white shower curtains, and shiny new dunny seat, our head will once again be bright and cheery. It’s the little things that make it feel like home…
The work on the rudder and propeller is going well. This isn’t routine work, but one of those major jobs that all boats eventually have to do to replace worn bearings and seals. The local guys at the Volvo place here at Boat Lagoon are very helpful and helped Wayne remove his propeller shaft housing so that he could replace the worn cutlass bearing. Wayne dismantled the bronze propeller and while he was busying himself with other jobs, I cleaned the thick grease from each precisely engineered part before polishing then removing residue with fine sandpaper. Once Manop completes the machining work on the lower rudder skeg bearing, the rudder stock will fit snug and won’t require this level of maintenance for a few more years (fingers crossed!).
Our topsides will be re-assembled in the coming weeks so another task was to smarten up our blemished dorades. The four of them had taken on a brown hue after the time at Darwin’s hard stand and I couldn’t figure out how to clean then up. A search on Google recommended cleaning with acetone, washing off with soapy water, and then polishing with wax. With my four little dorades and their alien-like faces aligned in a row, I cleaned each one until they came back to brilliant white.
With many jobs underway and the tasks on the ‘list’ not diminishing but merely morphing into other maintenance projects for Blue Heeler, I began ordering non-urgent items from the USA. We use the services of a mail handling service in California, we can consolidated all items bought within the US and ship them in one parcel for half the cost. As the things we’re buying are non-urgent (new chainwheel for windlass, watermaker storage compound, anodes, etc), we’ll have them sent to the duty free Langkawi and sail down to pick them up in January. This way we avoid paying Thailand’s 20% customs and 7% VAT. One exception though was our new LED Tri/Anchor light. We needed that sooner so it could be easily placed on top of the mast. Within four days it was delivered to the hotel reception, and as expected I had to pay the customs and VAT.
Taking some time out to do a few non-urgent tasks and giving me a chance to get away from the marina, this week I ticked off a job that has been around for a long time – fixing the ship’s clock! I’d seen a few watch/clock repair shops in Phuket Town near the central water fountain so I went to see if I could track down a new quartz movement.
I’d Googled to find the quartz movement I needed, and I was delighted when the first place I went had what I was after. The young guy quickly replaced it for me for around $8. I also picked up some plastic baskets to control the shambled contents of our top loading fridge. I also Googled how to remove lacquer from brass, as my fuel lamp in the saloon looked terrible. After soaking the lamp in boiling water for some time to loosen the lacquer, I then used a stiff pad to rub off the residue with acetone followed by the usual Brasso polish. The result was superb and although I’ll have to clean it regularly in future, it will look much better than the lacquered brass. I’ve got a heap of cupboard latches that I plan to do in this method, but I’ll lacquer those afterwards.
One job that is routine is to check all the stopcocks and through-hulls. All were good, except for the outlets for the holding tank and wash basin in the cupboard in the head. The handles had corroded so new stop-cocks are needed, along with the two through-hulls to avoid any future problems.
Week five will see much of the deck completed and hopefully the work on our new bimini and davits will commence. We’re happy with the progress and haven’t yet taken time for a swim in the resort’s pool. Too many jobs to do at the moment with plenty of time for swimming later…