The launch of Blue Heeler was uneventful. After parading along the hardstand hoisted in the massive travel lift, Blue Heeler dipped its toes into the water, while the operator gave Wayne time to check all the through hulls for any signs of leaks. With the all-clear, the straps were removed, Blue Heeler’s engine was started and rumbled into life, ticking along nicely on tightened engine mounts.
Our water berth was just outside the new French-style La Vie En Rose restaurant so we decided to spend New Year’s Eve there so we could sit and admire Blue Heeler‘s new look. After a wonderful raw dish of Beef Tartare, garlic potatoes, and Caesar salad, while Wayne polished off a dish of steak and champignons, we ambled back to Blue Heeler to enjoy the cool evening by relaxing aboard our floating home with a bottle of red. At midnight fireworks exploded from the horizon as the locals welcomed in the New Year.
The next morning we were back working, transporting items from storage and finishing small jobs. Wayne wired up the solar panels, while I used the massive marina trolley to transport sails and other stuff to the dock. Another ton of items was packed on board, but not until I’d gone through everything, making sure to dump anything that no longer had any function or sailing value. New halyards meant that only the best ropes were saved, while the worst ropes were discarded. As each cabin was cleaned, I’d close the door and declared to Wayne that he would be risking his life if he dared take a dirty tool into the tidy cabin!
By the end of the week all that remained were a few tools on the saloon table to finish off a couple of small jobs. It’s very difficult for two people to work inside without stepping on top of each other so we’ve learned to give each other space to get jobs done. That week was eerily quiet at the marina – most places were closed and no workers were around at all.
Now that we’re back on the water we stay a little cleaner than the hard stand area. Wearing thongs every day our feet turned a shade of black that only time at sea will restore back to pink and soft. In anticipation of pink feet, on Thursday I’d arranged to have all the mattresses and carpets cleaned. These had spent the past three months in a dusty storage area, plus it’s been five years since they were professionally cleaned, although the upholstery is kept relatively clean with covers I’d made in Melbourne, and the carpet usually got a yearly blast from the now-deceased Karcher pressure washer. This was a special treat for Blue Heeler.
With only a couple of days to go and all the packing done, I threw out
my uniform of pink shirt and Bintang shorts and decided to go shopping. I hired
a car from a place just outside Boat Lagoon for only 600THB per day (around
A$20) as the Mobile Car Rental place inside Boat Lagoon charges twice the price
but didn’t have any cars available due to the holiday season. The car I hired wasn’t fancy; it was a little Nissan ute with a lockable covered back – perfect for doing provisioning. Dodging motor-cycles and speeding mini-vans filled with tourists, I made a couple of shopping trips to Tesco and Big C and bought a heap of heavy canned items and months worth of staples. Provisioning this amount of food by dinghy is difficult to do at anchor so it made sense to do it while I could. It was the first time I’d hired a car in Phuket as I’d manage to do most of the shopping by songthaew or from the local market. As a special treat we drove to Central Festival in the evening and had a big steak at Sizzler!
Today is three months to the day since we were hauled out and so far all is working well on board. Our canvas work still isn’t finished, but we expect to have that by next week. It won’t stop us from sailing to Langkawi before heading back up this way at the end of January.
So after three months we now have a sweet-smelling vessel with lots of new features. We’re so pleased that the work was finished early as we’d originally expected to be on the hard stand until end of January. That now gives us eight weeks until we depart for Sri Lanka – plenty of time to plan, prepare, provision and of course enjoy some beautiful Thailand anchorages in the meantime. We both had a very positive and enjoyable experience here at Boat Lagoon. I’d be happy to share any aspect of our refit with anyone who’s also considering have working done. Contact me if you’re interested to know more. My posts won’t be as frequent as they’ve been over the course of the past three months but I’ll let you know how our plans are going for our trip across the Indian Ocean. Until next time…