Wednesday, June 5, 2019

At the boatyard

Coffee maker picture created by
Conrad using Blender 3D Modeling app

One of the things I like the most about homeschooling is the time that it leaves Conrad and Mark to pursue their interests.

"The Food Chain" by Conrad TenEick (conceptual
drawing in marker for 3D modeling project)
Mark reads voraciously. Kindle is the best invention ever for boat kids like Mark. Conrad has taught himself Blender, a 3D modeling application. He is collaborating with a team online to create a 3D animated movie and this week he won second place in an online competition with the coffee maker pictured above. The 'picture' is really a 3D model that (with the proper software) can be rotated, textured and lit from any angle.  It's actually quite complex and makes me feel a bit like my VCR is blinking '12:00' when Conrad tries to explain how he created it...

One thing checked off the list:
getting our trusty Mantus Anchor regalvanized
In other news, being 'on the hard' still stinks. Luckily, we at least like Pangkor Marina. There are definitely worse places to be stuck for a bit. We have crossed paths here with many of the cruisers we have met in our journeys and met new friends, some who have been here in the boatyard for years (literally). These long-term residents are responsible for the nickname 'Hotel California' bestowed upon the boatyard ('...but you can never leave'). Reasonable rates and pleasant conditions make it one of the best places around for folks who need to do a lot of work.

The entrance to the marina is a bit out of the way (as
are the bathrooms for us), so we pulled
out our bikes. It gives Mark a chance to
work on his bike-riding skills. That's
the neighboring boat in the background.

James Khoo, the owner of the marina and boatyard, and his crew do their best to make sure everyone gets what they need. There are even some nice perks, like the recent 'break fast' (not to be confused with 'breakfast') buffet dinner. Restaurants like the Sfera Hotel offer lavish buffets for Muslims to break their Ramadan daytime fasting.

I took a ride on the ferry over to
Pangkor Island with some friends on other
boats. They got haircuts and head/shoulder
massages for under $4 and I did some
grocery shopping.

We are plugging away at our boat projects. The big ones are preparing the bottom for new paint and painting the hulls and cockpit. Unfortunately, with all the boats here and the sometimes uncooperative weather, the painters (and really all the workers it seems) are a scarce resource so we may need to wait awhile before we get our turn. The rudder bearings turned out to be in good shape and the slight wobble was due to a failure of the epoxy holding it in place.  Reattaching the bearing should be a simple task--but we want to make sure the alignment is perfect, so that means finding a 2-meter long 39-mm diameter tube that can act as a temporary rudder stock (the tube will ensure that the upper bearing is aligned as the lower bearing gets glued in). Haven't found one yet, but the search goes on. We are also having new bearings fabricated anyway, since the rudders and bearings are out and available.

Pangkor Island is a 15-minute ride
from Marina Island (and less than $4 US
round trip).

As usual, the boat has provided plenty of unplanned projects to keep us busy. The fridge decided to start acting up and wouldn't cool properly. After initially working with a local refrigeration expert and going through a few rounds of troubleshooting (with nitrogen gas, vacuum pumping, and coolant), Matt ended up finding a small leak in the tube leading to the evaporator plate. He finally got some use out of his leak detector.

We have a new plate on order, but Matt-gyver has managed to patch the leak for now using our trusty friend JB Weld. There is a proper refrigerator in the marina lounge, but it is a quarter mile away so it is nice to have a working fridge on the boat again. When it's a humid 90 degrees in the shade, we like to keep cold water (and beer) close.

Pangkor Island

Our battery charger also finally flatlined for good. The salt spray it received heading to Kumai six months ago finally caught up with it, despite being professionally 'cleaned' in Phuket. Luckily, we were able to borrow a small charger from the marina and have new ones on order. We decided to replace our single MasterVolt charger with two Sterling chargers, for price as well as redundancy.

Putting the anchor chain on this stand
should help prevent it from rusting

We have a lot more 'visitors' (read 'critters') than we did when we are at anchor. When we got back from India and Nepal, we found that thousands of ants had made multiple nests in our cockpit lockers. Several hours with a vacuum cleaner (and lots of slapping at ants crawling all over me) seems to have solved the problem, but we have to stay vigilant because they keep trying to invade by crawling up extension cords.

Less bothersome are the geckos that seem to be living everywhere on the boat. You never know when one will come running out of an infrequently opened locker in the cockpit or on deck. They have to be nimble to dodge the many crows that randomly swoop in and under the boat. We can hear the geckos chirping at night and their football-shaped poop appears in random spots (it is surprisingly big for creatures so small). Apparently, we should be cleaning that shit up.

The 'rainy' season so far has meant lots of storms that seem bound for us, but usually veer off. So it isn't as wet as it could be, but it's wet enough. Our corner of the boatyard (mostly windless and a bit boggy from the rain and being next to the sink that the painters use) can have a lot of aggressive mosquitoes. The pine trees that line the back of the boat block out most of the wind and constantly shed long needles that wedge themselves everywhere.

So we have no idea how long things will take, but I feel more content than in past haul-outs. Perhaps our trip to Nepal has brought out my inner Buddhist. Or maybe I have finally accepted that this is what it means to own a boat. On second thought, it's probably just the Xanax kicking in.* 

*Just joking, of course. Don't do drugs, kids. And stay in school.


  1. Those drawings were so cool ! And the coffee machine so realistic that at first I thought you had mistakenly published a random image by mistake (I am sure you wouldn't make that kind of mistake, but I do it all the time)anyways, point is, I am impressed ! As for the little geckos and the poop they've left you....reminds me: , we had a bunch living with us in our house in Indo for years, we called them Chichaks (local name) and once I found a white tic tac on my deck chair, and when I went to pick it up between my fingers, it cracked and I was so surprised when I saw that all that was left was this yolk all over my fingers....yeah...not a tic tac, but a "chichak" egg !

  2. Wow--that's interesting and gross. I'll have to look for the eggs. I still remember your story about the 'cooked' gecko in the bottom of your toaster. Good thing we don't have a toaster...


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