Instruments Back In - We had removed all of our instrument displays so the cockpit could be painted and the bulkhead was sealed with new fiberglass so that it looked brand new. We agonized over where to re-install the displays so that they would:
Redecorating - While in Chiang Mai with Sharon and Stephanie, we acquired an exquisite leather 'carving' of a Dragon and Phoenix. Carving art on thin sheets of leather seems to be unique to this part of the world, and we found a piece we both liked while strolling through a Wat in the inner city. Framing, we found out, was quite reasonable in Thailand, and after rejecting the work of one frame-shop, we had Inter Frame, a small shop near Robinson's in the center of Phuket, do the deed for $25, including a double frame and custom gold paint.
Cockpit back in shape - Last week the cockpit had been trashed because we had to remove a rotted and leaky coaming board. By the weekend a fresh new piece of teak had been installed complete with bungs and sealant so that it should be waterproof for a long while (knock on wood!). We had also removed the winch pad on that (Starboard) side, and rebedded it and its winches and cleat. Hopefully that will eliminate one more source of leaks into our cockpit locker.
High Tide at Boat Lagoon - Phuket Boat Lagoon was built in a swampy mangrove, and we are reminded of this every month as the high Spring tides swamp the hardstand, parking area, and walkways to the docks. This month it seems to be higher than usual, and at midday we need to wade thru calf-deep water to get to the toilets or local stores. They are expanding the hardstand area to accommodate more boats, and best we can tell it will also be submerged at Spring tides so that workers must stand in salt water while they operate power tools. The Travel-lift bay (where yachts are lifted from the water) is undergoing repairs, and at high water the workers continue to operate jackhammers and pile drivers in knee-deep water. While some work, others take the opportunity to rest in the muddy water, sometimes up to their necks as the pix to the right will attest.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival - preview - For the last 150 years or so, a number of the Chinese shrines on Phuket celebrate a festival at this time of year that involves abstention (from most of the pleasures of life) and enduring pain. It started this weekend, and runs for about 10 days, so next week we'll report on what we see.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival - The big action in Phuket this week was the Vegetarian Festival, celebrated by Thai-Chinese to commemorate the cure of an opera company from China about 170 years ago when they used a vegetarian diet to cure themselves of a mysterious illness. Along the way, it has developed into a 9-day set of processions, prayers, and ceremonies. A highlight, for visitors, are the feats of the Ma Song (literally 'entranced horses', or people who endure much pain in an attempt to take on evil spirits, and thus remove them from the community in which they live). The events we watched included:
Canvas, Canvas, everywhere! - Judi extricated the sewing machine from the bowels of our fore-peak and has used the last couple of weeks to good advantage making new canvas covers for most everything that could not get out of her way. So, Long Passages sports:
Tragedy in Bali - At the weekend came the tragic
news about the bombing of a nightclub in Bali that took the lives of 200 people
from 24 different countries. One of our friends in the marina was affected
as a friend of their daughter was in the club at the time, and died a senseless
death at a very young age. On our way through Bali we had been impressed
by the friendliness and tranquility of the Balinese people, and it is doubly sad
that they will suffer the consequences of this act for years to come. It
also spotlighted that no region of the world is out of reach of the terrorists,
and that they must be rooted out and their ability to promote violence must be
Grinding and varnishing - The work continues readying Long Passages for cruising. We have really underestimated the amount of time it would take to wrap up the 'details'. One big project these days has been removing and re-installing the chain-plates (steel straps used to support the cables that hold up the mast). Several have leaked and many of them have not been resealed since the Caribbean or New Zealand. We have 17 chain-plates, and at 2-4 hours each (with time out for rainy days) this project has dragged on for a couple of weeks.
Birthday Girl - At the week-end we joined Jeanette and Peter from the schooner 'Voyager' to celebrate her birthday at a local Thai floor show at the Thainaan Restaurant. It was a delightful place and we enjoyed the Thai dancing with scenes from the Indian epic Ramayana.
Odds and Ends - The work on the re-fit is winding down as we finished the chain-plates (finally) and Judi got the final coat of Cetol on the cockpit woodwork.
Visiting Yacht Haven - At the end of the week a 150' motor launch visited Yacht Haven (30-minute's to our north) and many cruisers converged to eat, drink, listen to the band, and hope for a tour on the yacht. We did 3 out of 4, but no invite from the yacht was forthcoming.