Hard Work at the Boat Lagoon

JJMoon Diary
Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Tue 11 Jan 2011 03:51

The most significant piece of news is that we have decided to remain in this part of the world for another year.  For one thing we are not quite ready yet – there are important bits missing from the engine, the generator does not work and there is trouble with the fridges.  Although it is quite possible that these will be rectified by the time we leave the marina in about week there will be only another week remaining before our friends leave with the Thailand to Turkey convoy.  To head off for nearly 3,000 miles across the ocean towards the Maldives and Oman, without sufficient time to work up, seems too risky.  Secondly we are increasingly attracted to the things we might do here.  We shall see whether anybody would like to visit us for a spot of tropical sailing, we might join a rally voyaging up the east coast of Malaysia and across to the north of Borneo, we could make a flying visit to friends in Australia and of course we shall hope to go home for a few weeks, perhaps in August/September.  It begins to look like an attractive programme.
Sjoes off
Looks like seven workers on board.
It has all been happening on and around JJ Moon.  Mr Samran and his men have done as good a job on the hull and the cast iron keel as has ever been achieved. 
The hull repair and keel workNew windlass on clean decks
A small repair to the hull (early stages) and our  shiny new windlass and newly sanded deck.
Mr Samran with flowers for our relaunchJJ Moon en fleurie
Mr Samran arrived with garlands prior to our re-launch and JJ Moon was arrayed to ensure a successful launch and a safe season.
Mr Phon has been giving the teak decks a major makeover.  The caulking has been routed out, all the teak plugs (hundreds) have been removed,  the screws driven home, plugs replaced, the caulking renewed and the whole sanded off.  It looks as good as new.  The work ethic is highly developed here.  Mr Phon is a serious man and a fine craftsman.  His family and other employees arrive on time, work hard and stay till the end of the working day.  They take few days off. 
Mr Phon
Phon and Nui
Work on the decks
Many hands to do meticulus work
We decided to replace our tatty spray-hood and improve it by providing a stainless steel frame with a grab handle along the trailing edge.  The best of the local stainless steel workers, Mr Sang, took measurements and a cash deposit at 1500 on Christmas Eve.  At 1500 on Christmas Day the frame was delivered and fitted, with welds almost invisible, the steel tubes apparently flowing into one another.  Now we are chasing Muzza the New Zealand canvas worker, also reckoned to be a brilliant exponent of his trade.
The dinghy has had a new Hypalon tube bonded to the aluminium alloy floor.  Hypalon is a much better fabric than the original PVC coated polyester and the bits and pieces are also of higher quality.  We now have a superior dinghy but at considerable cost, about which I am all bitter and twisted.
Christmas was a little strange – with so few signs or symbols about it was difficult to get engaged and to remember how different it must have been back home.  We had a quiet dinner with another couple in the local Italian.  New Year was more exciting; we were invited to a beach party in the north of the island.  The seafood was good,  the company interesting, the fireworks and firecrackers numerous and deafening and at about midnight we launched our own hot air filled lantern to join the hundreds of others drifting romantically out to sea.
Party atmosphereBarry and Mags
New Year festivities on Nayang beach
Chinese lantern
Preparing to float our Chinese lantern assisted by Pamela
We are now back in the water.  Launching off was an operation infused with quiet drama – in the manner of a small funeral for a highly respected citizen.  We had been warned to be prepared for 1300 so it was a bit of a surprise when at 1100 there was of roaring of diesel, the shadow of the mighty hoist passed across the windows and the foreman’s special hat appeared above the stern.  “We hang you in the slings now.  Go at one o’clock.”  “Oh, OK”  The boat was swarming with deck workers, the engineer was below and now the anti-fouling men came back to touch up the patches where the cradle had supported the hull.  At about 1200 everybody disappeared for lunch and silence crept over the yard.  After a bit I climbed down the dodgy ladder and sat on a wall in the shade.  The boat hung, out of her element, giving a slight creak every now and again.  At 1305 there was a general stirring and purposeful movement led by the fork lift truck which was to remove the cradle and lumber.  The uniformed team walked determinedly  towards their stations led by the foreman in his special foreman’s suit and hat.  The big diesel started with a roar and belch of dirty smoke.  The leviathan moved off accompanied by the tolling of a dolorous warning bell.  At the sound of the bell security guards appeared from nowhere to pull temporary barriers across each end of the road to prevent interference by dis-respectful traffic.  At funereal pace the cortege rolled solemnly towards the dock, the foreman leading under his hat, each of the mighty wheels watched over by its own official guardian and the owners close behind like chief mourners.  Out over the dock and the boat was lowered gently in the slings.  Soon it was “Right, fire her up Skip” (actually in Thai, but I got the message), our engineer leapt below to ensure that the important bits fitted that morning did not leak, the slings were unhitched and dragged ashore, lines were cast off and thumbs raised all round.  A nudge forward into gear and away we went towards our newly allocated berth.   JJ Moon was back in her element.
Mr Travelhoist Foreman
Travel hoist foreman.