JJMoon Diary
Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Sun 20 May 2012 10:36
Only a month to go before we make our determined push to the south and west.  To recap: we intend to leave Rebak on June 20; we have booked a few days in Straits Quay Marina, Penang from June 21 and a couple of weeks in Admiral Marina, Port Dixon from June 30.  We hope to be in Singapore for about three weeks from July 16 and Nongsa Point, Batam, Indonesia for a week from August 6.  We plan to take two to three weeks cruising through Indonesian islands, checking out on Belitung before sailing to Cocos Keeling via the Sunda strait between Java and Sumatra to arrive about September 1.  We hope that between Nongsa Point and Cocos we shall be in the company of Kathy and Dave on Sunflower.  From Cocos we shall be guided by weather gurus but provisionally we aim to leave on September 15 and take a couple of weeks to reach Rodrigues for a few days’ rest, then a couple of days to Mauritius.  We hope for a bit more extensive R and R on that beautiful island before another challenging hop round the south of Madagascar to Richards Bay, South Africa in early November.
Our big news is that we have secured the services of our friend Jim Martin to assist between Cocos and South Africa.  Jim has his own boat at La Linea near Gibraltar, which he is preparing for some serious cruising.  In the meantime he is looking for some ocean miles to get him in the mood.  He is currently wiling away his time acting as Senior Quality Control Officer for his pipe-laying company as it winds 35 kilometres of 8” diameter carbon steel pipe on to a big reel on the stern of a ship.  There are a few little pipes on JJ Moon that could do with more quality control.  We think we have been very fortunate and are greatly looking forward to his company.
Time is starting to press and the to-do list is beginning to grow so that soon it will just exceed the time available.  Mags has been painting the newly galvanised anchor chain; bright splashes of colour every 20 metres, and a few intermediates, that we can spot as they rush out over the bow roller.  The chain has been laid out on the pontoon and the expectation was that, as usual, every passing yachtie would pause to point out the flaws in her painting technique and explain that there are better ways to mark the chain.  To her surprise everyone has been complimentary and supportive.  People must be mellowing.  With the chain pulled out and the chain locker empty there was a good opportunity to service the above-deck parts of the windlass and make a close inspection of the under-deck parts.  It was a good job we did.  Most of the oil had drained out of the gearbox, the sight-glass/filler cap was cracked and an o ring had been twisted and broken, probably during the original installation.  A routine maintenance job turned into an all-day struggle with another part to be taken off and serviced by a qualified technician in Singapore.  We hope.  The water maker is in a similar position.  It was leaking from the pump seals so we had them replaced in Phuket, a job that should be done every 500 hours of running and we had carried out successfully ourselves in the past.  They still leak and again we hope to find an expert in Singapore.
There is better news on the window front.  One of the windows in the cabin top has been leaking for a very long time. There was an unsuccessful repair in New Zealand but now three of the four were temporarily sealed with tape.  Mark, a qualified Scottish shipwright is based with his family at the end of B pontoon - he and his wife Rachel were featured briefly in Yachting Monthly last year.  I managed to obtain some spare parts and new sealing rubber for the Dutch hatches and windows from the UK and Mark has done a very fine job.  We have not yet taken any green water over the deck in this marina but there has been plenty of rain water and so far, so good.
m_Wanderer V
Another famous boat on B pontoon.  Wanderer V was the last of the series built in New Zealand for Eric and Susan Hiscock in 1981.  They owned her for seven years, during which period Eric died and, when living on board in the Bay of Islands became impractical for Susan, she moved to Yarmouth IOW and the boat was sold.  Currently she is owned by an Italian and appears to be well-loved.
Of course the sight of Wanderer set me musing.  In the 60s and 70s there was probably not a serious cruiser in the English speaking world who had not read Cruising Under Sail and Voyaging Under Sail.  We all bought the books firstly because they were an inspiration and then because we thought they might have some relevance to our own sort of cruising.  But not many of us really thought we could do what the Hiscocks did.  It was clearly necessary to be so knowledgeable, so highly skilled, so very courageous.   How times have changed.  Now we can all do it, more or less.  It is not only the advent of GPS navigation and electronic chart plotting but communications have improved out of all recognition.  If we are in trouble we can lift the telephone and speed-dial Falmouth Coastguard, then activate our EPIRB.  Spare parts can be couriered to most parts of the world within a week and instead of having to maintain ourselves by fishing and bartering there now appears to be a mini-market on every island.  I don’t know what Eric and Susan would have made of all this but certainly many more of us have had our horizons extended.

m_Thai Fishing Boat

A small Thai fishing boat