Sunday, 28 February 2010

Bread and jam.

Lazy Sunday. Reading books, surfing the web and making bread.

My bread is SOOOO good, Finally after years of disappointing results I've cracked it! I now keep the yeast , dried, in the fridge.

It works!

We stuffed ourselves with thick slices of yummy bread slathered with the strawberry jam that I made last week, that's delicious too...

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Earthquake and tsunami warning Chile.

A 8.8 magnitude quake has hit the santiago region of Chile. lots of damage, 52 dead so far and a serious tsunami warning. there has already been damage reported in the san Fernandez islands.

Our thoughts are with our many friends in those areas that are affected, may be affected.

Read more here.

Dr Brian Baptie, the British Geological Survey's Head of Seismology, said: "This is largest earthquake to strike central Chile since a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in 2001.
"A 1.3 metre tsunami wave was observed at Valparaiso, 200 kilometres north of the epicentre about 20 minutes after the earthquake.
"Tsunami waves in the deep ocean travel about the same speed as a jet plane and would take about 15 hours to reach Hawaii and about 20 hours to reach the other side of the Pacific."
Dr David Rothery, from the Open University's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said: "This morning's magnitude 8.8 earthquake close to the Chilean coast has caused a tsunami that is now radiating away from the epicentre and travelling at several hundred kilometres per hour across the Pacific ocean.
"The first waves are expected ot Hawaii at 11:19 Hawaii Standard Time but are also travelling along the South America coast and will reach Colombia and Costa Rica after 1300 GMT.
He added: "A magnitude 8 quake is a rare event. On average there is only about one of these per year globally."

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Peace and harmony.

I don't know where the time has gone this week, it's simply flown past. Probably because we are feeling good about the boat and have been enjoying the wonderful weather and the idyllic anchorage that we are in.

We have altered our habits somewhat as well and are feeling great for it! Getting up before sunrise, that's 5am, gives us a good run at working whilst the weather is at it's coolest. The kettle goes on as soon as I clamber out of my berth. It's copper sides glint in the light of the parafin lamp and I wait for it to boil whilst I rub the sleep from my eyes!

TBH appears a little later, once the tea is made and whatever is for breakfast on the way to the table. Calling him does no good you have to rattle a pan or two in order to get any response. Then he's like a rat down the hole! Still asleep but dribbling at the smell of food....

By 7.30 we have eaten, made the bed, tidied the boat, downloaded the weather and emails. Time to listen to the various cruisers nets and then on with the day. We have motored through the tasks on the list and are now mostly held up by a lack of materials to effect the remaining repairs. By 10.30 it's really hot so over the side we go for a swim.

I love this time of day. We have a couple of mangrove swallows that seem to have adopted the boat. They sit chattering on the guard rail, peering in through the portlights and crapping all over the deck! I think they are young fledglings and you can see by the look on their faces that they cannot comprehend what on earth these giant creatures are getting in to the water. They dive bomb us as we swim around the boat and cluck worriedly to encourage us to get out asap! Bless them.

The water is flat calm, like a mill pond and there is a deeply meditative quality to gliding slowly and rhythmically through the water, well that is until a turtle pokes its head up next to me when I have a tendency to panic! First time it happened I thought it was a snake, boy did I move fast! Now I just keep swimming, a gentle breaststroke making no sound. I can hear the insects buzzing past, watch a tiny dragonfly with brilliant turquoise tail land on the anchor chain, watch a great white egret dive for a fish and be surprised by a cormorant rising out of the water nearby. The sound of a paddle splashing alerts me to a cayuco going past and I wave to the occupants. That usually makes me sink like a stone, not very elegant!

We read and write. I cook, my bread has improved immeasurably. Must be to do with the peace that we are both feeling right now. Still will probably have all changed by tomorrow when a cold front will have passed through and we will be feeling decidedly chilly!

Thursday, 18 February 2010


Finally after three days of concentrated stitching with our newly beloved Speedystitcher the Yankee is back in her rightful place, on the foredeck. Ready to whisk us to new adventures. TBH wielded the stitcher with enthusiasm and skill, the newly reinforced UV strip looks excellent, a most professional job.

Mind you, it looked like we were having the Winter Olympics here in the saloon as acres of white sail jammed every corner. It's great to have our living space back.

It has been a good job to get on with in the current cold and rainy weather. We took advantage of a quiet spell this morning to get the sail back aloft, glad we did. It's been raining ever since...

Monday, 15 February 2010

Feeling Good!

Well as we leave Monkey Bay Marina after a month of intensive work we are feeling quietly pleased with ourselves.

We have fixed the new throttle control onto the pedestal, if you recall the last one had started to stick at the most inopportune moments!
Whilst doing that we also serviced the steering pedestal bearings and put on a new whell brake system-which actually works...

Fitted new running lights, fore and aft to replace the VERY expensive ones destroyed by lightning. Just plain old tech ones again, with plenty of spare bulbs.

Full engine service, changed oil, oi and fuel filters and new fan belt.

Finally discovered fault with Pactor and that has now beensent to Germany, repaired and is on its way back to us. I think this job caused the most grief on the boat as TBH struggled to find the fault. Replacing the SSB radio and Antaenna tuner in the process. The problem was that the pactor had developed an intermittent fault which was most unhelpful of it! Anyay the great guys in Germany have repaired it for $150 rather than buying a new one at $1200...Nice!

Varnished the cockpit coaming, binnacle, cockpit table, washboards to a gleaming perfection. Far to good to take out sailing.

Permanently fixed the new fishfinder/depth gaugue to the binnacle, routing wires round the whole boat, fixing transducer to the hull and wiring all to the now defunct auto-pilot.

Repaired the shower drain pump in the foward heads. serviced both loos, fitting new parts to both.

Dimantled cleaned and replaced the gas burners on my beloved Taylors stove. She's now working better than ever with clean blue flames and unblocked jets.

Repaired a damaged portlight surround with epoxy.

Repaired some upholstery fabric on the forward cabin stool.

Replaced two damaged teak planks on deck, more to do but it's an ongoing joy that one!

Cleaned, restitched and rewaterproofed the sprayhood.
Cleaned, restitched and rewaterproofed the bimini.

Made new splices for the chain hook rope.

Revived batteries.

fixed small leak in one hatch and serviced fixings on remainder.

replaced a damaged mirror in one of the heads

Repaired stitching on the sailcover.

Not bad huh!

TBH has just returned with a dinghy full of stuff so time to stow and away!! See you....

Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Speedystitcher.

It may be Valentines Day but my beloved husband has a new toy that is taking far more of his attention that I would want!

You may well have one of these on board, lots do, but not many use them!

Our lightweight sewing machine does sterling duty but beyond simple canvas repairs it really cannot cope with the heavyweight cruising sails that we carry. Embarrassed by asking friends who own heavy duty machines to help out TBH got it into his head to master the 'speedystitcher'. And of course he has done just that! A sort of one handed manual sewing machine he is now in command of a whole new skill set with his little wooden tool in his hand....

Monday, 8 February 2010

What sort of a day?

Picture the scene if you will..

It's around 8am, TBH is still curled up in bed(he's been working through the night 'cos of time differences).
I am pottering in the galley, keeping the noise down so as not to disturb the sleeping one...

I hear him begin to stir;"What sort of a day is it?" he enquires.

" Well quite bright and sunny, probably good for varnishing..."

" No!" he responds."I meant is it a pancake sort of day"


Saturday, 6 February 2010

Not quite like Tesco's!

This morning there was a gentle tapping on the hull.

I climbed out of the companionway and peered over the side in the drizzly rain to see Matilda in her dugout canoe. Matilda is a bit of an institution on the Rio. Every week she paddles upstream in her coverted log with a basket of freshly baked coconut rolls.

She's wrinkled and brown with a long grey plait of hair down to her waist and twinkly eyes. Difficult to age her she looks as old as the hills but in reality is probably younger than me. Certainly fitter as her short frame leans into the heavy wooden paddle ploughing her way through the currents of the river.

I buy a bag of rolls. She prepares the coconut herself, makes and bakes the bread and then undertakes boat deliveries. Wherever we are, anchored or marina bound Matilda finds us. I buy half a dozen, once I bought none and couldn't live with the guilt...

It's a bit of a different experience from popping down to Tesco's for a packet of croissants!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Not a lot..

Work,work,work. Boring,boring,boring.

Yes I know it's good for the soul and all that crap but I am fed up with writing about a never ending tale of small unexciting accomplishments - and I rather suspect that you are fed up with reading them too!

So lets get it over with fast, yes the list is going down , one or two unexpected surprises but nothing too earth shattering! Pretty fed up with the Edson pedestal. The wheel has developed a bit of a wobbly over the years, Nothing dramatic but in the spirit of preventative maintenance TBH took it to pieces to change the bearings and give it a good going over...

Well turns out we have the 'cheap and nasty' version that doesn't have a stainless steel sleeve, wot a surprise so theres a bit of wear. TBH thinks its the pressure from the monitor hub that afixes the wheel, and after 19 years, 9 atlantic crosssings etc I guess you can't really complain. Not that I would let a small detail stop me! Personally I think its worn from me hanging on for grim death as we plough our way through raging seas and storms...I always did have a rather over romantic view of life.

After the usual horrendous contortions in the lazarrete, hanging upside down, blind with a screwdriver in his left hand the gifted one managed to complete the procedure. Then reads in the literature that comes with the service kit that this should be examined DAILY when on a passage.. You have to be kidding Edson right? No friggin way is that happening at sea unless something breaks..

What planet are these designers of boat kit on!

Chocolate muffin making has become a bi-daily occurrence. I think my hormones must be raging as I have an overwhelming desire, craving, need for CHOCOLATE. Do you think it's my age? Nah just greed methinks!

Torrential rain last night, even for these parts. This morning there was a good 5" in the dinghy and the petrol tank was floating around like a kids bucket in an outgoing tide. No leaks aboard, isn't that wonderful and the sparayhood, that I have just re waterproofed, let not one drop of water through its canvas..yippee.
I was a bit worried about that as I used some stuff for waterproofing concrete drives, the genuine marine, over priced product not being available in these parts. As I splashed on the first brush full I was scared that the canvas would melt away before my eyes...

So sorry about the lack of excitment but I promise you things are changing, pilot guides are out and provisioning is happening, lists are being made and I am having some really weird dreams..

Watch this space!