Thursday, 24 September 2015

A blog from Krabi Boat Lagoon

We have now been here almost a month. And it's been great, especially to see Des and Ked again, not to mention Kaki - the dog who runs the place. And of course A and all the others of Team Popeye. And Garn the owner of the Galley Restaurant, who produces mouth watering delicacies from the menu.
It's amazing to see just how much the yacht repair business here at Krabi Boat Lagoon has grown. When we were here last year we were almost the only yacht being refitted and now they are struggling to service 37 yachts. The workforce has expanded to 40 people and they now have a fully equipped engineering machine shop. So getting things done, especially on an unbooked basis, is of necessity a little slower.
Popeye Marine is also getting into the 6 metre yacht restoration business. Last year "Selma" (built in Norway in 1926) arrived and she was launched a fortnight ago in all her splendid restored condition. Another arrived yesterday from Port Lincoln (near Seattle) and there are 4 more in the pipeline. It is wonderful to see the resurgence of such a famous Olympic yachting class. They are exquisite to look at - the perfect example of yachting poetry in form and motion. To see "Selma" you can look back on our website -
Krabi Boat Lagoon now has a swimming pool and we have been exercising there. 10 lengths swimming, 10 lengths walking in water and sundry other exercises are making us feel better. Also we remember this time last year when we were in Chennai and Pondicherry in India, and Jean had undergone surgery for her 2nd hip replacement. That has had an outcome better than we could have imagined and she is a box of birds, especially with her new eyes done in Penang, Malaysia (minus cataracts) which means she can now spy a dust spot at a 1000 paces! Can be tiresome at times but it's great that she is so much better.
We still have the boat on the market but have not had any realistic overtures. Maybe we should reduce the price a bit more , but also we are considering sailing to Seattle (via Hong Kong, Taiwan, Okinawa, the Aleutians, Alaska and Canada) which is a major wooden boat enthusiast area in north west USA. That's a bit in the future however as it would involve about 2 years. And would be a major ocean passage commitment which we have to examine in light of our present ages of 68! However, there is a broker based in Phuket who is part of a global group and they have an office in Seattle, so that may be a more sensible answer.
In the meantime we have decided to do some land travel while in this part of the world. To that end we are going to Vietnam on October 3rd. for 3 weeks. Not on the boat!! We will be away for 3 weeks and will regale you with all that soon no doubt. Apparently to take a boat into Vietnam would be ruinous as far as bureaucratic cost is concerned (hundreds of USD), to say nothing of the frustration with reams of paperwork - so flying is the only way to go.
We have been going into Krabi Town periodically for provisions and also doing minor maintenance. The chartplotter was taken to Phuket for repair and is now back on the boat. The fridge conversion is underway but we haven't seen anything yet. The new aircooled system is being built in Phuket and it will be good to finally have a working fridge once more. Once again the original NZ built systems haven't stood up and we are having to alter the fridge machinery just the same as we did with the freezer last year. Ditto the watermaker which was completely rebuilt back in Australia.
But Krabi Boat Lagoon is a very pleasant marina to be in and very competitively priced. And friendly, unlike Malaysia. No marine growth to speak of and everything is here in terms of boat maintenance and repair that you could want.
Speaking of Malaysia, we have been following events in MSN Malaysia in terms of the corruption scandal surrounding the Malaysian PM. 700 million USD found its way into his personal accounts and it is now claimed that the payments were political donations from an unnamed Middle Eastern source! Extremely unlikely. There are also many more unanswered questions as regards payments that have vanished into thin air and irregular property purchases for hundreds of millions of Ringgits in the USA by the PM's relatives. There are judicial probes being launched in Switzerland and the US among others as those jurisdictions have been affected by possibly illegal money transfers through banks domiciled there.
A newspaper in Malaysia was shut down by the government because it was deemed to be too critical and subversive but they went to court and a subsequent court order has quashed the original shutdown as having been made illegally. However, a number of journalists have been arrested and detained as well as politicians, some of whom come from the PM's own party. They say it is "disrespectful" and "inciting public disorder" to express opinions contrary to the government's! Imagine the uproar in NZ if the current government tried anything like that!
We had considered settling in Malaysia back in 2010 when we came there on a flying visit, but that notion has long gone. And Thailand as well with the corruption not anywhere near so visible, but it exists just the same. However, the people are lovely as is the food - it leaves Malaysia for dead in those areas. We have often felt that the notion of normal logic and being Thai are oxymorons! But you just roll with it and as long as it doesn't adversely affect you it's OK. And it is normally restricted to local bureaucracy, rather than dealings with private businesses.
So, there you are; it's all just typical of spending time in foreign countries. The only certain thing is that things will be different and done differently from one's own country. And that's one of the interesting and enjoyable aspects of travel, particularly by yacht, even if it can be frustrating at times.
Well, dear readers that is it for now. More to come from Vietnam no doubt.
Lotsaluv from us,
Jim and Jean

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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Photos at last!

The first photos are of traditional Thai fishing boats which comprise the bulk of the boats hauled at PSS Shipyard Satun. They are timber built (carvel construction the same as us) but when they start to leak they just slather epoxy all over the seams on the outside!! Noel would have a fit!!! We would rake out the seam, paint it with red lead and reputty with red lead mixed into the putty. Interestingly, on reading an article recently about epoxy, it seems that epoxy loses much of its strength when temperatures rise and they certainly rise up here! Anyway, epoxy is a bad word around this boat, so don't worry Noel.
The other photos are of a 6 metre yacht ("Selma") which arrived at Krabi from France in June 2014 and she has just been launched in a fully restored condition (by Popeye Marine - Capt. Des Kearns, his wife Ked and the team of skilled maritime artisans). The owner is a Frenchman (Cedric) who lives in Bangkok and he has plans to race her out of Phuket. She was built in Norway in 1926. 6 meters were an Olympic class for many years starting in 1908. It has been wonderful to see an 89 year old wooden boat restored to probably better than her former glory. That's it from us for now -
Jim and Jean
s.v. Tiare Taporo III
Krabi Boat Lagoon