The problem with paradise

So the storm passed, although we have had a few blows since, nothing like the big gusts we had a week ago. We went for a cycle the next day, there were scores of fallen trees, but as they have all recently been planted, it wasnt that surprising. The gardeners on this massive reclaimed estate are already busy clearing up.

Sticking with storm clouds, or rather silver linings, one of our neighbours, who has a large motor cruiser / trawler was up in the night and saw one of his Kayaks take off into the air during the storm. We  have no idea where it ended up. In the morning he told his wife they would have to buy another, but she pointed out they never use it, I expect the Jetski on their aft deck gets more use, and so he decided to ditch it, so I picked it up off him for $100 with a mounting frame, which is a fifth of the new price, and it’s in great nick. I had a little kayak around the marina, which was a first for me, and great fun.

It’s mostly been a very relaxing week here, I don’t have any serious deadlines, the main one being to depart next March, everything before then is trivial. This is probably the first time in my life where there hasn’t been some kind of important event looming, and I must say, it’s very liberating to just laze around like this. However, I’m not great at lazing around, so I have pushed on with the jobs, and in true boat style, one job always creates another. For example, the footswitch which turns the anchor winch (Windlass) on and off packed in a while ago, thinking this was a special kind of micro-switch, beyond my repair skills, I waited until I got some new ones back home, and as well as a chain up switch, I fitted a chain down switch, this is very handy for when the chain or rope snags in the windlass feed. I usually use the clutch when lowering the chain, much quicker. However on wiring it all up, it turns out the windlass won’t go in reverse. So this means taking the motor assembly apart and having serious words with the solenoid, helped with a small hammer I suspect 😉 .





I don’t know if there is a standard, but I have gone for RED=UP with the arrow pointing at the bow. If there are no objections to this I will create an RFC / BIP (in joke)

The next job I took on was to paint the blue strip down the side of the boat, I did this in penang and it had faded within months, so after a bit of research I learnt that a standard (cheap) Acrylic building paint would be as good as a fancy ‘Yacht’ paint. We shall see, it doesn’t look like a big job, but I don’t ever want to have to do it again, I’m just so fed up of removing paint from the dock, my clothes, me, and parts of the boat that didn’t need to be painted. I wonder if I can sign up for a painter decorator course somewhere?


It’s important to get a good primer on for acrylic paints, as they are water based, and they don’t adhere to oil based paints, so on with the primer. I foolishly thought primer was like paint, but crikey was I surprised, it was more like plaster, and it set almost as soon as I applied it, leaving mountains and valleys the length of the boat. I was now quickly heading into the ‘Father Ted’ just knocking the little dent out of the car with a hammer’ territory, if you havent seen that episode, I highly recommend it. Anyway I eventually got there and the next day, after a lot of sanding the paint went on, only one accident, and I thought I was safe as I only spilled the paint on the pontoon, I soon had that cleaned up and hosed down so it looked like new, sadly I left the hose on the pontoon, and it had a squirt of water spraying the ‘yet to dry’ blue paint, which then ran down the side of the boat. I think Kathy might have been expecting this kind of event as I started shouting for her help to get the hull clean before it set any further. She appeared with a very worried expression.

I have now added another two coats of varnish, getting up at 6:30 AM to work, as that’s the only time of day when it’s cool enough, evenings might work, but the air is getting moist not drier then. Still I can always siesta as needed. I’m very happy with the end result, just a shame I have to turn the boat around and repeat the whole process on the other side.
The canopies / covers on the boat look awful, but we met a local merchant who is going to make new covers for us, I’m just trying to get the design right. They need to be easy to put up, and take down if a storm approaches, they need to be light, waterproof, let the air flow underneath and possibly double as water catchers. The also need to look very smart. That’s a lot to ask. I’m having the covers made with plastic and heat welded seams, normally I would want a nicer fabric, like sunbrella, but thats not an option here, also this is a lot cheaper and I am seeing it as an opportunity to fine tune the design. in a few years time when we return to Phuket, I might have the perfect design for a better fabric.

Now, the problem with Paradise
Well basically it all stems from the heat, that causes such a lot of activity in the insect/and/little creature world. I’m currently covered in bites, not from mosquitos, at least I haven’t seen many, I expect it’s one of the millions other little creepy crawlies or noseeums around. If you look closely at any surface here, it’s teeming with life, from microscopic ants all the way up to little lizards/geckos. They just love the heat. Weevils appear in all the dry goods very quickly, I won’t go into the details, but below is a little video of one such chappie inside a bag of breadcrumbs kathy bought. The flour is rife with them. We now know that the flour has to be kept in the freezer for a few days after purchase to stop these little guys from hatching. Still a little extra protein never hurt anyone, especially vegans 😉

We often pass through the main park here when cycling around town, I will try to get a video sometime, but this dancing thing, Zumba, I think it is called, seems very big here, often stages are setup in the malls and maybe a hundred people join in. Weird.

Eating in Miri is great for Kathy, there are plenty of good veggy options around, although Kathy seems more pleased with her iPhone than anything else here.

Fried eggs with everything here

Last night we cycled 5 miles to the other end of town to check out the weekend market, a more subdued affair to those we saw in Phuket, but lovely all the same.

Playing tennis with the flies

It’s very common for couples to parade along the pontoons here for their wedding photos, several times a week we see them, and often have to wheel our bikes around the flowing bridal dress, Kathy wondering if she should have left her knickers and other bits of hand washing drying so visibly on the guard rails of the boat.

Anyone for a bit of Durian

Maybe some fresh corn

A prototype lunar lander?


Sunset as seen from our cockpit.

Paul Collister

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