Thanks for all your concern and notes about the recent weather conditions here in Fiji and the potential for the TD’s or Tropical Depressions TD7F to develop into named Tropical Cyclones which is rated as “High” as I reported on yesterday.
The bad news is that we now have a new TD9F located just south of TD7F between the islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia and is also rated as having a High potential to develop into a TC within the next 24-48 hours. The good news is that today’s update from the Fiji Meteorological Service ** shows things currently trending much better for those of us here in Fiji as TD7F has done an about face and is heading West towards Australia and the newer TD9F is projected to move SW and also miss us.
** For my more avid followers and weather worriers you can go to this site and click on “3 day Tropical Cyclone Outlook” to get an update anytime you’d like.
Many of you appreciated the link to the graphical mapping of these TD’s and here is the link to today’s updated version so you can see the changes I outlined above.
Last night and today it has been rainy with a few brief downpours and very low winds so far and we’re obviously hoping that will continue. Higher winds with gusts up to 35 knots and heavier rainfall are forecast for tonight through Thursday.
Concern remains high as there are many other Low systems swirling clockwise between us and the west coast of Australia so we remain vigilant but so far the trends and Mother Nature have been favouring us and we will be quite happy for this to continue for the next few months.
Most years the cyclone season in this area runs from about November through May with the highest likelihood in the middle of that range Jan-March so none of this is too unusual or surprising and a calculated risk one takes to keep your boat here at this time of year.
So it is another inside play day here on the good ship Learnativity with brief forays out to the main office to get mail, refill my cell phone minutes and chat with some of the other liveaboards. Mostly though it gives me a good chance to catch up on things online and off with more reading and writing and some inside boat jobs. Ruby, being the master Zen teacher of adaptation is taking full advantage of having more snooze and snuggle times and the chance to chase more birds and frogs when we venture out in the rain.
I’ll let you know if things change significantly and otherwise hope that your weather is much less concerning.
Wayne & Ruby the Wonderdog
Well it’s official now (Monday morning here) that Tropical Depression TD07F has developed over Vanuatu islands which are directly west of us and the chance of this turning into a named cyclone in the next 24-48 hours is rated as moderate to high as it moves E and SE right towards the west coast of Fiji where I’m at. You can see a 3 day forecast map here if you’d like to get a better visual of all this.
According to the latest forecast we may take a direct hit if this cyclone forms and moves more west than south. Hopefully it will miss us and all we will see is high winds, possibly +100mph but more likely +50 and lots of rain. So we are all busy doing our best to prep for the worst and be ready for whatever comes our way Tuesday through Thursday. Right now it has just been raining since last night and not too heavily but the wind and rain will pick up as the week goes on. Unfortunately all the severe rain and floods we had last weekend has everything quite saturated and the two towns north and south of me, Lautoka and Nadi are still recovering from that so it is not a good forecast for land or sea dwellers.
This morning we took down all the large canvas tarps that we had draped around the boat to keep all the dust from sandblasting and painting contained and were being supported by lots of bamboo poles. These two pictures will show you the before (on a much nicer day) and after shots.
My big challenge is that I have all the hatches and the six side salon windows out while we are painting and so I have the tented up the top of the boat to keep most of the rain out of all these openings. The openings are covered up with black plastic but won’t withstand these kinds of winds of course. So for now I’m going to leave the heavy duty plastic tarps up and have spent the last few hours tying them all down so that the wind can’t get under them quite as easily. If we do get hit with sustained high winds I’ll do my best to monitor the situation and either take them down if they are being lifted too much or the wind will do that for me and then I’ll just have try to keep the openings all covered up and the water out as best I can.
Obviously we aren’t going to get any of the exterior paint or metal work done this week with all the rain and wind so I’ll be focusing on inside jobs and keeping the boat as dry as possible.
Wish me luck! I’ll post updates along the way as things develop and change.
Hard to believe that the first month of 2012 is almost gone already! However it has been a very productive month and a great start to the new year aboard the good ship Learnativity.
As you may recall from the previous updates this month, it was a bit of a rough start with the new rust problems that “surfaced” on the bottom of the hull and added significantly to the already large size projects of redoing all the exterior paint. But I’m delighted to report that as of this week we now have all the rusted steel cut out and replaced with all new 6mm steel plate. Additionally as I described in the previous post I decided to do my “turn a bug into a feature” routine and so while we were at it with the steel and the welding we added in a second layer of 6mm steel along the entire forward bow section and along the entire aft section of the hull from part way along the aft of the keel all the way back to the rudder.
You can see this quite clearly in some of the photos now that we have filled in all the welds with epoxy filler to blend them smoothly into the hull shape. I’m not at all sure that I’ll do it but this extra layer of steel makes Learnativity particularly well suited to doing extreme latitude sailing adventures one day, which is sailing close to the two poles of the earth where the ability to withstand being frozen in place or coming into contact with ice is a very real possibility. However even here in the tropics where the only ice is in your glass, I’ll be smiling even more than usual (if that’s even possible) knowing that I now have a hull that is twice as thick and better than new to keep me safely sailing for many many more nautical smiles.
This past week we were only able to work for the last half of the week as we had huge rains that started last Saturday (21st) and didn’t let up until Tuesday night. Even though it is the rainy season here in Fiji, we received an unusual amount of rain and the main/only road to the towns in both directions from here at Vuda Point marina were washed out and closed for several days. Living aboard LTY we kept fairly dry with only one intrusion when some of the bamboo poles we used to hold up all the tarps broke under the weight of water that formed large pools in some parts of the tarps. When it rains heavy like that I need to be up once or twice in the night to empty these out and try to stretch the tarps tight enough that they don’t sag and allow the rain water to pool. Always amazing to be reminded just how heavy water is! In order to do a proper repaint job of the deck areas I’ve had to remove literally EVERY single thing that isn’t welded in place and LTY is more like a big piece of Swiss cheese with all the holes left from bolts, hatches, fittings and the like but I do my best to go around every night after we finish working and tape these all up if it looks like we are going to get any rain. It’s working well so far and sure makes me appreciate how nice it is going to be to have all these fittings, windows and hatches all back in place and have a watertight boat once again and even more so than ever.
And those rainy days came with great synchronicity with my birthday (23rd) as they enforced a bit of a break from boat work so I took two days off (I’m on this side of the dateline so I get TWO days for my birthday!) to stay inside and catch up on some reading, writing and online ordering.
The paint crew and I focused on preparing the topsides (the vertical sides of the hull from the waterline up to the deck) this week as we had found some patches where the original paint was not well adhered to the original primer. We took advantage of this latest run of dry hot weather and brought in the sandblaster unit and stripped all these areas back down to bare steel and then primed with epoxy. For some reason these areas were all on the port side with one large section about 2 square meters/yards just aft of the bow and then a few other smaller patches further back and we were able to sand blast and prime all these by the end of the day on Friday and even got on the first coat of filler. So the topsides are now looking like the same patchwork quilt of colours as the deck as we make our way around and around this large surface sanding, filling and priming. Over the course of the next few weeks we will start spraying the entire surface of the topsides and deck with a high build epoxy primer/filler rather than just the spot spraying we’ve been doing and then the big job of sanding all these surfaces begins as we work to get these surfaces more and more smooth. It is a long laborious process and looks to many like a real mess of all the different colours of primer and filler showing through but we use different colours on purpose so it is easier to see the high and low spots and know where we need to do more sanding and filling. In the eyes of a painter this is all quite beautiful for as we know good paint jobs are all based on how well you do the preparation and end up with a perfectly flat and smooth surface to apply the final colour coats to. To my eyes then, Learnativity is already a VERY beautiful boat!
During the rainy times I’m busy getting the hundreds of parts and pieces all ready to be put back on once we have finished all the final painting. This week that involved cleaning, rebuilding and polishing all the running rigging which is the blocks and pulleys that all the lines (ropes to you) run through. I have a LOT of these as I re rigged the whole boat after I bought her in 2006 for long distance blue water and single handed sailing and part of this involved installing lots of blocks and pulleys to run all the lines back into the cockpit. It works great as I can control the entire boat under both motor and sail from inside the well protected cockpit and never have to go out on deck. However it does mean that I have a LOT of blocks and pulleys on the deck and these all need to be serviced and maintained. So the rainy days were perfect for me to spend up in that same cockpit with tubs of soapy water and lots of metal polishing paste as I got all the not so stainless stainless steel cleaned up and then rebuilt all the bearings in the pulleys. Next rainy days I’ll get to rebuilding all the winches. And along the way of course I come up with parts that are broken or need replacing as well as lots of stainless fasteners, nuts and bolts I need to acquire and add to my shopping list of things I need to try to find here or else order and have shipped over.
And so the first month back here in Fiji has zoomed by amazingly quickly with each day filled with boat projects, cooking, cleaning and life in general. Along the way I continue to enjoy this amazing location and Ruby and I take walks along the beach and around the marina most mornings and evenings and still manage to see the sun rise and set whenever the clouds allow us to see the sun. Weather wise we have more cyclones potentially forming and this time one off to the west of Fiji whereas all the others to date were looking to form off to the East of Tonga. Fortunately none of these cyclones have actually formed and what I’m referring to is that conditions are such that these are forecast to possibly be forming based on current conditions and historical weather data. Obviously I keep a close eye on these conditions and even if a cyclone does start to form we would have several days to watch it more closely and see what path it is most likely to take, how close it is and might get to us and do our best to prepare for it if it hits. For now it has just meant that we get some of these big rain storms and higher winds at times so here’s hoping it stays that way for the rest of the cyclone season which is typically until about May sometime. Right now it looks like next week we will get hit with some more large rain and wind storms that today are forecast to happen starting about Tuesday but we’ll just have to wait and see as the weather changes quickly and significantly here in this tropical paradise.
Today is Sunday and its another dry hot day so I took advantage of this and no work crews to hire my buddy Abdul to drive me into Nadi (pronounced NaNdi) one of the neighbouring towns to do some grocery shopping. Nandi is about 15km south of where I’m at in Vuda Point marina and Lautoka, the 2nd or 3rd largest town in Fiji is about the same distance north. The main international airport is just a bit north of Nadi so this is a very central location and yet the marina here is very isolated and the only thing at the end of its side road so its very quiet and peaceful here. With the fridge and shelves well stocked I looked after a few small boat jobs and I then took the rest of the day off to treat Ruby to a long walk (run for her) on the beach and then stopped in at the pool to cool off and do some writing and reading so that’s where we are sitting now to type out this update for you. The pool is part of the First Landing resort which isn’t part of the marina per se but is only 100m from where Learnativity is sitting in the yard and they usually let me come here to swim and relax. This is only the 2nd time I’ve made it over to the pool and (note to self) I should really try to make it more of a regular habit to take advantage of such a great situation and location.
Hope your first month of 2012 has gone equally as well and you have the year off to a great start. I’ll be back next weekend with another update for you on the latest progress. Thanks for tuning in and for all your comments, Emails and calls.
Wayne & Ruby the Wonderdog
This week progress on all the boat projects continued to increase which is a very good pattern to see. The weather continued to cooperate all week with the daily pattern of very hot days that led to thunder and lightning storms in the late afternoon which brought rain with them but not usually till after the crew finished at 5pm or later. It would sometimes rain during the evenings but not all through the night and so it was usually all dry by morning and the pattern repeated itself. Today (Sunday 22nd) the weather is changing and looks like we are going to be in for quite a bit more rain that will stay for a while. We’ve been under a “cyclone watch” for over 2 weeks now as there is a set of conditions way over to the East of us, on the other side of Tonga, that are ripe for the development of a cyclone and so the weather prediction algorithms keep showing that one could form in about a week but that’s been the situation for almost three weeks now. So it is obviously something I keep an eye on but so far all is well and nothing has actually formed. These same weather programs (GRIB files in my case) are showing a low that is sitting off to the SE of Fiji and this is now bringing more rain our way and looks like we may not be able to get at much done this week. But weather is not something any of us can do anything about or even predict with much accuracy so I’ll continue to practice my model of living with no expectations and very high hopes and we’ll just get as much work done as the weather will allow.
The focus and progress this week has been in three projects; welding in all the new steel on the hull and preparation of the topsides and deck areas for their full coats of primer.
The steel work on the hull has gone extremely well. We finished welding in all the new steel for the patches that I had cut out and you saw last week. There was the long thin strip right up at the bow on the port (left) side, a small patch below the bow thruster tube on the starboard side and then four large sections, each one being about 40cm/18in square on either side and fore and aft of where the prop shaft exits the hull. All these now have new new steel (6mm) welded in place, ground flat and primed.
Whenever I’m doing repairs I always try to not just fix the problem but also do some related improvement and so as I was figuring out the solution for the hull problems I decided to add an additional layer of steel at the bow and aft sections that would provide added strength and security in these areas.
Guiding my thinking and design was the ongoing curiosity I have about doing what is usually called “extreme latitude” sailing, essentially sailing routes near the two poles. Given the danger of having ice form all the way around your hull or the ever present danger of icebergs and smaller chunks or “growlers”, steel boats are particularly well suited for these kinds of sailing adventures. I’m not at all sure that I’m going to do this as I’ve become such a warm weather “wimp” over the past four years and can’t really see myself leaving the 20/20 belt (20 degrees N/S of the equator) or living in any thing less than tropical climates, but I am attracted to the adventure of it all, the amazing beauty, the nature and the people of these areas.
So I figured I’d turn this “bug” of the hull repair into a “feature” and weld on an extra “ice breaker” layer in the critical areas of the bow and behind the keel. With new steel welded into all of the sections I’d cut out, we made templates and cut out much larger steel plates that would go on either side of the bow from just above the waterline back about 1.5m/5ft to protect the front end of the bow that would be the first to hit any ice while underway, and then we did the same for a much larger section that starts just before the aft end of the keel and stretches aft for over 2m/7ft and about 50cm/20in on both sides of the centerline. The keel itself is huge, almost 20 feet long and extremely strong so that protects most of the “belly” of the hull and these fore and aft sections now look after the areas in front and behind the keel.
It was quite an exercise to get these new plates of 6mm/ 1/4in) steel plate fitted up tight against the hull as these are all compound curves. The technique we came up with was to tack weld the straightest edge to the hull and then I had several hydraulic jacks on board and so we cut some large timbers to be the right length that we could wedge them and a hydraulic jack up against the plate and press it up tight against the hull,tack this spot in place and hammer it smooth. We kept working our way along the plate about 6in at a time and over the course of a few days we had a full 4x8ft sheet of steel plate added to the hull and LTY is now all ready for extreme latitude sailing should that ever call my name loud enough. For now it just feels good to have the hull stronger than when it was first built and restore my full confidence in my boat.
Meanwhile work continued on the topsides and the deck with the seemingly never ending process of finding spots that were not smooth and even, sanding them, filling them, priming them and doing that over and over. All this is in preparation for when we will soon spray the entire surfaces with sandable primer/filler and then start sanding the whole surface down to perfect smooth flat surfaces and ready for their final coat of gloss polyurethane paint. We also managed to get one coat of white epoxy on all the insides of the storage areas behind the seats and the large storage area beneath the transom steps at the aft end of the boat. Both of these were a real mess when we first started as they are very difficult to get at, lots of rough surfaces, nooks and crannies and foam. The crew have been great at helping me over the past few months to carefully clean these all out, remove all the rust with sandblasting where possible and pneumatic needle guns, wire wheels and chipping hammers everywhere else. This shot on the left is from back in October when they were first cleaning out the storage area under the steps by wedging themselves inside. We took turns at this “fun” activity!
Last week, and with Commodore Ruby’s full supervision, we were finally able to get a good thick coat of epoxy primer on all these hard to get at areas and this week we added the first coat of white epoxy so they now look VERY nice! It will be such a treat to have these storage areas all clean and be able to keep them that way.
It is now Monday and it’s been raining pretty much non stop since Sunday morning so as predicted the weather has turned and looks like we are in for a week of mostly rain and so the work crews won’t likely be here too much. Of course I have a VERY long list of things that need to be done and can be done inside so it will still be busy for me but I’m taking advantage of a very rainy morning here to finish typing this up and post it. It would be very helpful if you could send me your critique of these weekend updates to help give me a sense of how interesting they are, too much detail or not enough, what’s missing, etc.
Wow, the first month of 2012 has already raced by, at least for me and so it looks like time continues to seem to speed up. However the “density” of my experiences which I wrote about several years ago in my postings on “Exponential Learning Density” that you can read if you’d like, also continues to increase and so my life continues to be a charmed one that is filled with more and more great experiences and adventures. I wish the same for you as well and will be back with more for you next weekend.
Wayne & Ruby the Wonderdog
It’s been a VERY busy week here and thought you’d enjoy a quick (consider the source) update for both general interest and the usual entertainment value I provide for you.
It’s been a good week overall and probably mostly because I’m back at work, and have the paint crew here helping and it’s always good for me to just get to work with my hands solving problems, role up my sleeves (purely metaphorically here mind you as I’ve not worn a shirt since I got here!) and dive in. So dive I did.
Baobab Marine, the company that is doing all my work for me got back from their holidays and so I had my crew back as of Monday. Actually several crews or groups; one for the paint work, one for the metal work on the hull an done for the machining of the new prop shaft. They are all very good, I spend most of my time with the paint crew and the metal working crew, working with them to some extent, looking after jobs and attention to details that really only I can do (to my satisfaction) finding things that have been missed or still need to be done, making decisions, etc. There is no issue of their work ethic or workmanship, they are all great to work with and very conscientious, it is just that there are so many details and things that only I can keep track of or know. It is all very enjoyable for me and they seem to enjoy working with me as well.
Also helped a lot that the weather cooperated and we had no rain at all during working hours and really only small showers in the evenings a few days. Next week looks less promising but we’ll just take what we can get and work as much as the weather will allow as all our work is outside and things like welding and painting and sanding just don’t work in the wet.
One of the jobs I spent quite a few hours on this week getting the side windows in the salon ready for the new glass. Back in October I removed all six of these windows and had new glass made up that is double the thickness (10mm) and mirror treated on the outside and tinted on the inside for solar protection. It will look very good and I’m going to install them so the glass sits a few mm proud of the steel and I’ll cove the rubber sealant to create a nice looking black seal the same as I did on the front salon windows when I did those in NZ.
I’ve previously done the prep work on the steel around each window that was covered up by the old teak frames as these were very rusted, pitted and rough, and the crew has them all filled and primed. This week the work was prepping the interior solid teak frames by sanding them all down as the finish was in rough shape there after almost 20 years of sun and condensation from the windows and it is so much easier to do with the windows out when I can work from the outside and also keep the insides taped and covered so not much sawdust gets in. I was also reminded once again what a great purchase my Fein MultiMaster tool has been!
I had a bit of a puzzle to solve with corners of each window now that I’m not going to use an external teak frame and just seal them in as I did with the front windows. The problem is that the corners in the steel cut outs are rounded whereas the teak frames are square and so in many of the corners there is a gap or opening where the rounded corner of the glass misses or cuts across the square corner of the teak frame and would surely start to leak in time. I pondered various solutions for quite a while trying to find something that would provide a good sized surface area for the glass to seal against and yet still look good and meant to be there not some odd patch. What did in the end is make a triangular piece of teak that I epoxied into each corner. These are about ½” thick and I rounded over the new inside edge so it looks molded into the frame and provides about an inch of sealing area for the glass in each corner. Of course all the teak frames are custom built and are all at odd angles so I had to cut and fit each block by hand and then glue them in and clean up the corners, so it took a lot of time but I’m very pleased with the results and today (Sat here) I’m going to be busy refinishing all the window frames while we aren’t creating any sanding dust and get the windows all sealed and masked in prep for the painting (priming coats) which we hope to start next week.
And the other big nasty job this week involved getting rid of the last two remaining rust areas; the inside of the chain locker up in the bow and the inside of the storage areas in the coaming behind the cockpit seats. As you may recall we had cut out all the steel at the bow under the SS windlass plate and welded in a new one, but there was still lots of rust inside the chain locker, mostly the “roof” area where the foam was once again not sprayed in well and has rusted badly. So I crawled in there as best I could and went at it with chipping hammers, wire brush, scrapers, etc. and then went over as much as I could with a big electric grinder with a wire brush on it. A real ugly job in 100+ degrees, breathing in and wearing all that rust and foam and trying to work with the heavy grinder all over my head! But I persevered and got it as clean as I could and will get back in there next week and slap on as much epoxy primer as I can to hold the rust at bay. Then it was on to the cockpit seat storage area which was another nasty bit of work. I’d tried to get the crew to do this and they got some done with the needle gun and a bit of sand blasting but the problem areas are in the corners on the inside edge where the seat backs are and around all the angle iron that they used to frame up this complex shape and then bent and welded the steel plate onto. I thought/hoped they had got it all as I’d spent quite a bit of time showing them what needed to be done, but alas there was still many missed spots so I took over. Another nasty contortion job as I had to turn my head to get it into the cut out openings you may remember are behind each cushion, then get one arm in there as well and go at beating the #@$% out of the rusted areas with a chipping hammer so the rust all flakes away. Even with ear plugs it is VERY noisy to say nothing of sweaty and tiring. And people ask what kind of exercise program I’m on!!! But I finished the last of it yesterday afternoon and got a good thick coat of epoxy primer on the entire bottom and about 6” up the sides and that was a great way to end my day yesterday (Fri). I think I’ve discovered why you always saw such thick coats of paint everyone on things like steel ferry boats and commercial ships! I think that even if there is some rust underneath, as there pretty much always will be, if you can completely seal everywhere with a good surface of tough paint and keep all water out, it holds up pretty well. So my plan is to now do the same on LTY. Particularly in areas that get wet on and off and are not well ventilated such as areas like the chain locker, cockpit seat storage and the big storage locker in the transom steps, have a thick continuous set of coatings of epoxy paint and try my best to keep it that way going forward and keep the rust at bay that way. Time will tell.
I’m also feeling much better now that I’ve got a plan for the hull and the work has begun. In the end we’ve cut out 4 sections; one long skinny one on the port side of the bow, one small square one under the starboard side of the bow thruster tube (a totally random spot I can’t figure out why), and then two large panels on either side of the center rib behind the prop shaft exit. I decided not to cut out any more in the aft area and instead we are going to add an additional layer of 6mm plate fore and aft. At the bow this will go from the very front of the bow starting just above the waterline and going down to just past the bottom of the bow thruster tube, about 5’ long, and then a very large section aft that starts about 1m forward of the aft end of the keel and runs aft all the way to where there is already and added reinforcement layer of steel plate for the two arms of the aft cutlass bearing/prop shaft support. This piece is about over 2m/7 ft long and about 40cm/18” wide. I decided to add this additional layer of new steel plate on top of these and a large area of the existing hull was the best solution overall for LTY and me (confidence) and also because I’ve been talking with a few others and beginning to consider possibly trying out some extreme latitude sailing adventures near the south or north poles and so I’m designing these new extra steel panels as “ice breaker” sections just in case I want to give that a try. For now though I assure you I’m sticking in the 20/20 zone (20 degrees N/S of the equator) and these tropical climes I have come to love.
I ran into some “legal” issues with Baobab around the wording in the contracts for all this new work after they had a some incidents last year with other boats apparently so it took me almost a week of back and forth with them to get the language in the contract to match what we were agreeing to. The good news is that we were in agreement from the start as to what we both wanted and just needed to get the wording in the contract to match. And by the time we were done, all the new work on fixing the hull came in at less than I was fearing and while still a very unexpected hit on my budget it is all money well spent to restore my confidence and for the amount of work and steel involved so this is “cheap” peace of mind for me and has my confidence in the boat building daily.
The 4x8 plate of 6mm steel arrived on Wednesday night and so I have been working with two crew, the main metal guy and his very good assistant, to cut out all the steel around the rusted out sections and make up templates for these and templates for the large new additional steel plate layer we are adding in. I worked with them for fitting and welding in the new steel patches in the bow and am now very confident in their welding abilities. They grind out the steel edges to make a good V and then make two passes over the whole joint so I think it will be both very strong and water tight. Even then we will be welding in a 2nd layer on top of all this so it will be double the thickness and strength of the original. I’ll turn this “bug” into a “feature” as I mentioned earlier by making this an “extreme latitude ice readiness retrofit”!! Next week we/they will be busy welding in the new plate for the two aft cut out sections and then welding in the big new steel plates are going to be added to the aft area on either side of the center rib.
Most of the work with my crew this week was up on the deck were we continue to be very busy working to sand, fill and prime all the little nooks and crannies that are everywhere on the deck. It may look like a mess to the untrained eye but this patchwork quilt look is very good as it shows how all the areas are being filled and levelled in preparation for spraying it all with layers of primer/sander. This is then followed my more sanding to find any remaining high and low spots, which at the beginning there will be lots of, and either sanding them out with large sanding boards or filling them in. This is the same process used in auto body work as you need to have a perfectly flat surface before you but on the final layers of gloss paint as this mirror like coating will show the tiniest of imperfections.
And finally, the good news is that the prop shaft is now being machined in Suva. They ordered in the new SS round stock last month and finally shipped it down to the shipyard in Suva for machining of the two ends. Bad news is that the quote they gave me for the machining was WAY out and more than doubled! But not much I can do and all part of the “stupid tax” I have to pay for my “learning experience” when I bounced LTY into that coral hole last year so is just a price I have to pay I guess. I’ve got all new cutlass bearings and I also bit the bullet and ordered a good Lasdrop dripless prop shaft seal that I’ll install when we put in the new prop and eliminate that source of salt water in the engine room bilge.
That my friends is how my week has gone over on my side of the world! Hope yours went as well and that you saw as much progress and I’ll be back with another weekly update next weekend.
Wayne & Ruby the Wonderdog
As per my previous posting I’m going to start posting these weekend updates to summarize the various boat projects that I have underway for the major refit I have underway on Learnativity here in Fiji. It is all consuming for me so it is all I have to report on right now and might help you realize that as wonderful as this life of living full time on a sailboat is and how great it is to be in the likes of Fiji surrounded by nothing but colourful people, food and nature, there is a price to all of it. Though let me add that it is a price that I am more than willing to pay and is still the bargain of a lifetime for me!
I suspect that these updates will not be that interesting to many of you as they are really just going to be about my weekly progress on all these various boat jobs. However enough of you have written or called and asked for more details and so many seem to find it quite interesting that I figured it will be a good way for me to have this as a record in the future and that you are best to decide what and how much you want to read. So here is the update for you from week #1 of 2012.
The transition to the new year has been one filled with challenges as I more fully assessed the situation with the rust in the hull on Learnativity that I noted in my last posting with the background and context of the boat projects I have underway here. A steel boat always rusts from the inside out and after some very thorough examinations of every bit of the bottom of the hull I was able to find two areas where the rust had set in and was now starting to make its way all the way to the outside. I can normally keep watch of over 90% of this area as I can get at them through access panels or in the main bilge area in the large engine room, but there are a few spots up in the front of the bow and aft of where the propeller shaft exits the hull that are inaccessible due to the built in wood floor and other equipment and of course it was in these areas that the rust had gone undetected and seems to have been at work since not long after the boat was built back in 1994.
In order to fully check the hull and be sure that I had found all the problem areas I had bought a neat little ultrasonic digital thickness gauge just before I flew from from the USA. These fabulous tools enable you to measure the thickness of solid materials like steel that you can only access from one side and are used in such instances as large steel storage tanks and the like and with the help of eBay I was able to find one online and get it delivered to LA just before my flight out. To use them you press a small stethoscope like probe that is wired into a little black box with a digital readout meter tightly against the steel, wait for the meter to show that it has full contact and then it reads out the thickness under the probe in 0.1mm increments. The good news is that it works very well and is very accurate as I tested it on steel panels that I could measure accurately with a micrometer or vernier calliper. The bad news is that it only tells you the thickness in that one small spot and I have a VERY large hull! You also often need to wet the end of the probe to make a good contact and they provide some glycerine gel to do so but that proved to be very slow and tedious. So I figured that any liquid will do the job of filling in any air gaps between the probe and the steel to let the ultrasonic waves get through and so I came up with the technique of wetting the probe with my tongue, holding the probe against the steel, getting the reading and then writing this number on the wet spot with a pencil. Now just a few thousand more measurements to go!!
So I spent the next few days making my way all around the hull testing about ever square inch or smaller and covering then entire length of the hull with my little wet spots and penciled in numbers. Fortunately the majority of the hull was fine as it is all covered with spray on polyurethane foam for insulation and has stuck to the metal very well and prevented an air or moisture from getting in so no rust. But I needed to fully check an area about 50cm/18 inches on either side of the centerline of the hull from stem to stern. What this revealed was the two areas I note earlier, one on the port side of the bow just below the waterline and about 8cm/3in from the centerline that had holes or thin spots stretching back about a foot. There was another small area just under the bow thruster tube up in the bow area but the largest damage was in the rear of the hull just in front and behind of where the propeller shaft comes out of the boat. There were several areas over about a square meter/yard in this area that were thin and a few places that had already started to rust through. Yikes! I’ve got holes in my boat!! Not a good thing!!
What to do? I mulled it over for a long time and spent a lot of hours trying to find anything that might have caused the rust to accelerate and seemingly happen in such a short time. Electrolysis or galvanic action was the major suspect for me at first but after several days of exhaustive checking revealed that there was no stray current or other causes of such reactions and that my zincs of which there are 18 bolted to the hull to be sacrificial anodes for just this purpose, were all fine and wearing away at their usual rate.
So out with my big grinder with a thin metal cutting blade attached and taking a deep breath I cut out the sections you can see in the pictures. It felt VERY strange to be cutting holes in my boat and almost like I was violating my dear Learnativity, but I needed to cut out these rusted areas both to replace them as well as to get a good look at them and figure out what was going on. In the end I’ve determined that the rust is all due to “natural causes” and can be traced back to some less than ideal build quality back when the hull was welded up in about 1992. The boat was launched in 1994 but building stated in 1992. I found two things which I believe caused the rusting to set in. One was that the drain holes or slots cut into the sideways running ribs where they are welded to the lengthwise center stringer were too small and over the years they had filled in with dust, debris and rust which prevented any water which got in or due to condensation from being able to run down the hull into the bilge sumps and be pumped out. The other problem is that it doesn’t look like they had thoroughly cleaned, ideally sand blasted all the steel inside the hull after it was welded up and then covered it in several thick layers of epoxy paint. There was some primer in this area but it had long since broken down and these two factors had allowed moisture to build up in a few spots and started the rusting action which over the years advanced to that flaking layered type of rust which never dries out as the moisture wicks in between these flakes and continues the process slowly but continuously.
What I’m in the process of doing now is cutting out any and all areas where there is any of this flaking type of rust and cutting them back till I get to a steel rib or stringer. This will ensure that I have cut out all the rusted areas and quite a bit more past them and that I can weld in new steel where these stringers and ribs intersect the hull. I must admit it is a bit daunting to be adding this on top of the already major amount of work I had underway with the 20 year refit of Learnativity that involves redoing all the exterior paint, but the good thing about steel is that it is relatively easy to work with and welding enables you to create good as new patches of any size.
I’ve been working steadily on assessing the situation with the hull since Ruby and I returned back on Dec. 23rd and I’ll gladly admit it has been a real challenge and often quite defeating to deal with the depth of this rust situation. The biggest impact is how it has damaged my confidence in my boat so I simply need to put together a solution which will restore all that confidence and more. All problems can be solved and this one will be too and both Learnativity and I will be all the better for it when we do. Next week should be much better as I figure out the details of how to repair the hull, ideally how to improve upon it. My very able painting crew will also be back from their holiday break on Monday (Jan. 9th) and so we can pick up on all the preparations of the topsides and the deck for their eventual new coats of paint. I’ll be back to you next weekend with another update on how it all goes in week #2.
As per my all too lengthy previous posting with my overview of the past year, I’m going to start posting a weekly update while I’m working on Learnativity here in Vuda Point Marina in Fiji. You can cut and paste the lat/long coordinates of 17
I hesitated to post much for the past few months or the next few going forward as I’m completely consumed by the major boat jobs I have underway here in Fiji and that’s about all I’ve got to report on. But after receiving more and more inquiries and finding more and more of you wanting details of what’s going on, I’ve decided to post these weekly updates and pictures. You are all smart enough to read as much or as little as you’re interested in and so I’ll do my best to keep it so an overview and provide lots of pictures to make it easier and hopefully more interesting.
First I guess it would help some of you to have a little bit of background to put this all into context for you. Learnativity is my 50’ steel monohull raised salon sailboat and full time home. She was originally built and launched in 1994 by Kristen Yachts in Sidney BC just outside of Victoria on Vancouver Island. I found and bought her there from the original owner in the summer of 2005, spent just over 2 years refitting and equipping her for “blue water” long distance and single handed sailing and finally cast off on this grand adventure in March 2008. She is built like a tank, and I mean that in a VERY good way in that she is way overbuilt being all solid steel and teak and she takes me everywhere and anywhere in great safety and comfort in spite of my complete lack of boating or sailing experience prior to buying her. I don’t come from ANY nautical background, never wanted to sail before and just got more and more curious, learned as much as I could from others (online, books, charters) and then decided as is my norm that if I was still curious the only way to really learn was experientially. And BOY what an experience it has been!
I am now pretty much completely self sufficient with only diesel fuel that I take on less than once a year for my main engine and generator as I supply all my own power with wind and solar (haven’t used the generator in over a year), and propane for my stove. I am otherwise self contained and self reliant as I do things like make all my own water with the water maker I installed, look after all my navigation (with the assistance of net connections via Wi-Fi and sat phone), look after all my own sewage, cook all my own meals and am a floating workshop and tool store to look after all the many repairs and maintenance it takes to keep such a floating “city” up and running, and to it all while at sea often thousands of miles from any land, let alone stores or services.
Over the past four years we have sailed over 25 thousand nautical miles and made it down the west coast of north, central and south Americas, across the Pacific with stops at countless and mostly remote islands and now back for a second time to Fiji. While she is in great condition overall, the exterior being all steel was vividly showing signs of the wear and tear of so many miles and being in such salty tropical humid conditions. It is not just a great song but an altruism that “rust never sleeps” and so I had been fighting a loosing battle trying to keep the rust at bay all by myself and with so many other jobs that keep filling up the “must do” list on a live aboard sail boat. So I had been figuring out where and when to take on the major task of getting rid of all the rust and repainting all the steel.
I was thinking I would need to go back to New Zealand or Australia where they have such good marine work facilities and craftsmen but as is the norm in my charmed life, I serendipitously discovering last year that there was a marine company here in Fiji, Baobab Marine that does very good paint and boat work. After talking with fellow cruisers who had work done by Baobab Marine, inspecting boats they had painted over the past 10 years and meeting with the head foreman,I decided this was the perfect place to roll up my sleeves, spend more time in my beloved Fiji and work with Baobab to take on the task of a 20 year repaint and renovation of Learnativity. I had Learnativity hauled out on September 5th 2011 and put up “on the hard” on stands here at Vuda Point Marina and have been working with the great crew from Baobab Marine ever since.
The original plan involved three major paint jobs and the replacement of my bent propeller shaft which is another story in itself. The three paint jobs were as follows:
1. BOTTOM: Sand blast from the water line down to the bottom of the keel, repaint with new epoxy primer, barrier coat and anti foul paint. Although I had already done all this back in 2006 after I bought the boat, there turned out to be a problem with the zinc that was used in the epoxy primer and was continuously causing small bubbles to form between it and the anti foul bottom paint. The only solution was to take it all off down to bare metal and start over again so that is what we are doing.
2. TOPSIDES: This is the sides of the hull from the waterline up to the deck. The paint itself was holding up well and only a few dings from the past 18 years of use but was loosing it shine and needed to be repainted. The plan was (changed recently as I’ll cover in the updates) to just sand down and fill the chips and dings that had happened, repair the “tsunami souvenir” I had from the great tsunami of 2009 in American Samoa that we lived through. (3 part fully detailed story here on the Learnativity blog if you missed that adventure!) and then repaint the topsides with new polyurethane paint and trim. I also decided that I’d take this opportunity to change the colour of the hull from white to Royal Blue as I’ve always like the looks of dark hulled boats and thought this would make it seem like a truly new boat after all this work.
3. DECKS: This is all the horizontal surfaces for the most part that includes not only the deck that you walk on but also the cockpit, and dodger (hard cover over the cockpit) or pilot house as it is sometimes referred to. It is the largest job of the three by far as literally everything that isn’t welded on has to be removed so we can remove every bit of rust by sand blasting, grinding or needle gunning. Then it all gets treated with metal prep, epoxy primer, and then lots of filling and priming to fair in all the surfaces. We will then paint all of that gloss white and then mask off and spray all the areas you actually walk on with anti skid by mixing in some special sand like material so that all these surfaces are a bit like sand paper and grip your feet well when everything is wet and at angles as you sail.
All three of these jobs involve different equipment and different people helping out so it is quite literally a three ring circus for the last few months as work proceeds on all three at the same time. However the people working with me are great, very conscientious, learn well and are a treat to work with and get to know. They are both native Fijians and Fijian Indians who make up almost 40 percent of the current population of just under one million people. They range from young men in the 20’s to more experienced men in the 40’s and after five months now we have gotten to know each other very well and this has added to my love of Fiji and its people. They truly embody the saying they have here of “ne senga ne lenga” which essentially means “Don’t worry; be happy” as they are always laughing and singing while they work, always in great spirit and take on whatever new challenges and work that comes along.
The biggest new challenge that has come up so far has been the discovery of some severe rusting in the bottom of the hull that have eaten all the way through the hull in two spots, one at the bow and one just behind where the propeller shaft exits. I’m still not quite sure what has caused this but it appears to be a problem from when the boat was first built in that it is a combination of some drain holes in the ribs not being large enough and so over the past 18 years they have clogged up with debris and rust and trapped any water that entered or formed from condensation, and the paint applied to these interior steel surfaces was not applied to clean surfaces or has otherwise broken down. These are in remote, essentially impossible to see areas under some of the floors and just off either side of the center line of the hull that is left open (not coated with foam as is the rest of the hull) so that it forms a bilge drain channel that flows into the lowest sections where the bilge pumps take care of the water. A steel boat rusts from the INSIDE out as it is relatively easy to keep the outside covered with paint and anti fouling coatings and is easy to see and inspect the whole surface. But inside, and especially with a custom built boat like Learnativity, there are a few spots along the centerline that you just can’t get at or see because the flooring and equipment is covering them and these spaces are only a few inches deep at best. I had always kept a close eye on the 95% of this exposed steel areas of the bilge and while there was some surface rust it was nothing to be concerned about and the plate steel is very thick. For reasons I still don’t fully understand though there were these spots that somehow allowed the rust to start to form and over the years had turned into that layered flakes of rust and especially in these tropical climates these areas never dry out as the water is wicked in between all these fine layers of rust and it just stays “alive” and eating away at the steel beneath, forming more layers, trapping more moisture.
This discovery of such seemingly random areas that had actually rusted through the entire hull came as quite a shock as you might imagine and so upon confirming that the rust was this severe in these two sections I cut my Europe trip short and came back to Fiji last month to look things over and figure out a solution. I’ll cover more of that in the weekly updates to follow. The good news about steel is that it is relatively easy to repair and repair well by simply cutting out all the rusted steel and welding in new panels, so that is what we are doing.
Weather is the other major factor in all this work as it is the rainy season here in Fiji (their summer) and lasts through about March or April. As almost all the work is outside and involves things like welding, sanding and painting, we can’t work too well in the rain but so far (knock on wood/steel) while it does rain pretty much every day, the pattern is that it doesn’t start till the late afternoon or evening and so it is dry and hot during the work day. And I do mean HOT! Usually over 35c/100F and with all the rain it is very humid so you sweat just sitting and it just pours off you as you exert yourself with the very physical nature of most of the work with sanding and grinding. However great progress is being made and that feels great! For all of you who have asked me about my “fitness program” and why I’m in such good shape, now you know; just do lots of physical labour in a sauna, drink lots of water, eat lots of fresh produce. Sure is working well for me!!
Well, hopefully that will have given those of you who are interested some background into the work I’m in the midst of what what’s keeping me busy of late. As those of you who know me well will understand I’m very happy in these situations as I love working with my hands, will take hot over cold weather ANY day and it feels great to see such daily progress towards having an even more solid, prettier and shinier Learnativity to continue wandering and pondering the world one nautical smile at a time!!
Greetings or as we say here in Fiji “Bula bula” and Happy New Year to one and all!
2011 was another awemazing year for me being one filled to overflowing with life, love and learning and I don’t think anyone could want for more. I know I’ve not been posting or writing as much publically the past few months and so I thought I’d start up again with this overview to bring you up to date and then some weekly updates going forward and add more as seems fit and my experiences warrant. With thanks to all of you who write and call to inquire and encourage me to post more updates, let’s get started!
As most of you know I am seriously “brevity challenged” but I’ll do my best to give you a brief update on 2011 to bring you up to speed to the present and as a lead in to my weekly updates. This will probably end up being a bit like one of those annual “holiday letters” you get from friends and family so if you don’t like those you can just skip this post and maybe the weekend updates will be more you style and length. For those interested there are blog postings you can read here on this Learnativity blog that will give you all the details of my sailing adventures first half of the year from the Marshall Islands to Fiji (and all the way back to my start in 2008) if you missed them or want to review.
I started 2010 still in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands where I had sailed to from Fiji back in October 2010 to get out of the cyclone belt by being north of the equator. (Majuro is about 7 degrees N) While there is no mistaking Majuro for a “tropical paradise” it does have many redeeming qualities such as a US Post Office which is a huge advantage for shipping boat parts and equipment in and out, a good supply of hardware, groceries and other store bought items and a close community of cruisers, many of whom have been there for many years. Majuro is also one of the largest centers for tuna boats and there was always an entertaining steam of both the large tuna fishing boats and the even larger freighters which took on all their catch. One of the local cruisers organized a tour of a tuna boat and one of the carriers and we spent hours going through both these ships with the captains and crew answering all our incessant questions.
Both out of necessity and to take advantage of the supply of parts I did a lot of boat projects, mostly engine related and got Learnativity all ready for another busy sailing season down south of the equator and by mid May I was more than ready to go. I had decided to go back to Fiji as I had truly fallen in love with this country during my extended 5 months stay there the year before and so when the weather window opened up on May 23, 2010 and I bid Majuro a fond farewell, headed out the pass through the coral of the atoll and turned south. Having enjoyed them so much on my way north the previous year I once again made stops in Mili, Funafuti, Tuvalu and Rotuma rather than do it all in one go and arrived back in Savusavu Fiji on June 18th and have been here in Fiji ever since.
I wondered if I my love for Fiji had been a first time infatuation but having now spent the past 8 months here it is clear that for me at least this is the best overall location I’ve ever been to. It isn’t any one thing so much as it is almost everything about this country that I love; the people, the food, the climate, the scenery, the snorkelling, the sailing, the affordability, the cultures…….. well you get the idea. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m such a journey person I would seriously consider buying property and living here. Many do as this is almost the only country in the South Pacific with “freehold” land, that is where you can buy and own property outright. I’m now feeling that urge to head out again and several countries west and north of here are calling my name more and more loudly and so I’m currently VERY hard at work and taking advantage of an excellent marine yard and workforce to do a 20 year refit of Learnativity and be ready when the cyclone season ends which is typically about April/May.
2011 also brought me several great gifts of sharing “my” fabulous Fiji and this great life of sailing, snorkelling and sunsets with friends and family. My brother had just moved to Melbourne Australia with his wife and youngest son where he is establishing a new office and presence for his company and they all came for a holiday in Fiji in July and so I sailed down to the south side of the big island of Viti Levu and anchored in front of their resort at Pacific Harbour. We spent a week together, partly ashore enjoying all the amenities of the Pacific Harbour resort and partly out for some short sails on Learnativity over to the island of Beqa for some amazing snorkelling there.
For the month of August I was delighted to be able to share Fiji and this life afloat with two good friends from Vancouver, Steve and Joy and we had a phenomenal time sailing all over the many islands on the far west side of Fiji to experience everything from postcard perfect little islands where we were the only boat and people there to ones with small villages where we went ashore and had “sevusevu” with the Chief where we presented him with some kava and he performed a brief ceremony to bless us and welcome us to his island. We also went to a few of the popular cruiser spots such as Musket Cove and Port Denarau for supplies and a few dinners out. Once again this sailing season, my dear friend Philip, a single handed sailor from Switzerland, met up. Philip and I initially met when we were checking into Ecuador at the same time and port, were able to meet up in Fiji and although we only had a few days together before I flew out to Florida and he sailed to New Zealand, they were extremely special. I also met Philip’s Dad when he came to Fiji for his annual sail and then later in December I was able to take him up on his offer to come visit him in Switzerland.
On September 5th, Learnativity was hauled out and put up on stands or what we call being “on the hard” at Vuda Point marina which is about mid way up the far west coast of the biggest island in Fiji, Viti Levu. She had been long in need of some serious TLC to look after lots of little things and especially the growing amount of rust spots sprouting up on her steel decks and after serendipitously discovering that there was a very good marine repair company who worked out of this little marina I decided to bit the bullet and have them help me repaint the entire exterior of Learnativity. This is no small task I can assure you as to do it properly, I had to remove EVERY single bolt, fitting, window, hatch, lines and anything that wasn’t welded on, in order to get at all the spots, remove all the rust and cover them with top quality epoxy primer, filler and colour paint. I’ll fill you in on more details in the weekly updates to follow, but suffice it to say that I am still “on the hard” and have a few more months of long hot hard days of work to get her all shiny and new again.
And while this is taking a VERY BIG bite out of my VERY fixed budget I’m quite happy with myself that I’ve been able to pay others to help me as it is something I find very difficult to do. Being fortunate enough to have most of the skills to do all the work on Learnativity and of course feeling that no one can do it better than I can, (and the fact that my life literally depends on the sea worthiness of my boat!) I tend to do all the work myself. But there is only one of me and only 24 hours a day so there is a very finite limit to what I can get done by myself and I’ve exceeded that limit for a while now. So I checked out the work this company, Baobab Marine had done on other boats over the past few years and was very impressed and so they have been working with me almost every day since September to sandblast, grind, weld, prime, sand, fill and paint Learnativity inside and out. We’ve still got a LONG ways to go but huge progress has been made and when I “splash” her back into the water, hopefully by April, she will look like a brand new boat.
2011 was also quite a year for me personally as I managed to fall in, and alas out, of love with two amazing ladies. Thanks Linda and Heidi for making my life in 2011 SO memorable and full of life, love and learning. For now though, it is back to sailing through life’s experiences single handed. While it remains my hope, though not my expectation (more on that theory some other posting) that I will some day find my “soul mate”, I leave that all up to serendipity and synchronicity as to if, when, where, who and how that will happen and by simply continuing to truly live in life’s moments, be present in the present and experience my experiences fully. It’s been working incredibly well all my life, why would I change now?!
Of course I’m never alone as I’ve got so many friends, family and new local people I meet and interact with as I sail, and I have my ever faithful and amazing Ruby the Wonderdog at my side at all times. She is not only a great companion but also a great teacher and I do my best to learn all that she has to offer such as how to adapt to whatever life offers up moment to moment.
I spent the month of November back in New Smyrna Beach Florida with my beloved “second family” where I’m blessed to have four “God children” and two extraordinary friends. This is also one of Ruby’s special spots and she had an extended vacation here with her buddy “Coco” a chocolate Cocker Spaniel when she stayed there while I flew over to Europe. I was also delighted to have my colleague and friend Elliott provide me the opportunity to make several presentations at his large learning conference in Orlando the first week of November and it also provided lots of gifts of time with many other colleagues and friends who come to this annual professional gathering.
At the beginning of December it was off to Europe for a few weeks where I was able to visit with several friends and some family. I spent two day’s with Philip’s parents in their small town near St. Gallen in Switzerland and then continued by train to the lake of Biel to spend a week with my cousin and her family who I had spent lots of time with when Diana and I lived in Germany from 1980-84. Although I had to cut my trip to Europe short to return to Fiji and look after some new boat problems that came up, I was still able to get in some time with my dear friend Erik who flew into Heathrow just to spend a day and evening with me and then I spent one more night at the home of friends Robin and Jayne who live outside of London, before I had to fly back to the USA.
A brief stop in Florida to pick up Ruby and say goodbye to my family of friends there, and then it was off to LA to spend a few days with my daughter Lia, husband Brian and their two dogs Piglet and Ponzu. It is such a treat to be the parent of two such incredible “kids” as Skyler and Lia and watch and learn as they become such amazing adults. Lia and Brian let me just “hang out” with them and catch up on their busy lives. The timing worked out very well as Brian is a high school math teacher and had his last day of classes just before I arrived and Lia had just finished her stint as a lecturer at Cal Poly Pomona before going back to her job with a fascinating nuclear medicine and unique chemical compound making company who made her “an offer she couldn’t refuse” to get her to come back and work for them again.
On December 20th Ruby and I headed off for LAX and caught our flight back to Nadi in Fiji and though we missed December 21st completely due to crossing the date line, we were back onboard Learnativity on Dec. 22nd and back to the hot humid weather we both much prefer. As you may recall, Learnativity is “on the hard” and so we have to climb up a ladder to get onboard as she sits here on her stands so it isn’t ideal but Ruby goes up and down the ladder like a pro and never misses a step. I’ve set up all the systems so we can continue to live aboard with water, stove, electricity, etc. and there is a nice clean show and bathroom facility about 100m away so it all works out well.
So Ruby and I celebrated Christmas and New Years quite literally “up in the air” on Learnativity as we adjusted quickly to the heat and humidity. It is the wet season here in Fiji so most days are around +35C/100F and we have a good tropical thunder and lighting storm with rain most afternoons and evenings. It makes working on the boat trying to do welding, sanding and painting a bit challenging but so far the rain usually holds off until late afternoon and usually after 4:30pm when they work crews like to finish, so it is all working out quite well. If there is such a thing as “sweat equity” I’m building up a fortune!!
Whew! As I warned you at the beginning it takes me a while and way too many words, but that will at least bring you up to speed on where I’m at as this new year gets underway and some background for the weekly updates I’ll start posting now. I continue to be awemazed at the charmed serendipitous life I lead and while much of that is in reference to this life I now live of being on the water, so directly connected to nature and the world around me and truly living IN life’s moments as they happen, I am blessed mostly to be able to love and be loved in return by so many special friends and family. Words alone will never adequately express my love, appreciation and gratitude for all that you do and all you enable me to do, so the best I can do is continue to live, love and learn from you and with you and share it all as it happens. Thanks to ALL of you for making all my past years SO rich and SO full and here’s to continuing that trend for as many more moments we are gifted with.
Wayne & Ruby the Wonderdog
Up on the hard in Vuda Point Marina, Fiji