Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas in Palau...New Year's in the Philippines!

Santa ate his fudge and it looks like Rudolph chewed up a
few carrots...

Santa found Jake here in Palau and he spent all morning putting stuff together and trashing the main salon with all of his playing.  We spent Christmas Eve with some good friends drinking egg nog and Christmas night we had Bob from s/v Braveheart over for dinner and some lively discussions!  All in all, it was a great Christmas.  We’re back together, we’re healthy, and….. we’re leaving!

Homemade Egg Nog with Linda and Bob on Christmas Eve.

That’s right…we’re checking out of Palau this morning and getting underway for the Phlippines.  We’re all very excited.  We’ve thoroughly enjoyed Palau, but we are more than ready to move on.  We don’t have a very solid plan other than arriving in Cebu.  We’ll meet up with a friend of ours we met in Mexico and catch up a little.  Then we’ll move a little north and do some diving.  Following that, the only plans we have are to move through the northwest islands of the Visyas and make our way to Palawan. 

My brother and his wife went to Spain earlier this season
and brought us back some really neat gifts for
Christmas.  This was a small cutting board made out of
Olive wood.

All of our goodies from Spain.  We were VERY excited.
We should be underway for about 4 -5 days before we arrive at the first stop over, just before New Years.  From there, we’ll have to day hop to Cebu.  There are some strong currents and lots of debris in the water from what we’ve heard, so we’ll avoid moving around at night where we can’t see anything. 

Until then, we hope everyone continues to enjoy their holiday!  From our family to yours.

Andy and Sam getting the grill ready for the Christmas party
at Sam's Tours with the Yacht Club.

Jake and Maya - two peas in a pod.

He's really going to miss this little girl.

Jakes first solo dinghy expedition.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Someone has been busy...

Well, I finally made it back to Palau and our reunion was just as great as I thought it would be...lots of hugs and kisses and stories.  I knew Andy had been busy while I was gone, but it was really surprising to see all of the results of his hard work.

Project #1 – New Sails

We’ve been putting off buying new sails for a few years now.  Since we were going to be in Palau for so long, we decided it was a good time to go ahead and knock that out.  After researching quite a few places, we decided to go with Lee Sails in Hong Kong.  They have a pretty good reputation around these parts of the world and we were not disappointed.  The process was simple, relatively quick, and it didn’t break the bank (at least not any more than we had planned).

Project #2 – Repaint deck

If you’ve been following us for a long time, you’ll remember Andy repainted our deck in San Blas, Mexico almost 3 years ago.  It has held up pretty well, but it was time for an update.  Not only did it need an update, we had run out of the original paint so the deck was two different colors.  They were close, but not exactly the same and it always bugged us a little bit.  So now, it’s nice and new and all one color.

Project #3 – Refinish captain’s chair

The captain’s chair was beyond need for repair.  It was ripped, moldy, dirty and just ugly.  Andy took it up to a local shop and for $75, it looks as good as new.  They only had the option of grey or blue.  We went with the grey and I think it turned out quite nice.  AND, even though it wouldn’t have been my first choice, I think it will hide the dirt and grime much better than the previous white.

Project #4 – Fix our rudders

When we hauled out in Yap last year, we noticed our rudders had a ton of worm holes in them.  They needed some serious repair.  Andy was able to use Sam’s boat yard to haul them out and fix them.  He cut out all of the rotten spots, drilled a million holes in them and filled them with GitRot epoxy.  After that dried, he sanded them down and finished the fiberglass work.  They weigh a gazillion pounds now but they still float!

Project # 5 – Refinished the countertops

Our countertops were looking seriously used.  Andy found the same kit we used back inSan Diego and decided to refinish all of our surfaces.  I have to say, it looks fantastic.  This was the cheapest way we’ve found to get all of our countertops looking the same.  It lasted almost four years and only cost $250.  The second kit was a little less than $200 and he used some of the leftovers from the first time around.  Looking good for another four years….

Project #6 – Rebuild head

Well, that was the worst job I think, but it needed to be done.  More maintenance than anything…

Project #7 – new sail bag

Bob on s/v Braveheart was kind enough to loan his sewing expertise  and machine to Andy and helped sew a new sailbag.  It took about 3 half days, a case and a half of beer and a bottle of rum.  The seams are pretty straight considering...

Project #8– dinghy engine…unfortunately, this one is still in progress

We’ve hit our fair share of rocks here with our long shaft dinghy motor.  The result is a damaged lower unit.  Unfortunately, it’s a European model and no one here has the part we need.  I checked while I was in the States and that turned out to be fruitless as well.  We found the part in Singapore, but the cost of the part and the shipping is almost reason to buy a whole new motor.  We’re going to limp our way around the Philippines in hopes of finding the part there.   If all else fails, we have a perfectly good kayak and paddleboard.

Project #9 – Transmission – also in progress…

Andy found a leak in our transmission and thought it was easy enough to fix.  After further scrutiny and a second opinion (Bob  and Andy spent many a beers contemplating this little issue), there may be more to it.  So, again, we’ve decided to limp our way for a little longer…we do have two engines after all.  We’ll just crank this one up when we need to maneuver and hope for the best.  We usually like to have everything in tip top shape, but sometimes you’re limited in your location and ability to find parts (not to mention we don’t have a bottomless cruising kitty, regardless of how we spend).  We’ve seen boats jury rig their way around the world….one or two ports hopefully won’t kill us.

Now we sit here waiting on our last few packages, getting ready to head out.  If they arrive tomorrow, we’ll check out Thursday.  Otherwise, we’ll wait until after Christmas.  The trades have kicked in and it should be a pretty fast passage to the Philippines.

If you don’t hear from us, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (or whatever it is you celebrate) where ever you may be.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's for dinner?

Have you ever seen the show “Man vs. Wild?”  It’s a popular show on Savannah.  We have several episodes and it’s a family show we can all watch together without having to be subjected to another cartoon.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s about this British guy that puts himself in survivor type situations (stranded on a desert island needing to be rescued, dropped in the middle of a rainforest and has to find his way out, etc.) and educates/entertains the viewer with various ways to find food, water, make tools, navigate, etc.  You can imagine the draw to an eight year old boy. 

So it should come as no surprise that Jake likes to “play” man vs. wild when we go on hikes or venture out to the beach.  He has a “camel skin” pouch that he drinks his water from (there was one episode where the guy used a camel skin for various different things, one of them being to collect water.  I think that was the same episode he opened up the stomach of a dead camel and squeezed water out of his digested food.).  He has been known to try and navigate by the sun as well as use bamboo and a leaf to try and make a water catcher.  My favorite was when he and Andy went foraging for termites. 

Him:  “Mommy, mommy, mommy!  You have to try these!”
Me:  “Try what?”
Him:  “Termites!”
Me:  “Why?  I have snacks in my bag….good snacks.”
Him:  “Oh come on!  They’re good!  They taste like pine nuts!”
Me:  “Fine”  crunch, crunch  “hmmm…they do taste pine nutty”

These little adventures are often instigated by my dear husband and are usually pretty tame, yet entertaining all the same (like when he fried up grasshoppers in OK this summer for all of the cousins to try).

Well, it seems they’ve stepped up their game since I’ve been gone.  It started with an air rifle.  Before we get all anti-guns on me, let me just say, Andy and I both come from families with guns.  They were always used for hunting, we learned gun safety at an early age and while I’m not a card carrying member of the NRA, I don’t believe that guns do bad things.  I think people do bad things.  While we don’t have guns on board, its strictly because they’re a pain in the rear when traveling between the various countries.  Ok…with that out of the way….

Andy bought Jake an air rifle and while they were waiting out the super typhoon in their little hide out, Jake took target practice at some buoys Andy set up in the water.  When he got bored with that, he took to shooting the hundreds of leaves floating around and got quite good with his aim.  Like anything, when you get pretty good at it, you want a new challenge.  So it went with Jake.  He wanted to go hunting.

If you’ve ever been to this side of the world, you would know that there is never a shortage of rats.  All shapes and sizes…mostly the big, hairy, disgusting variety.  Andy figured no one would complain if there was one less rat on the islands.   So off they went to an undisclosed location and searched for the rats.  Apparently, Jake is pretty good at this hunting thing because it was a one shot, one kill right to the head.

As he stood there with his kill, Andy said he had the biggest grin on his face.  He said a 12 point buck wouldn’t have gotten any more excitement.

“Let’s eat it, daddy!”
“Yes!  You have to eat what you kill!”
Can’t argue with that…if don’t want to eat it, don’t shoot it, right?

So being the kind of guy he is (I just couldn’t find the right adjective there), Andy showed Jake how to skin and gut it (I had no idea that’s how they were fitting science in while I was gone), and threw it on the barbie….far away from the ribs they were supposed to eat that night (I hope).  After numerous bouts of “is it done yet?” they finally dove in.

 “Hey daddy, you know that really bad taste you get in your mouth when you eat a bad chicken?  That’s what this tastes like!  Yuck!”

And just like that, rat is off the menu. 

I know some of you are worried about the whole disease aspect of this…rest assured, these are not garbage eating rats…they’re coconut eating rats…I think that makes a difference?  Anyway, that which does not kill us, only makes us stronger, right?

A few extra tidbits about rats….
And in case you’re curious, Jake is not the only one who wanted to try the rat meat…