Cruising the South Pacific with Tackless II
Tackless II, along with her two captains, Don and Gwen, cruise from Fiji to Australia
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
20 May 2008 -- Week Three – Progress!
An attribute crucial to sane cruising is the ability to remain relaxed and flexible in the face of on-marching time, circumstances and weather, which leads directly to the cruiser's golden rule: "Never have a schedule". Don and I are usually pretty laid back about such things…why we have taken nine years to do what some manage in two! And life here at Vuda wouldn't be too bad – what with the nice room, movies three nights a week, live jazz on Sundays at the Yacht Club, internet via the broadband card, someone else cooking meals, and plenty of interesting conversation…..if it just weren't for two constraints: every day costs $$$, and every day ticks off against our time limit in the country.

When Monday rolled around last week and we woke to a resumption of rain, it looked like we were going to have a rerun of the previous week. I mean, how much sanding can one cockpit take!?! In reality, the rain must have been lighter, because by the time we reached the boat four guys in blue dust suits with masks and sanders were working away on Tackless II's hull! It was as though we had climbed up to a new plateau of commitment, and every day such great strides were made in grinding, filling and sanding that we actually believed it when Willie said Friday that he thought his team would be taping and spraying primer by the following Tuesday (today).

No such luck! After another beautiful weekend during which Don and I worked hard on the deck digging out old caulking and cleaning, replacing and re-bedding rusty bolts and screws to be ready for the paint, damned if the rain clouds haven't rolled in again on Monday. This time it's heavy enough that there's little point in the guys even coming to work. We went in light rain early this morning to the café to Skype Tiffany on her birthday but were driven to shut down and pack up when a cloudburst rolled through with big winds driving the wet into the café's seating area.

Some highlights of the week for those who care: Don got the windlass off the deck after he discovered the keyway in its drive shaft was contorted. Brian of Baobab took it up to their shop, and when Don went to check on it this morning, Brian already had it taken apart into dozens of pieces. The boys had already sanded the metal part down for repainting, so, when Brian is done with it, it should be like new.

Then there was the day Don poked his head out from below to find the guys stripping the paint off the teak caprails. This is the colored epoxy we put on in Mexico over three layers varnish to seal the wood.. We thought the plan – conceived to make things really simple for painting – was to just spray over the old paint. But Willie grew concerned that putting two-part paint over our old one-part paint might not hold, so now they are stripping it, resealing it (with a better product) and THEN will come the paint. The good news is that the layers of varnish laid on five yeas ago have in fact protected the teak! We could varnish her right up...but we won't! The paint has been so much easier to care for!

A highlight that was a bit of a lowlight was the discovery Saturday morning of some voids in the original lay-up, undetected until now, that once discovered have to be fixed. Old Tacky II is gonna be better than new when she comes out of here…of course, that's if we ever get out of here! The enthusiastic optimism of last Friday is somewhat dampened, and it doesn't help that all around us boats are launching and leaving, while three of our cohorts from last season have already arrived back to Musket Cove from New Zealand. The season is getting underway without us! Waaaannnh!

It has not been all work and no play. We have had several home-cooked meals on friends' floating boats. Peter of Otama Song made us a big dinner of spaghetti, while Ruth made her debut in Flight's galley with a sumptuous dinner of chicken and mashed potatoes topped with salad and finished off with homemade lemon-papaya sorbet! Sunday the lowering clouds held off long enough that we had time to get cleaned up and enjoy a couple of hours of Fiji Fusion, a really fine live band that plays alternate Sunday afternoons at the Yacht Club. Despite being stiff and sore from the day's work, we recovered enough energy to dance along with Rod and Shirley of Sundowner while most of the locals looked on!

The forecast calls for today's heavy rain to taper off tomorrow, and then, by golly, for a longish stretch of dry weather. Please, let's hope so. Our Ark is not ready to float!

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