Friday, February 10, 2017

Krabi Boat Lagoon - 08° 00' 42" N 98° 57' 40" E

We are back in Krabi Boat Lagoon for two weeks.  Popeye is out of the water and undergoing some maintenance prior to our heading SE....
Popeye being lifted out
Popeye on the travel lift (don't drop her!)
We have a list of jobs to be done.  Some are regular maintenance such as anti-fouling and changing the anodes.  Others are improvements such as the installation of a bimini.  Some are repairs such as the replacement of all the thru-hull seacocks.  And some are due to Popeye heading to Australia such as cleaning out the storeroom.

The towering Popeye
Due to her deep draft (2.85m), Popeye's deck towers five metres above the hardstand.  Her mast is by far the tallest.  A special set of extra tall stairs has had to be made.

Engineering drawings - nothing on the back of a napkin here!
 
We have rented a studio apartment for the time Popeye is out of the water.  The lure of air-conditioning, endless hot water and unlimited power with a lagoon view was irresistible considering the alternative - living aboard Popeye, all the while sitting on the hot, baking hardstand without power and water.  Having the condo has allowed us to get all sorts of things washed, sorted, dried, charged, packed and chilled.
 
Our condo - shared with lots of 'boat bits'

It has not been all work!  We caught up with Sheri and Henri (friends from Calgary who have a habit of stalking us across the world) for a couple of evenings in Ao Nang in between their high energy tours of cycling and kayaking.  We met many of the other boat owners in the Lagoon.  Including a video games designer living in Shanghai with the interesting name of American McGee.  His mum was a bit of a hippie is his reasoning for his name!  Armed with a drone, he made a video promoting  Garn's restaurant.   Click here to watch!

Buckets of rum and coke! No, not drunk...

Sean has been missing the BBQ.  One evening he attached it to the rail outside the condo to cook our dinner.  Just as the charcoal was perfect, the skies opened and rain began to pour down.  Then Garn offered up her gas range!  No longer having to attach the BBQ, lighting the coals, hoping it doesn't rain, Sean just nips next door and returns with beautifully charred feasts of fish, pork kebabs and chicken satays.  (and Garn gets her staff to wash up - things are pretty perfect!)

Sean cooking dinner in Garn's kitchen

The name of Popeye Boat (as she is called here to distinguish her from Popeye Marine) came about when Craig (the actual owner of Popeye - for those who thought we did!) was searching for an improvement on Sailplane, the name of the yacht he had just bought.  Since Popeye Marine was carrying out the refurb, he landed on Popeye!  Popeye is a great radio name ('this is Popeye' - Papa Oscar Papa Echo Yankee Echo), easily pronounced in most languages and the cartoon character is well recognized.  We often hear the locals humming Popeye the Sailor Man when they see us. 

The team from Popeye Marine has been fabulous.  Des has regaled us with his stories of his six-year circumnavigation, his years spent on tugs off British Columbia and his time in the Arctic.  He published a book by 26, met Farley Mowat (a legendary Canadian author) and Pierre Trudeau (the Canadian Prime Minister at the time and father of the current one).  

An extract from Des' book, World Wanderer.... and it had a 'bucket and chuck it' head!

Sombat is our superb marine electrician.  We nicknamed him 'Cup, Cup'.  Cup in Thai means 'okay'.  In all our conversations with him, he would nod and say 'Cup, cup, cup '.  His company is Yacht Electrical Services, or YES.  A perfect name!  And, unlike many 'yeses', Sombat's yeses yield results.

Wit and Lek head up Popeye Engineering.  They manufactured the Bimini frame, fixed the leak in the propeller shaft, installed a manual bilge pump and replaced all the seacocks.  Wit can manufacture any kind of thingamabob from any kind of whatchamacallit that is required.  Both are always happy, always smiling and also get things done.

Flip flops (or thongs for the Aussies - Canadians, wipe away that smirk) are the safety boot of choice.  At the bottom of the stairs towering up to Popeye, there is always a collection of footwear.  Thai custom is to take your shoes off before you go indoors, or onto yachts.  We find the deck gets so hot, we have to wear shoes.  But not the locals - they are tough!

Popeye Engineering
Outside Popeye Engineering
KBL Hardstand - see why we opted for the condo!

In the photo below, you will see Lek wearing what looks like a balaclava.  This is very common to ward off sunburn.  There have been incidences where 'balaclava'-clad fishermen have approached yachts (to say g'day and sell fish) and the yachties have been terrified that they were being attacked by pirates, reacted poorly and things went sideways.  Understanding the local culture is always a great advantage.

Wit (in plaid) and Lek (masked!) measuring up for the Bimini
Remarking the anchor chain
Loading sails from the storage locker
With air-conditioning in the condo and a swimming pool. life has not been all suffering whilst Popeye was on the hard.  The pool did turn a rather disconcerting shade of green for several days but with a top up and a good dose of chlorine, it was soon sparkling again.

Working hard...
The view from the condo
Fixing the dinghy
A load of sails from the storage locker

This region of Krabi is quite Muslim.  The adhan or Muslim call to prayer, rings out over the lagoon five times a day.  It is wonderfully melodic and exotic.  There are also many Buddists here.  This is evident in the frequent shrines with offerings such as flowers, purified water, food and incense.  Garlands of flowers or ribbons, usually in yellows and whites, are hung from the bow of a boat or a car mirror asking for safe travels. 

Out of laziness, we tend to shop mostly in the supermarkets but the local markets are superb.  Here are some photos from the market at Khlong Khamot - on the way to KBL from the airport.

Wonderful, 'prepackaged' curry vegetables
Fish, and oh so hygienic
Not just fresh, but fabulous colours too!

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