Day 138, Year 4: Bit of a Slow Start
Date: Monday, March 9, 2009
Weather: Torrential Rain Midnight; Sunny Day; Late Day Rain
Location: Boat Lagoon Marina, Phuket Island

For a month now, we have been preparing for today-the first day we could really be back on Windbird putting her back together. But it didn’t go as we had planned. The first problem is that Windbird looks like a brand new boat and it is very, very difficult to even think about putting anything back on her for fear of marring the new paint job. The second problem is that some of the things we tried to put back on just didn’t make the grade. The big stainless pieces we have cleaned so meticulously looked great, but the hatches which had been locked inside Windbird the past few weeks, did not. They are Bowmar hatches and are anodized aluminum painted to look like stainless steel. We had never noticed the bubbling in the paint before but we have decided that they cannot go back on as is. Luck gave us his wire brushes that we could use to strip them with our drill, but after working for more than hour, Mark decided this was not the job for him. First of all he has strained muscles in his lower back and bending over and holding a heavy drill is just not working for him. Second of all, we think we will have a better product if we have someone else do the job for us. So we will talk to Oh in the morning to see if he can do the job for us, and if not, we know we can find someone here who can do that. But in the meantime, finishing the job of putting cabin top back together will be a bit delayed. There were other factors that slowed us down as well. The sissy bars that go on either side of the mast have a teak board across them and the boom crutch has a teak piece that actually cradles the boom. The stainless looked great after yesterday’s cleaning, but I decided that I just had to clean that teak. Another slow down was the fact that Nop could not come today to put the arch and handrails on. He says tomorrow, and we shall see. So we didn’t come out of the gate like gangbusters, but we are working slowly and steadily.

The crew worked all day sanding on the mast. The scaffolding has been taken out of the main tent and moved to the side ten where the mast sits. The height of the scaffolding gives more room below for working. About two-third of one side of the mast looks done after today’s work, so I think it will take the rest of this week just to get the mast and boom ready for painting.

Mark did put the bases of the sissy bars and the boom crutch in place and is ready to install those first thing in the morning. He also has the hatch over the galley ready to install. It is a new addition since we bought Windbird and doesn’t need the refurbishing that the others do. We also got the framing for the dodger and bimini in place so that Muzza, the canvas guy, can start his work tomorrow.

So we are making progress. And even though things went a little more slowly today than expected, we are still working at 10 pm. The aluminum mast steps and an aluminum track that goes on the deck needed cleaning, so that is happening tonight. Windbird looks so good that we are having a little difficulty adjusting to the new look, but that is a great position in which to find yourselves. Give us a couple of more days and we will think she always looked this good.

Tonight was even more interesting that the day. We decided to walk across the highway to have dinner at the super cheap, super good hole in the wall restaurant. We left here about six and got to the highway at 6:15. Normally there would be unbelievable traffic and we would have to wait a very long time to cross. But tonight there were policemen walking and security guards everywhere and very little traffic. We couldn’t figure out what was going on, but it was so easy to cross the highway and that was a relief. As soon as we reached the restaurant, the gray clouds rolled in and it looked like the heavens would pour down upon us at any moment. The woman who owns the restaurant commented on the fact that our friends were probably not coming due to the bad weather. But eventually our friends did arrive and they explained what had been happening that we had totally missed. The King was headed south to Phuket Town and all traffic had been stopped. They had not been allowed to cross the road until he passed. So we must have just made the cut and gotten across before everything came to a stop.

When it was time to leave and go back across the highway, everyone headed out but at the last minute I stayed behind to meet the couple who had just arrived and who rent the apartment right across from ours. Just as I started talking with them I heard a commotion out in the middle of the highway. Evidently when Mark and the others had left, there was absolutely no traffic. So Mark decided that he should dance in the empty street and was being told by a Thai policeman in no uncertain terms to get out of the street. I got there just as Mark escaped the policeman and got to the median. You really don’t want to tangle with a Thai policeman. We did make it safely across the highway and then realized that the traffic was stopped once again because the King was now heading north. Mark and I actually waited to see the entourage of expensive cars and silver vans and police car after police car. Maybe it is like this in the US when the President is on the move. I guess I have just never been there.

090309 Day 138 Boat Lagoon, Phuket, Thailand–Beginning to Put Windbird Back Together