Day 69, Year 5: Meeting Sunflower
Date: Sunday, January 3, 2010
Weather: Mostly Overcast; NE Winds 10-15
Location: Nai Harn Bay, Phuket Island, Thailand

What a treat we had today. We met Al and Beth Liggett of Sunflower. They are from the United States and have been sailing since 1967. We first heard of them last year when I was trying to figure out what to do to get Windbird ready to be left for six months in Malaysia. Someone told me to go to and there I would find these most helpful journals written by Beth that would give me step by step directions. This morning on the net I asked if anyone knew of a place to copy large scale charts in Phuket. No one answered, but shortly Al and Beth came over with a map to show us just where to go. Mark then went over to help Al remove some heavy batteries from Sunflower and then Beth invited us over for Happy Hour. What a fascinating life they have led. After circumnavigating the world the first time and returning to California with only $50, they went back to work as a land surveyor and a teacher. And then Al found a job in Guam, so they moved there and had their current boat built in Taiwan. They have been in this area for the past eleven years, returning home most years to visit. In 2008 they bought a beautiful home in Ripley, Ohio, overlooking the Ohio River, and they will now spend six months there and six months here. We had a delightful time sharing stories and learning more about the Chagos from Al and Beth. They have been there three times and we got some great pointers on what we need to take with us to live there happily for two months.

We spent part of our day focusing on refrigeration. We know the freezer is running way too much and zapping our batteries. We keep 134 A refrigerant to recharge the freezer, but we think the tank is empty. So Mark had to devise a new connection hose for a small canister of gas in order to properly charge the freezer. Before doing this, we defrosted the freezer, then charged it, and we are hoping we might have solved that problem. It will take a couple of days to see if the fix has worked. If not, we will have to call in Siam Refrigeration to take a look but that will cost big bucks and probably mean that we have to move Windbird to a marina, which will cost even more money. So I’m hoping we have the problem solved.

Tomorrow we are renting a car with Ed and Lynne of Constance. We’re hoping to do the very last grocery shopping, except for fresh veggies and eggs that we will buy just before we leave. And we also plan to make multiple runs to a service station to buy diesel and regular gas for our dinghy. It will be a full day but at day’s end we should be pretty well set to leave here when the weather is right.

We heard Wild Card and Shirena on the net this morning and they are both making good progress with favorable winds. Wild Card was doing 8 knots over ground at 8 am this morning. Not bad for a not so big boat. Shirena didn’t give a speed, but it sounded like they were sailing along nicely. There were more boats checking in this morning that are headed west to the Maldives. Since we are literally almost out of money as a result of trying to provision for ten months, it is time for us to set sail as well!

Great Appetizer Recipe from Sunflower:

Ingredients include feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, and baby basil leaves. This last ingredient requires that you keep a small flower pot of basil growing in your cockpit or on your kitchen window sill.

Cut small cherry tomatoes in half.
Cut feta into small squares.
Pick small leaves of basil.

Use a toothpick to skewer a tiny basil leaf, then a square of feta, and a half of a cherry tomato. The tomato provides the base so each little skewer stands upright. Sprinkle with olive oil and vinegar of choice. The small basil leaves give each bite a fantastic flavor.

From 100103 Day 69 Thailand–Visit with Sunflower