04 January 2008

Happy 2008!!

Still Anchored at Kata Beach
Phuket Island
Andaman Sea

Welcome 2008! So far our new year has been filled with happiness, joy and a lot of broken boat parts.

We spent New Year’s Eve with a few of our friends enjoying a wonderful Thai meal and a jaw dropping fireworks display here at Kata Beach. Since arriving here at Kata we have noticed these beautiful paper lanterns being sent off the beach every night. So we bought one and launched it just before midnight wishing for a ‘Pirate free year’. Just after midnight, with a few leftover fireworks still lighting up the night sky, we were back on board Sandpiper to watch the hundreds of lanterns filling up the horizon. And then we were in bed before 1am.

The next few days we started getting ready to hoist up anchor and start off on our island hopping adventure. However, with the anchor reluctantly up on deck, the engine didn’t want to go into gear. So quickly we dropped the hook before blowing out to sea and Captain Tom sprang into action. After trying to put the engine in gear we noticed that the transmission was spinning, but the propeller shaft was not. Tom was deep inside the hot engine room up to his elbows in work. The verdict: a broken shear pin. At home, a $2 part. Here on January 2nd with all the stores still closed for the holidays, $15 and hand fabricated.

With a broken shear pin there is nowhere we can go. So we had to rent a car and drive to all the chandleries. Since we rented a car, then we might as well take advantage of it and run a bunch of other odd errands. We loaded up the dingy and started off on a 24-hour mad dash of errands all over the island. We picked up our newly stitched jib and bimini top, which look fantastic. We filled our propane tanks, picked up a Christmas package, found the Boat Lagoon Marina where we had our new pin made, hit a grocery store, and then found a small upholstery shop to have a look at replacing our setee cushions.

After one hour and 7 Thai men and women, none of whom speak good English, working on the project, we finally got a quote. We were hoping to pay less than they quoted, so we loaded all the cushions back in the car. The next morning we got a second quote, which was twice as much as the first one. So we went back and made a deal. I am so looking forward to this project being complete. It has been something on my do-to-list for a very long time.

Yesterday was the real test. Would the new pin work? I forgot to mention that the real bummer about this tiny part is that the engine needs to be lifted to install it. So it’s not an easy project. And of course the motor mounts are still giving us grief. But that’s another story.

After many hours of trying to get the new pin to fit we have success. We took the boat for a test run in the anchorage and it seems to go forward and reverse just like new.

It always seems that whenever you decide to spend money on the boat that is not necessary, then something big breaks that is necessary and expensive. While moving the boat our anchor windless decided to die. This is what picks up our 50lb Bruce anchor and many hundred’s of feet of chain. Not cool. We assessed the situation this morning and it looks like it is something that we need to fix at the marina. Let us pray it is fixable and cheap!

Since we are somewhat back in working order, we are ready to try for a second escape from the happenings of Kata Beach to the surrounding islands of Phuket. We will keep you posted on all that we find.

One Love,
Amy and Tom

Don’t forget. If you know anyone who has an old, used, working laptop they are willing to part with. We are willing to pay top dollar to have it sent to us before we leave.

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