Sunday, March 28, 2010

Let's Splash-lah

Splash day! Watching paint dry for 5 days is enough. Outta here. Today the X-Cruise begins. In the last eleven days on the hard my hardworking friends and I:

Applied new bottom paint, filled 241 minor blisters, faired rudder, cleaned every locker, rewired the entire nav station, wired SSB, PACTOR, GPS and AIS for MacBook, polished topsides, removed redundant antennas, got a new FCC callsign, registered 3 EPIRBS, installed MacENC navigation software and new chart subscriptions and installed a folding propellor.

Tossed out 300 kilos of useless cruiser junk: WX fax, 1000W inverter, shore power system, broken 155% genoa cars, 30m rusted chain, redundant anchors, 5th and 6th table settings, extra propane bottles, dead electronics gizmos, cans of ptomaine veggies, rusted tools, towels for the 5th thru the 30th visitor (what was she thinking?), and the old spare docklines (does one need spare docklines?), all the instruction manuals for stuff long gone.

All that and 95% success in closing the hatches for every squall, which didn't stop me from:

Practicing guitar, updating this blog, working on my curry skills, grocery shopping, recon prowling every local chandelry, filling the propane bottles, crashing a local YC party, cleaning the bilge and pumps, repairing galley faucets, sticking SOLAS reflector tape on mast and transom.

Drank gallons of water and more than a few beers. When the heat finds me working in some cramped spot the sweat just pours. There's a puddle. It tickles. Drips off my nose. It's amazing for this foggy-Monterey boy. I stand in the boatyard with the hose over my head a few times a day. Hose water is hot, but better than sweat.

More than once, noon came and went before I enjoyed a beer. To prevent that from happening too much I programmed the trusty iPhone to remind me. I think it is funny that it offers Snooze as an option. Don't they know that comes after the beer? So I always push OK. There's a small goof in the photo. I assure you that Beer thirty's alarm is set at 10:30am. It took 67 minutes to drink a beer and figure out close-up on the camera.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Put chop, lah.

I'm not sure exactly when to use the Malay 'lah'. It's one of those funny almost meaningless words. Da kine, huh, yeah, eh. But I know when to Chop! We don't just sign official papers here, the boat signs too. For this she now has a cool self-inking rubber stamp. I've been stamping it on everything lately. Mine, mine, mine. So we stamp the official port papers and put our signature over the stamp. Very official and makes the event rather celebratory for the parties. Chop, chop, pretty document.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

42 X Geek = Whatever

Her name is "X". Why? Don't know. Maybe...

1. Marks the spot on treasure maps.
2. Greek letter Chi.
3. Multiplication sign, also the vector cross product symbol.
4. As a mark, means either 'yes' or 'no'.
5. Signature of an illiterate person.
6. Marks clothing as both bigger and smaller: XXS or XXL.
7. Greek numeral for 600.
8. The Roman numeral for 10.
9. Mathematical symbol for unknown or changing concepts.
10. In astronomy, a comet of unknown orbit.
11. In electronics, reactance.
12. X-band: part of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum.
13. Hobo sign: don't knock here.
14. X chromosome: having just one is good, out.
15. Planet X, a hypothesised planet in the outer solar system.
16. Conserved quantum number in particle physics.
17. Rating given to films suitable for an adult-only audience
18. Written symbol of a kiss.
19. Symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet for voiceless velar fricative.
20. Stock symbol for United States Steel Corporation.
21. Street names for the drug MDMA, ecstasy.
22. Symbol for a strike in bowling.
23. Straight edgers symbol to show committment to their lifestyle.
24. Embellishes online nicknames of girls who crave attention.
25. Abbreviation of extreme: X-Games.
26. Unnecessary letter, "z" and "cks" already exist.
27. Henry Miller's "mysterious element X" which makes creative people interesting.
28. Archnemesis of O in Tic-Tac-Toe.
29. Mark on a scholastic examination: "Wrong answer!"
30. Written across the hand of someone who is under drinking age in a bar.
31. Slang for "Christ": Xmas.
32. On a map: "You are here."
33. Anima mundi: the bands which form the soul of the world form an X.
34. One-third porn.
35. Used in the names of rock radio stations that repeat the same songs endlessly.
36. The last part of sex.
37. Along with the letter O, reads correctly upside down or backwards.
38. Slang for "cross": Santa Cruz translates to Holy Cross.
39. In chess transcription: takes piece.
40. In marketing: added to product names when actual improvements cost too much.
41. Egyptian hieroglyph it meant to damage, divide, count, or break into parts.
42. 24th letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.

42 meanings, what a remarkable coincidence.

Photo: X Tee Shirt Logo/Matt Seidenzahl, Silkscreen Express,

Made Her Bottom Bright Red

X leaves Danga Bay, Malaysia for the boatyard at Raffles Marina in Singapore. With the ship's new Certificate of Documentation in hand we're cleared for international travel. It's only a dozen miles. The documentation was greatly delayed due to some blunders by the previous owner and the agent. There was also the previously unanswerable mystery of whether any duties or taxes might be levied by Malaysian Customs. This has clouded my finances ever since signing the deal back at New Years. But all went smoothly. Customs either doesn't care or didn't notice. I wasn't going to point it out. I've a long official paper trail now so I should be safe from taxes. Happily, I paid the 6 Ringgit, two dollar, port fee. It pays for those helpful buoys and lights. Which, by the way, are all brightly painted and winking their lights quite unlike those I tried to spot off California recently. It's probably simpler here. I pay 6 Ringgit, somebody puts fuel in the boat, goes out and replaces the bulb. Direct, simple. No long forms approved by Washington to buy the ten light bulbs needed for California buoys.</rant>

So we motor toward Singapore. X and I. Very slowly. The route is down a long arm of the sea. The prop is completely encrusted with barnacles. Because we must arrive at the marina at high tide we traveling against the tide's current up the channel. So we hoist sail. Much faster. We arrive at the marina and quickly check-in with the border officials. Chop. Chop. X gets hoisted out and into the boatyard. Ugh, she's a mess from neglect.

So the workers clean. It rains. It continues like this for a week. Sand. Rain. Rain. Grind. Rain. Grind. Rain. Epoxy filler. Rain. Rain. More filler. Rain. Sand. Rain. Paint. Rain. Paint. Rain.

And today she's beautiful. Clean, smooth, red and looks fast. It rains.

That entire week I'm inside cleaning and organizing the lockers. I did this once before a month ago. I did it a week ago on Eupsychia. I don't want to do it again for at least two years. There are about 40 lockers and cubby-holes here.

Some lockers are inside other lockers. All of them have treasure. Some of the treasure might have value to somebody. Out goes a few hundred pounds of rusted, or bent, or unidentifiable treasure. The rest gets stowed where it belongs. All I have left is a small pile of "Do I need this and if I do where does it go?" Cleaned the bilge too. Just like when mom let me clean the fireplace at three. I now have a huge amount of room for food, beer and toys. Here's the beer selection so far: S'pore Tiger, Danish Carlsberg and Chinese Yan Jing. There's other brands available, but the tax is high and these are the smart-shopper ones. Actually some cruisers see these fancy beers and remark "Well over at Giant I got Olde Sheep Dip liters for..." But I just won't drink that stuff unless it's handed to me free and cold.

The manager says I'll sail on Monday. It's Thursday now.

All this time I'm eating curry rice dinners on the street instead of tacos on the street. Same spicy yummy cheap idea. Remarkably different asian flavor! Sometimes I cook for myself. Sometimes it's good. I'm also trying to eat through vast stores of Western food like canned tomato sauce and pasta that is cluttering up the lockers. And of course I can't miss the muelsi breakfast.

Photos: X on the hard/DA; Future bilge cleaning man/Mom; Singapore beer and salami/DA

La Cruz to La X. Lah!

This disjointed blog wobbles and staggers onto another boat. Eupsychia's third cruise in Mexico ends with a fast uneventful 1500 mile trip from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, home of many good friends, to Monterey, home of family and more good friends. I don't take any pictures during my solo 13 night passage to Monterey so I have none to post here. Not much to say. It is as exhausting as it is adventurous. Grey and wet. Water over the bow and dodger several times a minute for two weeks. A nice break in San Diego as cruiser friend Monte finds me wobbling around Shelter Island on my sea legs just after arriving. Visiting with Monte makes for a nice evening.

Back in chilly Monterey daughter Chloe is loaded on a plane for Spring Break Costa Rica. I go to the cabin in Big Sur. I forget to take a key. My mother is on her way down so I fall asleep on a bench while waiting. She eventually arrives, unlocks the door, puts a blanket on me. I wakeup, sharpen the chain saw and set to manufacturing a huge pile of firewood from brush that sags into the driveway from rain loosened roots.

Eupsychia is being watched by a young family of German Cockroaches. They've brought their own goods so I move everything off Eupsychia. The galley's food and gear goes back to the empty apartment. The sailing gear and toys to storage. I load two hundred pounds of the most interesting sailing gear into luggage bound for X. Eupsychia floats three inches higher. This good work accomplised in Monterey I fly, for the fifth time in two months, across the Pacific Ocean and China Sea to Malaysia. In my heavy gear bags are critical toilet parts for friends in Malaysia. This is the psyche of cruisers, "Oh, you're going to the States, can you bring back toilet parts?" X, the new-to-me Santa Cruz 50, is just how I left her: stuck a half meter in the mud, her bottom covered with barnacles and her deck soiled with the soot of industry.

Photos: A colorful wagon in Costa Rica/Chloe Addleman; Buck Creek Canyon, Big Sur, California/David Addleman