Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dream come true

Sea Turtle's Perkins motor was running okay, but as with all Perkins, it constantly leaked oil in the bilge. What a mess it would leave. It was also starting to get pretty old. Jordan has dreamed of having a new motor and a clean bilge so he finally ordered a Beta 43 from the United Kingdom - and Langkawi Malaysia, a duty free port, was the perfect place to have it delivered.

The Beta 43's main component is a diesel motor made by Kubota, a Japanese equipment manufacturer. Beta Marine, an English marine engine company, buys them and then makes them marine-ready with all the systems necessary for boats and then resells as a complete unit including transmission.

It was waiting for us in storage when we returned from our South Africa trip.

Jordan labouriously totally dismantled the Perkins (the only way it could be extracted through the small companionway). To prepare for the new motor, he then completely cleaned the engine compartment and bilge and refurbished the bilge pump and hoses.

The oily beast

To accept the new motor, Sea Turtle was moved over to the shear sided seawall. There, a crane lowered the delivered motor in, but not before certain appendages were removed in order to squeeze it through the opening.

Down she goes

Now it was time to start the major part of the installation work.

In she goes

Big smiles - oil free and clean

Working for days on end, Jordan had to make several adjustments and changes to make it adapt it the uniqueness of our particular boat. An adapter to extend the prop shaft had to be machined, an exhaust high rise had to be fabricated, motor mounts had to be designed and built with almost perfect dimension for accurate alignment to the prop shaft, etc. etc. He also removed a lot of redundant wiring associated with the old motor controls.

Motor mounts - plywood mock-ups

Motor mounts - finished product

The day finally arrived to start the new red installed motor. On November 23rd, with fingers crossed, Jordan turned the key, and she purred beautifully, and running much quieter than the old noisy Perkins. A dream come true of a clean bilge!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Permanent crew member

After a grrreat South Africa safari and touring the country by car with Jordan's mom, Jordan and I arrived back to Sea Turtle October 2nd in Langkawi Malaysia. Now the work starts!

But first, we need to tell you about a kitty that was hanging out on our boat. She was a stray, about 8 months old, and had been taken to a vet to be spayed by a woman sailor who seems to take care of all the strays around the marina. We left on our holiday, and when we returned, the kitty came to our boat right away to visit again! We were told that when we left she had waited in the cockpit for us for 4 days.

Can I pleeease come in?

She didn't seem to want to leave, and well, we couldn't help but fall in love with her. So 3 days later we adopted her, or should I say, she adopted us. We named her Chanty (pronounced shantee, just like sailors' sea songs) as she is very talkative with her soft meows. Unless she is hungry at which time her meows get much louder and more insistent.

Our new crew member

We would describe her as follows: she is black and white with a black heart on the tip of her pink nose, very lean and long with a tiny crook at the end of her tail, loves to play (and play and play), is very inquisitive and snoopy, likes to lead while going for walks on her leash, is very appreciative of hugs and cuddles, and she LOVES fish - give her a fresh fish and she will love you forever! A perfect boat cat - how could we not adopt her!

From my heart to yours

Hey wait - I wasn't ready!

Can I help?

Yes, we said we would never have a pet until we returned to having land under our feet, but exceptions can always be made in the right circumstances!

Friday, September 30, 2016

More Drakensberg

Jordan, Jordan's mom (Gramma Judy), and I noticed a lot of road construction and bits of rural life throughout our road travels of South Africa. This flag girl in Drakensberg caught our attention and she chatted with us for a few minutes as she allowed us to snap her photo.

Embellished flagger (courtesy of Gramma Judy)

Hut in the hills

When we arrived at Cathedral Peak, an area popular for hiking and mountaineering, we stopped for coffee at the resort to take in the views and then continued on our return journey towards Johannesburg.

Cathedral Peak ahead

At the resort, Jordan watched workers atop a thatched roof as they precariously moved about, using boards to shift from point to point...

Another pleasant surprise to come across was a schoolyard full of colourfully dressed kids. We stopped and asked the teacher if we could come into the schoolyard for a visit. The students were dressed up to celebrate Zulu Heritage Days. They were wearing hand-beaded outfits that included neck, head, and/or body adornments. Some also wore head wraps made from the back fringe of a Kudu pelt (a type of African antelope).

The students seemed quite thrilled to see us and their teacher had them perform for us with their traditional song and dance. With gleeful pride, they would take turns in the center of a circle showing us how high they could kick to the chants and clapping of the others. The height of some of the kickers was unbelievable!

Upward extension

2 with Kudu head wraps

When Gramma Judy joined them, they refused to kick high as they knew that she wouldn't be able to!

Before leaving to show appreciation of our visit, the students all chorused into a warming Thank You song.

Back in Johannesburg on September 30th, 2 weeks since we left Langkawi Malaysia, Jordan and I parted ways with Gramma Judy. We flew back to Sea Turtle at Malaysia and Gramma Judy flew in the opposite direction back to Canada.

This South African journey, I think the 3 of us would agree, has been an adventurer's prize!

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Continuing our road trip through South Africa with Jordan's mom (Gramma Judy), we had arrived at the breathtaking scenery of Drakensberg, a World Heritage site of 243,000 hectares with fern-carpeted forests back-dropped by miles of colossal escarpments compounded with cascading waterfalls.

Drakensberg scenery

Our first night in the untouched beauty of Drakensberg, we stayed at a quaint wooden cottage facing a small lake where the vibrant peacocks made their home in the serene landscape. Beautiful!

Wandering (courtesy of Gramma Judy)

Working the curved rural roads in the rolling hills one day, Jordan spotted out of the corner of his eye a vintage Morgan poking out the open door of a barn. Being a car buff of such, he wheeled in to check it out. What we saw was unexpected - a barn full of very collectable cars.

We met an older couple who invited us in for tea and a look at their private collection that included a Jaguar E-Type, Porsche 930 Turbo, Healy, Ford GT40, Lamborghini Countach, 3 different Lotus, 69 Mustang Fastback, etc. He was a self-admitted addict.

Car crazy (a Lamborghini Countach)

Another serendipitous roadside encounter was the 2 women carrying a load of heavy sticks or poles on their heads across a field. We pulled over to talk with them and Gramma Judy tried to lift the poles - but it was an impossible feat as they were so heavy.

Muscle mania

Striking a pose (courtesy of Gramma Judy)

Their faces too were coated with some sort of cream to help prevent sunburn as we have seen previously on other folks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Along the way

We awoke to a bright and sunny day and continued our road trip along the east coast of South Africa heading towards Port St. Johns. The road to this sleepy port was very scenic, winding through some impressive canyons.

The little town center was bustling with women carrying babies on their backs, women carrying products on their heads, young kids and teens having fun, and many vendors. We have never seen cabbages so big!

Big cabbages...

...and big smiles

Along certain parts of our journey, we observed a more indigent populous though no less happy it seemed. Flamboyant colours are possible their expression of their gaiety!

Definitely flamboyant!

Bright houses

Flashy African dresses

Vibrant youngsters