July, 29 2005

Yesterday morning we hauled the boat out of the water at Norship Marine in Cairns. The lift is the largest we have ever used with a capacity of 160 tons. The Queen Jane weighs about 24-25tons fully loaded with equipment and personal belongings. Usually we are hauled by lifts with a 30-50ton capacity, like a toy compared the lift here. 

We unloaded half the gear on our boat and stashed it in a storage locker at the yard (as my godfather Augie would say, “Kaa-ching”. This morning 2 guys started work grinding out the osmotic blisters in the hull. There are literally thousands of them. Ok, maybe two thousand. We had them choose the 500 or so largest and grind them out, then fill them with epoxy and fiberglass for the larger ones. Then they will sand the whole thing to get it ready for fresh bottom paint. We are also having the boot stripe repainted – this is a 3” wide stripe of blue which circles the boat just above the water line. It is badly pitted and chipped from a variety of abuses. 

On Monday a guy is coming down to remove the shaft and stuffing box which we are replacing with a PSS seal (the old Norscot oil-filled seal is going in the tip as they say here). He is also going to remove the main engine exhaust pipe which needs repair and remove the shift valve from the transmission which needs to be rebuilt as it has been sticking for months. Hopefully he can remove the valve while the transmission is in the boat. Otherwise it will have to come out of the boat which is a huge undertaking. 

We decided we are going to apply the bottom paint ourselves. It gets rolled on with a regular paint roller. The paint is incredibly expensive. We need about 7 gallons (though here they are 4-liter buckets which are slightly more then a gallon) so we may get by with only 6. They are A$200 each! Last time we bought paint we got it in Fiji and it was about half that price.

Meanwhile, life aboard is not as bad as we expected. Though we do have to use the public toilets in the boatyard, we take showers at the yacht club next door which is very clean. We can’t use our refrigerator, but we have a cooler with ice and so we have cold drinks and butter, etc, and since we have a car now we can shop each day. Tomorrow I am going to continue taking the generator apart and removing it from the boat. It needs to be cleaned up and painted and there is an oil leak from a pressure sender which needs fixing. After that I am going to try to repair the anchor winch. Lots of fun up ahead!