By Ferry To Qijin

I would like to brag in a macho way that we knew it all the time, but the truth is that Mr. Zhang talked us into taking our shaft out. His propeller is perfect, our shaft must be bent. We didn’t know what else to do, so we decided to take the shaft out and have him check it.

We were getting ready for a flood. The boat is in the water, you know. We covered the engine with a piece of canvas, I pulled from behind, Jana pushed from within the boat, but the shaft wouldn’t budge. Perhaps if we used a bit more force, but we didn’t want to try our luck and harm the cutless bearing. We’ve decided to have the prop checked first. We can take the shaft out in the Philippines on the hardstand if we find out that the vibrations were indeed caused by the propeller. In fact, Jana reported that she’s not afraid to take the shaft out anymore, that a lot of water comes when she takes the packing gland down, but that it’s manageable. Am I lucky man or what?

Engine room ready for an operation

Engine room ready for an operation

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Janna’s upgrades continue

Everyday, the forecast says, that it will rain the next day. The next day the forecast is the same. For few days we fell for the bait and postponed our boat maintenance to the next day. At least we had chance to advance our translations. So the forecasts were helping us in a way.

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Chainplates have to be strong, but the crew also appreciate when the water does not leak around them

When we finally understood the recurrent method of Taiwanese meteorologists’ predictions, we got back to work on Janna. Last week we replaced lower shroud chainplates and decided that it’s time to replace also the two cap shroud chainplates. That gave us a chance to reminiscence over our first attempt to cross South-China Sea from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung, when one of our cap shroud chainplates broke. We had to return of course and quickly have a new one made. But the machinist that we found only had SS 304. When we finally reached Taiwan, we had new chainplates from SS 316 made and now after two years, we decided that it’s about time to use them. I still remember quite vividly how we had to disassemble Janna’s cabinetry in order to be able to remove and replace the broken chainplate back then in Hong Kong. For some reason we remembered that it’s a complicated work and we were procrastinating accordingly. The main excuse we used these days was an unfavorable forecast.

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Therapeutic function of living aboard a small boat

“My name is Ou,” said an older man in trainers, chequered shirt and pants that hang down from his scrawny waist. “How much for your boat?”

“Who says we are selling?” I snapped at him. I have to confess I don’t enjoy uninvited guests that wander off the touristic paths on their quest for the Attraction all the way to our boat. The worst kind does not even say hello and demands to know how much it all costs and how much for a ride. This one at least introduced himself. So much for mitigating circumstances.

“And if you wanted to sell, how much would you be asking?” said the old man. I looked him over real good – and slow. In Taiwan you never know if that dirty hobo walking around in the cheapest kind of flip flops the money can buy isn’t a moneybags. We didn’t want to sell Janna anyway, even though I do check out other floating beauties from time to time, just in case, for future reference you know. In fact it was me who said it aloud one day, that if someone offered us a lot of money for Janna we could sell with profit and go to the USA to find us a new boat. The truth is, that I probably couldn’t part with Janna just yet. Too much sweat has been shed to give her up so soon.

“Because we don’t want to sell our boat, you would have to pay a lot.” And then I have said some ridiculously high price and considered the whole matter closed.

“That’s not so much. I could do that,” replied that man. “I like your boat very much. It’s the most beatiful boat I’ve seen here. I wouldn’t drive it very often, but I would like to have it. OK, see you later.”

I felt weakness in my knees. What did I do? Is this bloke really going to give us all that money?

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Boat cleaning crew 6

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Boat cleaning crew 5

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Boat cleaning crew 4

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Boat cleaning crew 3

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Boat cleaning crew 2

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Boat cleaning crew

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We Live in Public

We are about to cast off, heading towards the Philippines in pursuit of the deserted anchorages and pristine bays. However, at the very moment we write this, we are literally still trapped in the heart of the civilization.

Cikánský vůz

Our gypsy wagon

We live on a 31 feet long sailboat in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in the tourist area called Xiziwan. We sleep and work in the main cabin, which is basically a 3x3m room with a small galley, navigation table and two settees with another table in the middle. Towards the bow, there is a 1×2.5m closet and a V-berth. Cockpit (2×1.7m) at the stern is our porch.

Janna is tied with her bow facing the shore. Every ten minutes a ferry full of cheering tourists passes approximately ten meters behind our stern. We no longer pay attention to all those hellos, howareyous, wieheisstdus (our boat is now registered in Germany), that from time to time reverberate over the water surface. Instead we rigged a piece of canvas at the stern to prevent the zestful tourists from peering into our porch and from there directly into our living room.

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