From Kaohsiung to Puerto Galera

22:03:15
We left Kaohsing at 9am. We have announced our departure for 8am, but who would’ve expected that the water hoses we used to leave on the dock would be so unbelievably dirty. Partially UV rays working on the plastic, partially the ever-present dirt of Kaohsiung. It took almost a pint of acetone to clean.
Just before eight o’clock Kevin arrived. I have greeted him in my swim trunks, because I was just about to dive to check our propeller and the state of our rudder. There’s a little play around the bottom hinge, nothing serious, but something we need to take care of when we haul out in the Philippines. I scraped only couple of tube worms from the prop, otherwise everything was quite clean, since Jana scraped the whole boat few days ago.
Just when I climbed out of water, the immigration officers arrived to stamp us out of the country. I wrapped a towel around my waist and stretched my hand to great them. There were three of them, two guys, who whole-heartedly shook my head, and one lady, who kept her distance from this water dripping man.
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In the steps of my pops

My old man was an electrician by trade. But he hated the work and above all he loved horses, westerns and country music and defined himself by the cult western Monty Walsh. So one year after the Velvet revolution, he brought home a big bag full of cowhide, needles, thread, roe-deer antlers and sheets of bee wax. He put that all down in the corner of our living room, which naturally made my mum very happy. But it wouldn’t be fair to leave out the other parts of our tiny block of flats apartment, so in the kitchen he started to melt the bee wax and mould it into balls and a frame for a western saddle soon appeared in the bedroom.

A typical western saddle (example photo, not a product of my dad, even though it looked pretty much like this one)

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New bilge pump

We naturally love water, but same as with the fire, it is a good servant, but a bad boss. Recently we found out that our otherwise quite dependent bilge pump Rule 1100 started malfunctioning. First the float switch started to get stuck and refused to get lifted by the water in the bilge. Soon the motor would start working only sporadically and when it did work, it wouldn’t have enough power to lift the water.

I tried to get inside, but the motor is sealed in a plastic body of the pump, so we decided to order a new one, which is by the way, quite improved, the float is hidden so it cannot get dirty and stuck. At the same time we ordered an inline check-valve for our manual bilge pump Gusher 10. We were looking for a similar strainer that we had before, but the advantage of the strainer, other than being able to be attached to the floor, is not so clear to me, so I just attached a piece of strong plastic netting on the check-valve to get a cheap strainer. The netting is naturally important to prevent hard large objects getting into the bilge pump and puncturing the membrane.

Now everything is back in working order and we sleep a tad sounder, i.e. until there’s water in the bilge which triggers an annoyingly alarming buzzer…

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Recycling continues

When I was a small kid back in the communist Czech and Slovak Socialistic Republic, a friend of mine introduced me to this marvelous new gadget – a digital watch. The Vietnamese throw them into the garbage when the battery is dead, said my friend. Yes, that marvel was battery operated. I’ve never seen battery operated watch. Why wouldn’t the Vietnamese replace the battery instead of tossing the whole watch I didn’t understand. My friend just shook his head and pointed out to me again that the fact that these can be found in garbage cans is what I should be concentrating on.

Surely I did peek to garbage cans for a while then before emptying the content of our household bin. Yes, there were no plastic bags used then. All went to the bin, we would fold an old newspaper on the bottom, and the bin would have to be cleaned from time to time, because it would start to smell quite badly. I guess we were quite ecological back then, regardless of the fact that people didn’t know much about being ecological.

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Anti-gravitation equipment

I’ve spent yesterday fighting the power of gravity, the adverse consequences of the centrifugal force and the malignant inertia.

Few years ago – yes, we are already counting our life with Janna in years, this was autumn 2009 – when we converted the original small wardrobe and wet locker into much more specious wardrobe shelves, we knew right away that we will need something to prevent our precious garments to fall out. It was obvious that they will fall out and they did. Not too often, though. Actually they stood put in many hairy conditions, so we didn’t feel too bad about postponing what should’ve been done much earlier.

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Visitors

Once again we’ve left our sanctuary at Xingda fishing harbour and returned to Kaohsiung. Main reason being that Jana was asked to share few of her delicious “instant meals” with few friends.

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At the beginning of last week, still in our oasis of quiet, we finished the last version of the translation of Li Ang’s novel “Magic Garden”, put it aside for a week to read it one last time before we send it to the publisher and submit it to a scrutiny of a proof-reader. Have you ever noticed that every time you read what you wrote, there’s always an error to be found? We’ll soon know how many we’ve left behind.

Anyway, we felt good about the work done, and the rest of the week just flew by. We cleaned the boat and became hosts to couple of groups of visitors.

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Back in the Oasis of Quiet

We casted off as planned. This time we were resolved that nothing can stopped us.

The last three days were a real ordeal. From peace of a quiet bay we stepped right in the midst of a full-blown house-party. The Chinese New Year that’s nine days of national holidays, desperate traffic jams, every hotel in the favorite destinations is hopelessly over-booked, even small shrines and temples offer their meditation cells to tourists.

Why would we go back to Kaohsiung at the peak of the busiest tourist period of the whole year? Why?

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We Had Enough of Life in Public

We’ve left Kaohsiung, at least for few days. We couldn’t stand the place anymore. We had enough of our life in public. It was on our minds for quite some time now, but there was always an excuse or two, which stopped us from leaving. True, our berth in Kaohsiung is really convenient. Everything is within the reach of a hand. Food, tools, material for the never ending repairs. In fact, we don’t have that much to do anymore and for what we still want to do, we have everything we need. Janna’s waterline had risen a bit already. After all we have loaded 30l of paint and epoxy, rest of wood that we still could use in the future, 20l of backup diesel.

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Most important reason for getting out of Kaohsiung is that we are starting to forget what silence sounds like. We do live in the Chinese society, so there it shouldn’t be surprising that there’s a bit more noise. The Chinese are by nature playfully noisy, which is cute and most people are just unbelievably friendly, but we grew up on the Bohemian meadows, groves and peripheries of small Czech towns, we simply need a good helping of silence and quiet.

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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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Never put off until tomorrow what you should’ve done yesterday

We’ve installed a new propeller not long ago and immediately we’ve noticed slight vibrations, which occurred periodically in about 2-3 seconds. First we thought that it’s not a big deal. The vibrations were very minor and we try to sail most of the time anyway.

About a week ago, we sailed little further out. The weather was wonderful, fresh breeze, waves about one meter high, perfect day. Just about when we decided to turn around and head back, the wind died. We were just at the outer end of the south-west Kaohsiung cargo ship anchorage. For a while we tried to sail, but the current can be quite strong in these parts and it started to push us towards the anchored steel monsters.

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