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.


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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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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