Monday, August 8, 2011

Monsoon Misery

I hate  to start out this blog with a negative, but here we are in Subic Bay, on the hard, trying to get a lot of work done on our boat during the SW monsoon.   A couple of typhoons grazed us on their way by and sucked in the monsoonal wet weather for an extra dose of misery, as if being on the hard isn't miserable enough.  Just so you know, if you didn't already, life aboard does not always mean idyllic island anchorages.

That said, we are making our way through a list of projects and a lot of them are upgrades, such as a new autopilot for those long ocean passages we have ahead of us when we begin our Pacific crossing later this year.   Jim removed the rudder for a close inspection and we're glad he did, as we decided to reinforce it with more stainless steel interior and filled a void with epoxy.    Winches and other hardware are getting a chrome coating in Manila.  For comfort we've added a hot water heater (never had one before), a new shower unit with a sump (so I don't have to bail if we want to shower inside).    We have a long way to go yet before we get home, nearly 20,000 miles of sailing, so it is important to take this opportunity to make sure our gear is in working order, and our boat is safe.    It won't be so easy at some South Pacific atoll to get parts or make a repair.  

In the Philippines it is very reasonable to hire a worker to help with the projects and we were lucky to get Ed.  He does all the nasty stuff I used to do, painting, scraping, sanding, etc.   And always with a smile. When he finishes one assignment, he shows up at the hatch and says "all finished, boss, what next?"  He gets the going rate which is $8.00 a day.  Seems so low, yet is loads more than workers farther south in the Philippines get.   I have no idea how these guys can live on those wages and send money home to their families.

 There's a light at the end of the tunnel, though.    We're hoping to drop back into the water in another week or two.   That will make our daily lives much easier, although we still have a lot of work to do.   Here's a picture of a storm brewing over Subic Bay.