Life in the Marina

After a few years of hard travel, 5000 miles a year often, i yearned for a break and some time in a marina. Furthur needed some TLC and a few new projects too beckoned. With a to do list, a things to do list, people to see list, and a musical to do list we tied Furthur up, paid for a month’s moorage and bid farewell to my wonderful crew, for a while.

So the boat first; no real heart aches, some cosmetic things and a few projects. Over a year ago i got the bright work done, by an amazing woman who did 8 coats, wet sanding between the last few. It was the best varnish job i have ever had and all for just over $400. So i found her boss again, well he found me no sooner than i tied up. The lady was gone but he assured me of the same quality and he kept his word. So with the rails sparkling in the sunshine and the two name boards mounting the nav lights stripped and painted white (should have done that years ago) one of my pet needs is done. I have always believed a true yacht should have some bright work, it is just so. The Selene has just the right amount.

On the “should have done it years ago” theme, i have pondered the problem of what to do with the 1/2″ Plexiglas storm windows that are oh so essential on passages yet a pain most of the time. With the storm covers up it is impossible to open the windows, something dreadful in the tropics. I did find a place for one under my bunk but that left 3 more covered. Probably at 3am on a long watch, i had the idea of mounting brackets just below the window so it can be lowered. My “do all” guy did one window, it worked so now all four open and it will be easy to put the covers back when needed. We will call this one a win.

The big project this year was to install solar panels. Unlike sailing yachts, i have no need for more power underway, i am a proverbial power plant. Short stays at anchorages are no problem either, it is when we stay at anchor in on spot for weeks that the battery charging needs can be a problem. I wanted to cover at least half of my battery charging with solar panels. A bit o math and some help from two other yachties in the same process gave me what i needed. i discovered, like most other things, there are many choices, theories and prices for solar panels. the price per panel range from $1000 to $600 to $300. The cheapest and largest were at the local hardware store, but they were too big and horribly inefficient. I went with the smaller units at the same wattage.

Like other projects the mounting is as much as the device. i wanted a separate frame over my existing bimini. Quality stainless steel is hard to come by and only available in Thailand, not Malaysia. I got a good recommendation for a fabricator and he will have the frame done soon.

So light em up, i will have 900watts, 24v of the power of the sun! and guess what? i am where it shines all day everyday! so let there be light. i figure they produce for 8 hours a day, so that is 300 juicy amps a day. What does a good boater do when given more amps? use them! i am going to install a 24v deck refer, love those cold drinks.

With a good plan for all the boat work, it is time for me. I have been really enjoying playing the guitar and singing for people. I have a good sized song list, growing all the time and have gotten to where i am somewhat comfortable playing in public. i had tried to use a single guitar amplifier for both the microphone and the guitar, with poor results. I bought a small sound system here from my friendly music store. One of those things i had planned on researching and shopping thoroughly for. When i go to store the elderly Chinese owner and his daughter, (i bought the original amplifier from them) greeted me and i told them what i was looking for. i had a price in mind too. Well he pulled out a box from the piles of stuff scattered around the seemingly unorganized inventory. It was just what i wanted, right size, and less money than i had thought. As before the nice daughter delivered the stuff to my boat–just would not fit on a motorbike. I set the system up in boat, making it a bit cluttered for sure, and fiddled with all the controls until i got the sound i wanted.

My first gig was at the Lucky Bar, a favorite Lady Bar in Chalong. the Mamasan has become a friend and she invited me to play. My visa is very clear i cannot work here and i would rather do it for fun anyway so my only pay was, well guess what? hahaha. I went through my song list, three sets and played for the ladies and a few customers, even some that came just to hear the music. It was good to increase their business as it is the slow season so any help is appreciated. I passed out rhythm instruments to the girls and they had a blast rattling and rolling.

Next i was invited to play at my good friend, Ela’s, Mao Bar for a birthday party for one of the bar tenders, Pinn. As with most Thai bars some of the seating is outdoors and on the street. I set up facing the street so the sound bellowed up and down the lane. This was a big party and a big crowd, for me anyway, fifty people. i had learned the Beatle’s You Say its Your Birthday, and played it as the cake was brought out. Again i played old 60’s folk and rock to a crowd of young Thai girls, who have not heard a song i play and a few older Western guys who love them. There was an Aussie chap who lit right up at some of my songs, the country ones for sure.

So i have accomplished a lifelong goal of being able to perform the songs i love in public. Furthur is looking good and soon will be living off the rays of the sun. i have been running daily and working out so i am getting in shape. i will next work on the inner stuff, i want to spend more time at the Buddhist Temples and local AA meetings. Many days i do nothing, and that is good to. The down time is well needed, but the call of adventure is growing in the distance.