No trolleys…again!!

Posted in: Featured, Moving Aboard on Monday, December 26th, 2011
More stuff to move on board

As usual there were no trolleys in the bay when we needed them!

This is probably our second last load for the boat. Mostly it is linen, books (gotta have my books) and kitchenware or ‘Galleyware’ as it will be now known.  Also coming is our beloved stove top coffee maker, oodles of plastic containers for food storage (cardboard is a no-no), a mini food processor with low power requirements (Ben likes to get a little fancy in the kitchen so a few cookbooks and specialist culinary tools are in order) and lots of other bits and bobs I’ve been amassing in boxes.  It’s a surprisingly heavy load, getting it to the marina was no problem as we still have our Stagea station wagon (for sale soon if you know anyone looking for a great family car) but as usual when we got to the marina the trolley bay was empty.  My positive attitude waned a little at the prospect of lugging it all by hand to the boat. Even a relatively short 600m walk is off-putting in the summer heat let alone one where your being a pack mule.  I re-evaluated again the necessity of everything I’d packed.  But it had to be done, harden up love.

It was worse than expected.

By the time we’d made the three trips to the boat I was physically exhausted and Ben said I was worryingly red which was true.  I gave myself a bit of a shock when I caught sight of myself in the mirror.  As I was recovering in the breeze and shade of the cockpit what should walk past but a person with one of the distinctive black plastic trolleys!  And not 10 minutes later another one heading in the other direction.  Today I saw two people with four empty ones between them!

Despite how paranoid and crazy it sounds, i’m almost certain there is another, secret trolley bay that we haven’t been told about.  Maybe in a few more months we’ll be considered ‘one of them’ enough to be shown it’s hidden location.  There has to be one.  Because surely not everyone that uses the marina is the inconsiderate type to keep trolleys at their berths for private use.  Ben had a  laugh when he saw I was posting about the trolleys, but after the third carload of stuff you’ve had to lug by hand it’s quite easy to work up a good rant about it.

Getting worked up is a waste of time I suppose.  If I understand the principles of Murphy’s law correctly, by the time we’re finally finished moving stuff on board and have no need for trolleys, then there will be a bountiful supply of trolleys.  I’m sure I’ll be laughing (and hiding said trolleys) then.


it smells like victory

Posted in: Moving Aboard on Thursday, December 15th, 2011

It was a hot day and we were sweating by the time we arrived at Tygress, thankfully not a long walk through the marina in the hot sun.  There always seems to be a cool breeze blowing by the water, lovely winds from the North, but the heat had baked them into a suppressed dismal state and they barely cooled our skin before the sun went straight back to roasting it.

Hatches were unlocked and opened to little effect, Tygress’s interior continued to hold her heat.  We unloaded all the couch cushions, mattresses and what other items we could.  Most of the big stuff had been removed already i.e. spare sails, a box of paint, useless bits of hose, weird bits of canvas, their purpose yet to be identified.  We used some of said canvas to rig up a shade structure in the cockpit, set up the cushions for comfy sitting and began pre bomb checks.

All switches on the panel in the off position – check.  All sea cocks closed – check.  Extension lead and power board removed from cabin – check.  All hatches closed and storage spaces exposed – check.  We were ready to set the bomb off, Ben did so and made a speedy retreat, closing the entry hatch behind him.  Then onto drinks and relaxing in the shade for 2 hours while we waited for the bomb to work it’s deadly magic.   I had a peak through the closed kitchen hatch not long after to see how it was going and was surprised not to find billowing smoke but a rather fine mist and the body of our first victim in the bilge!  Billowing smoke or not, the stuff seemed to be working.

I amused myself reading The Coastal Passage and watching the incoming marina traffic through a pair of binoculars that we found on board.  Ben admonished that it was rude to stare, I agreed but countered that I wasn’t staring, it was in fact observing and I was within my rights to do so.  He shook he head at this and returned to reading the safe boating handbook we got when we registered Tygress.  The traffic, I assumed, appeared to be mostly yacht club traffic, retired doctors or lawyers returning from an afternoon spent sailing in big, fancy 50ft yachts.

Our neighbour Ben stopped by for a drink, smoke and a chat and once again proved very helpful.  We mentioned that we were planning on getting an engineer on board to take a look at the head and explain how it was set up and how it was to be used properly. Our first attempt at using it resulted in a foul black sludge being pumped into the bowl and an overpowering stench of rotten eggs/sulphur filling the cabin, forcing us to flee topside for half an hour while it cleared.  We felt really bad for people downwind of us that day.

So once Tygress had been aired and was safe to re-enter, Ben popped below and took a look at the head set up we had, told us which pipe did what i.e. pumped water in from outside, pumped the macerated waste back outside (somewhat illegal while in a marina), which sea cock controlled which pipe.  And he confirmed, as our survey report did, that we weren’t plumbed to our bright orange holding bladder.  Not a huge priority until we want to sail long distances and particularly the Whitsunday region where black water discharge is most likely illegal.  While at the marina we use the facilities there, they’re modern, clean and not that far of a walk.

So far no survivors have been found which means we have triumphed against those foul, brown, six legged enemies!!  We will remain vigilant against re invasion and hopefully get a sounds nights sleep when we move aboard.



I Love the smell of bug bombs in the morning…

Posted in: Moving Aboard on Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Since purchasing Tygress a few weeks ago, we have managed to spend a few days on board cleaning, sorting junk and generally enjoying being on board.  This has led to a few eye opening surprises.  One surprise, and one I can easily deal with, is how unclean cupboards, storage areas and most hidey-holes are, and how much random crap has been stored in them over the years.  The more confronting surprise however, is the discovery of a healthy and apparently thriving community of cockroaches stowing away in our soon-to-be home.  This, apparently, is a common occurrence in the boating community.  One that everyone in the boating community we’ve spoken to so far, has failed to mention.  No one at any stage said “oh, and by the way, before you go buying a boat and radically changing your life, be aware that there’ll be cockroaches the size of rats everywhere, they love to live in bilges”, which is information that I class as essential.

So here we are, having bought a boat full of cockroaches (I’ve only seen 5 so far but I know the little bastards are hiding somewhere in their hundreds) I can’t bear the thought of sleeping on it.

Instead of letting the pests ruin my excitement about finally living on board our boat, I decided to learn all I could about the problem and how to deal with it.  Learning about something you fear is the only way to defeat it. Understanding brings courage (and all that other Zen stuff).  That and getting angry! I am going to wage a war and kill every last one of them, and their babies, and their babies babies!  I will be death incarnate for whole generations of cockroaches.  And if I keep telling myself this hopefully it will stem the urge to run screaming in the opposite direction when I see one (which on a boat really only leaves you overboard).

Having decided war being the only option to bring me peace, I have amassed an arsenal any self-respecting roach hater would be proud of.  Some may say it’s over-kill for the battle at hand. Some may say I’ve gone to far,  but personally I don’t think nukeing them is going too far .   After discussions with the Skipper a four-pronged, sustained assault has been devised.

First we’ll bug bomb the suckers.  A process which will involve shutting Tygress up, making sure her electrics are all disabled, then exposing as much of the interior space as possible and retreating to a safe distance for a day or two.  This will be repeated at 1-3 month intervals to ensure all cockroaches are eliminated.  A fact I learned in my research is that female cockroaches purge their eggs as they die, a reproductive survival trait, and one that makes them extra annoying to waste.

Then we’ll return to surface spray all the  storage surfaces and under floor areas, followed by a gel poison deposited in strategic crevices and finally we’ll finish up with a myriad of cockroach baits placed in cupboards and storage areas.

These are direct approaches for dealing with an already established colony.  There are extra measures we can take to prevent re-infestation but from what I’ve read, re-infestations will be pretty unavoidable over the years. They include limiting the cardboard brought aboard (cockroaches have been known to lay eggs in the corrugated spaces of some cardboards, and feast off the glue in others). Spraying mooring lines that connect to the dock and even checking the dock area itself for land based colony’s.  Keeping hatches shut or covered to prevent the flying kind, usually the females of the species, and my personal favourite, adopting a few geckos.  But on further reflection I think the ship’s cat would eat them before they could be effective pest control.  Then there are the obvious methods of keeping food scraps to a minimum and keeping all food in plastic containers that bugs can’t eat their way through.

It will be a constant effort, one that I wasn’t prepared for, but one that I’ll deal with.   Otherwise I’m not sure I’ll ever get a sound nights sleep on Tygress.