Friday, February 22, 2013

Carmen, Philippines - Feb 2013 Launch

Carmen, Philippines - Boat Launch 2/11/13

It was a drizzly Monday morning when we launched Silver Tern from the Mumby Boatyard. We had tropical rains the night before which made for wet ground, but the yard’s crushed coral fill drains quickly. To begin with, they wheel the launching trailer under the boat and jack the supports in place so that the trailer is holding the boat up off the ground. Then they place 4ft long flat metal plates in front of the trailer tires. With the boys in position around the trailer, they push it forward a few feet. Then they move one of the flat metal sheets from behind to in front and continue a series of forward leapfrogging moves and stops. There was just one soft spot that the trailer sank into which required that the trailer be jacked up and the hole fixed.

The boat inched forward, about 200 yards, toward the beach where it sloped down, requiring a metal chain to be attached from the trailer to a strong point in the yard as well as a rope to our 4wd vehicle on shore as back up. After a lunch break, the final pushes forward moved the boat onto the beach. However, the port propeller started to get buried in the soft sand, so they stopped, shoveled a hole behind the prop and moved the boat to the right position on the beach where it can float off at high tide. Finally, the boys loaded rice bags with sand and put the sand bags under the boat to protect the props and the bottom paint from sand abrasion. The only discomfort to us was that high tide was not until midnight, making for a dark trip out to anchor in Carmen Bay. Luckily, the night was clear, and we had a friend lead us in his dingy to our pre-planned anchor spot.

We gave all the boys ball caps that have s/v Silver Tern engraved on them and took a group photo. They work hard for minimal wage but seem happy doing repetitive yard work as long as they can listen to their favorite music station, often singing along, as they work.

While we mostly worked the two months we’ve been here, we did attend a few parties, including a
birthday party for Steve at the local Rumy Picnic Restaurant, and a couple of hash runs.

 Our Port Carmen Hash club had its 2nd anniversary weekend run at the Camotes Islands this year. We took our boat the 15 miles across and anchored in front of the Santiago Resort next to a beautiful coral reef preserve. After taking our inflatable boat to shore, we joined the group for an island tour aboard a jeepney and an afternoon hash run through taro fields on rough volcanic soil. One of the places we stopped on the tour was at a cave made in the limestone that had a fw pool inside.

On our return to the dingy, we noticed it was losing air in the tubes. It is a cheap Chinese built pvc dingy that replaced our original which was damaged beyond repair during shipping. The glue used on the boat has not held up, and the boat is falling apart. After giving up on re-gluing, we looked for a used dingy and were able to find a smaller, older West Marine inflatable that we hope will last until we can get a decent replacement sent to us in Malaysia.

Our plan is to depart on Monday, Feb 25, and tour the Philippines on our way to Malaysian Borneo. We had originally planned on sailing all the way to Thailand this cruising season, but we may stop in Malaysia instead. We are leaving later that we though and still have systems work to do and catamaran sailing techniques to learn. After all, cruising should not be rushed, and cruisers plans are always written in sand. In May we will find a boatyard where we can put the boat on a hard stand, secure on land, while we return to Canada for the summer.

We are excited to finally go sailing on the boat. The weather is nice this time of year with gentle NE monsoon winds blowing. There are lots of new island anchorages to explore and coral reefs to snorkel. The boat is stocked with food and supplies and we are ready to go.

Finished Salon with cushions

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Back to Boat Building in the Tropics

January 5, 2013
Silver Tern Blog Update

Two days back from Canada, readjusting to the Philippines:

Well it’s definitely hot enough here. This afternoon was so hot and humid I thought I might faint as I vacuumed the construction dust from the inside of boat cupboards.  We have to drink copious amounts of water to keep hydrated. But the end of the day is around the corner and cold San Miguel beers and company of other yachties await after work. We are meeting up at a food stand in Carmen Plaza for an informal happy hour.

Silver Tern’s interior is now spectacular.  It was exciting to climb aboard yesterday and see all the finish work. The hand built hardwood floor made from Philippine rosewood and birch has been completed and its shiny varnish complements the polished white walls and countertops. 

The decks and cockpit have been painted white, with non-skid where appropriate, the aluminum topsides sanded and the rails and other exterior aluminum polished. The custom-fabricated aluminum hatches are now glazed with smoky lexan. We are very pleased with the work that was done over the last six months while we were comfortably at home in Canada.

Steve will now spend the next few weeks completing plumbing and electrical projects. The yard will do the final gluing of the curved lexan windows that surround the salon house and give the Mumby catamaran its unique starship look.

It seems as if our reaction to the impressive design of the Mumby 48 is becoming more mainstream. There are now six boats being finished in Tim’s small boatyard, another four under construction across the bay, two at anchor in the bay and at least one recently completed boat out cruising in the area

Our sails and rigging lines need to be reattached and we have a storage locker full of boat gear that we will take aboard before we head out to anchor. There’s a lot to be done but we think we can start sailing in a month or two.  In the meantime, we are staying in a private oceanfront home, renting an air conditioned master bedroom.

 Our rural neighborhood is on a mangrove peninsula that protects the Carmen Bay boat anchorage. The larger homes are on the open ocean side where they catch the afternoon wind and hear the sounds of waves slapping the shore while more modest Filipino homes are on the quieter mangrove side with a narrow dirt road in-between. Here and there, families of squatters have moved onto empty lots and built tin shacks. Friendly, half clad children wave as we pass by on the way to the boatyard at the end of the road.

We are slowly getting used to being back to work boat building. The yard is hot and dusty, but we can rest in our air conditioned room at lunch and try to avoid the hottest part of the day. We can't believe we own such a beautiful new boat.

Entrance to salon from cockpit

Galley-located in starboard hull

Workshop and head in port hull

Chart table- in Salon to right of dinette

Salon Dinette (cushions will be added soon)

View of table with inlay in center