Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January 2018 | MONTH IN REVIEW

Here's a quick summary on what we were up to this month.

  • Happy New Year! Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed and wonderful 2018! 🎉 {in reality this post is a couple of months late}
  • It's been a busy month for us. While I have been busy juggling between my new job and sorting out some personal stuff; Alex has been busy working on the long list of boat projects and has made a lot more progress than he did last month! {yay}
  • He finally replaced the cracked mixing elbow on the engine. Unfortunately, the one we got from US was not the right one, even though we checked with the salesperson prior to purchasing it. Nothing new, as a result, we purchased a couple of new hoses because the inlet on the mixing elbow did not align to the outlet on the heat exchange. Things we do to make it work. 
  • Several months ago, after we re-bedded the shroud chain plates & re-attached the shrouds, we noticed, as we were tightening the shrouds, that the middle port shroud would not tension whatsoever above the spreader. For some reason, it seemed to have slipped up through the spreader clamp on the end of the spreader when we loosened the shrouds, but then got jammed & refused to slip back into place. Check out our 'Spreader Maintenance' post to see more photos!  
  • Last September, Alex started the Fuel Tank Project. The one where we had to remove an entire wall in the main port cabin to gain access to it and added an inspection port to clean the sludge out. The project was put on hold for a while as he needed parts for his fuel polishing system which he finally picked up in the US last December. Take a look at some of the connectors below. Apparently it's not as easy as it looks!
  • He also sanded the bow, where we made two access holes to get access to the forestay chainplate area we had to repair & reinforce in Richard's Bay, South Africa 5 years ago. The access holes were sealed up of course, but left visible... just in case we had to open them up & revisit the repair done on the wood supporting the chainplate. Many years later, the repair still looks very strong, so he finally decided it was time to seal the whole area permanently. 
  • It's good to see the progress on Raptor. Although still far from being ready to launch.
  • As for me, getting back into the the rat race after two years is rather challenging. I am trying my very best to keep my head above the water and doing my best to stay positive. If you see me frown, turn me upside down! 😆

Check out our posts this month:

A much longer hose needed as the inlet on the mixing elbow did not align to the outlet on the heat exchanger
2 ladders attached
The cause of many sleepless nights
Sanded - the two access holes we made in Richard's Bay, South Africa

Thanks for reading. Till next month!

Photo credits: Alex

Read More »

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Spreader Maintenance

If you read our previous posts, you might be aware that after we resealed our shroud chain plates & replaced all the bolts securing them, the middle shroud on the port side was no longer taut above the spreader. It appeared to be stuck in the the spreader clamp on the end of the spreader. Alex goes up to investigate and do some maintenance work.

Alex up on the mast
His idea to attach 2 ladders together to reach the spreader
Does not look very secure to me
Look at the base! What do you think?
A rope tied around the shrouds to keep them from slipping off the end of the spreader
A close up of the spreader clamp which was removed for cleaning
The top spreader (before cleaning)
I feel slightly nauseous just looking at the photo. It's a good thing Alex has no fear of heights
Before and After photos of the spreader end
The top spreader (after cleaning)

Good work! I wonder which is scarier, working at this height over land or water?

Read More »

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 2017 | MONTH IN REVIEW

Here's a quick summary of what we were up to this month.

  • Alex flew back to Trinidad on 7th December via New York where he picked up more stuff for the boat.
  • Not much to report on the progress of our boat projects though, as he spent the month recovering from a bad cough & cold. He also spent a lot of time re-arranging the tools.. {cleaning up the mess or so he says..} 😀
  • This Christmas was extra special because I got to spend it with my family.  💗
  • Happy one year anniversary to! ;) Can't believe it's been a year since we started this blog; it's definitely come a long way {if I do say so myself}, with over 120 published posts and forty more in draft. Will get it up-to-date someday. 😅
  • It takes a lot of effort to maintain a blog but very fulfilling. Sorry for being a little slow with the posts. Been busy adapting back to life in the rat race.
      • Just want to say thank you for your support by following our blog, reading our posts and/or shopping through our links. Every little bit means a lot to us. Thank you so very much.
      • It's New Years Eve and it's been raining all day and night here in Singapore. Here's wishing all a happy & sunny New Year! 

      A typical cruisers travel bag - no clothes, just boat stuff
      Most importantly, chocolates the size of his backpack!

      Till next month!
      Read More »

      Saturday, December 30, 2017

      TV | Movie Guide 2017

      We've been posting our monthly entertainment in our Month in Review posts. Here's the consolidated list of movies and TV series we watched in 2017! :)

      11.22.63 (Season 1)
      The OA (Season 1 & 2)
      Orphan Black (Season 4)

      Fargo (Season 1)
      Jericho (Season 1)

      Black Sails (Season 1)
      Jericho (Season 2)
      Taboo (Season 1)

      13 Reasons Why (Season 1)
      Fargo (Season 2)
      The Expanse (Season 1)
      The Last Kingdom (Season 1 & 2)
      True Blood (Season 1-7)

      Black Sails (Season 2)
      Friends (Season 4-6)
      Arrested Development (Season 1-4) <- wouldn't watch this again

      Friends (Season 7-10)
      Legion (Season 1)
      American Gods (Season 1)
      Wonder Woman (2017)
      The Great Wall (2016)
      The Lost City of Z (2016)

      Breaking Bad (Season 1-3)
      Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 1 & 2)
      The Mummy (2017)
      Okja - Korean (2017)
      Iron Fist (Season 1) <- not good

      Breaking Bad (Season 4-5)
      Better Call Saul (Season 1-3) <- prequel to Breaking Bad
      Guardians of The Galaxy 2 (2017)
      Into the Badlands (Season 1 & 2)
      Vikings (Season 1-4)
      The Defenders (Season 1)
      Daredevil (Season 1 & 2)
      Orphan Black (Season 5)
      Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 3 & 4)

      Everybody Loves Raymond (Season 5 & 6)
      Game Of Thrones (Season 7)
      Dark Matter (Season 3)
      Killjoys (Season 3)
      Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)
      Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)
      The Fate of the Furious (2017)
      Lieutenant Ottoman (2016)
      Miss Peregrin and Peculiar Children (2016)
      Lion (2016)
      Arrow (Season 5)
      The Flash (Season 3)
      Supergirl (Season 1 & 2) 

      No details - home for holidays

      Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
      Justice League (2017)

      I didn't have time to watch any, but I believe Alex was busy watching his favorite genre.. horror TV series. Most likely.. The Walking Dead 😀

      What did you watch in 2017? We'd love to know what was your favourite movie or TV series this year. Any recommendations?

      Read More »

      Thursday, November 30, 2017

      November 2017 | MONTH IN REVIEW

      Here's a quick summary of what we were up to this month.

      • As some of you may already know I flew back to Malaysia to visit my family last month while Alex flew in to join me on the 10th of this month.
      • The plan was to fly back to Trinidad in December, complete our long list of boat projects and hopefully set sail again by end January 2018. 
      • Of course, things never go as planned... a couple of days in of my arrival back home, I had an opportunity to work again in my former company! (a contract role) :D
      • Needless to say, I was a little conflicted at first, the thought of having to miss out on yet another season in the Caribbean was a little woeful (have not sailed since we arrived in 2015 - miss visiting new places, not so much the sailing/repairs 😀). I can't help but wonder if the universe is persistently trying to tell me something.
      • You see, we arrived in Trinidad late February 2015, what was meant to be a quick haul out to re-anti foul our hulls (and some minor repairs & maintenance), turned out to be a much longer stay after Alex injured his back while lifting our 50kg outboard engine from the ground to the transom at 1 m high.
      • 2 months later with his back still out, we decided to return home so that he could fully recover. We were very fortunate to find work and both ended up working back in Singapore and Australia respectively for 6 months.
      • Due to some unforeseen circumstances, our return to Trinidad in December 2015 was delayed by another 9 months. Thus missing another season in 2016.
      • We finally returned to Trinidad late September last year in hopes of completing our list of boat projects and sail the Caribbean in 2017. Unfortunately, the list of boat projects only seemed to grow and everything took a lot longer than expected. Read our past posts.
      • We missed the sailing season again in 2017, as we spent a whole year (2 visa extensions & a visa run) working on the boat and we still have much to do!
      • Sorry I digress.
      • No prize for guessing I took the job! ;) I'm utterly grateful for this opportunity. Thank you! Thank you! (to my boss and colleagues, please be patient with me as I'm a little rusty!) 
      • I guess I'll see you (the Caribbean) in 2019, maybe?

      October 2017 | MONTH IN REVIEW >>

      December 2017 | MONTH IN REVIEW <<


      Gardens By The Bay
      Gardens By The Bay
      Gardens By The Bay
      Marina Bay Sands
      Did you know? The orchid is the national flower of Singapore
      Sushi Tei
      Alex's favorite Japanese joint in Singapore
      Sushi Tei at Vivocity, Singapore
      Gyuniku Roll
      Gyuniku Roll
      Pork Rice
      One of my favorites ;9 Sliced Pork Rice

      Till next month! :)

      Read More »

      Tuesday, October 31, 2017

      October 2017 | MONTH IN REVIEW

      Here's a quick summary of what we were up to this month.

      • Some of you may know, I flew back to Malaysia via New York & Hong Kong on October 6th, leaving Alex on his own on Raptor to continue working on our never ending list of boat projects. 
      • It took a total of approximately 24 hours of flight time, 8 hours of transit time, 1/2 an hours train ride and an hours car ride to get from Port of Spain, Trinidad to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I finally arrived home on October 8th (after ~34 hours of travel time!)
      • Haven't been posting much as I've been quite busy with family activities and duties. My first order of business when I got home was to send my dear niece to her swimming, music and ballet classes the next morning. I was also tasked to cook dinner on weekdays!
      • On one of the nights, I made them my "famous" chicken rice! Unfortunately the chicken we had was.. well, kinda hairy {yikes}. My mum and I tried our best to pluck as much as we could, but my nephews found a couple of strays and they were horrified! I guess my famous chicken rice is now infamous! ;(
      • I celebrated my birthday again at my favorite all-you-can-eat Japanese Steamboat at Sukiya in Paradigm Mall, had a delicious chocolate cake and also received lots of lovely birthday presents! Thank you family! ♥
      • Time really flies by when you're busy {or having fun}. Much like being on the boat, the days just go by so quickly.. 
      • While I've been busy with family stuff back in Malaysia, Alex has been working hard to make as much progress as he possibly can on Raptor before he joins me next month.
      • He's been pretty good at taking photos of his hard work and sending them to me.
      • He made quite a bit of progress on the Jib Sail Track project despite the rainy weather. Finally filled the cavity with fiberglass and foam, and of course, lots of sanding! See photos below. Stay tuned for a separate post.
      • He also painted the fuel tank. I guess that's about as much as he can do on the Fuel Tank project for now. Till we get the parts i.e. fuel filters (Racor 500FG & 10" stainless steel Shelco), pump (Walbro FRB-22) & variety of connection fittings from the US. 

      Check out our posts this month:

      Hurricanes 2017

      September 2017 | MONTH IN REVIEW >>

      November 2017 | MONTH IN REVIEW <<


      Flight home (Goodbye Trinidad!)
      My famous/infamous chicken rice!
      Made my favourite burrito bowl for my favourite family
      Met up with Daniela's good friend Nicole from Switzerland in Sunway Pyramid
      Cut-out pieces of foam to be filled into the deck (part of the Jib Sail Track project)
      After many days of layering fiberglass, foam & epoxy and of course lots of unpleasant sanding!
      And finally, the painted fuel tank
      Lovely photo of the Lighthouse in Chaguaramas (unedited)
      Goodbye for now Chaguaramas!

      That's all for now.. till next month! :)
      Read More »

      Thursday, October 5, 2017

      Hurricanes 2017

      It's been a tough September. We are thankful to be in Trinidad (out of the hurricane belt), but it's truly heartbreaking to see all the islands, boats & homes destroyed and lives lost. Haven't felt this strongly about hurricanes before. 

      Perhaps it's because we are closer than ever before (geographically). Perhaps we know how much we put into making the boat our home and seeing so many of them destroyed is gut wrenching. And perhaps it's because a lot of the islands we've been looking forward to visit are now wiped out or in complete chaos. 

      Countries affected by the hurricanes this season include Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Barts, Cuba, St. Martin, St. Maarten, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Guadaloupe, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Florida and many more..

      Courtesy of

      With all this happening, I couldn't help but realise how little I knew about hurricanes and wanted to learn more about them i.e. how they are formed, categorised, and even named. If you're interested (like me), read on.

      Disclaimer: The following information is obtained from various sources i.e. NASA, National Hurricane Center, The Weather Network, Wikipedia.

      Hurricanes do not just appear overnight; it starts off over warm ocean waters within 8º and 15º north and south of the equator where surface sea temperatures reach 27ºC. The air above the warm sea is heated and rises. This causes low pressure. As the air rises it cools then condenses, forming rain clouds.

      It begins as a tropical disturbance which is a mass of thunderstorms with light wind circulation. Depending on the wind speed, it grows into a tropical depression, then into a tropical storm and becomes a hurricane when wind reaches 119 kmph or higher (more on this below).

      So, what's a Hurricane?

      Hurricanes are large, swirling storms. They produce winds of 119 kmph (74 mph) or higher. That's faster than a cheetah, the fastest animal on land. Winds from a hurricane can damage buildings and trees {obviously}.

      A hurricane is a tropical storm that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and northeastern Pacific Ocean, a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, and a cyclone occurs in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean. These all form over warm ocean waters and they are the same weather phenomenon - just different names for different places.

      Image source:

      How does it become a Hurricane?

      As we already know:

      Tropical Disturbance ➜ Tropical Depression ➜ Tropical Storm ➜ Hurricane

      • A tropical disturbance is a mass of thunderstorms with slight wind circulation, sometimes grows into a tropical depression if its winds reach 37 kmph (23 mph).
      • A tropical depression becomes a tropical storm if its winds reach 63 kmph (39 mph).
      • A tropical storm becomes a hurricane if its winds reach 119 kmph (74 mph).

      The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is used to rate hurricane intensity in the Atlantic Basin. There 5 categories of hurricane and they are based on wind speed.

      • Category 1: Winds 119-153 kmph (74-95 mph) - faster than a cheetah
      • Category 2: Winds 154-177 kmph (96-110 mph) - as fast or faster than a baseball pitcher's fastball
      • Category 3: Winds 178-208 kmph (111-129 mph) - similar, or close, to the serving speed of many professional tennis players
      • Category 4: Winds 209-251 kmph (130-156 mph) - faster than the world's fastest rollercoaster
      • Category 5: Winds more than 252 kmph (157 mph) - similar, or close, to the speed of some high-speed trains

      Below are some facts (from various sources) and key messages issued by during Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria:

      Hurricane Harvey

      • Formed August 17th and dissipated on September 3rd.   
      • Developed from a tropical wave to the east of the Lesser Antilles, reaching tropical storm status on August 17th.
      • On August 26th, Harvey rapidly intensified from a tropical storm to a hurricane and made landfall at peak intensity at Rockport, Texas, USA with winds of 215 kmph (130 mph).
      • Moved over the Copano Bay (northwestern extension of Aransas Bay, west of Rockport, Texas) and made a second landfall as a Category 3 hurricane just north of Holiday Beach, Texas. 
      • Harvey stayed inland for a couple of days dropping very heavy rainfall causing widespread flash flooding. 
      • Produced 1.31 m (51.88 inches) of rain at Cedar Bayou, Texas – the most ever recorded in the mainland US and breaking the old record of 1.22 m (48 inches) set in Texas by Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979. Apparently it was still raining when the gauge broke, so the number may be higher than even Hawaii’s record of 1.32 m (52 inches).
      • On August 30th, Harvey made its final landfall just west of Cameron, Louisiana with winds of 75 kmph (45 mph), and weakened to a tropical depression over central Louisiana later that day.
      • The costliest hurricane on record at $198.63 billion in damage, also making it the costliest natural disaster ever in the United States.

      Hurricane Irma

      • Is the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane recorded in history. Irma generated more Accumulated Cyclone Energy than any Atlantic tropical cyclone on record, and more than the first eight named storms of the season (including Harvey) combined.
      • Formed August 30th and dissipated on September 16th. 
      • Developed on August 30th, 2017 near the Cape Verde Islands, Irma rapidly intensified shortly after formation, becoming a Category 2 hurricane within 24 hours and Category 3 shortly afterward.
      • On September 6th, Irma reached a maximum wind speed of 298 km/h (185 mph) – tied with the Florida Keys Hurricane of 1935, Gilbert (1988), and Wilma (2005) for the second strongest max winds of all time in an Atlantic hurricane. The record is held by Hurricane Allen (1980), which reached 305 km/h (190 mph).
      • Maintained 298 kmph (185 mph) for 37 hours, the previous record time anywhere on the globe for a storm of that intensity was Typhoon Haiyan, which was at peak intensity for 24 hours.
      • Was a Category 5 for 3.25 days, tied with the Cuba Hurricane of 1932 as the longest time at Category 5 strength.
      • Was the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in Cuba since 1924, and the first major hurricane (Category 3 or greater) to make landfall in Florida since Wilma (2005).

      Hurricane Jose

      • A powerful and erratic tropical storm which was the longest-lived Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Nadine in 2012.
      • Formed September 5th and dissipated on September 26th.
      • Is the 5th hurricane of the season. It's maximum sustained wind speed is 209 kmph (130 mph).
      • Developed into a tropical storm on September 5th from a tropical wave that left the west coast of Africa.
      • Rapidly intensified on September 6th and on September 8th, Jose reached its peak intensity as a high-end Category 4 hurricane.
      • Fortunately, Jose did not make any landfall. Having said that, Jose still brought tropical storm force winds to Barbuda and Saint Martin as well as heavy rain, swells, and rough surf to the East Coast of the United States, causing beach erosion and some flooding.

      Hurricane Maria 

      • The third major hurricane in a row to threaten the Leeward Islands with a direct strike or major impacts within two weeks, after Hurricane Irma caused catastrophic damage there.
      • Formed September 16th and dissipated on October 3rd.
      • Developed into a Category 5 strength on September 18th just before making landfall on Dominica, becoming the first Category 5 hurricane on record to strike the island, causing catastrophic damage.
      • On September 20th, Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 with winds of 225 kmph (140 mph), making it the strongest storm to hit the island in 80 years.
      • Maria also hit the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Turks and Caicos, causing widespread flooding.
      • Moving slowly to the north, Maria gradually degraded and weakened to a tropical storm on September 28th.

      How Are Hurricanes Named?

      As you know, there can be more than one hurricane at a time. Names make it easier to keep track of and talk about storms.

      A storm is given a name only if it becomes a tropical storm i.e. winds reach 63 kmph (39 mph). That name stays with the storm if it goes on to become a hurricane. (Tropical disturbances and depressions don't have names).

      Each year, tropical storms are named in alphabetical order. The names come from a list of names for that year. There are six lists of names. Lists are reused every six years. 

      If a storm does a lot of damage, its name is sometimes taken off the list. It is then replaced by a new name that starts with the same letter. This is carried out annually by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

      You can see the six list of names here:

      Hope you found this somewhat interesting/informative. This post serves as a reminder that we need to look after our mother earth. Global warming/climate change is real. As our ocean waters get warmer, the hurricanes become more frequent and stronger.

      Good to know:
      What is Global Warming
      35 Easy Ways to Stop Global Warming

      Updated: "The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was a hyperactive, deadly, and extremely destructive season, featuring 17 named storms, ranking alongside 1936 as the fifth-most active season since records began in 1851, and the most active since 2012

      The season also featured both the highest total accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) and the highest number of major hurricanes since 2005. All ten of the season's hurricanes occurred in a row, the greatest number of consecutive hurricanes in the satellite era. 

      In addition, it was by far the costliest season on record, with a preliminary total of over $368.66 billion (USD) in damages, which is nearly three times the cost of 2005’s total, and essentially all of which was due to three of the season's major hurricanes — Harvey, Irma, and Maria

      This season is also one of only six years on record to feature multiple Category 5 hurricanes, and only the second to feature two hurricanes making landfall at that intensity. This season is the only season on record in which three hurricanes each had an ACE of over 40: Irma, Jose, and Maria." - Wikipedia
      Read More »