Most of you know that we
spent May in Holland. Upon arrival we were overwhelmed by loads of
dazzling blossoms on the trees, the beautiful cool sunlight, the
magnificent restored buildings in the cities (in Holland lots of things
have changed for the better after our departure – except the traffic
queues and the quality of television), all our friends who welcomed us
heartwarmingly; and by the terrible cold. Because after two days
temperatures dropped suddenly to <10°C, with rain and strong winds,
it was vicious wintry and no fun at all for tropical birds like us.
Luckily we had lots of activities, with as a highlight a four days
spinaker race, traditionally organized by the class in which we used to
compete with Witte Raaf;
and to which we were invited by our friend Miel. We were not only
invited to his boat, but he also lent us his luxury apartment, a cell
phone and a car including a navigation system. In return we sailed with
Miel during those four cold but beautiful sailing days into second place
overall (3-2-1-2), and he is now working on a trophee-cabinet for us to
top up may be next year already.
Shopping in Holland was no pleasure: too much choice. The extravagant
lyfestyle pushed forward by some of those large supermarkets is not
really our cup of tea (anymore) and we certainly don't fancy wines by
the name of Fat Bastard, of Arrogant.
Of course we did a lot of
shopping anyway, as in Suriname you can find lots of stuff, but not
everything we need. So we shipped two huge carton boxes, mainly filled
with glassfiber and epoxy (for the
Vrijheid), and books. Since we had to wait for the boxes to arrive we
could not start the renovation immediately, which gave us time to become
acclimatized and able to resist the Surinamese tropical heat after our
wintery experiences in Holland. In
anticipation of their sterilisation the cats were not allowed to go
outside, complicating our acclimatizing: all doors and windows were
closed for two weeks, because that's how long their recovery took.
Should there have been a royal hat's competion at that time, our pussies
would have been dangerous rivals to Queen Beatrix.
When the carton boxes had arrived after three weeks,
we could start the glass-epoxy job on the Vrijheid. First the hull, so
the boat had to be turned upside down.
According to the technical drawings the hull should weigh 185 kg, but
five strong men were needed to turn her around. Surinam is a
wood-country: the traditional houses are constructed in wood so people
grow up with wood, think in wood and trade wood. We could not weigh our Sabaku
but if Wensly says that the hull weighs around 250 kg, we don't doubt
this. Furthermore the hull was already covered in one layer of
glass-epoxy, and obviously this adds.
So one Sunday we collected all the strong men and with Wensly as their
leader the job took only a moment.
Then the actual work could
start. In fact it was mainly JW who worked, as P was quite immobile after
again a cortisone injection because of her nagging heelspur - which matched
fine with Wimbledon.
The rather uneven bottom
of the Vrijheid was sanded and evened out with epoxy filler,
and together we covered the hull with
glassfiber (280 and 160 g/m2) and epoxy.
Next step was the primer. Only available in 5 liter cans, it seemed a bit
much for such a small boat but in the end we used it all, as it seemed
practical to start with the application of two layers, sand thoroughly and
remove remaining irregularities with epoxy filler before applying a final
layer of primer. This was followed by four layers of coating and four weeks
later the boat could be turned again and moved
and our strong friends helped us again.
In the meantime JW had removed a piece of brick wall from the terrace so we
now have a covered boat yard at home. Very practical in the wet season.
The cats had their own soccer world championships with bats, frogs and
cockroaches. Biggest fun is when the “ball” stays alive as long as possible,
so the cockroaches remain their favourite.
P also prefers them, as every morning she's the one who cleans up the
remains of the nightly hunt; and reptiles cut in two pieces result in dirty
slimetracks on our polished wooden floor, much more revolting than some
wings, legs or feelers sprinkled around. But our home is completely cleaned
up so the cats do a good job.