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Logs | Preparations log

Preparations log

We documented our progress counting down the last 90 days to departure. Here it is, starting with the final days and working backwards.

6 August 2004

This is the last entry in the preparations log. We are leaving tomorrow, Saturday August 7 around noon. The compressor works. John's office is nearly cleared. Still a bit more shopping to do. There will be a hundred little last things to do, no doubt. Liz, also a member of the Explorer's Club came by with a bottle of white wine with an Explorer's Club centennial label on it. We got the flag out and, of course, drank the wine (yes, that's Alex in the corner pulling a face and yes, the wine was good). She also brought us bags of special goodies that we'll enjoy when we're sick of the same old pasta and rice every day. The boat is still a complete mess, but all systems are working. Indian Ocean here we come. From now on we'll be writing the chatty log.

4 August 2004

Sailing off starts to feel within our reach. John has finished some unleft jobs. The radio works a treat, we’re getting daily weather forecasts with it. The hatch is back in. The car is gone. John has started clearing his office at work. The dive gear is on board, though it still needs stowing. Still waiting for the clutch for the dive compressor, but that might come together tomorrow. We got a new sponsor today. Spinelli will take care of our coffee needs. We also had a bit of a scare. For a couple of days we could not find our boat registration document. It was nowhere in the usual places and we started to get worried about it. Without it we cannot leave, it’s like the boat’s passport. But we found it again. So, dare I say it? We are going to leave this Saturday around midday. Whew!

31 July 2004

Today our good friends Stefan and Natasha on Espiritu left on their one year cruise to the Netherlands. It was tough to see them go whilst we’re still sitting here in a big mess! But we’ll catch up with them soon. We have our fuel on board, courtesy of our new sponsor Shell. We stowed 24 cases of beer. It’s unbelievable how one case after the other disappeard into the bilge. We picked up the wonderful camera gear we have on loan from MoE. Also the British High Commissioner and Amanda dropped by to present us with a beautiful British ensign. We are getting there. We are, really! (Trying to convince myself).

27 July 2004

And still we have not left. In fact, over the weekend it felt like we were moving backwards. We had some fun meeting people from our Sponsor NuSkin/Pharmanex, but the rest was dismal. Some major problems cropped up. The clutch on the compressor fried, the inner foresail does not furl, the HF radio does not transmit and we lost the solar panel. Even the coffiee machine broke down. All very frustrating. The disappearance and recovery of the solar panel is quite a story. Now, a few days later, the radio seems fixed and there’s progress on the other jobs. We’ve got the hydroponics on board and the provisioning is starting to happen. Little by little we may be getting there?

18 July 2004

This preparations log is becoming much longer than we had intended. When are we going to leave? Our best guess at the moment is 27 July. Still working on the compressor problem. John and Casper are in Phuket at the moment picking up a new sail and having another one adjusted.

13 July 2004

No luck finding a satellite sponsor and we are running out of time. John has made great progress with the generator and it is now running. The compressor is nearly there, just a small problem to still fix. We have a new stove from Italy, so that we finally have the use an oven. We also have our new awning which is looking great. The cats had a rough time when we took them to the vet to get them their health certificates. They did not enjoy being poked, given a pill, having a thermometer stuck up their anus and given an injection. But they are all set and ready to go, which is more than you can say about the rest of us. Last Friday Casper and Alex went to Si Ling Primary school and had a sleepover at 2 pupils' homes. The next day Joel and Ernest came to Jocara for a sleepover. Casper and Alex wrote about the sleepover on another webpage.

5 July 2004

So. what's with the panda picture? John and Caroline went for a short quick trip to Hong Kong for the inaugural meeting of the South East Asia chapter of the Explorer's Club. The next day we had just enough time to visit Ocean Park and see the dolphins and pandas before flying back to Singapore. We will be carrying the Explorer's flag with us on JIOQ. We've been awarded flag #33 which comes with quite a history. It's been carried on expeditions since 1930 and has even been in space on a shuttle expedition. Work continues at a steady pace to get ready. The hydraulics problems have been solved. There is still a lot of wiring to do for the generator, compressor, sonars and bow camera. Our highest priority right now is finding sponsors for the satellite communications.

27 June 2004

It's been a sometimes frustrating and eventful time since the last entry got uploaded. Friday late afternoon 'Jocara' went back in the water and that evening we sailed her back to RSYC. Not an easy matter in the dark in these busy waters, especially since Jocara was very hard to steer because the hydraulic system is not yet working properly. We were back just in time for the Saturday morning visit of our sponsor DSO, who had organised a fun family event around Jocara for their staff. It's so good to be back on board after more than 3 weeks living in a hotel room. The cats are clearly relieved too now things 'look' to be back to 'normal'.

16 June 2004

We now have more holes in the hull! We need these to install our new forward and sideways looking sonars. Star is not so sure what to make of this hole that has suddenly appeared and approaches it very cautiously.

14 June 2004

There is progress on the inside and outside. John is working in the area under the cockpit, preparing the space for a generator and compressor. On the ouside the sanding is now almost finished and they have started polishing the hull above the waterline. What a difference!

8 June 2004

Work continues. The guys are still scraping away at the starboard hull. On the port side one guy has started sanding. John spends his mornings running around Singapore finding all the bits and pieces he needs; hoses, pipes, tools, etc. In the afternoon he's doing jobs on the boat. Our new 4-bladed foldable propellor is now installed. It's like a flower, really beautiful.

6 June 2004

John went to up the mast to check everything out. The rolling furler of the inner stay is stuck and the whole stay has to come down. At the top of the mast everything looks in good condition. Whilst up there John took some pictures. Always fun to have a pic from the boat taken from the top of the mast.

4 June 2004

The cats are getting used to the noises and the height. They've started exploring the huge mess inside the boat. This morning we found a few feathers on the floor. One of them has caught a little bird for the first time in her life. There are advantages to being on the hard! Work is progressing slowly. Five guys are chiseling away the old antifouling paint, an awful job.

31 May 2004

On Sunday we had a very pleasant day motoring round the island from RSYC to Ponggol Marina. That night we had an unwelcome visitor. A tough male cat came on board, terrorized Star and Cannelle and sprayed some cushions. What a smell! Monday morning Jocara was hauled out of the water and put on the hard. Poor cats are having a rough time of it and keep hiding behind the shower. We have an enormous list of jobs to get done.

29 May 2004

The whole week we've had schools visit Jocara. Upper primary and lower secondary students came on board in small groups to be shown around on deck and inside. Casper did a great job as tour leader and explaining some of the systems on board. The students were very interested and had lots of questions. One of the biggest attractions were the cats! Star was hiding out of reach but not out of sight and Cannelle did not mind interacting with the kids.

24 May 2004

The day of the Jocara Indian Ocean Quest launch. I'ts been a very busy week organising and getting ready for the launch. Inviting the press, partners, sponsors and guests, making a banner, media packs. Monday was the big day. It was a great launch. We had the British High Commissioner Alan Collins and Ms Tan Teng Wah from MOE as our VIPs and both made a lovely speech after which we signed an MoU with MOE. The Commodore of RSYC handed us the RSYC burgee. The press and guests then had a chance to have a look at Jocara who was berthed nearby.

Thank you Pamela!

17 May 2004

Last weekend was rather tiring and very instructive. We went to Tioman to get practice in reef surveying. The Marine Biology Lab from the Department of Biological Sciences, NUS has been gving us training in surveying techniques and identification of marine life forms. It was great to get some practice. We've been lying down 20m of measuring tape and then identifying the coral along that line. I really feel I know a lot more about corals now. On the other hand I also realise that identification can be quite tricky and there's a lot more to learn! Casper found this amazing leaf insect.

Photos courtesy of Jani, Marine Biology Lab

12 May 2004

We've got our davits back! Techmasters has done a great job of transforming and reinforcing them to support all the additional equipment. Before, we used the davits only to hold the dinghy. Now, they will also support the big solarpanel on top, a satellite receiver and 6 diving tanks. With the transformed davits on the back Jocara is starting to look like a real research boat!

8 May 2004

Finally, an updated and improved website!


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