After weeks of doing everything else but working on LIV, we are finally back! As I wrote in the previous blog, I felt a bit of a threshold for going back. I was afraid new rust had formed and we had to start at zero again. Unfortunately, my forebodings were partially right.
Standing in the Sahara
On Bonaire, we get a lot of Sahara dust dropped down on us. It is brought down by the rain and when the water evaporates, the wind spreads the fine sand everywhere. I think we had more sand from Sahara on LIV than on the beaches of the entire island (Bonaire is known for having only a few white beaches, and the ‘sand’ is actually Parrotfish-poo and coral pieces, so I even might be right!). It changes the whole appearance of the boat. All exposed surfaces are covered with a layer in a beige rain pattern, in corners and places where the water was standing for a short time, we would find mini-beaches and all the not-exposed surfaces (and every other part) are just beige and dusty. In one corner of my mind, I am hoping this could serve as a sort of protection layer against the salt. But probably it’s not and just speeding up the process. The only thing we can do about this is clean! So that was the first day back all about. Loads of buckets of water, up and down the shaky ladder, and cleaning the surfaces, parts and corners multiple times. It was in the news there wouldn’t be a lot of dust these weeks. Hopefully we will time this right.
The next ‘big surprise’ were the thick layers of new rust that had formed on spots that I didn’t treat with the black paint (Tannox®), but it was on the surface and easy removable. The bigger shock was seeing the spots on the black paint. We had to check where each one of these came from. Most of the spots were formed due to water dripping down through the ceiling. Parts of the ceiling are also affected by rust, and since we haven’t rebuild the ceiling yet, when it rains, it rains in and it takes the rust with it, forming a big spot and dripping patterns all over the interior of LIV. When I stepped on LIV the first time, I could see all those patterns on the furniture and I remember I thought all the rust spots were damages. But luckily, it’s also easily removable, the wood is left undamaged in most places and the surfaces had more problems with water pockets formed by the styrofoam. The next group of spots were in the navigation corner. I put garbage bags on the bottom there, I thought I protected the steel, so we could place the batteries on top of them, but underneath these bags, there are so much newly formed crusty orange-clouds! We are still not sure if it’s just the surface or if we must dig deeper. The last few spots were spots that I had painted, but where I wasn’t finished with sanding the steel. A sort of transition area. These we must sand down and paint again.
Epoxy, resin and clear coat: not good enough
Yeah, those are just different names for the same thing. Although there are some nuances in the names. When Peter was talking about this when we started working on LIV, I had no idea what he meant, but by now I have some experience with the substance. Resin is the name of the big group of liquids that are clear and thick (viscous) and they become solid once after a reactive process. Natural resin is the sticky stuff from pine-trees, that becomes solid when heated (for example after fires) or over time due to other environmental influences (the first one that comes in mind is the one from the cane of the professor of Jurassic Park, I couldn’t resist adding the picture :)).
Other familiar examples, but this time of synthetic resins, are nail polish, 2-component glue or 2-component paint. It is any other compound of liquid mixed with different molecules to get the desired properties for the solid stage usage. They are large polymers that react with some other molecule (curing), and the product is a plastic. Epoxy comes from the epoxide-group in the reactive molecule and can be cross-linked to each other with a hardener.
We used a clear coat epoxy resin to treat the wood, for inside it is great, but the surfaces in the cockpit were, unexpectedly, very much affected by the sun during the last months. Peter has found a new polymer paint that will serve as a better protection layer, but we do have to do all the surfaces again! It is good that we found that out now, before we would rebuild the deck, but still, it is a lot of work that comes on the time-inestimable huge pile of work that we already had.
Back on track?
It was a bit overwhelming to encounter the dust, rust and UV-affected surfaces we spent so much time on to prepare. When we are asked how everything is going with the boat, we had to say we weren’t really making any progress, but I am glad we are now back and working on it and we can say we are going forward again! After cleaning, checking the rust-spots and finding a solution for the protection of the wood outside, the setback wasn’t so bad as it seemed, but it is still far from sailing. For me it is impossible to estimate when we can go back into the water and that is somewhat uncomfortable. Every month we are not in the water, we still have to make money to pay the rent for the boat yard and for a house. And I’m not sure if we talk about months of work or years. Maybe it’s because we are in the rebuilding phase, and I forget everything that we have ready for when we can build it up again. Maybe it is because it is very difficult to get an overview of everything we exactly have to do or maybe it is not possible to estimate this kind of work. In any case, it is ok and if we can pay our bills, grow individually and together, investing in our shared goals, and live a nice life, it doesn’t really matter how much time it takes.
Part of this nice life is snorkeling, something that I don’t take for granted and we enjoy very much. This time we tried something new. We wanted to feed the octopus, but it wasn’t at the spot we found him last time, so we fed some fishes instead and this is the result:
The garden is getting prettier by the day. I enjoy walking around and giving water to plants, looking at the birds, cutting old leaves away, stabilizing palms and making succulents. Just great. These days are extra pretty because the cactus is blooming! I had no idea cactusses could look so beautiful. The flower is the complete opposite of the structure and looks of the cactus itself, really amazing to see.