It’s been one year since Nick and I sailed to Kozushima, on Watari’s grandest adventure since she became mine. That was a great trip, but it revealed weaknesses in many things I hadn’t properly repaired or renovated yet. The starter burnt out and engine died. Prop shaft cracked through. Masthead light burnt out. Messing about with jerry cans and resulting diesel spill highlighted the need for a proper fuel tank. Lack of lee cloths on bunks resulted in bedding sliding off into the diesel filled bilge. And companionway and forward hatch leaks made for a very wet cabin.
I’ve spent the past year slowly fixing these issues. The companionway rebuild has been the biggest part of the project and is slowly progressing. I spent Friday night aboard and all day Saturday sanding the filler I laid down last weekend. It’s a long, slow job. In order to get things as straight and fair as possible, I made this hand sander from a few scraps of wood and a sheet of course 60 grit sandpaper glued to the bottom. When this sheet wears out I’ll scrape it off with a putty knife and glue on a new one.
I also took a short break from sanding to drill a hole for the engine control panel wiring. Note how the wiring harness goes through a piece of PVC pipe. This is to prevent any water that gets inside this area from draining through into the cabin. The pipe will be glassed in place and filled with sealer. There are still about 4 days left of sanding, filling and sanding again before it will be ready for the first coat of primer.
I had hoped to complete the sanding this weekend, but with typhoon Talim coming through it’s been too rainy so I came home last night. After 12 hours of sanding I was covered head to toe in itchy fiberglass dust, so per my usual routine before getting on the train home I walked the kilometer up the bay to Hota, where there’s a nice 24-hour onsen to have a bath and change out of work clothes. As I walked along the beach I could feel the heavy, oppressive atmosphere of the oncoming typhoon, with the little islands and rocky points of the coast wrapped in mist and fat, heavy, raindrops. It had been getting dark from around 3 pm, and by now the sun must be almost set, though no orange light of sunset was visible, just a deepening gray. The coast was deserted except for a few fisherman on the beach. As I rounded a point I heard the reverberating pounding of a large drum far off down the coast. I suddenly felt like an ancient explorer, landed on some remote Pacific island working my way up to the village and wondering if the natives were friendly…
The pounding of the drum increased and was joined by simple, melodic flutes, and an occasional shout. Rounding a final bend I came upon a procession of soaking wet, white loincloth-clad men carrying a shrine along the shore, raincoat-wearing women and children waving as they passed. The only sign this was the current century was a light baton-waving policeman up on the street corner standing by to direct traffic. The local festival was still on, regardless of the oncoming typhoon.