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Aannsha’s Blog #31 – Cut to the beat baby

While Baz has been taking care of a few final projects, I got to work on revamping the two existing lifebuoys.

Reflective lifebuoys

This lifering needs revamping

We checked them out and agreed they’re of sound construction – the hard type that will knock you out if you get in the way when one’s thrown at you – but they were perfectly usable except for losing the shine from the reflective strips and not having any grab rope attached.

As luck had it, we saved a whole heap of strips from the unusable life jackets that were also left from the previous owners. These jackets were in good condition except that it looks as if they were put away before rinsing sea water off them and the zips of all but two of the eight jackets were buggered. It annoyed me, not because we’d been ‘sold’ duds, but because I hate waste. I reluctantly threw them away after Baz and I had done everything we could to get the zippers working, only to have several of them crumble in our hands. Before they were binned however, we salvaged the belts with plastic clips, the whistles and four reflective strips off each jacket.

Armed with 24 strips, I set about sticking them over the old ones on the two life rings and then strung new rope through the holes and around the rings. Now if there’s a man overboard, we’ve got two usable, easily seen lifebuoys to throw at him. Not too close though, we don’t want to risk concussion! Another good job done.

Get those mozzies!

Mozzies are eating us alive!

Summer heat + water + plus open hatches = Mosquitoes!

We got fed up of swatting them with our electric swatter. It did carry a macabre feeling of fun at first, swatting them and then watching them sizzle on the electric bars of the tennis racket looking swatter. But our preferred option is simply not having mozzies in the boat in the first place. It’s better for us and definitely better for the mozzies.

We did some research and covered the hatches with an insect screen which attaches with Velcro that sticks around the edge of the hatch, but that’s not sturdy enough to be put on and taken off daily so it wasn’t a viable option for the companionway (front door). We found another solution which was an insect screen that sits in a frame which attaches to the surrounds by a magnetic strip. I spent a good part of one day with lots of Barry’s help repurposing one of these.

Making the frame

I won’t say it was a fun project. It was fiddly and took longer than anticipated. It was made for a standard square house window and we had to redesign it to cover the L-shaped companionway. That included overlapping some of the netting to fit the longer thinner shape of our doorway than the piece of net provided. But we now have a mozzie screen for our front door that completely seals the boat once dusk falls.

Fishy failing fridge

The major incident of last week was the fridge. It developed a bad smell of rotting fish. Trouble was, we couldn’t identify where it was coming from. We’d put up with a faint odour for a couple of days, but when I opened the fridge to get something for a late dinner one evening, the pong hit us in the face like a blast from a stink bomb. We couldn’t leave it like that, so at 9.00pm we started dragging everything out of the fridge to find the offending item, clean the fridge and return everything to normal.

Nothing obvious turned up but we figured it was probably a bag of frozen octopus that had leaked as it defrosted. I thought I’d mopped up all of the juice but obviously I hadn’t. When Baz got to the bottom of the chest fridge (he had to empty and clean it as I’m too short to reach the base – oh dear what a pity), there was a pool of smelly liquid at the bottom. The two drain holes are open at the bottom but because of the way the boat’s sitting in the water, the liquid hadn’t all drained out. Offending cause identified.

Baz doing the Fridge Ballet Move

Baz cleaned out the mess, and then I nearly fell in doing a sniff test! Eventually, after lots of disinfecting, one final sniff test and an hour or so later, we put all the cleaned, unspoiled items back in the fridge.

That was it, right?


A couple of days later, the fridge lost its mojo. Well its gas. Somehow, sometime, overnight the cooling mechanism failed and we had a warming fridge on our hands. The ice that had been around the cooling element was now a pool of water at the bottom of the fridge. We talked to Jose, Jose sent a guy around, the guy filled the element with a blue liquid that sealed any holes and then refilled it with gas. The next day we had a nice cold fridge again. But we had to throw more food away as it took two days for the guy to get here.

Oh well, at least no-one died of food poisoning. And we now have a happily cold, smell-free and squeaky-clean fridge.

We paid for the boat!

Paying the bill

The major turning point of this week was paying the final bill to the broker which included the third and final payment for the yacht, plus parts and labour for jobs done. Jose was very fair in his breakdown of costs, and in the labour and expenses that he covered himself, although we still handed over a significant portion of our retirement fund. Having said that, we now have a beautiful, sturdy, highly specced, ocean-worthy vessel that has had all major systems pretty much re-vamped. All that remains will be the usual ongoing maintenance that every yacht needs during passage, and we’ll be doing most of that ourselves. We will be doing a full breakdown of costs in a future blog and video if you’re interested.

Transferring payment via electronic banking did seem like a bit of a non-event though – apart from leaving us feeling wobbly for a few hours when we looked at our remaining bank balance. No big fanfare, no handing over the keys or carrying over the threshold … well, you wouldn’t want to do that because you could end up in the drink!

I think because we’ve been living on the boat for a few weeks, and getting to know her already, it feels different to buying a house, exchanging contracts, paying for it and only then moving in – on one big, exciting day.

We still have important final paperwork to do. De-registering from Spain – before the Spanish registration office closes in August, registering in the UK, and then finding insurance. Only then will we be able to set sail and head out into the Med!

The incredible shrinking woman

Lots of lovely food!

If you’ve been watching our YouTube videos, you’ll see that compared to when we set out from Australia, I’ve put on a bit of weight. I’ll blame the tapas, olive oil, crispy bread and Spanish wine for that. But maybe I ought to be casting a careful eye on the amount of calories that I’ve been consuming, compared to lack of exercise. With our change of lifestyle, and spending a lot of the day on the yacht, editing, it turns out we’re quite sedentary – unless we make a conscious decision to go for a walk.

I know once we set sail and start scuba diving, we’ll naturally get slimmer and more toned. But I just couldn’t look at my chunky thighs any longer and decided to do something about it.

Weight Watchers has worked for me in the past when I’ve got too enthusiastic with my food intake, so I signed up for 3 months last week. Counting points is so much easier in their system as lots of healthy foods are ‘free’ and they’ve worked out calories and fat/starch/protein content out for you in their points. So that part is easy.

The hard part of being on Weight Watchers is actually watching my weight. Literally. I don’t have scales. I did manage to weigh myself on the scales at Dos Mares, the big shopping centre last week, but now we don’t have the hire car, we can’t walk that far – not even to rack up Activity Points – it’s too many kilometres away. So I’m winging it until we go shopping again. I’m having to trust that sticking to the system is working, despite not being able to measure the results. That’s a bit hard for me, but I do feel hungry a few times in the day, so I figure maybe in those times I’m burning fat … time will tell.

Hopefully over the next few weeks, you’ll be able to witness the journey of the Incredible Shrinking Woman.

Cut to the beat baby

Baz has been doing an awesome job of editing our videos, don’t you think? Editing though, takes a lot of time and each 60 seconds of the final video can take up to two hours to edit together. While Baz enjoys the process, I also know that sometimes, when he has other jobs to do, it can get a bit stressful producing the week’s video in time to be uploaded and published by 8am each Saturday. I don’t like to see him stressed.

I’m also creative (as you probably know by now) and there’s been an arty part of me that has wanted to get involved in the editing as well as the filming side of things. Plus there’s a part of me that has wanted to feel equal in all respects of jobs that are done on the boat, and up until recently, its felt a little lacking in that department.

The other day, Baz threw me an opportunity to have a go at editing. I knew that he did it more as a teaching element to show me how difficult it can be editing my raw footage when I hold the camera, or flit randomly around in front of it when I’m being filmed. But I didn’t mind, I was happy for the challenge.

Daunted yes. I didn’t want to let the team down. And going on my past experience of making straight tutorials for my own channel, where I basically had to cut together one shot of one process, I knew there was going to have to be a massive ramp up in my editing capabilities. I’d tried once before (on the video where I learned to scuba dive), but I’d got hopelessly lost with the footage from different cameras, and wasn’t sure how to add details while keeping the story moving forward. That particular time after spending a day making about five miserable minutes of video, I scrapped the whole thing and handed it back over to Baz.

I didn’t walk away completely though, but spent the next few weeks sitting with him and watching how he put his videos together.

So when he said, “Here’s the footage of the boat getting her name logos put on”, I took the project on with gusto. I asked him for one tip that would help me. He said, “Cut to the beats of the backing music”. That was something I knew I could do.

Museum in Cartagena

Sometime later, I’d produced my first section of video. Baz was pleasantly surprised and (so was I actually!) and proceeded to give me more to edit. The one I’m most proud of to date is the Cartagena section. After that one, Baz called me the Editing Ninja, so I figured I’d impressed him, which if you know Baz at all, will realise isn’t something you can do all that easily. If you haven’t seen it already and want to check it out, here’s the link. Plus, Cartagena is a fascinating city and it's well worth watching. I’d love to hear from you, just talk to me in the comments below the video. I’m always open to constructive feedback.

As I write this, I’ve also got the lifebuoy and fridge fiasco under my editing belt. Not as cool as the Cartagena section I’ll grant you, but not bad for a newbie. I reckon I’ve got a long way to actually live up to my new title, but I’m working on it. It’s great for my self-esteem, hugely satisfying to my creative side, and a big relief to be able to give Baz the support he deserves. It also gives me a big boost knowing that I’m helping the A B Sea team to bring you fun, informative and quality videos.

Next jewellery tutorial

Well, I’ll wrap this blog up for now and turn my hand to the next project. It’s going to be a video for my crafting channel, and I’ll be sharing how I made this sterling silver wire-threaded shell and pearl pendant. It’s been such a long time since I caught up with people on my own channel and the best thing is, I think I’ll be able to bring them more interesting content now.

So until next week, what have you done lately that has made you feel rightly proud of yourself?

Silver wire woven shell pendant

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