Phoenix Rising

We’re almost there! The end of our first six months on the island is fast approaching, and what a time it’s been.  But as you can see, the rebuilding is almost complete, thanks to all of you who’ve so generously donated. We can’t thank you enough.

Team Saleo have done a great job.  The battery (aka doghouse) is finished and we’ve installed guttering and a small tank for rainwater. This will be used for washing dive gear and watering the plants in case there’s no rain. Murphy’s law of course – soon after installing it the weather settled and we’ve had little to no rain for the past ten days…

But when there’s a downpour, it doesn’t take long to fill up this 650 L water tank

The shed for the generator and dive compressor is 95% finished. Just the guttering and entrance ramp to finish.  It’s open at the back and only has half walls on the front to provide enough ventilation when operating the machinery  (we’ve added clears at the front in case of bad weather, but they can be rolled up out of the way when not needed).  

The entrance to the generator/dive compressor/garden shed
The inside view
We like the rustic look, but some plants or creepers on the wall will make it a little prettier

And talking of clears, one of the best investments we’ve made is having clears made for the living room – it’s been a game-changer, and means we can sit out the bad weather in comfort rather than having to move and pack everything away when it rains, which was almost a daily occurrence at first.

Our clears in the living room have been a godsend when the weather’s bad

And…. the new workshop/kitchen is well underway – the roof’s on, the kitchen floor’s done, the door and window frames are in, so it’s just the rest of the workshop floor and verandah and the walls to be finished, and then the doors and windows can be fitted.  The family will continue to work on it in our absence and I’m sure it won’t take them long.  Before the flooring went in, Bruce took advantage of the easy access to run some of the plumbing underneath, and he’s already run the wiring for the lighting to make it that bit quicker to get everything up and running on our return.

my nice new kitchen floor
Bruce has been busy installing some of the plumbing and lighting

We also bought a new water tank to replace the mangled melted mess of the original one.  One of the things we’ve learned is that the orange tanks and flexible hosing let in a lot of light and cause significant algae growth in the tanks.  We have filters and treat the water, but this new tank is much better quality and has thicker walls, which we hope will help slow any algae growth down. It won’t be plumbed in until we return as we don’t want water sitting in it for 5 months, but Bruce has already run the line connecting the two tanks (in hard plastic this time).

Getting the new tank here was another mission – we managed to wedge it into the front of the boat on our last trip back from Sorong, together with another boatload of supplies.  And, of course, it was raining…

it’s amazing what we can fit on our boat!
Not ideal visibility going home, for several reasons!
packed to the gunnels again, and rather soggy

And now we’re well into the packing-up process ready for our trip back to Australia.  It’s a bit like moving house without moving. Without a dedicated kitchen and cupboards, all the kitchen utensils that were living on the floor in the dining room have to be packed away in tubs and put in one of the houses that we can lock up.  Perishable food has been donated to the family; all the rest goes into storage tubs. The fridge needs to be emptied and cleaned. Everything has to be washed, and the bedding, mosquito nets, and clothing are vacuum-packed to stop mould and insects making homes in them.  There are also some extra precautions – the mattresses have to be covered with tarps to protect them from the gecko droppings from the roof, and the openings in drawers are taped up so the mud wasps can’t build nests in there. The hammocks need to come down and be packed away….and so on.  It’s quite a job in the heat.  Now that the winds have swung around to the north quadrant, we don’t get much breeze on the front side of the island so we’re having a shower in our t-shirts most days.  And talking of showering, we’ve been trying to manage the water supply so there’s not too much left in the tank when we leave, but just enough to last us until we go. So we keep an eagle eye on the water level and adjust our showering time as necessary!  Sadly, my expectation of having a watermaker up and running within a few weeks of arriving last September was grossly optimistic, so we’ve had to rely on the family to supply us with water from the freshwater spring at the nearby pearl farm.  It’s been a lot of jerry jug carting, so I’m hoping for their sake and ours that we can get a new watermaker up and running soon after we come back in August.

A boatload of about 500 litres of water
When you have to fill your water tanks this way you learn to use your water wisely

In amongst all the work, we finally found time to have our first beach BBQ. It was long overdue but just lovely, and we plan to have many more next time we’re back.

A little Friday night BBQ on the back beach – yes, the esky is a bit of an overkill, but we haven’t got around to buying a small one yet!
A perfect evening for a BBQ on the beach

Jeez, it’s going to be hard to leave this place – the diving, the snorkelling, and the sunsets are out of this world.

A beautifully serene morning at Toucan’s Retreat
And just as beautiful in the afternoon sun
and even better at sunset

But it’ll be wonderful to see our family and friends again (and, yes, I must admit to looking forward to a few creature comforts too!) Sampai jumpa Pulau Dayan – we’ll be back soon.

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