19th of September 2016, Fantasy Island

Fiji (the island of Viti Levu in this case)… I’m not enchanted by its beauty yet. This side of the island is quite barren and dry. The Kwai is docked in a place called ‘Fantasy Island’. Yes, one needs a lot of fantasy to see the beauty of this commercial development area. For our (noisy) work-in-progress it is perfect. We’ve got  a port-o-potty on shore, and soon we will be renting a kitchen-on-shore when the roof is lifted off the galley area.

We have a small  platoon of fourteen workers making the whole refit happen. Besides a new mizzen mast, the ship will be equipped with a new galley and mess area. In the moment a lot of cutting and grinding is going on.

While Teitera, Beni and our junior Ieie are assisting Shoni with constructive welding work, Tebitoa, Tetaake, Burangke and Kabiriera are having a ‘demolition party’ on top of the Bridge. They already cut the old stack to pieces, and now they are working their way through the old roof above the Galley. A loud BANG. What’s that? Oh, a section of the steel Fiddley-roof was dropped down on the deck. 

Every morning at seven the crew is assembled on the aft deck for breakfast and muster. Evy usually reports the progress and divides the work load for the day. With so many people on board and so much (dangerous) work going on, he never fails to mention the importance of safety.

Yesterday Chrissy arrived by plane. She is our Purser for the upcoming voyage. For more than a decade she has been involved in maintenance on classic ships so she feels right at home wrapping and parceling shrouds and stays. She shares the Foc’s’l with our ‘spider in the web’ and Super Cargo Frankie.

To keep all hungry mouths well fed we have three people working in the galley: Jayne, Taua and Teruia. Through all the hustle and bustle that’s going on on top of the galley, they manage to create beautiful meals AND keeping the aft deck kinda organized. 

For me this period of refit creates an excellent opportunity to do more than regular maintenance. This is the time to overhaul equipment that has been ‘overlooked’ for long. Yesterday, for example, I took apart the 400 Volt Fire Pump. It has been working fine for years, but we don’t wanna stretch it too much, as it is quite essential for the safety on board. Jobs like these always come with surprises. In this case three out of five bolts of the main flange broke off while disassembling the pump. I’d rather have this happen now we are in harbor then when operating to pump on the ocean.

When we will go into dry-dock in Suva is still to be determined. Ideally we would like to stay as long as possible on this (dry) side of the island before taking the ship out of the water for work beneath the waterline. We will keep you updated on the progress.