Monthly Archives: September 2021

Teak Love

Teak Love and Care

The exterior wood on Sugar Shack is all teak.  It looks super lovely when it is well cared for.  For the most part, we can scrub it clean, then either oil or stain it to preserve and protect the wood from the sea, salt, and sun.  However, every few years we need to scrub it, sand it down, remove all prior coats of oil or stain and start from scratch.

Teak turns a white/gray color after being exposed to the sun with no oil or stain.  It is ok looking, but not something that I prefer.  Plus, it is hard on the wood because there is nothing protecting it so it does not last as long.

So, I get down to business.  There is lots of teak on Sugar Shack. This post will solely focus on exterior wood.  We have teak trim (5) along each helm station, (2) teak safety handles, (2) teak trim pieces over small hatches, (3) teak pieces of trim along the bimini, (2) teak hand rails, 2 teak hatch covers, (3) teak covers on each of the 2 sugar scoops, and (2) teak seats on the princess seats at the bow.  It’s lots of prep-work, sanding, and sealing.

Princess Seats

At the bow we have two princess seats which are fun to sit in during calm passages or sundowners.  The wood is screwed into a stainless-steel plate.  Sounds easy enough, simply unscrew it, right?  Well not really.  But it does come off.  These seats have deep ridges which have collected the stain over the years.  The seats have direct sun, sea, and salt coverage all day, every day.  So, they needed extra love.

First photo shows you current state, 2nd photo shows you the cleaned and sanded state, 3rd photo shows you half stained, last photo is finished.

Princess Seats at the bow of the boat

Princess Seats at the bow of the boat

The completed starboard princess seat:

Oh $hit Bars

We have two well used oh $hit bars in the cock pit. We call them that because you often grab them when sea conditions become bad.  They are truly safety bars.  There is one on the ceiling and one just above the cabin entrance.

Ceiling bar is grabbed a lot and has a combination of human oil, dirt, sun, and salt.  It was a mess and needed a good sanding.  I did not get a “before” shot, but below is a sanded, fresh stain, and final look.

Safety Bar

Safety Bar

The safety bar on the ceiling also gets used a lot and has curves that are very difficult to reach.  I destroyed a lot of pieces of sand paper trying to get to the curved areas.  The 6 images below show before and after. 

The left images are before and the right are after.

Here is the final version looking gorgeous.

Teak Trim Over Hatches

We have two small hatches that both lead to cabins.  The teak trim is a barrier to help prevent water and stuff from entering the open hatch.  Here is a before, middle, and final photo:

Trim over hatch

Trim over hatch

Helm Station Teak

We have two helm stations.  Each one has two pieces of teak trim along the seat.  The starboard helm also has an additional teak bar at the bottom of the seat.  This wood gets a lot of direct sun and salt.

Helm seat trim

Helm seat trim

It is hard to tell in these photos, but here is the before and after of the starboard helm seat.

Starboard Helm Seat

Starboard Helm Seat

The boat was a total mess with dust and soot everywhere for several days.  It just could not be helped with the sanding and all the wind.

Bimini and Cabin Top Hand Rails

The teak rails along the bimini and cabin top take a lickin!  Not only do they have full exposure to the sun, sea, and salt but they also get rubbed raw from the jib sheets (lines).  The lines rub and rub and wear the stain off leaving unattractive marks.  Left before and right after

Bimini Hand Rails

Bimini Hand Rails

The cabin top has two long hand rails running along the port and starboard side.  They too get rubbed by the same jib sheets.  Left before and right after.

Cabin top hand rails

Cabin top hand rails

Cockpit Hatches

The cockpit hatches get a lot of dirty feet walking all over them. Plus they get lots of dirt and grime being located in the cockpit.  We had scrubbed them weeks ago and did not put any oil on them so they turned a gray color.  Before shots of the sugar scoops (top 2 photos) and cockpit hatches (bottom two photos).

Sugar Scoops

We have two sugar scoops (steps that lead up the transom of the boat to the cockpit).  Each set of sugar scoops has 3 steps.  They get lots of dirt, salt, sun, and sea.  The starboard is used more frequently as this is where we get on and off the boat.

Additional Projects

Our outboard has been giving us some problems.  She does not like to go in revers.  Matt has looked at and worked on the shifting mechanism but nothing seems to work. He would get it working then it would stop.  Looks like it will take some more time.

The handles on the dinghy have needed some love.  I put duct tape on them thinking that it would strengthen them, but that only made a huge mess!  Note to self, don’t use duct tape on anything in the sun.  So, I made new covers using sunbrella fabric and velcro.

Dinghy Handle Covers

Dinghy Handle Covers

A leak at the bow.  We have had water get into the bow peaks for awhile now. We could never find the source.  Matt decided to take apart the mount for the gang plank and in doing so found two possible areas where water can sneak in.  Of course this turned out to be a much bigger project than he though.  First, we have to take everything out of the bow peak locker (2-bean bags, 3-sails, 2-folding chairs, luggage, noodles, old salon cushions, 2-SUPs, 4-water jugs)  Yep we can fit a lot in the bow peaks!

Events from this blog post occurred during the second week of June, 2021.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Ladies of Austin

Austin: Shock and Love

A whirlwind visit through Texas fills me with both shock and love!  In an attempt to see as many of my amazing friends as possible while still making it to all of my necessary doctor appointments proves difficult – but I am up to the challenge!  I stop in both San Antonio and Austin an relish in the love showered upon me by all of my friends.

San Antonio Celebrations

I start my Texas holiday off in San Antonio with our good friends Wayne, Shawn, Sharon and their family.  Sharon gets me up and walking 3-4 miles each morning while they feed me like royalty!  Man oh man nobody goes hungry in the Melnar house!  Two of their three kids are home with their respective girlfriends and Shawn’s parents “Hank and Darlene” come by for a visit on the 4th.

The men BBQ’d a brisket and tons of ribs.  Is literally was a massive feast!  We were rewarded with a beautiful fire work show at the end of the night as we overlooked the valley.  Superb visit!

Players: Top: Me and Sharon; Sharon, me, Shawn, Uncle Sam, Wayne.  2nd Row: Me & Wayne; Hank & Darlene; Mason and Alejandra.  Bottom Row: Mason at the grill; Dylan and Kate

After a few short days, I headed to Austin.

Austin Bound

My dearest friend Jamie flew in from Oklahoma to stay with me at our beloved friend’s Michelle, Jeremy and Jake home.   The weather was mild for Texas at a balmy mid-80’s for most of the week.  Humid, yes.  But, pleasant enough.  It had the potential to be hideously hot.  The only complaint I had was the cedar which kicked up my allergies to an all time high.

It was pure bliss spending time with two of my dearest and best friends.  I am so grateful to have these ladies in my life.

Most of my days were full of errands and doctor appointments which is never fun, but certainly necessary.  By the time I leave the U.S. I will have visited the optometrist (got new glasses), gastro doc (colonoscopy), oncologist (labs, exam, prolia shot), Family Doc, had a bone density and was stuck a bunch of times for draws and tests.   For the most part, got the thumbs up.

Shock and Awe

We went by our old house on Sugar Shack (in Austin) and were totally surprised to see this “remodel” which basically removed all the walls and floors.  But you can really see why I called this our “tree house.”

Sugar Shack house in Austin

Sugar Shack house in Austin

Shock and Awe

So what was so shocking to me?  It seems I have lived my life in a bubble or with my head in the sand.  I thought I was “pretty up to date” with news as I read the Huffington Post and Skim, but “NOT.”  My friend’s filled me in on the drama, which I am sure you are aware.  But, for those who are not…here are the highlights:

  • Property (houses) prices are through the roof.  If you don’t bid a minimum of 30% over the asking price you have no chance of buying a new house.    Austin has become one of the most competitive housing markets in the country with prices said to have risen over 30% in the last year.
  • Staffing shortage:  Many, if not most, eateries and retail establishments have signs up stating “Reduced hours due to staffing shortage.”  That is if they made it through the pandemic.  Some of our most iconic restaurants closed including Shady Grove.
  • Minimum Wave:  In Tx, the minimum wage is $7,25 an hour. Yes, a travesty as it is $14/hr in California.  But, in order for fast food restaurants and retails to get staff, they are offering over $20/hr plus full benefits, paid vacation, sign on bonuses, and even pet insurance.
  • Shortages:  A manufacturer of chips in Taiwan is unable to produce the chip required for automobiles (all cars, trucks, SUVs) so there is a 4-6 month wait.  Paint, cushions for furniture, curtains, and more are all back ordered 6-8 months.  The supply chain was broken during the pandemic and industries are struggling to get back up and running.
  • Construction: Lumber was about $300 a pallet and jumped up to well over $1000 for the same amount causing builds to go up.  A chip for air conditioners is back ordered so developers/builders are unable to move people into their homes until they can get the AC’s working.  
  • The list goes on and on and one so I won’t bore you. These are just some of the more astonishing things.  

Austin Celebration

Heather Newby and Heather Drew put together a fabulous get together at Heather Newby’s house.  They invited the entire gang and had libations, pizza, and special treats.  It was so fabulous to see everyone.  

Austin Love

Austin Love

Our group of Austin friends:

My Austin Friends

My Austin Friends

The ladies of Austin:

Top: Aimee P, Missy, Heather N., Me, Tiffany, Barbara, Heather D.

Bottom: Aimee P., Barbara, Heather D, Diana, me, Missy, Tiffany and Jenifer and Carina top row.

Austin Girls

Austin Girls

I just love me ,my Austin friends!  Blessings all around.

Top Photo: Sharon, me, Shawn, Sam, Wayne.  Bottom Photo: Karl, Missy, Me, John

Puppy Love

My dad just bought a malti-poo

My friend’s in Gambier resupply me with more pearls


Hermosa Beach

Living it up in California

Trips back to the U.S. are both exciting and nerve racking.  Yet, always full of love and laughter.  You are probably asking how can that be? Well, exciting because I get to see my family and friends that I have not seen in years.  Nerve racking because I have loads of doctor appointments, errands, and orders to be placed and received.  My first stop is California.

Hermosa Beach, California

I arrived in California on a bright and beautiful day.  My dad made the long drive to visit with us and we got to spend the entire day with him despite his ailing health.  He is a rock star for making the journey, but next time I will make the drive.

My sister spoiled me the next day. I had not had my hair done in almost 3 years and it was looking a little long, but ratty.  Since I wear a hat all the time, the crown was my natural dark color, but from the nape of the neck down it was a sun kissed light brown to blonde.   The stylist said I came in with “charcoal” hair because of my long grays.

Before look known as "charcoal"

Before look known as “charcoal”

After 7 hours in the chair, a full color and then balayage it turned out way redder and lighter than I wanted.  She worked tirelessly to fix it and used toner 3 times.  By the time I left I was exhausted, cold, hungry and ready to cut it all off.  I decided to “sit” with it for a few days before making any rash decisions.  I will say that the color was beautiful, my hair was full, shiny, and super healthy looking.  It was just much lighter around my face than I anticipated.  I did not take photos of the front top where it was really light as I did not like it.

After Look

After Look

Several days later I wash it for the first time.  Part of me hoping the light color will wash off near my face, but knowing it won’t.  I am getting used to it…

Family Visit

Most of my family lives in California, but they are all spread out.  So, it is always fun to get together.  My 2nd cousins Jean and Ken, my aunt/uncle Diana and Mark, my uncle Matthew and my sister’s family all enjoyed tasty enchiladas, salad, and desert.


Kimberly, my sister is such a goof ball – man I love the heck out of her!

My dad is battling colo-rectal cancer so my goal was to visit him as much as possible.  He is a fighter and is not relinquishing to this disease.  I am so proud of him and is courage!

My dad, his wife Kelly, and my uncle Adrian

My dad, his wife Kelly, and my uncle Adrian

My dad added to his family – a new malti-poo – so cute.

Family Fun

Family Fun

Squeezed some time out for my good friends.

Kathryn is one of my dearest friends and always brightens my day.  She is such a bright star in my life!

Kathryn, Kimberly, and I - California Girls

Kathryn, Kimberly, and I – California Girls

Deborah took me out to an amazing dinner at Shade in Manhattan Beach and it was amaze balls.  The drinks were spectacular!

Deborah and I

Deborah and I

Kimberly rides English style on a beautiful horse called “Spade.”

Kimberly and Spade

Kimberly and Spade

The Packing of all the “Stuff”

It is always a challenge to fit all of our goodies into our luggage.  You have to ensure that each bag does not exceed 50lbs and are evenly packed.  I decided to divide our loot into 3 sections.  First is coming back with me (urgent items), second will come with the Konis family (planning on a visit in mid-July) and the third will come with Wayne (planning a visit in mid-August).

The four boxes (lower photo) contain water pumps and weigh 12lbs each!  They have to be separated because they are so heavy.  

Some of the above items can be found in Tahiti.  However, they run anywhere from 3-10x as much money.  For example, the SUP leashes are about $65 in Papeete, but only $18 on Amazon.  Some of the above items just can’t be found in French Polynesia (fire blankets, ice cube balls, quick dry towels, waterproof backpacks) and some items are just pure luxury (GoPro, comfy flip flops).

Our Texas dad sent Matt and I some amazing goodies!  He spoils us so.  He sent hot sauce, julio’s seasoning and these cool thermal mugs that we so desperately needed.

This dog greets all the people who pass by on the Hermosa Beach strand.

Lots of flowers in full bloom

Abalone Cove and Reserve – Rancho Palos Verdes

Kimberly took my uncle Matthew and I to a cool place called Abalone Cove and Reserve in Rancho Palos Verdes.  Had we gone during low tide we could have explored the cool tide pools.  But as luck would have it, we arrived at high tide so we just enjoyed the dolphins playing the water at the beach.

Beautiful beach in California

Beautiful beach in California

My welcome home upon entry into French Polynesia.

The events of this blog took place the end of June and early July.  Typically, our blogs are 6-8 weeks behind actual events.