I love those two words together. It sounds like a song or a story. Anyway, we are here in Telaga after an unexpected extra couple of days in glorious Rebak. Due to our food supplies running so low we just ‘had’ to resort to eating in the restaurant for two nights. It’s not often you get to eat in a place where the waiting staff are eager to lay the napkin on your lap as you sit down, and wait nearby to attend to your every need. The food and the setting are sublime, too.
Sunday was quite a wet day. The showers are spectacularly heavy during monsoon season, and leave a shimmering plain of water on the stone pathways, which the sun deals with fairly quickly. Unfortunately the wetness brings out the caterpillars, too (or seems to). I went for a walk to take some pictures and they were all around, wriggling across wherever I went to step. It made me realise how much I’ve been sheltered from my phobia of ‘wrigglies’ and that it has got worse instead of better. My yelps of alarm drew some strange looks from other people and there was nothing else for it but to return to the sanctuary of the boat. The internet was a bit haphazard in the marina but there was a good signal in the main part of the resort so we spent our final evening on Rebak at the beach bar so that Paul could catch up on emails and then walked back along the coast just as it was getting dark.
We were up early on Monday morning to prepare the boat and check conditions for a departure. We’d more or less decided we’d just go for it whatever the weather since it is only a short passage and we were keen to move on – Thailand is beckoning. It was overcast and humid when we left at midday. We had one very heavy squall about 30 minutes after leaving but apart from that the journey went well. I was able to see how the route I had created panned out. This was useful because it turned out I had plotted us a bit too close to the land, and when the wind is strong and blowing onshore it’s necessary to give it a wider berth to avoid being blown on to it. When I do the next route I will take that into account, but the finished ‘lines’ on the navionics didn’t differentiate too greatly. The ‘kink’ near the number 2 at the bottom is where we discovered the autohelm wasn’t working.
I’m becoming more proficient and confident with the steering but sadly, it seems I still have a way to go with the cleating and line-throwing. The cleats on the fuel pontoon were double bollard type ones – I wasn’t sure which part of them I had to cleat on to and my hesitation meant they came undone (not a disaster as we were secure by then but frustrating for me). Once we’d filled up with fuel we headed to our berth where two guys were waiting on the pontoon to help us in. As we drew closer I threw the stern line to one of them and I was so pleased that it didn’t drop in the water and that he caught it, I didn’t notice that (as Paul told me later) I almost knocked the poor guy over by throwing it straight at him instead of to the side of him! Well I’ve always thought it’s good to learn from mistakes. Hopefully none of the above blunders will occur again ;).
Paul went off to check us in once we were tied up and I set about getting the boat shipshape. Sitting on the end of the pontoon, waiting to be encouraged nearer was a lovely-looking cat, so encourage it I did. He or she (I’m inclined to think female) was very friendly and as curious as cats are supposed to be. She came onboard and sniffed around every bit of the boat, including an open drawer in the quarter berth where I was worried she’d trapped herself for a few moments. She allowed me to fuss her for a while and then decided she’d seen enough and off she went. I haven’t seen her since, although there are quite a few ‘boat’ cats in this marina – and dogs, too. Paul’s still not keen on the idea, though.
We had a walk around the marina late in the afternoon. Lots of boats here, but the area around it is fairly deserted and some of the shops and outlets are closed or never opened in the first place. Still it’s peaceful and pleasant enough, and we’re only here a few days while the new rigging is fitted. There is still nowhere to buy fresh produce, however so it looks as though we will have to get a taxi or hire a car to stock up on provisions for our next leg of the journey. We will probably be at anchor for several nights so it will be a ‘big’ shop. Until then, it was time for another meal out. There are restaurants all around the harbour but we chose one nearest to the boat. Another Indian one – definitely my favourite food.
This is the Telaga Marina, as viewed from the back of the boat, it’s actually very pleasant here, very quiet and sheltered.
The rigging has arrived and is laid out here on the finger, don’t ask how much it cost, but you can probably buy a house in Birkenhead for the same price; That’s more of a statement on the cheap houses in Birkenhead 😉
So I started the day by looking at the Autohelm, I measured voltages and determined a possible fault in the system, but that turned out to prove the point that if you are happiest fixing electrical faults, that’s where you will look, and possibly find problems, as I did. Fortunately before I got too carried away, I noticed the motor was turning, and not the cog attached to it. I was thinking CLUTCH_ENABLE signal not going low, but I should have been thinking, key in groove fallen out. Which I found under the motor. I popped the key back into the shaft, tightened things up and made a note to get some locktight and all was woking again.
Next onto the monitor wind steering system. I had a reply back from the manufacturer Scanmar, they are very good with their support. They pointed out that even an expert would have problems removing the bend in the strut and that they can ship me the parts I need, but that would cost about $600 + shipping. They explained I would need to remove the pendulum to make sure it was the bit that was sticking and that their wasn’t any other damage. I took the monitor off the boat and into the cockpit, then I dismantled it. The bent pendulum bit was actually working fine, it was just compressing another spindle which wasn’t turning. I called to Kathy, who duly brought me a large hammer and a very large hammer. Now some people think this is my style of engineering at it’s base level, but with a few strategic bashes, and a bit of jumping up and down on the bent strut, and the pendulum, everything was moving freely, in fact so freely I can’t see any reason why it wont work perfectly now.
Now just before we left Rebak, I had a look at another tashiba 40, who also has a monitor windvane, but his was gleaming, so bright, it could have your eye out. I was full of Monitor envy. So now seemed to be the best time to strike back, and Kathy helped me get our’s nice and shiny. I’m going to give it a final polish in Fiji or Bora Bora ;-), but it will do for now. Just needs connecting to the wheel and testing. Hopefully I can use it in our trip to Thailand.
I also took this as an opportunity to get the dinghy out to access the monitor. Sadly the repairs I had done to the dinghy don’t seem to keep it inflated. It could be new holes, but I suspect not. It’s not much better than when I put it in for repair a couple of months ago and it hasn’t been used yet. Everyone tells me it wont last anyway and it has to be made of Hyperlon to survive in the tropics. Looks like I need to buy a new dinghy, which is OK, I can get something fast in Thailand.
Tomorrow the rest of the rigging to goes up, then a big shop for the next 2 weeks travelling, and a few shopping chores, like photocopying passports for the authorities we have to deal with in the ports, and also a trip to the moneychanger to buy some Bhat (Thai money), paying for stuff in sterling is costing me more everyday thanks to brexit. Fortunately I have a few $ I can use until sterling recovers, if ever.
Arrived safely in Telaga, strong headwind NNW kept us under 4 knts for the 90 minutes that we took to get here. Rigging got here an hour before us and we have been given a berth, but only for 3 days, so must start on the rigging tomorrow.
I’m sure Kathy will put pictures up, but for now here are a few, oh nearly forgot, I tried the autohelm and it didn’t work. It’s not even trying to drive the wheel, hopefully something simple.
It’s Sunday afternoon, we had planned to leave at lunchtime, but the fact that the rigging still hasn’t arrived, the marina here is cheaper than Telaga, and that we had some quite fierce squalls blow through earlier, tipping the boat some way at its berth, that we have decided to stay another day. It’s quite wet and overcast so I am doing some route planning for Thailand today.
I spent time yesterday running ropes to the windvane steering, this is a monitor windvane, that will steer us everywhere over the next few years. It works with little effort, uses no fuel or electricity and understands the quirks of the wind at least, if not better, than most humans. Sadly it’s broken. I’m wondering when I will stop finding broken things on this boat. The pendulum arm at the bottom is bent, reading the manual, this is not uncommon as it can easily be bent by reversing into a high pontoon or being hit astern by another boat. It’s only slightly bent, but enough to stop the whole thing working, Everything looks ok, and moves the right way, but the curve on the pendulum means there is too much friction for the windvane part to turn the auxiliary servo rudder. This mechanism has to be almost friction free to work in light winds. I’m waiting to find out if the manufacturer thinks it can be repaired or needs to have the arm replaced.
We loved the Hydrovane on Stardust so much we called her Harriot, because she looked elegant and started with H. The mechanical electrical autopilot was called Simon, as it worked well with its maker ‘Simon Simrad’.
On Sister midnight we pondered on what to name the electrical auto pilot. It’s not very sophisticated, but sturdy and reliable. old fashioned but got a few years left in it, so we went for Captain Mainwaring. when thinking of the companion Monitor windvane, which is more elegant, quite clever we thought perhaps Uncle Arthur. For those reading who are confused, you should watch any episode of Dad’s Army for a better understanding.
I made this video of a 3-4ft thing, lizard? having his morning beach stroll earlier
It really would be rude not to rest and relax here. The whole resort is created exclusively for comfort and the promotion of that ‘away from it all’ feeling. On our first evening here, we had a delicious meal in the restaurant that overlooks the pool, with palm trees and a fairy-lit terrace. We made the most of the lavish, all you can eat hot and cold buffet which consisted of soups, noodles, sauces, curries, rice, pizzas, salads meats, vegetables, breads and an array of desserts, all laid out in an elegant restaurant. One of several chefs was quick to point out all the vegan dishes on offer when I enquired, and it was all very tasty ( so much so, we went back for seconds and a dessert, most unusual for us). As marina guests we get to use all the facilities in the resort, and also get a 25% discount on food and drink bills. The photos attest to the stunning beauty of the place, and it’s very peaceful. Several of the guests are clearly on honeymoon (it’s an ideal resort for one), and the rest consist of other ‘yachties’, and a few family groups from Australia, Malaysia, China and America. The staff are mostly Indian or Malay, Taj being an Indian company. The holiday lodges are in the form of attractive, dark wooden chalets complete with balconies and gardens – some of which are right next to the beach. I really can’t fault the place (apart from the frequency with which Ed Sheeran is played on the sound system by the pool, but I can block him out with my iPod ;)).
Most afternoons have been spent on sun loungers by the pool. It’s so pleasant to lie there with a book, doze, ‘people watch’ (and ‘listen’) and have an occasional swim to cool off. One afternoon while Paul worked on the boat I went to the loungers on the beach instead where it was quieter, and lay on one under a canopy to shelter from a gentle rain shower. There were sand crabs all around me, scurrying in and out of their holes – too quick for me to capture them on film. Near the marina is a swampy area called Mangrove Pavilion. The viewing place looks a bit like a bird hide with no walls, with seats set out to look at the trees and muddy ground unseen by birds or creatures within. We haven’t seen any exotic wildlife there yet though.
On Monday afternoon we hopped on the free ferry to a place called Cenang. Paul had been there before and described it as the Asian equivalent of Blackpool or Rhyl. I was intrigued! It was a fast and exhilarating five-minute trip across the water to Langkawi where a taxi took us from the jetty into Cenang Town. The main street is indeed lined with gift and souvenir shops, beachware stalls, fast food cafes and restaurants, and duty free shops with a wealth of chocolate and booze on offer. The street itself was in serious need of repair: paving stones were being pushed out and up by tree roots, and in some places there were deep holes leading down to foul-smelling drains, creating tripping and falling hazards that would horrify health and safety officials. To be fair, there is a lot of work going on to improve the area and it’s a month before the official holiday season starts here. After a bit of a browse, we headed for the beach. A short walk down a hill and the sea was before us and a long stretch of clean, sandy beach. It was a glorious contrast after the dusty, rubble of the hot street. We sat at a cafe and had a drink looking out at Rebak and other islands enjoying the sea breeze. Before going back we had a walk on the beach and a paddle in the warm water. The sand was full of pretty shells, and one of the cleanest I’ve been on. More luxury holiday homes are adjacent to the beach, and in one spot a wedding had just taken place (see pic below).
I was expecting to have to leave early in the week but Paul discovered that his plans had gone slightly awry by the rigging delivery being delayed. It came as a welcome surprise to be told we’d ‘have’ to stay here a bit longer. Since we had more time we thought it would be good to follow the ‘Nature Trail’ we’d seen on a signpost. The path led us past the marina and out by the sea, with thick forest on our left. Paul was keen to venture into it but my fear of leeches and other wriggly things falling on me rather put me off ;).
The following evening, we did the other recommended walk, thinking the exercise would be good after so much lounging by the pool. I was a bit braver this time – I even left off my elasticated-bottomed trousers and socks! Paul wanted to check out a dilapidated building just off the beaten track and I thought ‘why not’. We hadn’t gone far in, however before my eye caught movement on the ground; this turned out to be huge brown millipedes! They seemed to be all around me and I felt panic threatening to overwhelm me. There was nothing else for it but to run in a rather ungainly manner (with accompanying hysterical squeals) back to the safety of the wider path. It was a great walk actually, and we ended up on a beach typical of the traditional image of a desert island. It was fantastic, and amazing to see shells walking along the sand. Paul’s video in his post shows them perfectly. We spent ages looking at the debris that had been washed up-sadly there were a lot of plastic bottles and drink cans amongst it all. Naturally I was reluctant to return through the forested area and wondered if we could follow the coastal route. Paul wasn’t altogether certain but we gave it a go anyway. We had to pick our way over prickly shells and steep and slippery rocks crawling with crabs -it was great fun, real Swallows and Amazons stuff!
Our extended stay meant we were beginning to run low on supplies, especially fresh items like bananas and salad ingredients. The shop on the resort doesn’t have a wide range of choice so we decided to visit Cenang again yesterday to stock up from one of the larger supermarkets there. We asked the taxi driver to drop us at one just out of town, thinking we’d go there, have a quick drink at the beach and then get back in time for an afternoon at the pool. On the way, the driver came to an abrupt halt as a huge creature lumbered across the road. It looked like a crocodile and when I asked him what it was, he said crocodile but I’m still not convinced: Komodo dragons look very similar. It was still thrilling to see anyway. No fruit or veg to be had in the big supermarket, so we walked on into town. On the way we passed a paddy field, the first one we’ve seen here so stopped to have a look. Some of the workers were resting on the platforms in the middle of the fields, and each field was in a different stage of growth. In season, it’s possible to do a tour to see how the rice is produced but this one was closed until November. We stood watching a cow and its accompanying bird which was relieving the cow of the insects flying around its head, when I noticed movement to my right and saw another ‘crocodile-like’ animal slithering down a slope into a murky drainage ditch next to the field. It swam towards us at quite a rate but was unfortunately too submerged and fast-moving to study it or film it.
Our search for fresh produce in Cenang proved fruitless (pardon the pun). When we asked an Indian lady in one of the small shops where we could buy some bananas and tomatoes, her reply was long and convoluted enough (in terms of directions and reasons for the lack of) for us to realise we weren’t going to find any within walking distance, so went for a drink instead. It was 3 o’clock by then and ‘The Yellow Cafe’ we’d been to before was just opening up. We were both hot and ready for a drink and a rest so it was nice when a gentle and cooling shower of rain began to fall as we sat watching the jet skiers and swimmers in the big waves.
Back on Rebak later that evening we went to the seafront bar on the sand to make use of the wifi. The pictures I took don’t do justice to how pretty and atmospheric it was. It’s still a novelty to me to be sitting outside in the dark at 9pm in a flimsy vest and shorts without feeling in the least bit cold. One more day here, then it’s on to Telaga.
We did a bit more exploring of the forest here yesterday, keeping mostly to well worn paths, to be fair. We came across another large building,could have been a hotel or a mansion house, but now being taken over by the jungle. I would love to know the history of this place. I’d also like to see the books, how do you make this place make money when everything has to be ferried in and out on little boats?
This island is very alive, it’s teaming with creatures, monkeys come down to rummage through the bins, and the beaches are literally like moving surfaces comprised of sand coloured crabs, snails, and lots of other little creepy things. I made a little video below to make my point!
Soon we are checking out of Malaysia, and I went rummaging through the stacks of boat papers last night to see if I could find our entry papers into Malaysia, which I did. I’m hoping I have everything I need to depart now. Some ‘tea money’ might be needed to cover the name change of the boat.
While doing this I made a note of the locations I have port clearances for, along with marina bills and spare parts etc, I have pieced together the Itinerary the boat took from Hawaii to Malaysia under the previous owner, Toshi’s command. There are some gaps, but basically it’s as shown below covering the last ten years.
This morning I found out that even though the rigging delivery is scheduled for Friday, they won’t deliver on Friday, prayer day, so who knows!
We went ashore and got provisions for a few more days here. Still I’m enjoying the chance to do some studying on google maps and overlaying them on the chart plotter, can be very useful in remote areas where the official charts can be out by a few miles. Tomorrow I’m going to get the monitor wind vane steering kit out and see how it all goes together. That should be fun.
Well the rigging got delayed in China en route here, then more delays in KL, so we have had to just rough it out here at the Rebak resort. Latest is that the rigging will arrive on Friday and we hope to get it rigged, or at least started on Saturday. So I expect checking out of Malaysia on Monday is the best we can hope for.
I took some pictures of the channel into the marina today, you can see how welcoming it becomes as you travel along the little channel after taking a bit of a bashing at sea, not that we did really.
We have had a few walks around the island and spotted monkeys, and lots of this big beaked bird. Need to find out what it is. I think it likes a pint of Guinness maybe?
I climber into the forest a bit, would love to explore more, but within a few minutes things are eating you. should have deet’d up.
One of the tasks I have been working on is the Nav systems and integrating the boats electronics, using a thing called signalK, it’s a modern way of getting everything talking to each other. I’m very pleased with how it’s going. The screen shot above is from my laptop, it’s a program called openCPN which is a very fancy navigation prog. I have it reading the boats data over wifi and displaying on screen, that’s us in the middle with the white dot in the centre. it’s also collecting the AIS data and you can see one boat passing within 3 miles of us, it’s drawn a line of CPA (Closest point of approach). The GRIB weather data is also drawn on the display, but the scale is wrong right now as I downloaded a data set for the whole of SE Asia and the ref points are bigger than I’m zoomed on this sample. I’m just looking at downloading google maps to add into the mix, then it will be very smart.
Time to go and cool down in the pool now, I’m only poolside for the wifi, honest
We enjoyed a fairly leisurely final week at Langkawi’s Royal Yacht Club. Paul concentrated on engine and mast work while my days were mainly spent practising route-plotting on the Navionics app, looking up places to visit in Thailand; daily trips to the shop for dinner ingredients; creating my own vegan meals, and reading while listening to music or radio programmes – not a bad way to pass a week :). Below are a few pics of food items I’ve discovered and grown fond of here, either as snacks or in recipes.
Learning the Navionics app presented a few frustrating challenges for me. The first and foremost one being that I couldn’t distinguish between zooming in and zooming out! Whenever Paul told me to zoom out, I spread my fingers out, which created far less detail than intended, while zooming in had me drawing my fingers together, thus honing in on a place instead of looking at the wider perspective. Another problem was that I found the iPad to be hypersensitive to touch: an inadvertent brush with my fingers on the screen might transport me from the map’s fine detail of a marina berth to a vague spot somewhere in Southeast Asia. Once I’d conquered those challenges, I had the task of remembering the sequence of commands necessary to create waypoints, check water depth, any hazards in the area, location of buoys etc. As with most things technical, I’ll get the hang of it eventually and it will be a useful contribution to plot future passages, and rewarding to steer a course that I’ve plotted myself. This time, with Paul’s help, I created a route from Kuah to Rebak and I went to bed on Thursday night looking forward to following those waypoints from start to finish on the iPad in its stand in the cockpit, for the two and a half hour journey to Rebak.
Since it was only to be a short journey, and we had to arrive at the marina before 3pm (all the staff finish early on a Friday to prepare for prayers), we weren’t in too much of a rush to get away. It was about 10 15 by the time we were ready to depart, which would get us there around lunchtime.It was quite windy and I knew from past experience that this can cause problems when steering slowly away from pontoons but Paul said it would ‘be a doddle’ when I expressed concern.I turned the bow thruster on and waited at the helm while Paul cast off the stern line. In the short space of time he was walking to untie the bow line, the wind was blowing the stern away from the pontoon – creating a wide gap. I yelled at Paul to get on the boat but it was too wide by then and the boat began drifting further away with only me on board.My cries of alarm (which Paul says sounded hysterical and he was probably right, to my shame) must have alerted a guy from a nearby yacht because he appeared on the pontoon and proceeded to stop the bow hitting the power sockets.I was worried about the stern hitting the edge of the opposite pontoon but Paul told me to get to the bow and get a line to take back to the stern to attach to the cleat so he could narrow the gap and get on.I was struggling to cleat it properly, my head bowed in concentration and Paul was telling me it would be fine as long as it was attached when I heard a loud splash that could only be a person hitting the water.My first thought before looking up was that I must have really fouled up if he’d had to resort to jumping in.For a few seconds I didn’t know what had happened and all I could see was Paul’s cap floating away on the surface and then his head came up and after taking a breath, he quipped ‘who shortened the length of the pontoon!’I knew then that he’d fallen in and he was having a bit of a struggle to get out (it’s really tricky to get out of the water at a marina because the pontoons are high, move a lot, and have sharp shells attached). He ended up having to stand on the line I’d attached to the cleat to heave himself up but my hand was in-between the rope and the cleat, causing me to yelp a bit as it was momentarily crushed. My main concern was obviously that Paul was ok and when I saw him standing on the pontoon, dripping wet but engaged in polite sailing chat with our neighbour I knew he was alright. With grateful thanks to the guy, we managed to manoeuvre the boat out of her berth and achieve a smooth departure.
Once we were out in the bay, and the fenders and lines were in, Paul was able to get out of his wet clothes and assess his water-damaged items. The table was soon strewn with notes of various currencies, credit cards, receipts, and more worryingly, his sodden passport.Meanwhile, in the cockpit, I was a bit concerned about the amount of traffic around us and discovered that the iPad was difficult to see without reading glasses and I found I couldn’t steer and keep us on the course at the same time. Once we’d got all that sorted and it looked as though we were finally on our way, Paul noticed that that the engine temperature gauge was showing it was in danger of overheating and we’d have to do without the engine.This meant Paul having to put the headsail up to give us some steerage, all of which took another hour and we were still in sight of the yacht club at 12pm.I wondered if we’d have to go back there but Paul was keen to do the journey to Rebak under sail even if we might be cutting it fine to arrive by 3pm.The next couple of hours were spent ‘tacking’ our way along because the wind was head on and as you can’t sail into the wind you have to ‘zigzag’ your way around it.It’s crucial to get the steering right while the other person adjusts the sail and all Paul’s instructions about wind direction, angles and judging the correct time to change course just wouldn’t go ‘in’ my head.I floundered, fouled up, panicked and felt so useless I burst into tears of frustration, too upset to even take in the beauty of the islands we were sailing past.Amazingly, after a few more attempts and a concerted effort to understand the basics, something clicked and I finally grasped what I needed to do (a lightbulb moment indeed :)). Nevertheless it was a relief to learn that the marina was near (also a relief to learn that the gauge was wrong about the engine overheating so we would be able to motor in after all).The waves were strong and high and it was still very windy right up until we were in the shelter of Rebak’s marina. I felt I could finally relax a bit then and in blazing hot sun we followed a member of staff’s signals to guide us in to our berth. When I looked around me and saw all the palm trees, the lush rainforest opposite and ‘heard’ the silence around us I realised just how beautiful a setting it was. A can of Tiger beer and a glass of wine later and the trauma of the journey began to fade. As Rafiki in ‘The Lion King’ famously said ‘it doesn’t matter; it’s in the past’. I’m still eager for the next trip (I just hope Paul is) 😉
Paul’s passport dried out and is fine, as is all his money. I wish I had thought to photograph of some of the day’s events – the wet money being laid out carefully on the table to dry was a sight to behold. We couldn’t stop laughing later that evening at the thought of Paul walking off the pontoon – it would have been exactly the sort of thing Harry Hill’s funny video programme showed. Anyway Rebak’s delights have been well worth the trials of the journey. We’re here for a few days and I intend to make the most of it.
I had a few titles going through my mind, like “Not my finest hour” or “How Embarrassing” , but on hearing snippets of Kathy’s forthcoming blog, I thought I should get in first, damage limitation being the main aim.
We are currently in Rebak Marina, which is a luxury resort on a private secluded island just off to the north west of the Main Langkawi Island,
It’s a short 2 hour hop from our last port at Kuah town, but due to unforeseen circumstances I managed to make that a little bit longer and a lot more interesting on Friday when we left.
As you can see above we had a double berth at Kuah, so there was an empty space for a boat to fit in on our starboard side. This meant we didn’t need to worry about being pushed onto anyone when we left. So at 10:00 AM we decided to depart, Kathy was on the helm ready to slowly reverse us out, ready to use the bow thruster if needed.
The wind was quite strong now, about 20-25 knots and blowing onto the port quarter of the boat, pushing us away from the pontoon, so a quick reverse and then the bow would blow down in the direction of the exit and away we would go. In theory…
With just a single bow line, and a stern line I let go of the stern line, the boat stayed still and I walked to the bow line and started to un-cleat it. Now the drama starts. Kathy is shouting “Get on the boat Paul” in quite an agitated way, I’m used to this, she doesn’t appreciate just how nimble my ancient frame is, and how I like to jump on at the last minute, but as her cries got louder I looked back and sure enough, the stern was heading of to Rebak on its own, at quite a rate of knots. I re-cleated the bow line and walked back to the stern, sure enough, there was no way I was going to be able to get on. I asked her to throw me the stern line, but when she held up the line, it was obvious it would never reach the pontoon finger. So I walked around the other side of the berth, onto the other spare finger to stop the stern having a big bump when it got there.
By this point Kathy was quite agitated, she has a fear of being on the boat drifting off without me, then she thought we were going to smash ourselves on the other finger. It was all getting a bit much for her, and her cries of despair had alerted our neighbours to the predicament I had created.
No panic, I can handle an audience, usually, after all this isn’t the first time I have messed up mooring or leaving, after all we just needed to pull the stern back and try again, but maybe not let go of the stern line so quickly next time. So I got Kathy to walk to the bow where there was a nice length of rope, pass it to me, I uncoiled it passed the end to Kathy, and instructed her to go back to the stern and tie it on somewhere. This was harder than I expected, Kathy had the gist of it, but didn’t understand that anywhere would do, any cleat or winch would do, but she tried to feed it through the hawse which was full of a big fat (short) mooring line, I was walking back to the end of the pontoon finger with the rest of the line looking at Kathy and giving instructions as to where to tie the line, and just as she got the line around the cleat everything changed. Suddenly I couldn’t see anything, my hearing was odd, my body felt strange, for a split second I was very confused, then it dawned on me I was under water, a few split seconds later I realised the pontoon finger must have shrunk since I last looked, and I had walked right off the end as Kathy was cleating. Part of me found this hilarious, then horror, but a quick pat of my pockets, and Hallelujah, I didn’t have my iPhone on me. Then I remembered how bloody difficult it can be getting back onto the pontoon. The underneath is generally covered in razor sharp barnacles. The Malaysians aren’t the hottest on safety ladders, and my first attempt showed me I couldn’t pull my own weight up. Then a stroke of genius, I still had hold of the mooring line, so I swam to the cleat, cleated Kathy off and used the line to stand on, thereby getting ashore and bringing the boat a bit closer. I did think of trying to pass this off as standard practice for the situation, but looking at the onlookers realised that wouldn’t work. Best just act like this is normal Paul I thought.
So back ashore, I started to pull the boat back over, our neighbour came to help me and joked that he thought I must have jumped in to cool down! that was generous of him, but I felt an idiot. I made idle chat with him, then once we had the boat back I let go of the stern line, he did the same for the bow and off we popped without further issue. We completely forgot to boat hook my cap as we motored past it on the way out of the marina. That was my favourite cap too.
So that should have been enough drama for the day, but no, more was to follow.
As we left the marina we had to cross the entrance to the ferry jetty, at certain times, this gets very busy, and this was one of those times, ferries were queuing up and approaching at different angles, we were motoring though this area just fine when I thought I had better check the engine temperature, as due to the recent problems and the air lock I was a bit concerned. When I looked it appeared to be way too hot and rising. This is bad news. I told Kathy to throttle back, and as soon as we cleared the ferries I stopped the engine, hauled up the staysail, and told Kathy to steer us ahead through the anchorage.
Kathy hadn’t quite seen the funny side of the days activities yet, and was perplexed at the latest development. I wasn’t too concerned as there was 20 knots of wind so we could sail anywhere, I did wonder how you get the mainsail up in 20 knts with no engine to get your nose into the wind. I went below to look at the engine, I had hoped that opening the water filler cap would reveal the air lock had cleared and I could top it up and that would be that, however the water level was fine. Water was exiting the exhaust just fine, I was confused. But no matter Kathy was now shouting that she couldn’t steer and we were going to hit the fuel barge, which to be fair is a lot scarier close up than from shore.
I showed Kathy how we could tack around the anchorage with just the staysail, but she wasn’t a lot happier, some of the gusts now were getting quite big. She continued to steer us around while I scratched my head, opened the air bleed valve on the engine and crawled around the rear of the engine to see if there was anything obvious where the pipes went to the water heater. but everything seemed fine.
So after an hour of prating around, we re-started the engine, and put up the mainsail, with the engine just at tick over, we made course for Rebak.
The engine wasn’t overheating now at idle. Due to the wind direction, which was basically coming from Rebak, we had to tack all the way there, I had one reef in the main, and just the staysail. The genoa might have been better, but I need some more practice in tacking with the Genoa, it’s so big it often has to be manhandled around the inner headsail stay, and under the current circumstances I thought better of it. We also had the problem that it was a Friday today and the Marina office at Rebak shuts early so they can go to Friday prayers, so we were no pushing it to get there on time.
I was now loving this bit, the gusts were pushing us over at times and at one point the rail was just in the water, yet the boat felt very safe, It seemed she would heel so far then be really stiff and heel no more, and there was not much issue with weather helm either.
Looking at the chart plotter, which Kathy had programmed up the night before, I could see some very strategic tacks we could make through the small islands/rocks around us and save a few minutes, definitely worth a try if we were racing, but in each case we would be just half a mile from lee shores , rocky ones at that, so again, I didn’t think it worth it.
For the last tack I pumped up the engine a bit, just to give us a few more degrees and we made the entrance to the marina with about 3 minutes to spare.
We arrived out of the pounding Andaman sea int a tranquil lagoon, and Kathy seemed most relieved, in fact I’m not sure she will want to leave here.
On checking the engine, the air lock had now worked it’s way through and I was able to replace the missing coolant, and as a bonus, the water pipe wasn’t leaking and the oil scavenger connection wasn’t leaking either, so the sump tray was completely dry and clean.
We did have a good laugh about events later, Kathy had thought I had jumped in to swim over to save her, that would have been very gallant of me 😉
Yesterday she spent the day at the poolside reading, I spent the afternoon doing computer / techie things on the boat with a thing called SignalK and openCPN which was great fun. I also found out how much more I can achieve without the internet to help me. I deliberately didn’t buy any internet access for the boat just to see how we get on. We have it at the pool for emergencies 😉 but I found not being able to follow interesting tangents, made me reach my goal much quicker. More on that in a subsequent techie post.
I look forward to seeing Kathy’s take on the events of the day