Archive for December, 2010

Hi All,

We’re back at work today and should be back in the water tomorrow. Yippee. Randal has truly worked hard and DoraMac is looking beautiful. I’ve been the gopher but that’s ok. Hope all of you who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful day with family and friends and good food and good cheer. We certainly had lots of both last night.

Ru

DoraMac

Merry Christmas from Rebak Marina 2010

Christmas at Rebak is a fairly low key event anyway, but when you’re on the hard you only think about work because you’re basically too tired to think about much else. This morning Randal and I actually went into Kuah to collect the remaining pieces of canvas we’d had re-sewn and a second stainless steel part he needs to complete a project. One piece of canvas wasn’t finished because Randal hadn’t created the design for it yet. Thankfully Nasir says he can finish it by tomorrow afternoon. Monday Nasir and his wife are leaving Langkawi to spend two weeks in Indonesia where his children are in school and will have a school holiday We want to leave Rebak January 2nd or 3rd so couldn’t wait for his return on the 7th. Tonight we’ll go to the Christmas buffet just as we did last year. Here’s the menu…..

Christmas Season Asian Fiesta Buffet Dinner

Appetizers & Salads

Mesclun Salad, Potato Salad, Smoked Fish Platter, Pasta Salad, Salad Nicoise, Smoked Turkey Breast Platter, Beetroot & Nuts, Cold Cuts Platter, Anti-Pasta Platter, Cucumber

Soup

Shellfish Soup

Assorted Bread Rolls with Butter and Margarine

Main Dishes

Panfried Fish Fillet with Sumac Powder-Citrus Sauce

Lamb Stew with Gremolata (lemon zest, garlic and parsley!)

Poached Chicken with Tarragon Cream Sauce

Eggplant Moussaka

Roast New Potato

Pasta with Seafood Mushroom Ragout

Buttered Garden Vegetables

Buttered Rice

Carving

Traditional Roast Turkey, Cranberry Relish, Cashew Nut Stuffing, Glazed Chestnut,

Apple Cider Sauce

Desserts

Tropical Fruits, Gingerbread House Display, XMASS Pudding-Vanilla Butter Sauce, X Mass Fruit Cake, Chocolate Mud Cake, Red Fruit Jelly, Yule Log Cake, Crème Brule, Assorted Cookies

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Waiting for the party to begin

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Setting up the buffet

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Compliments to the chefs

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My choices.

Panfried fish, Moussaka, Lamb Stew, and Buttered Veggies washed down with some Riesling we’d bought in town that afternoon.

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Dessert Table

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Gingerbread House just for display

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Cookies, Cakes, Yule Logs

I had some Christmas Pudding and a small serving of crème brule !

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Even the Red Jell-O was festive

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Randal has been working hard for days now and deserved a really good meal!

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Julia and Jim Parker

We met Julia and Jim last year and have been friends since. They were some of the first American cruisers we met. We had Christmas buffet with them last year so it is now officially a tradition that when we are all here for Christmas we have the buffet together. But we are heading for the Mediterranean and they are heading around Africa back towards the States. But if we all keep cruising, we’ll meet up again somewhere because that’s just the way it is in the cruising world.

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Rebak Hard Stand Antifouling Paint and Hull Buffing

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There were a few places where the antifouling had worn off the bottom and barnacles had begun to grow on the primer. These places had to be sanded and primed before new antifouling could be painted on.

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Cordless drills are a must for jobs like this; mixing up the antifouling paint.

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Buffing the boat.

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As I was on the scaffolding people would walk by and comment on the sheen of the paint.

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This is Dora Mac after a trip to the spa. She is beautiful and glistening and will slide through the water with the greatest of ease. We want to see how little fuel we can use on our 1520 NM to Cochin, India.

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  Had my first acupuncture experience yesterday!  Just before we had left Roanoke I went to the Highland Park "dog park"  with my sister and their dog Max.  Max is a small dog, rat terrier but we took him into the "big dog" half of the park because that’s where the dogs were.  He literally ran circles around them and it was fun to watch.  But it was also cold and damp.  I ran around a bit too.  That afternoon my sciatica started to act up and I could hardly walk.  Next day not so bad.  I took Advil, did stretches.  But when I got back here it got worse and worse and by the end of the day I could hardly stand up because my hip and knee hurt.  When we got up on the hard I decided to stop stretching and stop my morning walks.  The pain seemed to ease a bit but still by late afternoon I could hardly stand it.  More Advil and more Advil.  But during the day the pain was less even if I walked.  So by yesterday I wasn’t exactly sure why I was going to the acupuncturist, but why not.  Our friends Fien, Hans, and Julia had all seen Prof. Dr. Shamsudeen and had been relieved of pain and had been impressed with his knowledge and skill.  And Fien assured me that new needles were always used and not even touched by him.  He inserted them right from their container.  of, course I didn’t see any of it because I was face down on the table with my head in a hole cut out to rest my face in.  Doctor Dinn as he is called has hours from 4 to 9 pm and no appointments are taken.  You just wait your turn.  Fien suggested that we take the 5:15 ferry from Rebak, go to the appointment and then return to the ferry terminal where we would meet Randal and Hans for dinner at the small restaurant there and catch the 8:45 pm ferry back to the marina. 

  We caught the 5:15 ferry and there was a taxi at the terminal which was good.  And even better, the driver, a young man spoke English quite well.  He and Fien negotiated a fare of 24 ringits ( $6 )and I said fine with me and off we went.  Luckily Fien knew the way though our driver was good and after we complimented him on his English he told us a good part of his education history and his regrets at spending too much time "being naughty" and not learning.  Now he sees friends who had studied hard with much better jobs than his so has regrets but he is still optimistic about his future if he works hard and God gives him some luck.  The Selayang Healthcare Center of Dr.Dinn is a 15 minute drive into Kuah.  I asked our driver for his number so we could call him later but he said that he’d wait since fares at the ferry terminal were slow.  As it turned out, that was quite good as it wasn’t a spot where you’d normally find a taxi waiting for fares.  Hans and Fien had always taken their motorbike. 

   So first I filled out a short form with my name, address, passport number, short description of my problem, and then we waited.  There were some teenage girls and their mom from Qatar there too, but that’s a whole separate story.  After about 15 minutes it was my turn.  Dr. Dinn sort of reminded my of Joe the Pharmacist in town whom I really like so he had that going for him.  And right away you just know he knows his stuff.  He listens to what you say but is already 2 steps ahead because he knows how the body works and where pain comes from and all of the problem points of sciatica.  Of course, with my pain not so fierce as it had been, I was less definitive about where it hurt, but he still knew. 

   I took off my shorts and lay down on the table with my face in the cutout space.  Before he started and through it all he asked how I was doing.  I was always fine, a bit nervous and also very ticklish!  First needle went into the top of my head and that was the oddest part to me.  Then more and more went in and it didn’t hurt…I just was afraid it would.  On a shot scale of 1 to 10 with 10 hurting the most, I’d give dental novocane shots a 7 and acupuncture needles a 1.5.  Once they were in he would do something and ask what I felt and I kept saying nothing which surprised him.  He must have applied electrodes to the needles because finally he turned something way up and I had a shock in my foot that I definitely felt!  Made him and Fien chuckle.  I figured it was payback from my group home days when we would get some kid to volunteer to touch the electric fence with a wet leaf to see if it was on.  Can’t believe we did that or that this really big kid would always do it.  Guess he got a "charge" from it.  So who was I to complain.  Next, all of the needles were hooked up and started to stimulate my muscles or nerves.  It was mildly intense; similar to the treatment I’d had from a wonderful physical therapist in Roanoke.  But her treatment was a cycle and this was ZAP,ZAP,ZAP.  Then he told me I would have it for 30 minutes; ZAP ZAP ZAP…the worse part though was 30 minutes with nothing to read and too much ZAPPING to snooze.  I was also afraid to move thinking I would stab myself with a needle and make it hurt.  Fien came periodically to check on me and so did Doctor Dinn who I think secretly upped the voltage.  When I asked him he said, "Oh, do you want me to increase the voltage?"  I said NO and that was the end of the discussion but I could feel my leg jumping around on the table.  Finally it was over and the workout had been so intense that there wasn’t instant relief when all the needles were removed.   Next came the suction glasses.  He put on several and I still have a red ring on my backside where it was most intense.  Some glasses popped off instantly and some left marks.  Apparently the problem places hold the cups and leave the marks. When that was over he had me stand up and say where it hurt.  Nowhere and everywhere so it was hard to tell.  But when he would press the problem spot, that would hurt.  The last thing he did was to put two very very tiny needles attached to a tiny circular pad into the side of my leg just below my knee and behind my knee that I was to leave in for a week unless it hurt and then I was to take them out.  Fien said that she had to pull one of hers out early because it hurt and one fell out and she stepped on it and that hurt more.  When I paid I was given a small vile of tiny little white balls of homeopathic medicine of some kind.  Two balls three times a day under the tongue with no food or water.  He also told me to avoid air conditioning and ice cubes.  Amazing since my leg had already begun to improve as soon as we went on the hard and had no AC.  My legs get stiff at night in the chill and I get leg cramps.  No AC and my problem lessens.  Cost of the entire visit and pills 50 ringits.  Next visit would be 40.  I asked when I should come back if I had time and he just old me his hours.  He never pushed that I had to come back.  Fien said she’d go with me again, so if I can’t talk Randal into a visit for his back, (which all of the boat work seems to be curing) next time we’re in town, I’ll go with Fien. 

  The taxi was waiting and we drove back through the night.  By the time we arrived back at the ferry and actually were served our food we had about 10 minutes to eat.  Poor Fien got hers last and had to gulp it down and it was spicy hot.  I gave the driver a tip so ultimately paid 54 ringits to the taxi driver, so 4 ringit more than I had paid Dr. Dinn.  Hard to imagine that. 

   I took the white pills before bed and after breakfast this morning.  So far no Advil.  My knee hurts and feels kind of stiff, but everything else seems to feel a bit better.  Dr. Dinn has been practicing for 20 years and when I told him I was ticklish he said, No problem.  He had been kicked, hit, etc by patients and found it all to be part of the job.  A very nice man as well as knowledgeable.  An experience!

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On the Hard Stand at Rebak Marina December 2010

Twice before DoraMac has been pulled from the water. Both times we had to contend with wind and current and it was touch and go at times. The first time we were pulled was in China at the Seahorse fiberglass yard. It was up a channel and there was wind and current and if I remember correctly we had to back in so the bow thrusters were, of course, no help. We had to wait for the exact right time and movement of the wind and current to get into the slip. At Batu Maung they used a small motorboat to pull our bow around in the strong current and still it took almost an hour to get into the slip. Both Randal and I started to fear for the worst but ultimately we were in the slip without a scratch. This time SMOOTH AS GLASS!!!!! Not only were the conditions mostly calm, but our neighbor Hans and other neighbor Dale let loose our slip lines and then came aboard to help at the other end, catching the lines. Mostly I watched and learned. Good thing because the next day I helped Jim and Julia when Papillon was pulled. All I had to do was catch one line at the end because the marina had sent someone to help them. They have a very wide catamaran and that’s a bit trickier than ours which isn’t so wide.

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We came from a slip just past the far boats so it was a pretty easy straight shot.

We went in bow first because of the angle of our mast which we had to lower a bit when we backed in at Batu Maung.

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Checking our clearance but we had “lots” of room.

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A diver with a face mask but no tank dove under the boat to check the placement of the straps used to lift the boat. They decided to add a third strap.

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The driver of the giant contraption that lifts the boat.

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You can see all of the levers and the foot pedal that the driver uses.

This is actually Papillon, our friends Julia and Jim’s catamaran which only had inches to spare on either side of the small lift slip. At this point they are over in the power wash station. Once in the straps the boat is lifted out of the water and onto land. There it stays for a bit as a team of guys scrapes the barnacles and muscles from the bottom of the boat. Unfortunately I don’t have photos of DoraMac because before they lifted us from the water we had to quickly climb out over the bow onto the dock. No time to grab camera, or book or anything! Rats. But when the men were done there was a small pile of muscles that they separated from the rest of the mess. Guess someone would cook them. When it was moved to the power wash station Randal asked if I wanted to get back on and I did because that’s where my camera and book were.

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DoraMac being power washed.

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Our parking space on land.

Looking down on our slip because I was on the boat.

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The hard stand area is on the far side of the marina away from the entrance breezes and closer to the trees and mosquitoes. We can hear the hornbills screeching in the morning and the tree frogs or cicadas making a racket in the afternoon. Haven’t seen any monkeys (anywhere on the islands actually) though we have been warned that they, at times, make raids onto the boats.

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Randal with his work table making primer.

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Hard stands hold up DoraMac and so the expression, “on the hard.”

Our paint still is shiny enough to reflect the sailboat on our left. Sadly, that’s how the boat looks most of the time…no workers doing any work. These are not the same workers who pulled us from the water. Those were marina workers. The painters are a crew registered with the marina and pretty much our only option. Maybe things will pick up. They get paid by the job, not by the hour.

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Randal doing some of the work while one of the paid guys wet sands the boat to get it ready for the anti-fouling paint.

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We have a ladder this time and it’s actually easier than the barrel and boxes we’ve used in the past because I said I hate ladders. But I’m very, VERY careful. It’s still a long way to the ground.

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Lots of work is still done by hand with a combination of water and sandpaper.

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DoraMac on the hard.

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Okay, so today Randal and I were talking and I realized my biggest fear about our passage to India and then up through the Red Sea is that I’ll miss Spring Training and most of the baseball season until we get to the Mediterranean in May. Yipes! We’ll be able to send and receive short email messages from our web page manager and to keep our business manager Helen posted through our single side band radio sail mail, but we won’t have Internet access other than Internet Cafes along the way. Our cell phone connection for the computer needs a SIM card for each country we visit. We won’t be anywhere long enough through the Red Sea to make it feasible to get a SIM card, actually for our regular cell phones either. We can talk with other boats along the way with our VHF radio so we will have communications, just not with most of you very often. When we finally do have Internet Access I’ll send an overload of stuff to you. Sorry.

Our actual passage from here to Cochin (Kochi) India isn’t totally decided upon nor are our stops in the Red Sea. But we will go up the west side of the Red Sea probably stopping in Eritrea (which I had never heard of till now,) maybe the Sudan and hopefully Egypt where I definitely want to see the new Library of Alexandria. For weather related reasons you’re supposed to be out of the Red Sea by the end of May.

We’ll go through the Suez Canal and then aim for Ashkelon on the coast of Israel, about 40 miles south of Tel Aviv.

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Red Sea map from the Red Sea Pilot

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Our almost complete flag collection.

We still need a flag for Sudan and I’ll also get Cyprus and Greece though it will be a while before we might need those flags. The yellow flag is our quarantine flag which is flown when you enter a new country. The green flag with the seahorse is another Seahorse Marine pennant we use on the bow to show where the wind is blowing. We have a new American flag ready to replace the worn out one we have now. I’ll have to bring it home to dispose of it. Can’t burn it on a diesel fuel boat and there’s no good place to bury it. And, straight from an overpriced sports shop in Hyannis, we have the all essential Red Sox flag to be flown throughout baseball season.

Yesterday was another trip to town. We dropped off our scuba tanks to be filled and retrieved some stainless steel poles Randal had ordered. They will replace the PVC ones we use now to hold up the side awnings. Randal is finishing installing them as I type. Last night we had dinner on Pelikaan, the boat of our friends Hans and Fien. The main course was crepes made in their brand new, bought that morning, frying pan. They were wonderful ; filled with your choice of cheese, avocado or mango. I mixed mango and avocado with some mango chutney and it was great.

Today we’re back to chores. Tomorrow DoraMac will be lifted from the water and put on a hard stand so the bottom can be repainted with anti-fouling paint. We hope it won’t take a week, but that will depend on the weather and how quickly the painters work. Randal will stand over them with a carrot and stick.

No real cooking on the hard because everything has to be carried off the boat to be washed. I’m going to quit typing and make some salmon patties for dinner tonight and meals on the hard. Just rewarm them in the microwave and eat from a paper plate. No mess.

Ru

DoraMac

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Chores, chores and more chores….. But Randal is checking tasks off his list and our mattress cover got its first good washing in ages. And the bathrooms are scrubbed and the weather is cooperating for line drying everything. Tomorrow I think I’ll tackle the kitchen and maybe even vacuum some of the carpeting.

Last night we had dinner with several other cruisers up at the Hard Dock Restaurant run by the marina. This morning Julia from Papllion and I went for a slow, mid-morning walk. We went about 9 am which is middle of the morning here because of the heat. And late morning Nick from Devon Gypsy delivered a gift of books and things from our friends Elizabeth and Patrick on Labarque who are now in George Town. We had left some books and things for them because unfortunately our timing was off and we couldn’t all be in George Town at the same time. Boat delivery is a sailing community service that has gone on since there were sailors and people waiting at home wanting letters. Everything gets passed along until it finally reaches the boat it’s destined for. We’ve acted as courier a few times. It’s nice

On Monday DoraMac will go “on the hard.” We’ll be lifted from the water and placed on a stand as we were once in China and once last year in Batu Maung. The bottom will be repainted with primer and anti-fouling paint and the zincs possibly replaced. Not sure how many days it will take but it isn’t the most fun thing in the world. We can’t run our AC because it’s requires running ocean water through the system to cool it. We may well join the crowd at the pool in the afternoons to get away from the heat. We’ll use the marina showers too just as we did at the yard in Batu Maung. Dirty dishes need to be carried off the boat and washed away from the area so we’ll use paper plates and maybe eat more often at the Hard Dock…at least for dinners. We’ll also have to find our trusty bucket “porto-potty.” Luckily this boat pulling thing doesn’t happen very often.

So that’s about it. Is it baseball season yet?

Ru

DoraMac

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Our new mascot….a gift from Patrick and Elizabeth.

Our front flag is a seahorse from Seahorse Marine…our boat builder. And we have some Red Sox flags to hang up too.

More photos

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Randal at work

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Installing our new wind indicator which tells speed and direction.

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Roger getting into our boson’s chair.

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Bread made in a slow cooker…..hmmm

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It obviously didn’t quite work…

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The bread pan was too small so the bread squished out from under the foil cover and rose over the top of the pan landing in the slow cooker.

It didn’t take all that long to make the bread because the dough doesn’t get kneaded. It’s quite sticky dough. You put it in the bread pan and cover it with foil to keep the condensing water off of the bread. (Some recipes tell you to put paper towels under the top of the cooker to catch that liquid which I didn’t.) I cooked it for 2 ½ hours instead of the 3 they said so maybe it was a bit underdone too. Part of it could be sliced and toasted and it actually wasn’t so bad but too whole wheat tasting for Randal. I might try it again with a bigger pan or less dough and cook it longer and use the paper towels. And more white flour. The recipe came from Cook It and Forget it. If anyone has made bread in a slow cooker and it worked, let me know how you did it. It certainly beats turning on the oven for an hour.

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Morning walk around Rebak

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Hornbills were fighting over the berries.

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I love this part of the walk where the rocks are reds and gold.

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Gold

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Red

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A pattern in the rock that looks like ancient painting.

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  Pretty much all of our time is devoted to getting ready for our passage to the Mediterranean.  That means provisioning (mostly my job) , and installing all of the new gadgets and gizmos such as our spiffy new wind indicator (all Randal’s jobs except when I have to help hold the wires or push the buttons.)  Thankfully our friend Roger from WingsNStrings went up our mast to help install the wind indicator.  He seems comfortable up there and Randal doesn’t and I don’t know how to do wiring even if I would go up which I can’t imagine….ever.  We used our brand new boson’s chair and it worked like a charm and Roger came down safe and sound.  That was Monday.  Tuesday we went to town.  Today we’ve been  doing chores and laundry.  Tonight we’ll go up to the Hard Dock Cafe for dinner with Peter and Kathy.  And so it goes.

Ru

DoraMac

Shopping Day in Kuah

Caught the 8:45 ferry from Rebak to Langkasuka landing on Langkawi. It was a lovely day with blue sky. It has been pretty rainy here and our second trip to town started off in a heavy drizzle. This was our 3rd trip.

Waited our turn along with several other cruising couples to get a Mr. Din car. We had up-scaled to a 50 ringgit car because they don’t sound and act as if they’re about to fall apart as the 40 ringgit cars do. That’s a difference of about $3 US.

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Lots of leg room, good AC and windows that roll up and down by hand!

It was a boxy shaped car that was great for passengers. Randal didn’t have so much room behind the steering wheel but for just two of us it felt like a luxury sedan! The smaller red car next to ours is a 40 ringgit Din car.

First stop of every shopping day is the Petronas station in nearby Matsirat because the Din cars have just enough petrol to get you from the ferry terminal to the Petronas station using the last dregs of fuel and the fumes. You see all of the other cruisers here but then everyone goes off in lots of different directions. I’ve written before about shopping in Langkawi. It isn’t a simple process. In Roanoke, even if you have to go to a mall and then, maybe Home Depot, and possibly Krogers, that’s possibly a pain, but not horrible unless you go the day before Thanksgiving, the day before Christmas, the day after Christmas, or the day they warn a winter storm is coming. In those cases the problem is fighting the crowds. Here the problem is that there are no malls for things that cruisers need, and some shops have one thing and other shops have the other thing you need. So our day went like this.

Second stop: the Canvas Man.

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Randal and Nasir, The Canvas Man.

We’re having new screening made to go over our windows to keep out the bugs and mosquitoes. It actually attaches on the outside of the boat. We bought the material in Phuket. Though it is dark green, from the inside of the boat it is really no darker than regular screen so should work really well. The screens we have now really don’t work well at all. Nasir had already re-sewn our front and side awning where the thread had deteriorated.

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This is our cockpit cover with the zippered opening for the flybridge ladder.

The zipper always let rain drip in and then it fell apart and then two shops tried to replace the zipper and now hopefully Nasir can fix it. Actually Randal had redesigned the opening and discussed it with Nasir who understood but thought it needed some more thinking. He knows his stuff! And is very fluent in English. The little two wheeled cart is ours. You have to carry stuff from the boat around the marina to the ferry in Rebak and then supplies back to the boat in the afternoon. The marina has what are really too small wheel barrows you can borrow to carry stuff back to the boat and, on occasion, the ferry will drop you at your own dock. But that’s rare and you have to take care of yourself.

Third Stop:The Stainless Steel Shop.

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I asked Randal if he knew the Stainless Steel Man’s name and he said he didn’t even know the name of the shop! But everyone knows where it is. “You know, it’s the place at the top of the hill just before the stoplight when you drive back from Kuah to Matsirat. “

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The Stainless Man speaks very little English but knows his stuff too. A teenage boy acts as an interpreter. We checked on the project Randal had ordered and it was partially completed. Randal was impressed. They have a very friendly brown dog that came to be petted while I waited in the car. She actually tried to climb in! I offered her a cracker but she just wanted attention. Finally when I got out of the car and put the cracker on a rock she picked it up to eat it. I managed to persuade her to eat several. She’d just had puppies so I figured she could use the extra food.

Fourth Stop: Paint and Hardware.

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Randal is walking into the Jotun paint shop and I went next door to the hardware shop to buy bungee cords. The little clerk is learning English and bungee is a word she hadn’t yet learned. But I described it and she found them. She asked me to write the word down on a piece of paper which I did…spelling it wrong because until I just looked it up I didn’t know how to spell it. We’ll be in there again and I’ll tell her the right way.

5th stop another paint shop.

Then we drove into the center of Kuah.

6th stop bank for more money.

7th stop hardware shop to start spending the new money.

8th stop Lunch.

9th stop Chart shop for country flags for Oman and Yemen depending on our route to the Middle East, printer paper, and to check on paint.

10th stop drive around searching for an electrical shop. We found the sign for one but it had changed and become a sport fishing shop.

11th stop Joe’s Pharmacy for diarrhea meds since we’re going to India and we’ve been told it’s hard to avoid stomach issues. Joe is a really good pharmacist.

13th stop the bakery but I had too little time because Randal, back at the car after visiting a paint shop was coming right then to pick me up. I did buy a loaf of bread and some breadsticks but didn’t see any exploding birthday candles which everyone buys there. Maybe they’re out or maybe I just didn’t see them.

14th stop the Indian shop to buy cheese because that’s where Liz showed us to buy cheese the last time we were here so we do. And they’re very nice.

15th stop the grocery store across the road for 6 bags of Nescafe 3+1 coffee packets that Randal drinks, 30 + 5 in each bag. It’s instant coffee, sugar and creamer in one packet . Mr. Lim, from Macau, had given us some when we’d met on our Beijing tour years ago and Randal has used them ever since. Anyway, they’re essential and we’re not sure when we’ll have a chance to shop for them. Hopefully they sell them in Kochi (Cochin) where we will be by late January.

16th stop big grocery store/alcohol warehouse in Matsirat for some groceries and to make another list of canned goods we’ll load up on. Spinach, green beans, beans, tomatoes, some canned fruit…again because we don’t know when we’ll really provision again.

17th stop, yet another paint store as Randal looks for the paint and primer he really wants at a reasonable price. Time after that stop was 1:35pm. A ferry leaves from Langkasuka back to Rebak at 2:30 and then not again until 4:30. We usually take the 2:30 because we’re sick of running around and shopping by then. But we still had to drive up to Telaga to check on the price of an availability of fuel at the marina fuel dock. We had gotten fuel there before our trip to Thailand so we are familiar with it and know not to go during or right after the Chinese New Year Holiday. Anyway, we drove there and I thought we’d do a leisurely tour of the marina shop and maybe explore the area. But Randal was back in the car in no time so we could race back to catch the 2:30 ferry. Thankfully we actually did make it because if we’d have missed it there was nothing to do but sit for 2 hours at the ferry terminal or I guess drive back into Matsirat. But we were both tired and my sciatic leg was hurting so I’m glad that we made the ferry. We also dodged the real rain showers that had come during Randal’s final paint shop visit and then again while we unloaded the car at the ferry waiting area. The rain had moved through the area really fast so where some areas were getting soaked others had sun. The sun was out when we had to load our purchases onto the ferry. We hadn’t really bought lots so it wasn’t such an awful task to get it onto the ferry or off again and to the boat.

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There’s lots to do getting reading for our passage across the Indian Ocean to the Middle East. The first step was moving DoraMac from Puteri Harbour Marina in Johor, Malaysia to Rebak Marina on small Rebak Island off the coast of Langkawi Island, Malaysia. We left 11/28, traveled for 8 days anchoring each night; spent the 5th and 6th in George Town at the Tanjong City Marina, and arrived at Rebak Marina on the 7th after a very long day’s passage. We traveled from Puteri to George Town with our friends Kathy and Peter on Wave Runner.

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You can just make out Wave Runner, a double-masted ketch below the dramatic cloud.

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Putting down the anchor off a tiny island just past Port Dixon. It was choppy but actually a pretty good anchorage.

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Randal watches from our pilot house.

When you anchor near other boats you have to leave enough space so when you swing around you don’t smack into each other. We talk back and forth over the VHF radio.

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The black line shows our movements at anchor and indicates if we are doing a normal swing as the current or wind changes of if we are dragging anchor.

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Our propeller churned up the water bringing tiny fish to the surface which making tasty meals for these birds who followed us for quite a while diving into the water to catch them. You can see wave runner in the distance.

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A lovely sunset on Burnham River.

So, now we’re here at Rebak and work has begun in earnest! Randal has a massive list and I am cleaning the inside top to bottom and trying to plan for enough food to get us to Cochin India and beyond. We’re stocking up on lots of canned vegetables and fruit, rice and powdered potatoes. It’s an 11 day/night passage from Rebak to Cochin India. Our longest non-stop so far has been 4 nights. But other than a few vegetables in George Town we lived on the food I’d bought in Puteri and that same amount of food will get us to Cochin. We just don’t eat very hungry when we’re on the boat so simple meals are the rule.

Our pattern so far seems to work a few days and then go into Langkawi for boat parts Randal might need and to begin buying items on our provision list. Since we have to fit them into our small rental car and then carry them all onto the small ferry back to Rebak and then carry them from the Rebak dock to the far side of the marina where we are berthed, you do things in small batches. Sometimes the ferry (a large speed boat able to carry about 20 people) will drop us and our supplies on our dock but not when the ferry is full of hotel guests who are top priority. We have been to town twice so far. The first time was on Thursday and that morning we checked in with Immigration and the Harbour Master and Customs. When we leave we’ll have to go back and check out. Today, Saturday, Peter and Kathy came along supposedly for the ride. By the time we were all done shopping there was barely room in the small compact car for everything. But we all squished and it worked. After a rest Randal installed our new “self-tailing winch” which I’ll use when I pull in our Paravane fish and it will be so much easier than when I had to turn the winch handle with one hand and haul on the end of the line with the other. Now I can use both hands on the handle and that will make it a breeze! Tomorrow we’ll do boat work pretty much most of the day.

Lots of our boat friends are here at Rebak. Wave Runner, Papillon, Wing N Strings, and Pelikaan will be coming on the 13th. Lots of other nice people to meet too. But mostly we’re here to work and get ready to go. One certainly doesn’t get bored which we did the first time we were here a year ago and had little to do.

Also, I’ve lots of books to read. To get over my fear of the long passages, I have begun reading about all of the places in the Mediterranean that I want to see.

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The ones across the top shelf are just some of the books I have on my reading list. Thankfully we made it under the luggage weight limit flying back to Singapore. During our trip to New England we visited lots of used book stores and only once walked out empty handed! And our friends Ellen and Gabriel Szego gave us a set of Pimsleur Modern Hebrew 1 language tapes. After umpteen years of Hebrew School I should be able to relearn something. They do make more sense to me than the Chinese tapes I tried and failed to learn from. But Hebrew sounds remotely familiar so I can actually recreate what I hear because I can actually hear what the sounds are.

While I read the books that I’ve bought I make notes about the places the authors visit. Then I take the new journal my friend Ellen treated me to, and I make notes. All of that keeps me focused on the adventures to come and not my fears of getting there.

Here are my books, not in any order other than the first two which I’ve read.

  1. Travels with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor who traveled together around Greece, France, and Turkey.
  2. The Liquid Continent by Nicholas Woodsworth. He looks at the entire Mediterranean as a “liquid continent” traveling to Alexandria, Venice, and Istanbul to see why those people are or were in the past so cosmopolitan.
  3. Letters From Egypt: A Journey on the Nile 1849-1950 by Florence Nightingale. It was during this time while touring that Nightingale convinced herself and her parents, through her letters home, what she saw her life should be. 1986 edition. Edited by Anthony Sattin who has a newer edition now and adds to it the letters of Flaubert from his time on the Nile.
  4. Journey to Kars- A modern traveler in the Ottoman Lands by Philip Glazenbrook
  5. Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petraea, and the Holy Land by John Lloyd Stephens who died in 1852.
  6. The Bastard of Istanbul: A novel by Elif Shafak
  7. Opening the Gates: A century of Arab Feminist Writing
  8. The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew Three Women Search for Understanding by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner
  9. Miriam’s Kitchen by Elizabeth Ehrilich
  10. Unsettled, An Anthology of the Jews by Melvin Konner
  11. The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land by Donna Rosenthal (also from Ellen and Gabriel.)
  12. My Father’s Paradise: A son’s search for his Jewish past in Kurdish Iraq by Ariel Sabar
  13. Walking the Bible by Bruce Feiler

So now that I have my list I have to read. I read all about Tibet after our tour there and it definitely works much better the other way round! And I need to get back to my painting or my friends Marie Louise and Joan will wash their hands of me. And I need to walk around the island at least once to check on the monkey and hornbill populations. Haven’t seen either yet. My sciatic leg has been hurting so walking lots isn’t so good. But it does seem to be getting a bit better each day.

So that’s it.

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Tanjong City Marina

Hi All,

We left Puteri Harbour Marina on November 28th early in the morning and have traveled every day anchoring each night. Our Kiwi friends Kathy and Peter on Wave Runner have been our traveling mates. They’re also heading to Langkawi for December. We’ve known them for years now since we first met at our last stop in Indonesia in October 2008.

It has been an interesting passage with calm fast days, rolling days, long days, storms, fishing nets, faulty fuel level gages, and off-key karaoke till 2 am. We’ve had to regain our sea legs and relearn all of the things we did so routinely. But it is like riding a bike, you never really forget. Our meals are basic with boiled eggs, tomato, and cucumber for lunch and vegetable soup for dinner. We nibble on plain crackers all during the day. I had made a pot of what was to have been chicken - vegetable soup the day before we set off. But, unfortunately, when I opened the 3 packages of chicken breast I’d bought in JUSCO the day before, they all smelled so strongly of rotten eggs there was no doubt that they were bad. So a can of chopped up turkey spam went into the soup instead. By the end of a cruising day we’re tired rather than hungry so soup is just the thing and easy to re-warm.

On our third day about half way to our anchorage off Port Dixon, something about the way the engine sounded wasn’t right. Then there was no sound at all, which is the worst possible sound there can be while you’re cruising along. Luckily for us we had passed the small fishing boats and their flag markers, we were in deep water, the sea was calm, there was lots of visibility and best of all Wave Runner was coming along about a mile back in case we had a real problem. Randal checked a few things and then decided that our fuel gage was off and we were out of fuel in our cruising tank. He immediately started pumping fuel from a holding tank into the cruising tank and the lovely sound of a working engine was soon reaching my ears up on the fly-bridge where I was keeping watch and staying in contact with Wave Runner who had called when they noticed we’d stopped moving. Our fuel gage had tricked us once before, amazingly then too, on our way to Port Dixon. Randal says it’s totally coincidental, there’s no possible mathematical or mechanical explanation and I’m an idiot for thinking otherwise. And no, we won’t go into the discussion that led to that last statement! Randal denies that he said I was an idiot. He said that no one in the entire universe could possible look at it the way I did = idiot to me. Anyway, the fuel problem was fixed and we anchored pretty peacefully that night.

It poured early the next morning but luckily quit before we had to pull up anchor. However, the seas were rolling making Randal seasick so I drove most of the day. Good practice for me though I do get nervous and eat too many crackers. Randal was better by mid-day and he negotiated the channel up the river at Port Klang to our anchorage. We’d anchored there once before and though storms were around us we’d had a calm, quiet night. Not this time! At 3 am we were moving the boat while 35 mile winds from a Sumatra blew us towards Wave Runner. Our anchor had begun to drag and we didn’t want to chance getting too close so I put on my rain jacked and went out on the bow as Randal pulled up our anchor ( we do it mechanically, not manually.) It was my job to let him know when the anchor was out of the water. Then it was my job to tell him how much chain we had put out when we dropped it again. About 10 minutes after I had come in and changed into dry clothes we realized we were still dragging so we did it all over again. This time it held. Then I dried off and went back to sleep. Randal sleeps in the pilot house when we’re at anchor so he can check on things like our anchor dragging. This is what I wrote in my journal about the following day; “I was really tired all day today and it was a long 70 mile day. But I’d fed Randal some Stugeron (seasick prevention pills) so he didn’t get sick and we made great time arriving at our anchorage at 5:45pm. We’d left Port Klang at daylight at 6:45 am.” As we were cruising along a small flock of what I’m guessing are terns started following closely behind. At first we thought they mistook us for a fishing trawler because with our Paravane arms out we look like one. Since we had no fish dragging behind us I thought they’d take us for really bad fishermen. But what we soon realized was that  our propeller was churning up the water and bringing tiny fish close to the surface and the birds were diving for them. They followed us quite a while and then just flew away.

Thankfully our night’s anchorage on Burnham River lived up to the rave reviews we’d given Wave Runner. (Of course we’d raved about the Port Klang anchorage too!) It was calm and quiet and we had Internet access through our DiGi 3G phone.

Pankor Island, our next stop was more rolly and noisy than we had remembered from a previous visit. We’d had a slow, long, and bumpy day against the current which had made a short mileage day long. Then the anchorage was rolling and we had to listen to bad karaoke from the resort on the island. It wasn’t so ear splittingly loud though so I could sleep through most of it. Every now and then someone with a really good voice would sing a ballad in the local language and that was quite lovely to hear. But rare. Most of it was just bad, loud singing. And there was NO INTERNET RECEPTION though the cell tower on the Island gave a strong DiGi signal; it wasn’t the 3G kind. I think Randal hates the absence of the Internet as much as I hate the Red Sox losing.

Our last day to George Town would also be a 70 miler so we left very early. Again we had swells that hit us from the side and made for rolling seas but nothing horrible. At one point we put out the foresail and not only picked up a bit of speed, but it acted as a stabilizer. When the wind stopped and we had to take it down, I pulled the furling line and Randal held the sheet and that seems to work much better than the other way round when I held the sheet. It was our first sailing experience that I actually enjoyed. Usually I don’t like to mess with the sail but it proved to make a difference so I might want to do it again.

After a long day we anchored along the road to George Town. That sounds funny, but that’s where we were and if we could have taken our dinghy to shore we would have been at the Queensbay Mall. We did know not to anchor next to the small homey looking restaurant down the road because karaoke booms from there from 9pm till about 2am. We had learned that the hard way our first trip.

Sunday we pulled up anchor and cruised to George Town. Wave Runner had started out earlier than we so could warn us of the fishing nets blocking the channel you follow to go under the bridge between George Town and Butterworth. But a small fishing boat was there to guide our boats trough the passage not blocked by nets. When we finally arrived at the marina our George Town friends, Jane and Roger from WingsnStrings were there to catch our lines. Then it was time to plug in and relax, at least for a short time. Then it was off to Queensbay mall by bus for a few things and then later out to dinner at our favorite Woodlands Restaurant in Little India with Peter and Kathy. Today it was real chore day. I went to the wet market for veggies and chicken. It’s amazing that chicken bought out on the street from the “chicken man” is more reliable than that bought at the JUSCO supermarket. Or maybe not so amazing. Then I stopped at the wonderful pharmacy here in George Town and stocked up on Stugeron, Amoxicillin. I also bought one of those stretchy knee supports because my sciatic back is hurting and it makes my knee hurt. I wore it home from the pharmacy and wished I’d bought one for the other knee too and for my whole body. Then this afternoon it rained on my almost dry laundry while I was being good and doing a second set of back exercises. Tonight we’re going for dinner with Jane and Roger. Then tomorrow very early we’re going to finish the last leg to Rebak Marina off Langkawi Island where we’ll get DoraMac (and us) shipshape for our passage across the Indian Ocean towards the Middle East.

I’ll finish with a few photos from home. I grew up in New Bedford and it’s always one of our stops when we go to New England. We really go to see our friends Har and Dick and Bruce and Jean and Jean’s sister Eileen and her husband Bill. I’ve known Har and Bruce since I was 3 and this year we’ll all be 60!

Ru

DoraMac

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New Bedford Public Library

Can’t seem to find the date it was built but it was remodeled in the early 1900s.

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A dead whale or a stove boat.

This statue has been there since I was in high school and probably way before that. We have this engraved on our high school rings and you have to read Moby Dick to graduate. At least my class had to read it though I for one never finished it.

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This is a new statue of Lewis Temple and who invented the swivel head harpoon and vastly revolutionized whaling. Lewis Temple was African American and his contribution has only now been recognized.

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New Bedford fishing piers.

I grew up not learning how to sail and not liking most fish except the non-kosher kind like clams, lobster and shrimp. Now I like all kinds of fish, especially the Spanish mackerel Randal caught in Indonesia.

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Historic New Bedford in the Fall

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Ruth and Randal




Boston Red Sox hat travels the world.