Monday, 25 April 2016

(no subject)

One thing we forgot to mention in our recent blog is that happily Jean's son Perry was able to meet, Neil, Julie and Bailey from "Galatea" in San Jose, California. They all got together and had a meal at a spareribs restaurant.
Perry was in San Jose at a Microsoft course and when we realised this we contacted both and the meeting was organised! We first met the "Galatea" crew in Darwin and came to know them well throughout Indonesia - particularly on Lombok.
So pleased that they were all able to get together.
Cheers again from us........
Jim and Jean
s.v. Tiare Taporo III

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Fwd: Two months (so far ) in Langkawi, Malaysia

----- Original Message -----
To: "Alec" <>
Subject: Two months (so far ) in Langkawi, Malaysia
Date: 25 Apr 2016 08:01:40 -0000
From: ZMQ5985

Well folks, here we are 2 months on and we are enjoying being part of local life here in Langkawi.
Unfortunately Langkawi is not looking as lush as it normally does due to the fact that there has been NO rain for 5 months, although there have been a few showers over the past few days. From now on though there should be lots more rain as the transition between the present NE monsoon and the pending SW starts to kick in. The SW monsoon should be fully developed by the end of May but lately the seasons have been fairly atypical and anything could happen! As we discovered with the unseasonal high winds we encountered when we came down here from Krabi/Phuket.
We have been doing small jobs on the boat - varnishing the caprails along the tops of the bulwarks, Jean has been polishing the stainless steel with metal polish which is a hard dirty job, and generally cleaning and getting the old girl ready for our 2 month absence when we leave for Miami at the end of May. In addition we have both been having acupuncture which started off being mainly for the knees but which has been having all sorts of other beneficial side effects. Before we arrived here Jean had barely been able to walk upstairs but now she's bounding up and down like a 20 yr. old.
The Royal Langkawi Yacht Club is much better than we remembered it from our last visit, although to be fair, they were then about to embark on a huge rebuilding programme which is now almost complete. Our days consist of random jobs on the yacht, hiring a car twice a week to provision, have meals ashore and visit the doctor. And speaking on Skype hither and yon. Only thing about that is that we have an internet device to enable internet access as the marina Wifi is intermittent and weak at best. And of course we have to top it up just like a cellphone. On Skype the Gigs just get gobbled up!
Speaking of doctors, the acupuncturist is Indian trained and very knowledgeable in his field. He is part Malay and part Tamil Indian - his Indian ancestors having come to Malaysia some 4 generations ago. In addition we also decided that we needed more conventional medicine for checkups which we hadn't had for about 2 years. We are pleased to report that we are both reasonably healthy with Jim's blood sugar at 7.5 after a fasting blood test. Incidentally, the blood tests occupy 3 A4 pages and are a far more comprehensive test than we ever had in NZ. Jean also had a suspicious raised mole cut out of her back and it appears to be benign but it's certainly better off than on. The doctor we saw is also a dermatologist so he was ideal to deal with the minor surgery. Then Jim got quite a bad eye infection but that is now largely cleared up with antibiotic cream and drops. Probably wasn't helped by the extreme dry and dusty conditions that have prevailed since we arrived. And aircon which dries the air.
We feel much happier and at home here now than we have felt before. Langkawi is difficult to find your way around in the sense of finding specific suppliers for things but we are now almost like old hands. We are also blase about Islam, but we feel very sorry for the women who must always wear clothing that completely covers their legs to the ankles and of course the headscarves. These latter are often used as fashion statements but it must be very trying in temperatures which at times approach 40C - although normally during the day they hover just above 30C. Boats like ours which were designed in the northern hemisphere 82 years ago, and were called Gauntlets, were never designed with cruising in tropical waters in mind. So, we have a small household aircon which is installed inside the cabin where it takes up room in an already confined space. It's 800mm high, and the other measurements are 350mm. x 400mm. It sits on the saloon sole just forrard of the galley and aft of the saloon table and the hot air that it generates has to be exhausted via a 180mm flexible hose out through an opening port. Its capacity is 9000 BTU. We couldn't be without it. It's not ideal because it sucks ambient air in from outside which means that the galley temperature sits around 30C while the saloon just 2-3 metres away is in the high 20'sC. However, it's way better than having nothing at all. We also have 4 12v fans which circulate air around and, although they don't reduce the temperature, the wind chill factor is very welcome. We have an additional larger 12v fan which we use to blow the cold air up onto our bed at night. All very complicated. Another issue with the small 12v fans is that their life seems to be not much more than 12 months and they are fairly expensive to replace - the equivalent of just over NZD100 usually.
We have also been swimming on some days in the marina pool, but you need to be there before 10 otherwise it's like a warm bath. Whenever we hire a car, we ring them and then take a 10 minute walk down to the Langkawi Jeti where all these services are located. There's also a Starbucks where Jean has educated them in how to make a flat white and Jim is partial to the plastic cocktail sausages drizzled with cheese sauce! Very healthy - we don't think!
We have come to know quite a few other yachts met on our travels - "Stardancer" from NZ with Gina and Christian, "Suzie Wong" with Michael and Ae, "Tamata" - a French boat with Olivier and Francoise, "St Michel" - a German schooner with Joachim and Neng, "Natural High" - a NZ Wharram catamaran, "Before" - an American monohull from Seattle with Richard and Lee, "Reflections" - with Gene and Sheri - another American yacht from Hawaii. They were a great help to us in our tribulations at Kupang in 2013, and of course "Vega" ( Shane and Meggie), which is the 124 yr old Baltic trader now on their way to Indonesia on one of their charitable voyages. There are "Settlement" - a catamaran with Andrew and Sue and "Murrundi" (Barbara and John) - both Australian boats who we hope to see again soon. And there are others too numerous to mention here. Then there is the Canadian catamaran "Pedoja" which is a NZ St. Francis design. Don is Canadian and Tania is from NZ. They are currently in the Maldives Islands (SW of India) and are by all accounts in the middle of an unpleasant situation. They have a very small dog and took her for a walk ashore on a secluded beach. However, Islam does NOT like dogs of any sort and soon after they returned to the boat they were boarded by armed Police! They were escorted back to a commercial dock where the dog has been confined below decks so she doesn't offend any more Moslems and Don and Tania have been confined to the vessel. Absolutely unbelievable and of course this nonsensical behaviour does nothing to foster understanding between different cultures and religions. They are leaving soon for S. Africa and just how they are going to provision and fuel the boat is a bit of a mystery. We sincerely hope that everything finally is resolved in their favour. This is just one of the things that can befall a cruising yacht these days.
We've referred earlier to our upcoming trip to Miami. As you all no doubt know, Jean's family, including two small grandsons, lives in Miami and of course she can't wait to see them again. So, we are leaving here at the end of May and travelling with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. We thought as neither of us have ever been to Istanbul, we would spend 3 days there on the way. Of course it's such an historic city, that we won't even come close to seeing everything in 3 days. Then we fly on to Miami also with Turkish Airlines. Lorraine and Alan (Tracie's mother and stepfather) will still be there when we arrive early June so it will be good to see them again. And of course there will be a joyous reunion with Carter, Nash and Jean. Sorry to Perry and Tracie for necessarily taking a back seat!!
We will be there for about a month before we fly to Medellin in Colombia. We are very interested in living permanently either in Central America or northern South America once the boat sells and recently we have been drawn to Ecuador (Cuenca). Cuenca and Medellin have very similar climates - a constant mid 20'sC all year round, and Medellin is known as "the City of Eternal Spring". So, we are enormously looking forward to visiting there; just hope that our expectations are lived up to. We were going to go to Ecuador but since then they have had a devastating earthquake off the NW Pacific coast which has killed at least 500 people so right now a visit to Ecuador would be difficult and intrusive. Never mind, we will go there in the future. Another country we have looked at with great interest is Nicaragua because it is only just being discovered and prices for real estate there are even cheaper. However, it does not offer the elevated living that Medellin or Cuenca do. Medellin is very close to 5,000' above sea level and is a very healthy place to be as a result.
Recently we did a visa run to Satun in southern Thailand. It's only just over an hour in a high speed ferry. We had to go because, although our Malaysian 3 month visas hadn't expired, they would have by the time we left for the US. And we are investigating haulout options for later in the year here, at Penang and also PSS at Chebilang, Thailand so we paid a visit to Jia at the PSS Boatyard at Chebilang - 30 kms from Satun itself. Jia is Thai Chinese and his lovely wife Julie is also Chinese but born in Mauritius so she speaks fluent French! They met us off the ferry and also lent us a car which we were able to use. We left it at the ferry the next day. They took us to dinner at a French restaurant which was very good. We wanted to pay as they had paid for us on a previous occasion but they had prepaid so it was a done deal! Never mind, there will be another opportunity we're sure. It was great to see them again and we always enjoy their company.
We stayed at On's guesthouse again and it was good to see On again too. Only thing was, we had a room on the 2nd. or top floor and it was like an oven when we walked in. No doubt insufficient roof insulation. The aircon control said 47C! Because the room was large it took an age for the overworked aircon to get the temperature under 30C but eventually it did and so we slept OK.
Courtesy of the car Jia and Julie had lent us, we paid a visit to the Big C supermarket and bought a few odds and ends including a bag of small Thai oranges which are very sweet. When we were disembarking from the ferry back at Langkawi we noticed a poster saying we can't bring in any plant material and if we try to smuggle it and get caught the fine would be 12,000 Ringitts! That's roughly NZD4,500!! Would make an expensive bag of oranges! So, we decided to declare them and were told that they would "let it go this time, but don't do it again"!! Ludicrous, considering that almost nothing is grown on Langkawi and whenever we've arrived here on the boat we've always had fruit and veges aboard. Of course arriving in NZ, it's a different matter entirely - and rightly so.
We have discovered "Mangoes" which is a restaurant near Telaga run by an ex Aussie yachtie and her German partner. Excellent food, a bit expensive but worth it. We have also discovered Wonderland here in Kuah which is a Chinese restaurant with great food. Always busy with people waiting for tables and almost exclusively Chinese clientele. A really bustling place and very efficient. Jean says it reminds her of Hong Kong. We go there twice a week when we have the car. All these eateries are much cheaper than the equivalent in NZ which by all accounts wouldn't be difficult!
Anyway, that's probably enough from us for now - we'll look forward as always to your news.
Cheers and lotsaluv from us..........
Jim and Jean
s.v. Tiare Taporo III
Royal Langkawi Yacht Club
----- End of Original Message -----

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: