Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Launching and back to Langkawi

Hi folks,
Well, after all our trials and tribulations the launching day had finally arrived. Was going to be the 3rd. but Jim wasn't well mainly we think due to the residual effects of a tick bite he had on his face under all the whiskers! Apparently these little critters fly and one must have landed there. For some days it just felt sore and we didn't know what it was but just after New Year the body bloated with yours truly's life blood fell off. Just as well we saw it in daylight - if it had come off in bed it wouldn't have been so nice! We then went to a local hospital to get it checked out because in Australia these things can in some cases be fatal. Anyway, the doctor re-assured us and the pain has slowly subsided. But Jim was definitely unwell on the day originally scheduled for launching, hence the delay, but then we were used to those!  
Quite a logistical exercise getting ourselves back on board with cleaning etc. The interior of the boat looked as if a bomb had gone off in it, so everything had to be cleaned and re stowed and squabs retrieved from the yard office where they had been stored. However, Jean had insisted on putting most things in large plastic bags, so the cleaning was less of an issue than it might have been.
We had queried the bill, as we had been expecting to and so at the last minute on launch day there we were going through the invoice line by line! The last thing we needed at that stage. Anyway, we managed to reduce the cost by approx.18% due to the painting shambles and the fact that they had overcharged most things compared to the quote.
The travel lift picked us up mid afternoon when we had been told the tide was highest and there should be slack water. But they never seemed to get the tides right and even told us the tide was flooding when in fact it was ebbing! And there was  a strong cross current across the mouth of the launch basin. So, as soon as we were free of the straps - but still being held by the shore crew with mooring lines - we went full astern and just hoped for the best. Fortunately we slid clear and managed to miss the concrete walls. Then we decided to go to the Jerejak anchorage just under the new bridge and 2 miles to the north as anchoring off the yard, as they had recommended, seemed too fraught with fishing trawlers coming and going. We don't trust those guys. 
We had a rolly, pitchy night due to an unseasonable SE swell rolling in and then returned to the yard the following morning for our final engine alignment check. Except that they didn't do it! The engineer, like Wit at Krabi, insisted that all was well before launching and therefore would remain so afterwards, but most boats "move" on being re-launched (wooden ones especially) and we were less than impressed. But there didn't seem to be any excess vibration and we'd had enough by then so just decided we'd get it checked once back on Langkawi. They did find however, that a hose clip on the exhaust hadn't been tightened and so we were pumping salt water into the boat! That is not the kind of thing that you expect to find on sea trials after a major engine refit. Having said all that, we are generally happy with the engine work and also the fact that we decided to lift the engine after 50 odd years!
They then went ashore and we thankfully headed north under both the Penang bridges as by then the tide had turned and was flooding north with the current in our favour. A marked contrast to the situation when we arrived 7 weeks ago. We had intended to go across the north coast of Penang and around the NW corner to Monkey Bay but when we got there it was very much a lee shore and quite unpleasant - again very unseasonable. So we went back into the western end of Batu Ferringhi and spent a reasonable night there. We were then about 15 miles on the way compared to coming direct from the boatyard so that made for an easy 50 miler the next day.
We re-assembled the area under the cockpit sole and stowed everything that belonged there (fenders and mooring lines) and had a restful night. Broached our final bottle of Laphroaig and celebrated getting this far with a huge sense of relief at being out of the place.
The next morning (06/01) we raised the anchor and headed NW on 340 true. There was a reasonable NE blowing so we motorsailed at a reasonable clip (av. 6.5 knots) under reefed main, staysail and gradually a full genoa. Would have been great to have just sailed, but as usual we had a deadline to get there in daylight due to unlit fishing boats and large scale fish traps. You'd be in a bit of a pickle if you sailed into one of those in the dark. The wind dropped as we approached the island so we dropped all sails and continued under power. The old engine purred along without an issue. Jean rang her friend Efa in the marina office and it turned out that she had saved our old berth for us!! That was nice. So at around 1630 we entered the marina at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club and tied up on D13. Wonderful to be back.
By then though the sky was looking very threatening and sure enough it started raining cats and dogs. Thank goodness we came in when we did. It then rained more or less continuously for the next 2 days but we just slept mostly. Then on the 9th. was the start of the annual RLYC Regatta. This has been in full swing ever since with big parties every night ashore and all the usual razmattaz. 2 nights ago we went to dinner at Wonderland with Graham and Lorraine off "Lorrigray". They are an English couple who spent much of their working lives in S Africa and "Lorrigray" is a large twin engined 65' steel sloop - quite a lot for 2 people to handle, but they seem to manage her well. We first met them in Bundaberg and came through Indonesia the same year they did.
Our focus at the moment is to prepare the old girl for leaving here when we go to NZ on Feb. 1st. Cleaning and re-doing the varnished caprails which were adversely affected when the cowboy painters placed masking tape on them. The masking has ripped the varnish so we will have to re-sand and give another couple of coats of Sikkens. Then there's the damage caused in the companionway when there was an ill-judged attempt to remove the engine from the boat. Not the happiest of experiences.
Then there's the ludicrous situation of having to present passports to be able to buy 5 bottles of spirits or wine per month per passport on duty free Langkawi.. Jim thought he'd be smart and bought one bottle and then a day later tried to buy 5 bottles at our regular shop, but the Customs computer was onto it and the dastardly plot was foiled. Still, Jean's got 2 passports so we don't think we'll be too deprived. We had managed to buy enough before we went to Penang and so, even with the delays, we didn't run out. But it was a close run thing!
We've been celebrating the fact that the Malaysian Ringgit has declined some 16% against the Kiwi in the last little while which helps every time we visit the ATM, but every thing imported either has risen or will rise in price accordingly. This is one of the prices that the Malay general population is paying for their grossly corrupt and dishonest government. Singapore has already tried and convicted 3 individuals associated with the 1MDB scandal and there is more to come. In the meantime the Malaysian PM has sacked all who were involved in the original investigation here and the whole thing has been forcibly shut down in Malaysia. Anyone who dares to criticise this state of affairs is likely to end up in jail on sedition charges.
Well, the sun is now just about over the yardarm so it's time to do justice to one of these bottles. Looking forward to seeing everyone back in Godzone.
Cheers and lotsaluv from us................
Jim and Jean
s.v. Tiare Taporo III