November 4, 2010 – Danga Bay Marina, Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Happy Halloween!!! We had a wonderful Halloween earlier this week.
Since we are now with the Sail Malaysia rally, we had almost 20 kids trick or treating the many boats docked here in
the marina. It was a hoot watching all of these children, many of which who had never trick or treated
before, running up and down the docks. What a blast! Although, a few other countries
are starting to get on the “Halloween as a major holiday band wagon”, the US and Canada
are really the only countries who have elevated trick or treating to an almost national holiday so many of the kids didn’t
even understand the process of “trick or treating”. But don’t worry, Caroline, Grant
and Noah taught them well. And now there a few kids who, next October 31, will be asking their parents, “Are we trick
or treating again this year?”
After trick or treating, we attended the kick-off dinner to the Sail Malaysia rally which is starting
here in Danga Bay. With a live band, singing and dancing, and flowing Fanta, we had a really fun night!
Yes, I said Fanta – With conservative Islam as the national religion, getting beer in the country is not an easy
process and most restaurants only serve soft drinks. Oh well, it makes eating out much more affordable.
The rally sponsored a kayak
contest today and team Imagine did well. We took 2nd (Grant and Marc), 3rd (Caroline
and friend, Martin) and 4th (Jane and Noah) in the adult/child competition and Jane and Marc took 3rd
in the mixed doubles. The kids have also been enjoying playing with all of their friends at a park close
to the marina, a night at the zoo hosted by two couples who needed “a grandchild fix”, and a fun but rainy night
on the carnival rides in the area.
Special Note to Other Cruisers: Most of our fun in the area has revolved around the people
that we are with but we have to say that Danga Bay Marina, itself has little to offer. We came here
because it was the first stop for the Sail Malaysia rally. At $150, which included free dockage at this
marina, we decided that we would participate in the rally primarily to meet people, especially other kid boats.
We learned quickly that the marina was free to everyone, not just rally boats, because it isn’t completed yet.
It is very dirty with filthy water and has almost no facilities. Literally, the shower was made
by removing a toilet and putting a shower head in one of the stalls (needless to say, we shower on Imagine). The
manager of the marina was a rude cruiser from Australia who usually answered questions by swearing at people.
This is so unfortunate because the Malaysian people, generally seem kind, polite, and curious about all of us cruisers.
In fact, they often watch us from the docks, smile, wave, and snap pictures. They loved watching
the kids on Halloween!
every place can’t be One15 and we are enjoying our time with our many new friends. Hopefully, the
next stops in Malaysia will be better.
November 17, 2010 – Pt. Klang, Malaysia
The Unglamorous Life of Cruising
I sit here watching my poor husband and our friend, Scott, from Anui replace the 6 large, very heavy 150amp batteries for
the entire boat in the 95+ degree temp, I realize that I have neglected writing about boat repairs and maintenance projects
over the last several months. I can assure you that they haven’t miraculously ceased, we’ve
just gotten so accustom to them that we just deal them and forget to put it in the blog. But, believe me,
Marc continues to not only be the captain but also act as electrical engineer, engine mechanic, plumber, and occasional cooling
specialist for the good ship Imagine. Attached is an overview of the boat projects that we (primarily Marc)
have completed over the last month. Like they say, “Cruising is doing boat repairs in exotic places”.
Windlass - Cleaned brushes & tightened power connection
Repaired thermocouple on Burner on stove
Replaced friction lever on master cabin hatch
Generator Oil & filter Change, Fuel Filter Change
Rewired 12V to LED light above sink
Replaced Reverse Gear Oil Cooler on Volvo
Volvo oil & oil filter Change - fwd racor filter
changed. Air Cleaner rotated. Water intake cleaned.
Changed Transmission Fluid on Reverse gear
Turbo water leak repaired
Added Diesel - 30 Jerry cans 25 liters each!!! No gas station around here!!!!
New Carpet Installed
Changed Transmission Fluid on Reverse gear - looked good
New house batteries installed - 12V 150A AGM's
Installed 24V LED Lights above Nav/Freezer &
Replaced Port Running Light
Cleaned Air Con units
Boat projects like house projects are usually not a quick fix and some of these projects were multi-day affairs.
Just like in a home, when you fix or service one thing on the boat, you realize that something else needs it, too.
But unlike a home, we can’t just call a plumber in to fix a clogged toilet or stop by Home Depot after work to pick
up a tool. We (OK, really Marc) are responsible for almost all repairs on the boat because service people
are few and far between and often very expensive. Compound that with the fact that if we do not already
have the spare parts, we have to research ways to receive the replacements and often have them shipped from the states.
To make it even worse, most of the projects entail Marc contorting his body into the engine room (ours is actually
pretty big) in the HEAT of SE Asia. Sounds fun, huh? Well, I’d hate for you to
think that all we do is drink Pina Coladas and eat bon bons all day…
***Post writing of this blog but pre-publication. Marc also needed to replace the
toilet pump and all hoses in the master bath. A very “crappy” job but someone had to do it.
Oh, how I wish we could call 1-800-Plumber.****
November 13, 2010 – Melaka, Malaysia
The next official stop in the Sail Malaysia
rally was Melaka. We had heard horrible stories about the marina in Melaka but decided it would be better
to brave the marina then to anchor in the very exposed anchorage. Now, we’re not so sure.
The marina lived up to its reputation. The docks were breaking and the surge was so bad that at
one point Marc decided to stay on the boat instead of site see. We ended up making it out with no issues
but there were a couple of sleepless nights especially when Imagine’s keel was actually resting on the mud bottom for
an hour each night at low tide. Another disappointment was the rally festivities. The
tour that was provided did little to highlight the incredible history in the area and included a true traditional lunch of
McDonalds at the mall… This may be a novelty for some but not for a family with three kids.
Despite the marina and rally
disappointments we still enjoyed Melaka very much. For this lover of history, it was like a treasure chest.
Beginning in the 15th century Melaka became the most important trading port in all of SE Asia.
The city’s strategic position on the Strait, that bears its name, made it a center for the spice trade with China,
India, Siam, and Indonesia. This status was first established in 1405 when Chinese Admiral Cheng Ho first
arrived bearing gifts and promises of protection in exchange for the rights of the port. This lasted for
100 years and what followed were centuries of occupation by the Portuguese, Dutch, English, and the Japanese respectively.
We enjoyed touring the museums,
churches, mosques, forts, and temples and the antique shops. How often do you get to see Porcelain from
the Ming dynasty at the corner antique store. OK, so we aren’t totally sure of the authenticity but
it was still pretty cool. Although the cruising conditions were not great in Melaka, the town itself was
interesting and provided many educational opportunities for the children (and the teacher, too).
November 10, 2010 – Melaka,
New Friends –
When we first set off on this journey two years ago, I had this impression that everyone out cruising was,
similar to us, planning to sail around the world on our same schedule. Wow, was I wrong. I learned quickly
that cruising is a lifestyle that is different for everyone out here including; our paths, courses, timeframes, and destinations.
Many people who were in the
Caribbean stayed in the Caribbean altogether or stayed for an additional year or two. As well as, many
friends that we met in the Pacific either ended their trip in NZ or Aus by either; going home, staying there, or spending
another year in the Pacific. Now we are in a new ocean and with that comes many new friends.
When we left our friends Catmousses in Fiji, I think that I was as sad as the kids to leave our friends and sail toward
the Indian Ocean with no cruising buddies close. As I have mentioned before, the hardest part of our trip,
other than missing loved ones from home, is saying good bye to many of our cruising friends along the way.
But as is life, we have adapted and met many new friends
in this Ocean and continent including lots and lots of kids. We are currently sailing on the same track
as at least 8 other kid boats. We are enjoying time with Esprit (US), Tin Soldier (Canada), Finale (NZ),
Pegasus (UK), and the Aussie contingency of Anui, Red Boomer, Suspence, and Orono I. And also, becoming
friends with some non-kid boats especially Martin on Anima who has become a good friend and a great guitar teacher for Marc.
be with most of these boats through Thailand but as with the Pacific once SE Asia is complete we all have different plans.
Some boats, like us, will head toward the Med via the Red Sea, some boats will spend another season in SE Asia, and some will
return to Aus. And although, it will be difficult to say good bye (again), we will be grateful for the
opportunity to meet these new people, share some fun and laughs, and hopefully learn a little bit from each other along the
November 25, 2010 – Langkawi,
After a month of the nasty
water and bad marinas on the west coast of Malaysia, we were so excited and pleased to be in Langkawi. The
Langkawi area is a large group of islands at the northern most part of Malaysia, close to the border of Thailand.
Prior to arriving in Rebak Marina, we spent a few nights at some beautiful anchorages in the southern most section
of the group. How wonderful to relax at anchor near the sandstone cliffs of the islands while the eagles
flew overhead. It felt like heaven after a month in marinas. Unfortunately, the tranquility
couldn’t last long as we had to go into the marina in order to leave Imagine and fly to Cambodia.
Before, our big “vacation”,
however, we had the opportunity to celebrate a “traditional” Thanksgiving with our friends from the US, on Esprit
and Scarlett O’Hara. We had it all; turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pecan pie, mashed potatoes,
and many, many other favorites. It felt somewhat like home, except for the 95+ degree temperature.
On this Thanksgiving, we took some time to chat about everything that we are thankful for which included all of our
family and friends at home that we missed this holiday. We are truly blessed.
After, the feast we finished packing the
bags, secured Imagine, and prepared for our adventure to Cambodia tomorrow. We’re all excited and
anxious for our whirlwind tour of the country that is suppose to hold much beauty, history, and sadness.