Mentawi’eeeees if you pleeeease.

7th August 2015.

Up at sparrows, Yanmahs on, instruments on, window out, anchor up, said seeya to those who were awake and away we go, the mythical island chain called The Mentawi’s our next destination.

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Got good current but as usual a bit of breeze on the nose, only ten knots so not to bad. It is only thirty five mile to the NE tip and another ten down the east coast to our anchorage for the night at Tabekat Bay on Pulau Siberut.

Came into the anchorage and decided to make a track out the back door of the island while the sun is up just in case we have to bugger off before sunrise.

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Good little anchorage, bit deep, twenty metres, but it feels like good holding, hope we can get the bloody thing out of the mud tomoro morning. Heaps of mangroves, probably heaps of muddies to, that would hit the spot. Must be some spot where they cut down trees, as there is a big barge chocker with tree trunks, just being in touch with the environment that I find myself in.

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Have had a couple of storms go over but nothing to get bothered about and the locals seem to keep to themselves which is a welcome change although they have got to pass within a couple of metres as they fly past, long canoes here, but no outriggers like in Telos and Nias.

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Once again up with the birds, used our track and off we go, the wind is a bit from the east so sails up and doing quite well, six plus knots all the way until around midday when we had to tack East for a few miles then back and almost made it to Siberut Bay, down sails and arc up the yanmahs, way to much South and getting up there. We followed a ferry into the bay but got hit with a rain storm, white out and not much point trying to go into somewhere we have stuff all info on and no vision so we headed out again and headed south a bit more to what looked like a bit of a protected bay, the screen showed a narrow channel into the bay between a couple of reefs, ended up a piece of piss and a local, Ujung, guided us to a good spot to anchor, once again bit deep, twenty two metres, but he gave us the thumbs up once we were all done.

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He came back a bit later on with half a dozen Coral Trout in his live tank, a partition made into the hull with a couple of holes drilled through the hulls side to keep it fresh, I picked up the biggest one, what a beauty, easy a couple off kilo’s, he couldn’t understand a word we said, beside namesaya Rod and Jenny, but asked me to jump aboard and we went to see his son, Anton, geez when I got in his canoe, long with no outriggers, we almost went over, I don’t know if he shit himself but I did. We made it over to his floating house and I got out of his boat quick smart and sat on the frames of his fish tanks, much more stable, then the bargaining began, I was pretty keen on the big CT and a smaller one for 100000idr, it went backwards and forwards for ten minutes, they just couldn’t do it so I reckoned I was close to the mark, so asked them if they drink Bintang, Oh Yeah, so my last price is 100000idr and three tidal dinged (hot) Bintangs, shook our thumbs and a high five, Anton then chucked another fish in my basket and had me thinking, does anyone know what I agreed to, I put the fish back in their tank and they were most happy, not the fish it probably didn’t give a toss who ate it by then, it all worked out well and I reckon we ended up mates.

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Stormy old night, decent Sumatra with 35 knots, but anchored up safe as houses in here. Checked our position this morning and we are 480feet from where we were last night, got ninety metres of chain in so figuring we are easily in our safe working distance.

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Kicked back for a relax day, had a few visitors but did stuff all else, suppose listening to the footy on 15.415hz is doing something, Roozen’s mob kicked arse.

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We hit the road 0700 and made our way to Pulau Sipuru, easy going with heady up and one engine keeping us at seven knots. Had some concerns coming through a couple of islands but a ferry came through and showed us the passage, we just followed him and alls good, it was excellent of the guy to show us the way, we then found a spot Tim and Megan gave us and anchored up, checked the bottom, bit boondy like but I don’t think we will be going anywhere, no matter the wind direction.

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Yacked to the folks and Mo which was good value, we have 3G so we can do anything, it is good to have fast internet for a change. Just watched the Dockers flog the Saints, sort of anyway, second game I have watched for the season, had a few Binnies and in a pretty good space.

Tell you what, Bring on the derby!!!!

 

 

Mission Impossible.

30th November2014.

Happy Birthday Dad and little Mo.

Well we find ourselves in Perth for my dad’s birthday, early Xmas with the family and saying howdy to all the crew.

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Geez the last night on Koh Lipe was a classic, feast at Fino’s, beers at the Longtail Bar and then JD’s at the Peace and Love Bar till stumps, I am definitely getting too old for this shit. Peter helped us get the dinghy off the beach, it had done a full tide since the last time we looked at it.

Immigration was easy, a bit more paperwork and that was that; we were free to leave at our leisure and it cost nothing.

The motor back was excellent with a good current pushing us along at 7 knots, we were even motoring into 18 knots on the nose at one stage. Luckily not for too long as we got into the Lee of Langkawi and it soon dropped to 10knots. Fishing boats dragging nets all over the place, it is funny now, a fishing boat is not really an adversary anymore, just last year they bought on atrial fribulation with their antics, now we just pass them by, often close enough to have a yack.

Got back to Telaga at 1630 making it a three and a bit hour trip, snuck into our pen and got up to immigration, then the harbourmaster and then customs to finish our paperwork off. Telaga has the best entry and departure setup and with all the people coming in and out of Koh Lipe they are like a well-oiled machine. All three sections are friendly and helpful and a pleasure to deal with.

There is an arrangement between the Thai’s and the Malaysians where The Butangs is concerned, you can get a 30 day visa on arrival from Langkawi, you must not leave the Butang Group, which is a pretty big playground anyway, you must clear in and out from Koh Lipe where an Immigration official handles all the paperwork. This is the best option for a visa run that I have come across, didn’t need to do it this time but worth thinking about next time.

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Spent a day washing the boat, a day in Kuah doing shit, we also found the Mercury dealer, Swift Marine and what excellent people they are, well set up as well. Ordered a new carby for the old 15HP four stroke so hopefully that will arrive soon, if I can sell it that would make for a nice Xmas bonus.

Had a muddy at Shin Mi, a pie at Mangoes and a couple of barbies on the boat. Also had a going away do for Naim, my favourite Telaga girl, got her a cake and said our farewells, she is off to KL to start a new job. Good luck and Jumpa Lagi mate. Naim even dropped us off at the airport, she is a beauty.

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Well this flight home was not like my last, we went business for the first time. Back in September Air Asia had a special on Business class, same price as flexible economy and as we were booking so far in advance the possibility of a stuff up was just that, a possibility. Lucky to as we had to change the flight and it cost nothing, which even made the decision sweeter.

It was pretty bloody good sitting in the big seat reclined back and I was fast asleep from takeoff to just before landing, got to be happy with that.

Dad was on airport duties and we didn’t keep him waiting, through all the gates in no time, just like Langkawi. Jen even declared a wooden mortar which had to be inspected.

Moved into Jan and Rod’s which is where Mo is also living, so good to catch up with everyone. Spent the first days getting all the bits and pieces we needed on our list, setting up a vege patch out the back yard with Mo and then it was holidays. Well trying to fit everyone and everything in anyway. Ten days seemed like long enough, I love setting goals but this could be mission impossible.

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We had an excellent day for Dads birthday, hit the Red Herring, which is on the Swan River in East Fremantle. The oysters Kilpatrick weren’t, since when did you put BBQ sauce on an oyster, but thankfully the chef saved the day with a beautifully baked flounder, it was winner winner chicken dinner. Dads red emperor was quite possibly the best piece of fish I have ever tasted, the serve was huge and served on a bed of kale, filthy. All the other meals were devoured as well.

I was yacking with Dad about the last time I went to the Red Herring and told him that it was at Darren’s, the bloke who bought my business, fortieth birthday. No sooner had I passed on this bit of trivia that I looked up and there he and Ali, his wife, was standing next to our table, oblivious to me staring at them. That was a spinout.

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We hung around Perth for a couple of days, went out to tea for xmas with Mo, Jens Mum Marls, Chris and Rommy at Nocello, an Italian restaurant that was packed. It was also excellent, the gnocchi gorgonzola was the winner that night.

We had to go to the Thai embassy to apply for our visas, a phone call Monday morning had me rummaging through paperwork, iPad and laptop for all the stuff required. You need your boat insurance policy, boats papers, airline ticket to prove you are leaving Australia, receipts proving boat location – thanks Lyn, passports and a bit of time. So piled into Teniele’s car and off we went.

B is in charge and she is a ripper, the place fills up with people wanting to visit Thailand for extended stays but she just methodically works her way through each application whilst commenting on other applicants failings to do it right. A couple in front of us when asked where they live in Australia answered in the forest, they were sent packing to find a real address, bloody hippies, reminded me of the protestors at Ludlow Tuart Forest when I went protesting for the sake of the trees. We failed but it was bloody good fun causing as much mahem as was possible without blowing something up.

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Anyway back to now, it took us about an hour and B informed us that we could pick our passports up on Thursday, pretty painless experience and a good way to start the week. We headed straight for Rowe Street in Northbridge, Yumcha was calling, it was superb. Don’t know the name but it is the second restaurant from William street heading West. The prawn dumplings were awesome, same with the tripe, the shuimai and the crab balls. I reckon Perth is the leader in Yumcha even eclipsing Asia, so far anyway.

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A hooting roast lamb meal by AJ and Mo, my guts is getting bigger, had us prepared for a few days down South. This was where the mission began, drive to Margaret River, headed for Chris, Emma and little Mo’s for a night of beers and wines, next morning dropped in on Helga and Bonnie, geez she grew quick, went for a walk round our old neighbourhood, even checked out the old house as it is up for sale and the owners have headed overseas to live, climbed a couple of fences and we were following my old way home from the pub, said gidday to Bruno and Gudi then back over a couple of more fences and that tour is over and so is any thoughts I had of moving back to Margaret River. Bugger that.

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Had to do a rental inspection of our workshop that is now leased by TEC’s. Bummer Gus and the other boys weren’t there, saw T, Sarah and the new Supervisor then moved on. Went over to my favourite lunch bar, Auger Bites, where Joe made me a filthy bacon and egg burger on the house, she is a ripper, got Mo’s car serviced, paid my drivers license at the shire, bought the new Michael Connelly and Mo Hayder books and went to the bank to sort out an account, then hit the Tav for a beer where I ran into a bloke I grew up with when I was a kid, used up some of the loyalty points on 621 my Tav number for years, bought 3 crays for sixty bucks which just happened to be the amount I took out as Fastcash, first time I have tried that, not really sure what was so fast about it, I suppose I spent it pretty bloody quick, then we went around to the Tommo’s for dinner. This ended up in a horror huge one. It is gunna be hard to get the dinghy off him Jan.

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Next day we had lunch at the Tav with Carla, I surfaced at 1330, so a bit late, good to see the Freo Dockers # 1 fan again, we then hit the road for Augusta, another 40k’s South and had a bit of a snoop around the new marina, flash as, it is unreal and the finish is brilliant.

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Headed over to the Barbara’s where the Cala’s were waiting for a beer and a wine or two. Good to see everyone.

Later we headed over to there house and had the best Laksa and heaps of beers, Woodsy came around with beers, he got a five for playing cricket on the weekend, didn’t get for what out of him.

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Another big night but up at 0530 to go pull the cray pots, blowing its arse off so headed back home after a tour of the Cape Leeuwin’s many sites. We could see the pots but getting there would have been bone jarring and cold and wet.

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Had the house inspection at our joint in Augusta, looks good, went and got Hemmy, our neighbour’s dog, out for a spin, it is like a wind up dog that is just flat out every where. While we were there Mick and Kylie came home so it was hooting to say giddy to them too.

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Said our goodbyes to the Cala’s then back to MR to say our seeya’s there and collect heaps of out of date medical supplies that Tommo scored for us to give to the fishermen in Sumatra next year, they have got nothing so any thing is appreciated, could be worth a lobster or two.

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Saw little Mo and Emma then Helga then off to Busselton to the Geographe Bay Marina for happy hour beers with the captains, Mike and Andrew, at The Deck. Ended up scoring half a platter of cheese to go with the beers off some blokes, bargain.

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Tommo had been telling me about a Deck local bloke who fell out of a cherry picker, got there and sure enough I knew him, he is a lucky bugger, fell six metres and landed on his head, always thought he had sponge for brains, hahaha, sorry Darren hope you get better soon.

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Jen then drove to Mandurah where we were expected for tea at Muzz and Kazza’s, what a feast, Steak Diane, rack of lamb and veges. Excellent to catch these guys as they are the still frothing over their time on the boat in Langkawi. Koh Lipe next year guys.

Up at sparrows for our final part of the road trip to Perth, picked up a couple of muddies for xmas lunch with my side of the family. Round trip of 804kms. Another big day with a nanna nap chucked in for good measure. We had everyone there including Brodes and Scott who were in transit sort of from Broome to England, be a bit chilly there. Jan does a pretty good impression of when her and Rod arrived in England with her smile frozen on her face. Some excellent food and wines went down and my guts is definitely getting bigger.

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The vege patch is cranking and alls good, Mo also had Teniele and Craig’s herbs booming too..

Last day saw us visiting Marls, Yumcha, IGA and Bunnings and then packing. Finished off with Mum and Dad and the neighbours, Mark and Fee for drinks and goodbyes.

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Left for the airport at 0430 with Dad being the taxi driver, got there at normal time but by the time we got through immigration they were boarding our flight, shit rushing to the bitter end, horror, but 5 hours of Business class helped us on our way. Back home for a holiday I reckon.

Not Quite, we got to Langkawi with one box missing, spewing its got some good stuff in it, but no point getting to bothered cause no one else is either and really five out of six ain’t too bad.