Better late than never.

11th October 2015.

Happy Birthday Muzza.

 The Ockwell’s are gone, the trail of destruction is still thick in my memory, all rounded off with an extremely erratic blood pressure and a couple of days not drinking or eating in Royal Langkawi Hospital. Impossible to eat their food. Sort of all good now but stuffed if I am riding motorbikes again, everyone, except me, in the ward had there legs up in plaster, bandages applied to most appendages and bark missing everywhere, stuff that. One poor bugger was losing his feet.

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We met the Ockwells at the Langkawi airport and had a feast at Shin Mi, duck and omlette of course and a few Tigers as well. This years gift fest was just like Christmas, the Fuel Doctor made it all the way this year, half a cow and a good whack of a sheep, set of carving sticks for Jen, a dockers flag and jumper, the flag only had one day of flying above the bloody eagles one they also bought, a dockers shirt which got instant attention, a new hard disk packed with all the latest shows including Rebus, Banshee and Justified and some hairline crack fixer. Unreal.

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We hung out in Langkawi for the Dockers and Eagles preliminary finals, Muzz was happy, then we went on a small voyage around the local islands for a few days which ended up pretty good value, got Kazza snorkeling again and this time in crystal clear water, fish and other things all over the show. It was a bit whirlwind but we got to sit around on a pretty unpopulated beach drinking anything you could think of from the bar.

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On this night Jen and I went back to the boat for some cash, it was low tide and it was horror low, by the time we got to the boat the wind had picked up and poor old Boomerang, which was hanging off a mooring, was perilously close to the reef. Still had about a metre but the waves were at times halving that so it was do or die, pitch black now also just to put a bit more pressure on. With the dinghy, I took our new flashing Indo light and tied it to a mooring that was about fifty metres further out, then I had to go for a swim and get the extra rope tied up out the way, also get the shackle three quarters undone, Jen is in the Captains seat with her instructions, just give it shit when I say so. I then went back up the bow and using another rope set it up so once the bridle was free I could pull the mooring outside the starboard bow and clear of our props as we went by. By this stage we are both a bit techy but the shackle came undone easily with my fingers and the mooring buoy and all its rope did as it was meant to and Jen gave it shit, it was a beautiful thing, we motored out to the underwater flashing light, picked up the mooring and rejoiced. Checked the phone, WTF, was the message from our two missing Gilligans, they missed all the action but at least they got a feed in. By the time we got back in to shore Muzz had a newly acquired slur, Kazza was dumbfounded once she heard our tale of woe and after a couple more we hit the sack, big day all round that one.

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Grand final was a bit one sided, the wrong side as well so not much joy happened that day, poor old Muzz really hit the wall, could have been the twenty beers but not sure. We met up with a couple from Melbourne, honeymooners again, that’s two in two years, these guys were great except they were going for the wrong team. They joined us for drinks aboard then we hit the streets of Chenang where I introduced them to Theo at the good old Champor Champor.Last seen tacking down the street heading for their hotel. A biggy.

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Another sporting event that has been on was the rugby world cup, we could watch it live from England either at 2100, 2330 or 0300. The guys at the pub had a bed set up on the floor. It was a great world cup, the South Africans got done by the Japs, that was pretty funny, if you are an Aussie or a Kiwi, The Aussies just played each game to win, some good hard games then we had  good fortune with our draw after we beat Wales and ended up in the final against the Kiwi’s, who were looking like champions all the way through. The final started out like a kiwi fizzer but just into the second half we scored and converted and you could see us lift, the kiwis I had to put up with suddenly weren’t as chirpy for that fifteen minutes but it was to no avail as they beat us in the end. It was great to watch every game we played and I even know a few of the rules now, some I just can’t work out but if the umps arm is pointed at you it is all good. They use the TMO way too much, nothing gets past it, slows it down to much.

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I said seeya to G2 and G3 from my hospital bed, sorry about that guys but I am getting old, G1 was in charge of the car, she didn’t lose it this year which is always a good thing. It was another great Ockwell vacation, albeit a bit smokey at times, bloody Indo’s, it is always good to see you guys and thanks for Xmas in September.

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Had a few good Shin Mi’s with Gary, Andrew and Fiona and Tim, also had a couple of meals at Soprano’s, curry night and a Spanish one too with Gary, the Persians and Hubert. There is always something going on although Fish and chips Friday is now cut a bit short with no Raffi’s after any more, guess I am not the only one getting old. I still make it down to Theo’s though, getting home is a struggle.

Got pulled over the other day for a license check, mine was in my wallet on the boat, the cars rego sticker was faded and couldn’t be read and I was in a rush to get some bread, the poor guy just said, “just go, go away”.

We spent a bit of time getting the boat cleaned up and ready for a few weeks at The Butangs, give it the big wash and wax, fuelled her up and started restocking our cellar and beer box, not much would fit in the freezer after the Ockwells so that is a bonus, roast lamb and lamb chops here we come.

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Been at Lipe for a couple of weeks, easy to forget about the real world when you are anchored up in some bay around here with no contact with that great big world out there. We did have Radio Australia on the HF radio on weekends but trying to work out what day it was then an issue. Went on two dives with the Arials, formerly the Breezies, shit hot fun, I can’t believe the fish don’t seem to bugger off, with the speargun it wouldn’t be really fair, we have got enough meat anyway. I always thought the diving thing was a hassle but you don’t need to be that organized to have a ball. I only went to ten metres, Brian, with his ipad underwater computer strapped to his wrist looked like inspector gadget, Lyn also has all the matching gear, when they do something they do it right. I almost fell into the dinghy backwards with the gear on, horror, just about shit meself.

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The Persians rolled up for a few days, Pete cleaned his hulls, two days of slog, I checked ours when we got here and they weren’t that bad but thank christ I had another look, the antifoul must be just about finished because there were little barnacles everywhere. That is the longest any have lasted so Hempel Olympic + seems to be pretty good, cheap to.

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We got hammered for a few days with 20 to 25kn NW, a lumpy couple of foot swell and we had our anchor in with all the chain, pretty hard to get it all up so we stayed put, ended up quite a few boats did the same. First opportunity I got though, we were up and out of there and headed for Koh Rawi, a spot the Tiggers have gone to. It is hooting, the storms just go straight over the top of you, the water is pretty clean and there is a filthy little bay just west of where we have anchored, it is so nice, crystal clear water, creeks and a few critters as well and bugger all crap.

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The Persians had talked of climbing the mountain on Rawi, not sure how far up they went but I gave it a shot yesterday, horror, it is steep, my legs were like jelly after about ten minutes, they came good with a rest and a drink of water. From the ground I reckoned I would just cruise up the North side of the first set of rocky terrain, follow a ridge over the top and then make for the next rocky section. Dream on, by the time I had reached as high as the rocks went on the first bit that was enough, I still had to get down, my water was all gone so got a few photos and slowly descended. Coming down was easier but the last bit was a stretch both physically and mentally, but finally got around it, tell you what, it is bloody steep and if you do stuff up well I reckon you are rooted.

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Took a while to stop sweating back at the boat, few bits of bark missing, my dacks have got the arse ripped out of them, all in all great fun, not.

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We all went for a dinghy patrol and snorkeled a couple of good spots yesterday with a stop off at the Rangers HQ, you can get freezing cold Singha and Chang beers here for 60baht, pretty good value, the place is really tidy as well, they are doing a good job keeping the place presentable, you just have to go to the beach in front of us and the amount of shit on the beach is horror.

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Well we were meant to leave yesterday but didn’t get out of bed till 1100 so now we have to leave today, a Friday and even worse it’s the 13th, horror. Woke up and headed over to Koh Lipe to clear out, got there and a ferry had just arrived, load of people at Immigration and asked to come back later, we went and had a feed at Papaya Mom and then some shopping, it seems to be cooling down so head back to the Immigration office, gone to lunch and not back for two hours, spew, then notice a bit of weather coming in, well way more than a bit, a SW blow so back to Boomerang to sit it out. Starting to wonder about not leaving but I really want to go to the Langkawi Ironman and cheer on Jeynelle Lee again this year.

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We went for a mercy dash to the shore, a wave half filled the dinghy at the beach, dragged it as far up as possible for the two of us, next clear out while Jen bailed the dinghy with a stubby holder, only tool available, then back to the Ranga and out of there. It was pretty rough but with the sails up we made good time and got into Telaga just as it turned dark, the marina boys were onto it and we were moored up in no time.

Got up 0700 and made my way over to the pond, heaps of people there, the swimmers are already at it so just stood there on one of the most excellent mornings and took it all in. There are world champions, male and female, competing in this race so the swim leg was over pretty quick, good to see a good contingent of Australians up the front end, I just stood and clapped and they all said thanks, pretty cool, Then out the corner of my eye I saw 688 and only got to yell go Jan to which I received a thumbs up, I ran from the beach over to where I had seen her bike and waited for her to get to it but after a while out she came limping badly, I reckon I was as gutted as she was, poor thing, but she waved the medics away and grabbed her bike and pressed on, visibly shaken and upset.

I next moved up to the bike turn around spot, good view to be had here, met a Jap woman whose husband was racing, we gave him a hooting giddy up as he went past, Jeynelle came past, gave her heaps of encouragement but she pulled out after the bike leg, it would probably be a bit crap running a marathon on a bung foot. I don’t know what happened to her but I felt for her.

Have had a couple of good breakfasts at the Breakfast Club, John Spiders new venture, the advertising goes: Slow WIFI, Cold coffee and crap service, Give us a go. I don’t think there is any WIFI, didn’t drink any coffee but the service and food were unreal, best bacon and eggs I have enjoyed for quite some time, oh yeah, leave your tip under the ash tray. Some Pommy thing, oh so sorry, British thing. Very lahdy dah.

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At the moment we are aboard flight 6317 to KL then on our way to Perth, look out.

 

 

Bye Bye Banyak’s

12TH September 2015.

By Christ it is good to be back here in the Bay of Plenty, the serenity of it all, the friendly faces and of course the waves but lost a bit of bark to go with it.

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We ended up leaving 0630 from stinking Sibolga. I had the taste of the smell in my mouth for two days, poor buggers who have to deal with that on a day to day basis, I cant see how you could get used to it.

We took a direct route back to Calm Bay, there are a group of islands sort of central to this route, as we were going in daylight and pretty light winds I reckoned it worth a shot, it was and now we have a route saved, don’t know what we were worried about there isn’t much danger amongst that lot, even with the visibility down to one mile due to the smoke coming from the rainforest fires and a volcano down south, more likely the rainforest though, idiots.

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After a day of full casualness and with Calm Bay twelve mile off on the plotter, the wind picks up. Time 1830, sundown, check the radar and we have two big fronts coming our way and one huge one over Pulau Tuangku. The wind changed in an instant from a pleasant ten knots at sixty degrees to thirty on the nose, got the sails down just in time.

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It all ended good as they passed just south of us, once they passed the wind came back to sixty degrees but at twenty five knots, out with the heady and a pretty hooting little sail for the last hour and a half, the storm in front was going off but passing just north of us, the lightning was horror, only good thing about it was it made it possible to check your surroundings, we were passing through islands and bombies and shit just following an old track, we followed it in to be greeted with a party on Navistar, it was going off, Frederick tried to lure us over but to rooted for that. Had a couple of beers and carked it.

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Next day down to the bay, The Beachouse Boys are here, yewww yewww, small one to two foot waves but only us out, oh dear. They went fishing and come back with Green Job Fish, it is the equivalent to Dhufish, trust me. I really can’t come up with a reason for going south, don’t know what got into me, so much more fun to be had here.

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Our old mates, Allie and his crew came and visited  us with lobster and fish, then the next morning they rolled up with twenty Udang Kipas, bugs, unreal, they chucked in a few lobsters but wanted to know if they could cook on the boat as they had nowhere to cook. We went one better, we cooked for them, BBQ fish, lobster, giant seven egg omlette with corn and chilli, they smashed it and we were left with nothing.

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That night they came again, along with the BH Boys, for mashed spuds, guacamole, boiled lobster, fried fish and rice. Jen made them eat with a fork, pretty funny. They then took me night diving for lobster, first time for me and it is a piece of piss, the kipas are hard to see, they really blend in but just for a moment there eyes give them away so you know approximately where they are, then on closer inspection they are simple to catch, the other lobsters stand out like dogs balls but can be a bit harder to get hold of, donged my head, the boys laughed their guts out, wankers. I ended up with three and three and one of them caught a bloody big squid by hand. Next year I am going to get into it for sure. Back at the boat we had coffee and Allie bought out some food he had made, he said now you eat Indonesian, it was filthy, fish sambal and rice, spewing I didn’t get a bigger serve to start with.

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Surf was small but the day the BH boys left we all had a great time, only us out so no real hassle, just sharing. Good going away pressie for them.

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Moved back up to Calm Bay, big party on Gator, Frederick made a speech which we all toasted and then came the singalong, slept like a log, it is an unreal anchorage, Captain R’S came to visit, his heart is stuffed, no smoking, no drinking and no diving, he now nets for mullet.

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We had a few arvos out at the Bahamas swilling a bintang or two. The surf for the last three days was hooting, bit less wind would have made it perfect, got slammed on the first day, lost a bit of bark, then hassled and then I couldn’t give a shit. The next two days is what it is all about, got some rippers, good crew in the water and had a ball. The last surf was close to my best surf all season, no fear, sort of anyway, scored a hooting barrel that got me grinning and even a few hoots from the crowd, what a way to end a surfing season, grinning like a dead fox.

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Went up to the tree of knowledge in the arvo, got the weather and emails and football results. Go Dockers. Jen and I said our goodbyes to Tony and Blackie, the much more friendly camp dog now he doesn’t have to fend for himself, follows Tony around where ever he goes, reckon he is probably allowed to sleep on a bed as well. Tony got the best barrel the day I got cut up, it was a beauty. He goes hard.

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Then said our goodbyes to Uncle at The Floating Surf House, give him some beer, rice and The Persians donated some coffee stuff, he was grinning one tooth style.

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Back up the bay we had our last trip to Bahamas, beers all round and then a quiety, readying ourselves to leave next morning. I had the perfect preparation for the trip, ten hours of unbroken sleep, woke up to the VHF, everyone is pulling their anchors, not sure why the hurry it means we will arrive at Pulau Raya in the dark. Oh well see how it goes.

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We had a nice departure up the east coast of the Banyak group, it is lovely, white beaches with blue water, got to do some exploring next year that’s for sure. Had the tide against us as well but we also had some wind and off we went. All day nothing really to talk about but then that night the call came, there are logs and shit everywhere, shut down one motor and just cruised along with Jen and a torch up the front shouting at me as logs and trees floated by. Horror.

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Finally one of us hit a log, it was Lara Pinta, damage was done and they can no longer use their engine. Frederick dived over and found one prop blade badly bent, amazingly he wasn’t to fazed, got his sails back out and off he went. In the morning we were able to assess the damage, bit more than first thought but not insumountable and a plan was hatched to sail until the wind blew out then Hubert was to tow him in the Gator.

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Put your astro boots on, we have just jumped in time, it is now Saturday arvo and we have arrived at our Indonesian destination point , Teluk Kruengraya, can’t see bugger all because of all the smoke, wankers burning down rainforest, it is shocking this turtle seemed to swim into the parked boat.

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Back to the story of the log and the prop, we motorsailed our way up the coast with Frederick and Rosie sailing and keeping up mind you, fifty three foot Lara Pinta is a sprinter, but the wind started dropping, just after I got all the sheets out, set up the spinnacker and hoisted it. Got twenty minutes of ten knots then over the next hour it turned to four, bugger. Hubert bought the Gator in for hook-up and off they went with The Persians to port and the Rangas to Starboard, would have scared the shit out of all the poor fishermen out there with their nets, Persians had a close call but avoided one and then we had boats going all ways, then it got dark and then the first storm hit us, got up to twenty knots but manageable for the Gator and the Pinta’s, this one passed after a couple of hours or so, bit of rain and a bit blowy.

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The next one was a beauty, it got up to twenty five knots and rained its arse off, stiil the Gator came, we were by now getting close to our destination, Suedu, a hooting anchorage but one which only Fred and Rose had been. We came around a headland and hoped that a bit of protection was coming but another mothertrucker of a storm came through, thirty one knots top speed, it was starting to wear a bit thin but what can you do. Started trying to find my best option, we had three and a half hours to sunup, twenty plus knot winds, good swell with the tops being blown off every now and then so I embarked on a mission. Got Boomerang pointed into the wind and set the autopilot with the engines just tonking over, we slowy started to head back the way we came and after an hour I thought ok now drift back to the beginning and do it again, as soon as I changed course whammo, blowing back up in the thirty’s, took about five minutes to eat up all my ground, by this time pretty tired and pissed off so just sat there for a while and turned the wheel all the way to winward, all of a sudden we came up into the wind and then back we went then back up into it again, the fishing boats all of a sudden, I forgot, there are fishing boats all over the place, big catamaran gondolas with a work platform up top, they seemed to not fly past anymore, the world had slowed down, the wind was going off but now tucked up in the saloon all was relatively peaceful. Told Persians, he told me it is called hove too, it is an awesome tool, wont be forgetting that one.

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Well we hove too for a while, the sun came up and I was ready to rock and roll, almost had enough, so we headed in and found Fredericks waypoints spot on, chucked a bit of anchor chain out and waited, a tug and barge were leaving and the local fishermen were towing their cats in, could have got three towing scenarios in one photo but alas not to be. Then with Hubert up front, fifty hours with no sleep, Frederick giving directions, in they came anchored up and we all went, FARRRK, and hit the sacks.

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Slept all day pretty much, then went ashore, got sorted for fuel, one hundred and seventy five litres at 8000idr a litre, good looking fuel but a bit of shit in it, lucky Fred gave me some Fuel Doctor, that shit works. We had drinks on Lara Pinta then bed pretty early, woke up 1000hrs, what a sleep.

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Everyone is over at LP checking the problem, got over and the job is just about done, test drive, no good, spew.

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We went to lunch at some mates of Fred and Rosie’s, good feed, although cold was very nice. The young daughter didn’t know what to make of me but once everyone else went for a tour of the property we got stuck into the language book and tried to communicate.

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She is a little beauty, her older sister came over to help when needed and we had a ball. In the end she had me going through the food tasting what she reckoned was bagus, low and behold we came across the shell things Dr Libra introduced us to, these were even better. We scoffed a few spoon fulls, by now she isn’t scared of me at all, just thinks I am a dumb whitey, I am happy with that.

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We left the warrang and headed back to the boats, checked out some local boat building, how cool are these boats?

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Back to work on Lara Pinta but no joy, so off with the prop and repairs organized.

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Bit of a shindig on Boomerang as we are leaving tomorrow morning some time and heading back to Langkawi on Sunday.

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Got a couple of loaves of bread, one is green bread the other white, buggered if I know, didn’t mean to and they came in the same wrapping. We departed 0900 and headed out to farewells from the crew and hit the Aroih Cut, flat as a tack and max speed over the ground 8.2kns, all a bit tame. We headed around to Lampageue, where Linda and Rizal and Bewan were snorkeling, they rocked up and we had a great old yack for a couple of hours. It is great when Linda is there as we have a translator which makes life easy, she also fills you in on all the happenings that are going on around Banda Aceh.

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Well it is back to the real real world, good sleep tonight and off we go, Langkawi watch out.