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.