Waiting, Waiting for Farid.

24th April 2015.

Happy Birthday Mo and Jan and of course Jen.

We are waiting in Telaga for our dinghy, I have been doing jobs that could have waited, just for something to do, the dinghy, our only failure to complete project in Thailand, is due on Friday, the alcohol is due tomorrow, so Saturday is D day.

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The refloating of Boomerang went smoothly as, although my thirst for knowledge when it came to the props bit me on the arse, stuffed around with the pitch, then had to spend an hour or so ginning around, fighting the tide, diving on the starboard one adjusting it back to where it used to be, dickhead. I know how that works now.

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In the end the G&T bill was around $6000.00, we were on the hard for 18 days, got all the planned jobs plus a bucket load of others done, new gas bottle and all the solar panels done so we are grinning like dead foxes.

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I mentioned before that Toi is a ripper, well she is, she completed our doors the day before we went in, it is funny now as the rest of the saloon looks a bit plain, like it needs a face lift, next year perhaps, they look brilliant and the rest of Boomerang has that squeaky soft shiney feel to her. The anti foul line has been raised, lucky with all the extra weight that is about to be piled on it it needs to be, might have to get rid of some books, but it is hard to choose which ones, ahhh I just don’t know. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

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We had a big night in Nai Yang with Gerry and the G&T crew to say goodbye and thank you to them and we left Ao Po headed for Ao Chalong to clear out and as usual when you are organized and ready to go something always try’s to stuff you around, this time it was a public holiday, which means you have to pay for the privilege of clearing out, about sixty bucks, but by then I was pretty well Thai’d out, so bugger it, we are going. We thanked the immigration guy, who was excellent, for having us and he said to me I am welcome back any time I like.

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Jen told him I am a bit ting tong to which he replied, “no he’s not”, good little chuckle there. Got back to the boat had a snooze for close to three hours and we left with 12kn’s from the NE, heady up and starboard engine doing 2000RPM, a good knot of current had us doing six and a half knots headed for home.

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It was pretty easy going up until around midnight when all of a sudden a loud screeching noise erupted, sort of like eeoo eeoo eeoo, then it popped out the back, it was a bloody great big piece of foam that the fishermen use for moorings, scared the shit out of me and for the next three hours it was dodge the blocks, tried sitting up the front and bolting for the controls whenever one came into sight, come a gutser big time and took the tip off me little toe, again, before I gave that up as a bad joke. The eyes were getting a bit heavy when all of a sudden we passed the last squid boat to starboard and that was the end of the floats, bargain.

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Not long after this happened we came across a fishing boat towing a net, they do about a knot but love to go in front of you, we pulled up to let them have their way, it’s meant to be good luck for them so you couldn’t begrudge them that, anyway there was one about a mile off to starboard and doing two knots so kept a bit of an eye on him and once we got in front of him I just turned my attention to my new Rebus book and every five pages stood up and had a look around, all of a sudden I heard a loud throaty engine noise and I jumped up for a look, this bloody fishing boat had changed course and come over for a look, I squealed like a girl and the guy who was looking down at me from the bow of his boat just smiled and after his curiosity was quelled he waved to the skipper to get going again and they just headed off, not a word was spoken, they just arced up the engines and headed off, what a spin out, tried going back to reading but read the same page ten times just thinking how lucky was that, glad my Karma levels are running high. Now I am thinking, first the foam then that, what is going to be number three. So sat up on the roof and sucked on coffees till the sun came up and Jen surfaced and took over. By now we had Koh Lipe in sight and had the heady on tight sailing at sixty degrees, almost got the main up but in the end had some fish net dodging to do so easier just to do it the easy way, still doing 6 to 7kns, it was an excellent passage if you forget about the minor intrusions, I still can’t get the fishing boat out of my head though, bet they pissed themselves.

We drove into Telaga Harbour Marina at 1100 after altering the clocks so 18 hours is not to shabby, pulled into our usual possie, got the paperwork out the way, went up and said gidday to the marina girls then in airconditioned comfort slept till midnight, then finished Ian Rankin’s, Tooth and Nail, which is a hooting read, by sunrise.

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Langkawi is the same, not much changes here, the gang is a bit short on the ground but fish and chips was fun, Phil is back so good to see him again, Jeffery is at anchor at Pantai Tengah, I changed his genset over to 240 volt, success this time not like last time when I let some smoke out. John Spider and Eric were also there and then Raffis and then Champor Champor, some things stay the same, Blurrrrr.

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We have new shades for the boat now, the boys from Yacht Worx in telaga did a great job,all the port side staunchens and fittings have been reglued, but still no dinghy, come on Farid.

Hit Penang for our social visa for Indonesia which gives you two months and extensions for up to six months. Made a bit of a blunder, we went to the Shin Mi the night before and ended up on the Laphroaig back on Boomerang. Then up at 0700 and off to the airport, then Penang and a taxi to the Grand Inn, then sleep, then check what we need for our visa’s, long pants, long sleeve shirt, shoes, passport photos all of which I had but are sitting on my bed back on Boomerang. Frogged again. Jumped in a taxi and went to a shopping centre and 172rm later I am decked out an relieved, Jen who was also in the same boat, pardon the pun, frocked up in some brown gear and looks the part. Next morning 0855 we were out side the passport photo place, all done quick smart, Guna my new mate and cool taxi driver was waiting outside at 0907 and then we sped off to the Indo Consulate looking a million bucks. Queued up for a bit and then fill out one page front and back each, hand over passports, photos, photocopies of front page of passport and 170rm each. Laid on the charm and had a chat with the young women, she then let us know, “come back at 1000 tomorrow”, which worked well for our flight so pretty stoked with that. Normally have to wait till 1400.

We had a filthy feed at a Chinese restaurant just off Chullia street, superb food, this place is chocker from the time they open to the time they shut every day, spewing we didn’t get its name. There was a hooting storm while we ate, we were out on the pavement, only place left, and it pissed down, the plates flew of the table, one chair went flying down the street, it was madness. We just hunkered up against the wall and ate out of our laps. The boys kept coming out apologising to us but it wasn’t their fault and after we explained we lived on a boat and a bit of wind is a good thing they felt much better.

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We had another feast at the Red Garden, a hawkers centre, all the specialties are there, frog, sate, pork, duck, yumcha and different types of noodles are all cooked for you and bought to your table for bugger all, ours was number 120, we had a constant supply of food, Tiger beer and Hubert’s Bangladeshi mate cleaning our table every couple of minutes, good rule here, tip the cleaners and reap the benefits. It was a crack up, all the tables around us were piled high in crap with people shishing and waving their arms to get our waiters attention but they just ignored them and wiped our table or topped up our beers, Hubert told us about it and after seeing it, always look after the cleaners and the beer girls, they were even filling our glasses after a sip, it was brilliant. By the end all the people around us seemed to learn a lesson and instead of just treating them with disdain were much nicer about it.

Scored well as we went early to the Consulate and after my new mate saw us she had our paperwork ready in ten minutes, so it was out of there and off to HSBC bank then on to an Indian restaurant that Guna recommended, we had mutton curry and it was something out of this world, mouthwatering, we ended up having two serves each.

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Also fitted in a few hours on a bike tearing through the hills up the north end of Penang, had a couple of beers at the durian shop up there, then had a chilli crab at Restaurant At The End Of The World, it has been there for over thirty five years, well that was the first time we ate there anyway, it’s pretty flash now, used to be a bit rough but the place is hooting now, no cats or rats.

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We made our flight and were back in Langkawi in half an hour, not bad at 39rm each way. Air Asia rocks.

Our job list is now down to buying stuff and believe me it is flying out the pocket, geez, just got to remember there isn’t a great deal to buy when we get there.

The Sandy’s have rolled up so a bit of fun to be had, also Jasmine is back on the Gator and having a look around Langkawi, then hopefully by Saturday we will be off. Farid should have the dinghy back today, all on schedule though so plenty of faith in him, fuel up just as we leave and we are out of here, so we are waiting, waiting for the man.

 

Adventuring with the Alison’s. A froggin good time.

13th March 2013.

Well, picked up the tourists, on time and fully loaded with all sorts of surprises. We headed back to Boomerang and lazed about for a bit and then Captain Erratic made the decision, lets bugger off, so then it was get rid of the hire car, pick up the washing and any last things like milk and a bit of cheese, go over and say seeya to the Persians who have proved to be splendid cruising companions, or I think it is buddies, but that sounds a bit gay. Thanks guys seeya in Sumatra. We then gave the Yanmah’s a kick in the guts, hauled in the anchor which had been well and truly set after three weeks of us and sixty metres of chain hanging off it, then set off for Koh Lipe or perhaps Naiharn or was it Koh Rok Nok. Just had to be at Koh Lipe in a couple of days to meet up with Hubert and his folks on Investigator.

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Pretty much motored down the west coast of Phuket, no breeze to speak of but once we got to the bottom there was a bit, 10 to 15 knots from the ESE which although pretty tight, 30 to 45 degrees, enabled us to get the sails up and get rid of the starboard engine. Got on the blower to the Persians and asked about pulling into Koh Rok Nok at night, “piece of piss, I will email you the coordinates”, just what you would expect from them. So it was that we headed out into the Andaman Sea on our way south with a couple of options. I carked it for a few hours, Jen and Chris had us in good position when I got back up to do a bit, three slabs of Australian eye fillet, half a block of chocolate, a coffee and my new book from home, The Mulberry Tree, which is written by Ken Hill and is a ripper, had me sitting there all night pinching up and up as the wind gradually moved more east which helped us to make Koh Lipe. Koh Rok Nok not an option anymore, so it’s the long haul. One hundred miles instead of sixty but it is a nice night.

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The Mulberry Tree is partly about my Grandad Sweetman, and his brothers’s lives living on the Canning River and down Mandurah on the Serpentine, which is where we spent just about every school holiday I can remember when we were growing up. I had the pleasure of sailing down to Freo from Dongara with my Uncle Alf, who also features in the book and as we sat there heading south he told me story after story about Gran and Grandad. Then reading this book just shows how skilled they were, fishing, hunting and building stuff and how generous the Sweetman’s were. It is an excellent read.

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Had to slow down a bit to let the sun come up to pass between Koh Adang and Koh Rawi, don’t know why, its pretty bloody wide but my eyes were playing tricks, ended up just angles being a bit out there. Had no problem with boats or nets, didn’t even have to adjust course once to avoid anything, which is pretty bloody good for Thai waters. We sailed down the passage, no Investigator, so on to Lipe and still no Investigator so grabbed a mooring, big mother, and I went to bed while the crew, who pretty much slept the whole way in what I would call a bit rough conditions, all came to life and hit the town. Little Molly was a big surprise, sleeps like a log, got to be happy with that. Jen took Chris, Em and Molly to Fino’s for lunch and introduced them to Pete at the Peace and Love Bar, giving me a good few hours sleep, the bloody long tails wear a bit thin but at least there are no jet ski’s.

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Caught up with Hubert and met his parents and we hung out in Pattaya Bay for a couple of days, then up to Adang and some snorkeling. Molly has not done this before, I remember Em’s first go, years ago at Rotto, geez I just about pissed myself when she first put her head under with the goggles, she came back up in a funny as flurry, so how was Little Molly going to go. They stuck the goggles on and the snorkel in her mouth, she was in a Mickey Mouse ring and she bobbed over for her first look underwater, took to it like a duck to water which was what she looked like, head down bum up. We have a snorkeler in our midst’s you can be certain of that. We went and snorkeled Koh Rawi, got Em set up and had her enjoying herself in no time, they have now seen Nemo’s and heaps of other stuff. Molly had a sunburned bum, which was pretty funny as it was the only part of her not covered in sunscreen.

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The guys from Aurelia passed by, hadn’t seen them since Christmas, then Micah anchored up nearby. Had a bit of a rubbish burn on the beach one night with a few beers, then a big one back on Lipe, the frog got me, Laphroaig Quarter Cask Whiskey, it is amazing the things that happen when a bit of frog is about. Probably pay to stay away from it for a while, it is scary.

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After a few Chris, Em and I went to town to get pizza, roast duck and money, came back with loads of stories, pizza all scrunched up in three plastic shopping bags and a sore jaw from laughing so much. Well and truly frogged.

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We woke up to long tails and ferries all on top of us so escape stage left, our plan to get going early now a bit like the duck and money, had gone to shit but never mind the tide changes at 1030 and looks like being the only natural assistance we are going to get for the next few hours, it is like a millpond, with only a slight two knot flutter from out of the West, so we took off about 1000 and around Lipe then back up the channel and forty odd miles North again to Koh Rok Nok.

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The last fourteen miles we got wind and motor sailed into the anchorage right on 1700, struggled a beer down, dived on the mooring which is bloody deep, just got there and only just got back up, the water is crystal clear and almost tempts you to go that bit further, good coral and a few good fish here too. Deane and Yanina come over and asked us out for tea at the restaurant, we had just got there so we declined and said we might get there for a drink later, then the Marine Parks boys rolled up wanting our fees, 400thb each, 100thb for the boat, kids and captain are free for five days, it came to 1300thb, we went through Ems purse and found 1360thb and handed it over.

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I don’t think there is anything under 60thb for sale here so hobnobbing at restaurants is out for us until we get to Koh Lanta, a bit further North and what is meant to be a sizable town. Forced saving, classic, it’s only type of saving that works on me.

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We can dive off the back of the boat, swim twenty metres and be onto a pretty good bit of reef, it is about twenty metres deep under the boat, imagine how Molly feels when she jumps in and it is the big blue, she loves it though. She has moved away from Mickey and just using a lifejacket now, she hasn’t got the flippers bit quite sussed yet but it won’t be long.

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Doing some repairs on a snorkel I cut my finger with the Leatherman knife, blood sprayed out, never seen that before, but got it covered up and now in a bandaid with the heaps of good old Three Legs Brand, Yellow Lotion, it has stopped throbbing, probably a stitch or two would go down well but not going to happen out here. Chris also did some major big toe nail carnage kicking his toe twice on the same thing.

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Have now checked most of the spots for snorkeling around here, some nice viewing to be had and some good fish.

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We watched an aluminium cat come into the anchorage the other day, he was going flat out and I said to the crew he is going to hit the reef, then they came to a screaming halt, then one of the rudders popped to the surface, then, I could go on but the I feel sorry for them, their holiday would be rooted, fair few aboard as well, just goes to show how stuff happens and can visit you, when and where ever you are out here. It happened so fast you didn’t even get the chance to stand up or offer any warning, it was a low low tide as well, all you can say is, poor bastards.

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Another session on the Laphroaig did pretty much the same as the last one, arghh frogged again, upped anchor next morning and only had to motor twenty odd mile to Koh Muk and the Emerald Cave, not a breath of wind, got there and the rangers come over, we handed over our five day tickets, they handed them back and said, give us 200thb per person, we have 60thb left, tried to explain, even offered my lucky American twenty buck note that has lived in my wallet from way back when we bought the boat, he looked at it and said, not enough, I looked at him and gave up, took my twenty back, then out comes Molly, he sees her and has the big change of heart, I conferred with Chris, who had been checking out the crowds, then had great pleasure in shaking my head and taking off. The place was teeming with people, music going off, boats everywhere, only thing not there were jet skis, so perhaps they actually did us a favour.

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We upped anchor and buggered off to Koh Lanta, which ended up being a good little sail with all sails up in 12 knots, a bit tight but good fun all the same. Halfway there we were confronted with about twenty Thai fishing boats, two boats with one net strung between them. One good thing about them is they are slow and we managed to drag them off.

Came around the bottom of Koh Lanta, got the guide out and headed for anchorage B, Hat Kan Tiang, apparently a nice little bay to hang out in.

We abandoned ship and hit the shore, asked a girl from the resort the location of a money changer, sent us on our way down the beach, got to a bar and asked again, oh no no no money changer here, went to next shop, same, we are thirsty as and starving by now, then a Pommy bloke comes up and points up the road, so off we go, ATM that will do, then we walk up the street and the first thing we see is a big yellow sign saying Currency Exchange, the girl at the beginning knew but the ten other local people just had no idea, kind of like we have just travelled back in time or something, perhaps they are all on the gear, stuffed if we could work it out. Shared a feed and a coconut with the fly’s and headed back to the boat along a track with open drains heading for the coast, got to the water and the stink is horror, the breeze had changed and being low tide all the filth was oozing out of the sand into the sea, we got back to the boat and had to shift as a dive boat had moored next to us and just taken off, this was really my fault, I saw the lines in the water but thought whatever boat comes along will pull up on them or just use some others, not these guys, they just put the eyes over the cleats and left with about ten metres floating in the drink. Ended up being better, as further out you only got sniffs of the stink. We call anchorage B, Stink Lanta. Probably couldn’t recommend it for anything. Sorry, there was a wedding on the beach and they had an excellent fireworks display once it got dark, it went for about half an hour and to top it off one of the canister boxes fell over a bit and started shooting them low over the water, it looked superb, they were pretty bloody good.

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Couldn’t get out of there fast enough though and not long after sun up we were gone, heading north for the next possie, Anchorage A, Had Khlong Dao, this time though it has a big asterix next to it, Alex off of Sonnet who we met at Nai Yang has recommended it, big sigh of relief. It is a pretty big bay but quite shallow so you need to stay out a bit with the tides we are experiencing at the moment, couple of metres movement, but we landed at pretty much the top of the tide, dragged the dinghy up and headed for the first restaurant bar in sight, The Easy Bar, check the menu, they sell larb moo and other moo things, they have as many coconuts as you want, cold beer, no flies, everyone is smiling, feels like we are back in Thailand again. Since leaving Koh Rok Nok it all seems to have been a bit hard, so hooray, if not it was the frog. I even double checked it wasn’t a Friday a couple of times.

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We had a great feast, followed by a foot massage and then beers all arvo, occasionally dragging the dinghy down the beach to the new water line as the tide dropped, two vertical metres equates to about fifty metres horizontally, but no hardship when you do it in bits.

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Molly turned on the charm, got to know the owners little girl, ended up getting a facial and a foot massage from the girls who were just happy to have something to do, they all loved having her there to pretty much play with. Later on we were sitting up in the bar under the big tree that shades the place, Molly was down at the waters edge just yacking to some woman, they got very friendly and when they said their goodbyes Molly just continued to play on the waters edge by herself. Later on, after another ten metre dinghy shift, we came across the woman and Molly pointed her out to Em so we got talking, she reckoned she was a bit worried about Molly being on her own, we all cracked up because we were wondering what questions Molly was shooting at her, like how come your bikinis don’t match? Why have you got black hair? Why do you speak funny? The lady, from Turkey, laughed and was relieved that we were watching her like hawks. Single child children are good at amusing themselves and need a bit of latitude. Our Mo turned out good and this little kid is a beauty too. She has got the whole boat sussed, if you say there is none left she will take a step left or right and point out a box of what you just said is all gone and say “no they are in there” and boy can she eat. I made a deal with her that she could have the last 7UP but I don’t want to see her blanky, scaly old rug, again, she has not removed it from her room since, we may have cracked a big one there.

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We hit town for brunch, internet top up, phone top up, cholesterol pills and found a bookshop and bought ten of their twelve Ian Rankin books. She was stoked. We moved on up the street, Chris had a horror toilet moment, I just held on, and ended up having beers at the Easy Bar. The Alisons had massages and I went out the boat and had the most excellent time listening to the poms get done and dusted, go Bangladesh you beauties. Stick that up your arse Jeffery Boycott, have a long lonely flight home. Went in to pick the guys up but ended up in a flash hotel, The Chung, which has a pool and a happy hour. Two for the price of one, but you get them at the same time, bit of a pain but makes you knock them back a bit quicker than normal. Really good pub with no problems using the pool or bar, surprised us all.

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Got going mid morning heading for Koh Phi Phi Don, no idea what to expect but a few people have tuned us on how busy it gets.

Horror, it is way beyond your wildest dreams, boats, boats and more boats, what a spin out. 1600 and we are just about to go ashore and have a look around, when we first arrived it looked like we wouldn’t be here to long but the place has settled and might be ok, we are on a mooring so fingers crossed.

Bedlam is a word that could be used to describe this place, the north side is the doof area, all day and all night by the seems, Chris was grooving, I was amazed, DJ’s going during the day, a pool full of tattooed, pissed young people all going off, oh well whatever rocks your boat. This is tattoo land.  Some of the tats just looked like they had been rolling in mud. We had some tacos, average but the beers were cold, then cruised on down the lanes and tracks that criss cross the joint, dodging carts full of beer, food and baggage, pretty busy place, found a seafood restaurant that also had duck, so stuffed ourselves full then off we go again. It is not real hard to go through 3000thb and have not much to show for it, found that out as had to wait for a few hours for the tide to come back. Had a foot massage that was more like a shin massage, very lazy woman, poor old Em had a facial done by some bloke, he had just been doing a foot massage and hadn’t washed his hands so she was keen as to get out of there, nothing like a massage to relax you. Chris got his nails done, that’s weird, can’t see what’s wrong with using your teeth.

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Finally got back to the boat, good breeze so good sleep. The mooring we chose ended up being a beauty, in pretty close with all the speedboats, but they all go to bed early and the water stayed nice and calm even with 15 knots coming at you.

Up early and out of there, rounded the southern tip and set the jib and starboard motor up, to make some water, and sitting on 6 to 7 knots in quite breezy conditions, put it this way I was glad to be going with it, we have found this stretch of water can be a bit of a slog, real washing machine job.

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Made it into Naiharn Bay at 1300 and anchored up, sat back and had a beer. Another lap down, this one was approximately 260nm and a pleasant little jaunt.

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I reckon the Alison’s have had a ball, little Molly can just about do padder-kick now and is not scared of the water at all, just zings around the boat without a worry and didn’t even come close to falling in, she is a funny little moosetekeer, which is the new way it is spelt according to Molly. We left her with a mate of theirs wife and Paul took us to Patong, Bangalore Road, excellent, we cracked up, ass whipping fun was a classic and then Chris had a go at smacking the nail into the lump of wood. I had been hanging out to see him do this as I have witnessed him using a hammer cack handed and back to front at the same time and not miss once, he proved me right.

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First hit he sunk it in past half way, his opposition, an ex barmaid or dancer you would think, had a very surprised look on her head, she only hit hers in about half an inch, Chris picks up the hammer and eyes it up and smack, bye bye nail. It was unreal, I just about knocked some old bag over in celebration, Winner winner chicken dinner. That does not happen often.

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Watched a magician and some dancing in the street but it gets a bit boring pretty quick so we bolted, checked all the ladyboys, lined up along the road at Kata, waiting to pounce on some poor pissed sucker on his way home. Beware.

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Had an excellent lunch the next day up on Kata Hill, local place with awesome food and an amazing view. Back to the boat, which meant a few beers, vodkas and saying our goodbyes. Ended up a waste of time as we ended up in Pier 93 for a few hours before Captain Rod had to go home, Blurrrr. It was excellent having The Alisons on tour, I asked Molly what her favourite bit was and she said without a pause, the pool at Koh Lantra, there you go, life through a little kids eyes, she has now been promoted from swab, didn’t like that much, to first mate. Chris and Em, the same as normal, as you would expect, excellent partners in crime.

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They flew out at 0600, Paul gave them a lift at 0300, he’s a good bloke too.

Hired a car to go and say goodbye to the Persians up at G&T Boatyard, Toi had cooked up a storm, roast chicken with beer cans shoved up them and a roast lamb, veges and gravy. Pigged out and had a few beers, not to many as it is a fair old hike back to Naiharn from Ao Poh. Sad to say seeya to Pete and Pen, will see you in Sumatra guys, The Kokomos also made it and it was good to see those guys as well.

Seen a hooting car crash on the way back, horror, but the way they drive is conducive to having them.

We haul out next week and then the fun starts, big list of jobs, Gerry was joking about how long we were staying at G&T, reckons always have an open mind, I have the perfect incentive to get it all done on time, Bay of Plenty, Sumatra is calling.

 

 

Whose been to Banda Aceh?

9th June 2014.

We have and what a spin out. I was kind of thinking a flat barren area about the size of Kuah, I couldn’t have been more wrong, it is huge, something like Penang, awesome a few days of investigation is required.

Also something for consideration, THIS IS BLOG NUMBER 50!, Hope you enjoy, I reckon its time to bring on some pirates and another bottle of Laphroaig, my new nightcap. Although, we bought a few of bottles of Ferngrove Cabernet the other day in Langkawi, it is not to shabby either. Well done guys. One of the favourite clients when I used to work.IMG_0049

We started today like most others with a cup of tea, then got about getting ready to drop the mooring and head to Banda Aceh. It blew it’s arse off last night and as we approached the most western tip of Indonesia we were confronted with some heavy duty slop and 15kns on the nose. Our first attempt was aborted as the port engine room bilge alarm went off, just a short ping but enough to get you wondering especially as I thought I had vacuumed all the water and crap out of that bilge in particular. We ran the pump in manual and a litre or so came out then stopped, I was about to say stuff it and then, Ping, so it was run the pump again and about another litre came out. You wanker bilge alarm, the next five minutes is spent unloading the shed so I can get to the engine room hatch, this job is heaps more of a pain now as we have all the spare sails in bags stashed in there as well, due to the extra 40 metres of chain  we now have up front, poor old Boomerang was leaning forward so anything that could be shifted was. Add to this a tool box that is stupidly heavy, needs investigating, spare parts box which is purposely full, fishing tackle box, a bucket that weighs heaps as it is full of sinkers uncle Alf gave to me a couple of years ago in Dongara, socket set, buffer, cordless drill and an ice cream container full of diesel and oil with some tools in it soaking, which is now less full as it tipped over when a wave hit us, then once the cover was up there was not much water in there anyway, it certainly wasn’t obvious, wanker bilge alarm. I just left it all out, climbed over it and went back to giving orders. Wanker bilge alarm.IMG_0087

About 5 miles east of Pulau Weh you start to get some protection from the other islands a bit further south, which made for a pleasant little twenty mile jaunt. With five to go we even got the jib out and with the starboard engine at 2000RPM we were doing 7.8kns on really nice flat water sailing at 50 degrees to the wind. The next thing was where to park, everyone says they didn’t stop long, they just anchored out near the pass waiting for the right tide, which is a falling tide by the way, so we motored up to the shallows, it is blowing now, 15 to 20kns, anchor sets perfectly in 6 metres of water and I set about cleaning up the shed. I have climbed all the way back in and have got my head in the bilge when I hear, Hello, then Jen, get back up here some people want to meet you, spew, but up I come to find a small boat with 4 friendly looking dudes on board. Linda and her husband Adi, Bewan and Rizal, they had just stopped by for a chat, oh well why not. Glad they did as we were anchored right in the night time fishing zone so up anchor and move a mile or so, there is a foam buoy with a blue flasher on it, just east of that. A fair bit more protected but Windy is loving it, she is loving life at the moment lots of spinning and howling, I just look at her and think go baby, something for free on a boat. That is Windy the wind generator I am talking about.

Linda turns out to be a marine park advocate, I hope that is the right term Linda, one of the  good guys anyway, looking after the turtles, sharks and the reef and has set up funding for the area and is implementing her plans, nice person as is Adi and with Linda as translator this made conversing to easy. In no time we knew heaps of ins and outs for the area we found ourselves in,  I negotiated a motorbike from Adi and we are once again styling.  Bewan and Rizal both went through 2004, Rizal is the only remaining person in his family, makes you feel very sad. He is just coming to grips with going back into the water, luckily I didn’t give him a shove while I was mucking about with him on the back of Boomerang. We left our dinghy  tied to Bewan’s boat, safe as houses, he owns the warrang on the beach and has a lovely wife, Nora, and beautiful young daughter named Camelia. Linda and Camelia snorkelled out to the boat, not a bad effort, a couple of k’s no worries. We bought all of Bewan’s new coconuts off him for the trip.

This is when our next new acquaintances come to play, I had instructions to just follow the road, over the bridge and turn left to town. Luckily Deddie and Eddie, both survivors who also lost all their family, were at the warrang when we were leaving, I as usual was shaking hands with everyone and these guys indicated they were going to town and we should follow, next I had them taking us to Telkomsel and then a practice run to the airport for tomorrows big adventure, pick up Mo. After about half an hour we pulled up at the service station and I asked how much further, another 15 minutes, there was no way I was going to be able to find where we were now never mind another 15 or 20ks away, there are no signs with big planes on them, nothing but packed roads with bikes and trucks and cars, the usual rules are apparent, if light goes red, keep going until you can’t, all the lights are countdown lights which is handy for some reason and if you stuff up just say sorry and you will be excused and let in. Banda Aceh I love you. We bought the boys a late lunch, Nasi goreng and a carrot juice to wash it down, then back on the bike to get back to the boat before dark, which only just happened. They were superb young blokes and they never stopped smiling, Thanks guys if you ever read this, LOST is the word if it wasn’t for you.IMG_0063

Today I went to shore once again, this time to top up our internet, get fruit and veges, a couple of soccer balls and eventually pick up Mo from Banda Seafood in Ule elheue, which I had been advised is a place most taxis would know. When I got to shore, Rizal was there and helped me tie the boat up. We then piled into Linda’s car and off to the airport we headed, I can’t start to tell you how happy I felt, no worrying about Mo and taxi’s, just be there and pick her up and away, thank you Linda and Adi for your generosity, you are absolute legends. Their website is: lamjabatfoundation.or.id if you have a spare truck full of cash.

There is another story here, Mo’s trip from Langkawi to Banda Aceh. I think she might have been suffering a bit right from the start, drinks at the Pier then on to Raffi’s with the gang can get a bit messy. Anyway she has made it to the ferry 0900 and off it goes to Penang, then half way it breaks down so back to Kuah on one engine and onto another ferry, this one makes it. At least the wait in Penang was cut back a few hours, then board a plane to Medan, arrive there and no bus to pick her up, was organised I promise, so off she goes to get phone card and some Rupiah then back to airport then calls me, using a taxi drivers phone, then gets a cab to the hotel I booked for her, two and a half hours later with her own sim card now, taxi cost 250000rupiah and gets there after midnight, not too bad, I must admit I was wondering how this was going to play out by this stage, stayed in a nice room until 0500 then the hotel take her out to airport, this time only 40000rupiah, and a bit of a wait, 3 hours, then onto the plane and arrive in Banda Aceh an hour late, then a tour of BA, a dinghy trip back to the boat and she has nearly travelled about 350 nautical miles in 30 hours. We took 44 hours to do the same journey direct, 270nm in the boat. It was a great effort with an excellent ending, you have got to be happy with that. Father like daughter you might say.IMG_1276

Rizal gave us the full tour of BA today, showing us where the Tsunami hit, where he and his family ran to and where his house used to be, both Mo an I were just about balling, it is too sad and I found it very hard to take any photo’s. Very easy to give him a hug instead and say how sorry we feel for him and his fellow people, not sure how to say it. Rizal wanted me to take a photo of what remains of his old house. It is just about centre of this photo. He now lives in a district that was donated by Taiwan.IMG_1280

It is hard to believe it is 10 years ago, and I can’t imagine how it must be. Thank god for people like Linda.                          We had a Boomerang shirt handing out today, these are very much for the special people we meet, we are saving one for Sofea at the Adina Motel in Cenang, Rizal and Camelia are both worthy recipients. I taught them the best thank you I know, “Cheers Mate.” So if there is a young girl at Lampageue wearing a purple Boomerang T-Shirt you know what to say, I bet her eyes light up.IMG_0064

Woke up this morning to 25kns on the nose, not real flash to be heading out to sea.  So we wait, Mo has been shivering and aching, first on left side now all over, googled it, I reckon dehydration, but I am a dickhead. We had a storm come over the hills today 35kns, it was amazing, anchor held well. Wish the wind would blow the fly’s away, shocking, apparently from a chook farm, another reason to not eat it.

11/6/2014.                                                                                                                                                                                                              We received some bad news today, my mums sister Aunty Elsie passed away this morning, our thoughts are with all the Sweetman and Whitehead clans. Auntie Elsie was a beauty.

This could be the last  post for a bit, we possibly head around the top of Sumatra tomorrow, if this wind buggers off, had 36kns on the wind indicator and Windy is going off. We Will then head South  and a bit of east to get to wherever the boys on Beachouse are, watch out I reckon they might be hanging for a beer. As soon as we get to a place with Telkomsel we will be sure to get the wifi happening and fill you in on whats been going on.

Seeya,

Captain Rod and Crew.