Sunday, January 24, 2010

Seacomber to Singapore

The Cast of Characters

For me, the last quarter of 2009 ended with an onslaught of friends who where kind enough to come visit. Belinda came first, and we traveled around Bali and the neighboring island of Lombok. We laughed at inside jokes, mocked ourselves and created new catch phrases like only good friends can. Ask her about the “Danger Shower”. I dare you.

Belinda left, I had 5 days to myself, and then Megan came (Remember Megan Coit? I told you you would see that name again). We had 4 days to ourselves and then my friends Todd & Elyce came for a visit. Once again, I took to the road with my 3 guests and we explored the verdant island of Bali. One night in Ubud, Todd asked Elyce to marry him. She said yes. Todd had let me in on his plans a couple days before and I’m honored that they shared a part of it with me. They were wonderful fun when they came to visit in Fiji and even better here in Bali.

My good buddy Eric Farber also flew half way around the world to join me on the 19th of November. 2 days later, Todd and Elyce left, and 3 days after that Seacomber, the boat I had been maintaining for my South African friend Gordon, departed for Borneo and Singapore with me on it. The original plan was for Eric to join Gordon, his wife Celia, and I, on this amazing voyage, but it was not to be. Eric slipped in the shower, sprained his back 2 days before we set sail, and couldn’t make the trip. Megan took his spot.

Eric was a little upset to say the least.

The Red Dirt Girl

A few words about Megan Coit: She’s from a tiny town in Oklahoma, uses words like “dang”, owns cows, listens to country music and is proficient in farm animal mimicry. Her eyes are about as pretty as they get, and while only aged 23 – she’s put her time to good use and has just completed her masters degree in social work. Seriously – if you aren’t on your way to becoming a rock star – buy a yacht, learn how to sail it, put it in an exotic locale and I promise you, pretty young girls will start talking to you.

S/V Seacomber

Seacomber is a beautiful 57 foot cutter rigged sloop made of steel. She has 2 of every convenience you can imagine on a sea going vessel, and nearly all of them broke on our 1200 mile trip. She is a sailboat, and I have every reason to believe she’s a good sailor, but out of those 1200 miles we sailed for only 60 of them. We motored almost the whole way with the wind right on our nose. No storms, no gales, not even much to report in the way of squalls but just a constant irritating headwind that denied us any purposeful reason to raise a sail. No matter, motoring meant the boat stayed reasonably level and Celia spoiled us with 3 gourmet meals a day. She served tea twice a day (I love the English), we drank wine with every meal, and she made cocktails for our sunset enjoyment.


We anchored midway from Bali to Borneo at a pretty little island cluster called Kangean. Megan and I did some snorkeling and exploring while the locals begged for sunglasses. Generous Gordon tried to give away Celia’s extremely expensive custom sunnies, but she found him out, just before the local latched onto them. He settled for another pair instead.

We made landfall in Borneo a couple days later. The plan was to anchor Seacomber and move aboard a slender riverboat the locals call a “Kloctok”. The name derives from the sound the single banger diesel makes. It’s the only part of the trip that’s a negative. “That was the river, this is the sea.” – The Waterboys. I always loved that quote because it spoke to me of trading up, or raising the ante, but after spending a couple days on the Kumai river, it bested the sea in so many ways. The romantic days of being a river boat captain are over, so I suppose I’ll stick with the Ocean, but man did I have a good time on that fresh water.

Why take a river boat upstream? Silly question – everyone knows Borneo has Orangutans. Our destination was Camp Leakey. This is where the controversial Birute Galdikas began her studies, and reintroductions of captive Orangutans back into the wild. I’ll let the pictures below do the talking but there is something to be said for the power of locking ones gaze with another primate. Something raw, primal, and 1,000,000 years old bubbles inside. And the meat was delicious.


We left Borneo and crossed the South China Sea to another chain of islands in Indonesia before making landfall in Malaysia. Along the way the fuel transfer pump died, 2 of the 3 auto pilots refused to work safely, the fridges and freezers gradually quit, and the extreme shipping traffic and numerous fishing vessels frustrated our passages, but we of course made it. We always do.

Along the way we crossed the equator and since it was the first time for the ladies, Gordon and I orchestrated a ceremony to transform them from Pollywogs to Shellbacks. Silly dress, a shot of rum, an earnest speech from Gordon and they were forever inducted.

We didn’t see much of Malaysia from our position in the marina at the extreme southeast corner. I have every reason to believe it’s an exciting nation I just can’t testify to that as of yet. I shall return and will report back at that time.

Gordon and Celia treated Megan and I to a wonderful meal at the Ritz Carlton in Singapore (Singapore is just a river away from where we made landfall in Malaysia) on my birthday. They left the next day and Megan and I moved Seacomber to Raffles Marina in Singapore. I am overseeing the refit of this gorgeous lady, and have been receiving paychecks for the first time in 5 years.

Life just keeps getting better.

Captain Bobby


SoberDave said...

Bobby, Great to see you are writing again. Looks like you are having too much fun to post. Great that you've a steady flow of friends. I miss you!
Love, Leppy

Sweva said...

Did you perform the "MAMMALS!" chant with your new primate friend?


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