Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Thailand & Malaysia Part 2


We hopped a short flight from Penang back to Langkawi (a large island off the mainland of Malaysia). We rented a scooter and explored the island. The sweating never ends. Ice cubes and aircon are humanities revenge against the elements and we took more than our share of both. The yacht and her purring aircon got us thru the midday kiln heat in that breathless marina.

Evenings were spent watching the sun set thru masts as the ice cubes softened the adult beverage of choice. Eventually we provisioned the galley and tanks and slipped the lines to sail back across the border into Thai waters.

The women can only expose their faces to their husbands. How do they eat?

In cloistered mini dining chambers.
The waiter knocks and averts his eyes while passing thru the food

Our tranquil exit from Langkawi

Koh Lipe

We loved it the first time and it lived up to its memories the second time. We picked up the same mooring ball we had hung on a few weeks before, launched the dink and buzzed back over to the islands east coast, drank deeply, hid from the sun and gorged on massaman curry. Veteran tip - Never order any protein other than seafood on a small island. 

Cocooned in the hard acorn of Great Sensations we were routinely lulled to sleep by the gentle undulations of the sea. We would awake to her melodic gurgles lapping at the waterline. If you are roused from slumber with the sunrise you’ll get maybe 2 hours before the tropical temps flip the perspiration switch. 
Beautiful Koh Lipe on the south side

What a glorious breakfast it is without the burning orb forcing one into the shadows. The heat of the day was vanquished with a backflip off the gunnel, and in the evening the twinkling stars grinned at us with no city glow to diminish the shine in their smiles.  

Koh Muk

We motored to Koh Muk and anchored in 25 feet of water. We were still really far from the rocky cliffs. Most all of these anchorages are rolly open roadsteads. The wind blows 18-22 knots all night and even if the fetch is short the ground swell rolls around these little islands and rocks us. 

Hanging on the rope that marks the entry

We’d come to explore a hidden cave that one had to swim to through a long sunless black tunnel. It was a little gripping since it curved and the end wasn’t in view for 50 meters and it was too deep to walk. The locals had placed floats with reflective tape so our headlamp could bounce the light against them to mark our path in near total darkness. 

Ahh...daylight and the way to land

Koh Lanta

This was a repeat anchorage for us. It’s a beautiful cove but shallow enough that we were still too far outside its protection to save us from the rolling swell.

The wind stayed at 20 knots and it was a crowded anchorage. I didn’t sleep well. The next morning the windlass made only a clicking noise and quit. I had to haul it off the bottom by hand in 20 knot winds in short quarters with a lumpy sea. Aleja helped by driving into it but that came with its own complications since I’m facing forward, we can’t hear each other, and hand signals are impossible while I heave. The chain section was rather easy but once the anchor came off the bottom it got tough. With Aleja’s help we got it on deck without me getting a hernia. 

Dodging nets and boats in my self imposed race to the slip

The Race To The Slip

I picked a waypoint 45nm away at Koh Yao Yai. For only another 15nm I could be back in the slip, plugged in for aircon and sipping fine Venezuelan rum. My stiffening back was my inspiration for perfectly trimming the sails endlessly and accurately hitting every waypoint so as to shave down our time enroute. 

I didn’t want to haul that anchor again but I promised Tobin I wouldn’t be in motion after dark. My old skills didn’t betray me and we beat sunset by ½ an hour. I sent the following pic as proof to my friend and we both slept soundly. 

Nothing wrong with phenomenal Phuket

Marinating In A Marina

I compiled a to-do list of all the things I felt Great Sensations could benefit from. I sent it to Tobin and got started the next day. I spread the chores over 2 weeks and we savored our life of luxury onboard a comfy yacht in a marina.  

I may have betrayed the brotherhood by teaching Aleja the secret life of old white men. We played bingo at the yacht club, shopped in chandleries for boat baubles, and scootered to ancient English pubs for trivia night. She is definitely having a cultural experience living with me, just not the one she thought she was going to get. 

We got a personal tour from the French captain who had a crush on my girlfriend

There are certain demarcation points in life that make effective tally lines in which one can score their existence. I ranked high enough on another man’s friendship list that he entrusted me to sail his boat back to his slip and call it home for 40 days. I’m far from perfect but Aleja loves me and Tobin Alexander trusts me with something as momentous as this. I’ll shut up now and take the win.

Your salty man on point,

Captain Bob

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