Sunday, December 1, 2013



With visa requirements taken care of my thoughts went to moving the boat out and in to fresh air and clean water. Marina life at Rebak Island is very comfortable with air con., active social life and easy trips by ferry to the main island of Langkawi. Many stay for months if not years, and it seems that the longer you stay the harder it is to leave. However the gypsy in me was yearning for a change of scene. I was considering taking the boat out by myself, something I had never done before, but as luck would have it my friend Tina arrived on the scene. She had just retired and was at a bit of a loss.  During my congratulatory call to her I said “Why not come over here? Start retirement with a bang, not a whimper!” Three days later, a tired and somewhat stressed Tina arrived at Langkawi Airport.

It was hard work preparing the boat after it had been laid up for  more than six months and we both sweated away removing covers , checking systems, topping up water and the myriad of jobs required before heading out. After a few days of preparing the boat, shopping and enjoying the marina resort’s facilities we were off.

Rob and I after all the years sailing together,  are a well oiled team, each with their own jobs and responsibilities but now I had to think of everything. Tina was a fantastic crew who despite being a novice at sailing, was prepared to give anything a go and best of all at least pretended that she had utmost faith in me!

First mate, Tina

We let off the lines and backed out of the pen without a hitch and my spirits soared as we headed for the open water.  We put up the sails for a much needed airing and we were pleasantly surprised that we could turn off the motor and get along at 3 knots. Any motor less sailing around here is a bonus. We dropped anchor in the spectacular Fiords anchorage safely sheltered on all sides by tall cliffs and mountains. Our days were spent watching with awe the antics of the eagles. They swooped for fish and sometimes, competing birds waged air battles, dive bombing and executing perfect barrel rolls.  Swimming and paddling the surf ski built up quite a thirst and quite a dent was made on the ship’s store of Sapphire. The sun over the yard arm rule was stretched somewhat now and then. Not completely idle, the inevitable boat jobs needed attending to, which although annoying, are part of the cruising life.

A long way from last week's office

More challenging was lifting the anchor, the chain inconveniently jammed in the hawse pipe (where the chain is fed into the boat). Pulling from one end or the other failed to budge it but I had one last trick up my sleeve and got Tina to reverse the boat using its weight and the engine to pull the chain free. The bow of the boat and I looked like a scene from mud wrestling Australia. But we were free and one more lesson was learnt. By the way, a big thank you goes out to the boat that motored on past smiling with obvious  Schadenfreude at our difficulties. (Not that I was anywhere near asking for help, but an “Are you OK?”  would have been neighbourly. )


A few days at anchor did us both so much good.  Tina visibly relaxed and left her stressful job behind her and apart from loving being on anchor again, my self confidence in managing the boat by myself, grew. Nine days went by in a flash and before we knew it Tina was back at the airport hopefully with a fresh start to retired life.


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