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Anthem Adrift
Parts Without Starts
02/09/2016, Yacht Haven

Saturday 30 January 2016

Phuket Aquarium, part of Marine Biological Center, isn't terribly big, but had some cool stuff and was worth the $5 entry. Most interesting was getting there by tying dink to a fishing boat, then climbing over a couple of them to get onto commercial wharf. As Anchor Buddy and wheels are currently unserviceable and the thing is too heavy to drag high enough for 3 meter tide we appreciated locals help. Remediation of malfunctioning equipment is imminent.

Just heard that due to rapidly increasing numbers West Indian manatees have been removed from the endangered species list in America. Although they are dimwitted, blubbery, prop bending, grass-eating, crap machines that are seldom seen, we love them and are happy to see the randy rascals are getting it on.


Came into Yacht Haven Marina, north end of Phuket Island, Monday to unswelter in sybaritic air conditioning. Ambitious program of boat work fell by the way in face of that and a cafe that has breakfast, espresso coffees and free internet. Echewing total wastrelness (you don't know it's not a real word) drove Tuesday to excellent chandlery at Boat Lagoon to buy parts for additional procrastination opportunities. Guilt eventually forced token efforts at utilization. Anchor Buddy lives; wheels remain under advisement. Need more parts.

Had scheduled departure tomorrow, but inertia has overcome curiosity, so we remain a day.


As on Tuesday rented a vehicle - a nice one from Mr. Narong - to drive around Phuket. Besides the usual market stops also returned to AME Chandlery at Boat Lagoon to again spray money around like water. Having done research, bought spare 115v AC seawater cooling pump (they had more than one for some miraculous reason to backup salt water drenched one that, also miraculously, but probably temporarily, continues to run), dinghy wheels (the proper geometry which are, as we breath, being cut down to fit), potable water hose (heretofore impossible to find), US NPT plumbing fittings for drinking water filter and other recherch├ę items too extensive to be recalled given limited capacity in that regard.


Awoke with every intention to sail away for rousing adventure in northern Phang Nga Bay to discover wind howling from that very direction. Being prudent and cautious (or possibly lazy) have elected to remain docked for another day or two for more benign conditions and to complete a boat project. Task now is to search out a project that has been started or, God forbid, actually start one.


OK, this is the straight skinny. We are leaving today, really.


Bearing Up and Heading Out
01/29/2016, Phuket, Thailand

Friday 22 January 2016

Well, who knew wind would be so good overnight that massive effort (we rolled in some sail) would be necessary to slow for post sunrise arrival? Weather weasels you say?... suspect lucky guess. After cleaning up and brekkie, went ashore with Always Saturday to get sim cards, coffee and general lay of Chalong. No nap, then drinks and dinner with them, Tintin, Chamomile and Inspiration Lady; all heading across Indian Ocean shortly either to Sri Lanka or Cocos Keeling and eventually South Africa.


Although motoring around Phuket Island is an exercise in chaos, the drivers are remarkably polite, so our rental survived unscathed. Discovered that Boat Lagoon has boat crap that we shouldn't be able to find in SEA, 115v boat crap - cool. Also visited Big Buddha (big honkin' statue on a hilltop and yes, that's it's official name), Phuket Town (just another big town) and Patong Beach (Phuket's equivalent of Kuta Beach in Bali, but with more debauchery.. hey, it's Thailand - it was great fun). After excellent meal in Patong and drive back, cajoled guard at gate to let us drive out on 1/2 mile-long pier since shuttle had stopped for the night and ILs had continued their massive over-provisioning. The 200 baht donation may have helped, but probably wasn't meant to cover our leaving car out there all night. And yet we remain unscathed.

Sunday - Thursday

Little of this, little of that. Moved over to Nai Harn Beach and alternatively did a bit of boat work, wandered around, goofed off and ate some wonderful food while awaiting weather window for Sri Lanka bound. Chamomile and Tintin left Wednesday. Inspiration Lady delayed a day for half of crew to enjoy triennial passing of kidney stone nearer medical attention if necessary. Jan, Jackie and I had more fun Wednesday than did Gary. Flush-out success had them off Thursday morning in good wind followed shortly by none.


We now reside off Phuket Aquarium which may expect a visit in the AM if soupy mud sufficiently grips anchor through the night. Thus a Goldilocks scenario: Too little breeze (too hot to sleep), too much breeze (too dangerous to sleep). Just right's about 13 knots. We're counting on you Baby Bear.


Future History
01/21/2016, En Route Phuket

Thursday 21 January 2016

Lovely, calm, quiet, but very muggy night on anchor in southwestern Thailand. After virtually months of A/C we seem to have readapted poorly. Hopped in the water upon anchoring to cool off and discover that various bits of underbody, including prop, were inhabited by forests of flora and colonies of crustaceans. Cleaned off most important sections with scraper and consequently sanguinary knuckles. Propulsion noticeably better than yesterday. Why, you may ask, was prop not cleaned before departing stagnant, oil and sewage filled Rebak Marina? Right.

Phuket (Poo ket) area was once considered a great place around which to cruise and obtain boat repairs. The beautiful spots are apparently still there, where locusts of tourists haven't despoiled them, but prices are now reported near Australia levels. These assertions will be determined in the future, which you may be aware starts immediately, but determination, in this case, will take a bit longer.

After departing Koh Lipe late morning, wind for sailing was surprisingly excellent until almost 1400, then was more expectedly absent. If GRIB (General Recipe for Incredible Buffoonery) can be believed, wind will begin picking up mid-evening to carry us into Ao Chalong Harbor at an indeterminate time tomorrow morning depending on if and when it does. This too will be determined in the future, but most likely earlier than that previous thing. The future is a pretty vague place and pronouncements about it should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism until it becomes the past in which case reports about it should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism.


PS Title credit to Isaac Assimov

Less is More, More or Less
01/19/2016, En Route Koh Lipe

Monday 18 January 2016

When starting this blog over 7 years ago, popped something out every day for 2 years, then eased off just a bit. The thing achieved the desired primary result, providing me with amusement, but after awhile having a re-read of what was absolutely hilarious or wonderfully ironic when written, discovered that exquisite artistry had been replaced by something less estimable - apparently the work of nefarious forces. Don't you just hate that? Anyway, decided occasionally now to write a bit, put it away and come back at it later. This often results in extensive time gaps as results never seem to reach the sublime levels previously achieved and editing remains unimproved. Upshot is that the product isn't measurably better and there's less of it. One must count one's blessings where one finds them.


Rented a 50 ringgit Din-mobile yesterday to drive into Kuah for diesel, fresh groceries and clearance out of Malaysia. Received a 30 ringgit parking ticket at the ferry terminal, but didn't damage the vehicle and got 20 from Evergreen crew, who thrust it upon us for saving them taxi fare, so figure we did OK.

Invited Champagne Charlies last night for dinner and to discuss Thailand from whence they had just returned. Clearance in and out is apparently quite easy at Ao Chalong on Phuket. Shayne, having just learned a similar sounding Yiddish expression, regrettably had to be disabuse of the notion that the place was named for a shlong. An understandable mistake.

Underway now toward intermediate, surreptitious stop, Koh Lipe, before continuing overnight tomorrow to officially enter the country. Mates from Inspiration Lady have thread for new sewing machine and we have AIS transponder from Australia for them. They sail for Sri Lanka en route to South Africa Monday, plans following which we have not pondered. Ponderative (not a real word) activity on agenda for weekend.


Hither, Thither and Yawn
01/16/2016, Rebak Island Marina

Thursday 14 January 2016

After 2 fun-filled weeks of sorting through and divesting remnants of a long- terminated dirtling existence, Jan has slipped the surly bonds of earth (apology to John McGee) and relinquished a storeroom that cost over $10k since 2011. Done and dusted. All we both possess will now dwell on Anthem including everything we desire except, of course, for the Samsung 88", LED, Curved, 2160p, Smart, 3D, 4K, Ultra HD TV, Bose® Lifestyle, SoundTouch, 535 Entertainment System and Home Theater... oh, and a helicopter for the aft deck.

As we're cheap and weren't sure to get done by yesterday, tickets back to Langkawi were purchased for cheapest travel day, Sunday, giving 3 extra days in Oz to, among other things, get breast screening. Just Jan's as mine aren't worth the effort and she didn't trust my X-ray vision - looks too much like perving. Observers might get the wrong impression.

Sunday - ostensibly cheating death on an Air Asia A330-300

Home again, home again, jiggity jig. Had a delightful stay with Jonathan & Dot, expat Brits from S/V Bali Hai, at their condo in Brisbane, but 2 1/2 weeks off boat is more than too much. Extra time in Oz, however, did allow a night at the Sit Down Comedy Club with terrific headlining comedy magician, Christopher Wayne and a great Indian meal with our hosts. Given any luck at all we can spend the rest of eternity without ever having to enter the country again, ever. Don't let that deter you however. If cost is no object, you have a high tolerance for paternalism and can work through a version of English that uses slang or abbreviation for everything (some of it pretty funny) and doesn't pronounce trailing 'r's have a go. Vast expanses of it are unsuitable for habitation. Sydney's OK.

Recently experienced the epiphany that flying to foreign locales for a few days to see interesting things is over-rated. Lots of places have really cool stuff, but to a surprisingly large degree they're interchangeable, especially if all you do is parachute in, take a pile of photos you'll hardly look at again and leave. Alternatively, living in one place with exceptionally cool stuff (highly useful, multipurpose word that can be employed when you're too lazy to find the right one) is great for awhile, but after the kick wears off you become inured and could be anywhere. We attack the quandary by going to the cool places we want, staying as long as we want then jumping fence to the next pasture which is habitually imagined to be greener. That last is, of course, blatant rationalization for a lifestyle that many find either dreadfully aberrant or unrealistically romantic. It's neither. In truth we love it, but (as the foregoing implies) for reasons that remain recondite. Likelihood of getting back to you with full disclosure makes the unwarranted assumption that we actually know or ever will.


Dreary Diversion
01/07/2016, Rebak Island Marina

Monday 28 December 2015

We're off and not just in the head. Flying from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur to Coolongatta then driving to Tumbulgum and Brisbane. I hate flying. After 20,000 flight hours over a 37 year career and having experienced airports in the 70s, appreciate how much traveling through one now sucks. The irony is that most of the hassle is window dressing to make sure you know your government is sparing no expense, paid for by you, to keep you safe. The chance of dying at the hands of terrorists with or without the aggravation is infinitesimal. Does that sound cynical? Hmm.

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Australians are a bit upset, at least the ones in Queensland. Pondering earnings vs costs they seem to think it's very difficult to afford all the normal things (e.g. shelter and transportation) and eat too. Piffle. Found a little corner coffee shop to order 2 breakfasts of eggs, bacon, toast and coffee where we got almost $2 back from a fifty so don't really know what they're whining about.

Cleaning out the storage room (rental of which also increased rather impressively) has been going well.. well, pretty well. Common wisdom is that the turtle eventually won that famous race so hope is maintained. Meticulous Jan is, however, becoming more impetuous as the exercise proceeds. A few items have been sold with several more on the block. If even a minor portion of the cost of coming is defrayed this will be considered a success beyond wildest expectations. The rest is going to St. Vincent's or the tip with just Mom's paintings headed to family in Ontario. If you're passing through Brisbane in the next week or so drop by and pick up a treasure or two.


By the way, given that our hearts are in Malaysia with Anthem, blog location will remain there and not in Australia. If searching for the corporeal us, we're at that really big island-looking rascal west of New Zealand. Check out an area along the middle east coast. If you have access to an NSA satellite, give us a jingle and we'll wave.


New Year
12/31/2015, Rebak Island Marina

Friday 1 January 2016

As we celebrate slamming the door on 2015 with vast quantities of alcohol, great hopes and abortive new year's resolutions one can reflect that it's been 16 years since the Y2K bug didn't destroy the IT world, 30 or 40 years since overpopulation didn't cause mass starvation and about 45 since the next ice age didn't begin and contemplate what wonderful new panics can be manufactured over the next year to scare us into acquiescing to bad ideas for battling chimera that waste money and reduce freedom. Among other things we've declared war on poverty, drugs, terror and, wasteful government spending with predictable results. Here's an idea, let's declare a war on declaring war on anything that doesn't involve actual war.

Notwithstanding that little polemic which, let's be completely honest, was pointless, but made me feel all warm and fuzzy, Jan & I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. May all your dreams come true (except those naughty ones Cal) and may you find happiness and motivation in everything you do.

Peace brothers and sisters.


Too Little and Too Much
12/25/2015, Rebak Island Marina

Friday 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas. Hope Santa brought everyone what he wished for this year except, of course, the Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle - you'd shoot your eye out. Brad & Angelina have broken up. It's too late for 2015, but for those interested get your name in the hat now for next year. The lump of coal and switch Kringle brought us will have pride of place on the saloon bulkhead. Regrettably, the downside of being naughty was that we didn't get that 80 inch, flat screen, LED TV with integrated home theater surround sound system one of us has lusted for... or a place to put it.


Attended incredible Christmas lunch buffet at the resort that included huge quantities of everything one could possibly want including the traditional American favorites turkey, dressing and char kuey teow. Arriving early was important so as to choke down as much as physically possible. At an "all you can eat" buffet you must, perforce, eat all you can. Balance of afternoon was passed wondering how long it would take to digest that much food and groaning.


Light Duty
12/21/2015, Rebak Island Marina

Thursday 17 December 2015

Hard to believe we've been here for over 2 weeks: 2 days anchored off the big town of Kuah then Rebak Island Marina since the 4th. A regular free ferry runs between here and the main island of Langkawi which is itself around 20 NM offshore. As it's a duty-free port stuff (e.g. alcohol) is cheap, way cheap. Plus parts and supplies can be shipped in with no tax, no duty, no hassle and no going walkabout. Cool.

Probably thought Jan had croaked, causing delay in producing next entry in this blog, but she made full recovery from kidney krud and now swims every day in the resort pool. Good thing too as she was able to withstand the car accident without ill effect. What's that you say? We drove around Langkawi Monday with our Canadian buddies off Inspiration Lady in a 40 ringgit a day (9.25 USD), uninsured rental to pick up large quantities of liquid provisions (1L Gordon's < 7USD). On the way back car slid off a steep, off-camber, rain and oil slicked road, across a ditch and into the side of a cliff. Jan and I were in front with belts and escaped unscathed, Gary & Jackie got rattled a bit and she sports 3 stitches in her forehead and a pretty good shiner. Jan, who was driving is eaten up with guilt and generally blaming herself for all the ills of humanity. Only other casualties besides cardboard wine boxes out of 48 bottles of adult beverage and 2 cases of mixer were 3 ounces of tonic. Balance of can was saved and subsequently added to that England concoction with a squeeze of lime to protect against malaria, avoid scurvy and smooth off hard edges of previous adrenaline rush. Fortunately we crumpled the least worthy vehicle in Mr. Din┬'s entire, tired fleet, so compensation was reasonable. We rent from him again tomorrow.

Solar panel are finally wired (and actually operating). AC has new relay and seems to like it so boat sometimes remains cool (marina shore power is often 25 volts low, tripping it off). A strobe tube (plus spare) is in hand to be shortly installed. A fitting has been machined and new sensor installed with wiring to show level in second water tank. Sewing machine has arrived to amuse Jan and result in massive stitching on everything in sight. Larder is full and anyway eating ashore is good and cheap. Life here doesn't suck.


Rented the deluxe, 50 ringgit car from Din today (have heard he has one for 60.. tires probably have tread) and brought it back intact. Although a craft center (manly men don't normally go to these kinds of places, but this is really a good one.. honest) and the highly precarious and daunting gondola ride up a thousand meter cliff (slight hyperbole) to an observation peak were open not much else was. Apparently Friday is Malaysia's Saturday and Saturday is their Sunday. Somehow Sunday seems to be Sunday too so finding stores open can be a challenge.


Today is anchor light and strobe repair day. While Jan's at the pool, ship's technical staff will prepare bosun's chair and tools for mast ascent. As soldering and other possibly delicate activities while dangling 64' (19.5 meters) above the water will be necessary, procrastination is a viable option.

- Later

Displaying peerless observational capabilities after nearly destroying the strobe mount with butane torch while removing bulb, discovered that entire unit comes off. Brought it down, did all repairs using more appropriate soldering iron (anchor light bulb was actually burned out) then popped it back on. One more project completed and we're better people for it.

Despite the fact that there are very few residents of Malaysia who recognize the event (9%), the shopping centers are decorated with colored lights and Christmas carols are played constantly. Guess everybody loves an excuse to party.


Northeast monsoon has arrived and west peninsula has become more comfortable. It must be winter. Flight to Brisbane on the 28th to clear out Jan's storage room (everything physical we both own will then be on the boat) will place us back into summer where it's cooler. That's how it's suppose to work, right? AC again emulates a sullen teenager, working reluctantly with an attitude. Help scheduled for Boxing Day (day after Christmas about which most Americans are clueless). This is the day the Bourgeoisie traditionally give a box of presents to the hoi polloi. We don't really do that.


Losing Touch
12/05/2015, Rebak Island Marina

Thursday 3 December 2015

This next will be of little interest to anyone but me, but (two buts?) this entire operation is, after all, just for my amusement. Chinese guy in Georgetown checked the AC start relay as bad, couldn't get a replacement (120v in 240 land), but indicated A/C should run without. Tried and it did. Could have been comfortable all this time. Golly gee or stronger words to that effect. Circuit breaker popped only because melted capacitors were shorted. Anyway, have relay en route from eBay, USA. No rush.

Masthead anchor light again inop Suspect loose connection and strobe tube still broken. Golly gee or stronger words to that effect. Anyway, have relay en route from Defender, USA. No rush.

While spending money and shipping stuff (the first gram is the most expensive) decided to squander the offspring's inheritance on a few other items like an industrial strength sewing machine and more fans. Notwithstanding that AC is operational has anybody mentioned that it's warm and moist in Malaysia?


Took ferry over to Langkawi Island for doctor to drag Jan's carcass back from the brink of death. Kidney infection he says. Drugs and foaming system flush purchased and in use. If no recovery within 3 days she says I can split the difference, so to speak, and trade her in for 2 28-year-olds. Better idea might be an 18 for entertainment and 38 for conversation, but really, even one takes all the available energy. Anyway, she's cute and quite lovable. You know, you get attached. Paperwork in a foreign country would be prohibitive.

Tomorrow, Sunday, will be a day of rest.. OK, a day of no guilt for doing squat. They're really quite similar. Any productive activity will be construed as duty over and above the call and will justify screwing off for at least the following week. Rationalization is an acquired skill.


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