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Gary and Libby Penney

I decided to make Libby's Mother's Day a bit special for her this year. I started with a fairly quiet brekky, not too much more than some cups of tea with a bowl of cereal and some beautiful papaya. We were having lunch at the Nongsa Point Marina Resort and didn't want to spoil our appetites with too much too early. After a casual morning we wandered up to the bar about 12.00 pm and found a scrumptious buffet before us. The resort puts the buffet on every Sunday and although we have often thought about going, this was our first time. What have we been missing these long marooned months???? Prawn soup with fresh crusty bread was the starter, then a selection of roast meat - melt in your mouth tender beef sliced as thick/thin as you desire, succulent lamb cutlets sliced as you wait, golden brown plump chickens, with gourmet style vegies and salads. If you prefer there is also lightly golden breaded fish. To complement the meats - 4 types of gravy and mint sauce. With this also came a bucket - yes read bucket, size glass of house red wine (French of course) or a handle of chilled beer. Remember this is a buffet so as many times around the buoy as you wish. Finally, a lovely table of cheeses and local fruits awaited us.
We had the company of some of our expat friends and along with a glorious day weather-wise, a perfect lunch. We sipped away quietly through the afternoon with some games of 8 ball pool and lots of chatting. Dinner time found us with fish and chips for Libby and a club sandwich for me. As luck would have it, it was also the night of the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix - we are fans of Formula 1 so we stayed to watch the telecast with some more of our friends. A totally wonderful day with a totally wonderful woman - my bride Libby


Yaaaaahhh!!!! Great news, our new mainsail is expected to be with us at the end of next week!! We are soooo looking forward to getting our new sail and starting our long awaited and anticipated passage to South Africa. We have enjoyed Nongsa Point,the staff and residents are fantastic, but we are now really feeling 'marina-bound' and eager to hear the slap and rush of water along the hull. We are paid up until the 16th of May in the marina, so at the moment, the 16th looks the most likely departure date. The winds are definitely swinging more and more into the south, so the earlier in the SW monsoon season we get through Indonesia the better. Later into the SW season, close to the Equator, the incidence of thunderstorms increases and the stronger the SW/SE winds become.


ANZAC Day this year held special significance for me, as we decided to attend the dawn service at Singapore's Kranji War cemetery. I had recently learned that my grandfather had toiled at Kranji during his time as a prisoner of war under the Japanese. Kranji war cemetery is a peaceful and immaculately kept garden and lawn cemetery that is the final resting place of many hundreds of World War 11 allied servicemen. A cenataph, whose walls hold the names of some 21,000 servicemen whose remains were never found, sits astride the highest point of the cemetery.
The morning for us started with a 5.30am taxi ride from our hotel in Chinatown to Kranji. First light was just showing as we made our way up the cemetery to the cenataph where the service was to be held. Quite a few RAN servicemen and women were in attendance and by their hat Tally Bands we saw they were from HMAS Dechaineux, a submarine based in Western Australia. These sailors and some Australian Army soldiers comprised the cenetaph catafalque party.
The service, although short, was deeply moving for me as memories of my grandfather and his suffering as a prisoner of war came flooding back. After the service we attended a gunfire breakfast in the car park of the cemetery. A gunfire brekky is usually eggs, bacon, toast and some beans washed down with coffee laced with Bundaberg Rum. Being Singapore, we found that the eggs, bacon beans etc had been replaced with savoury rolls, mini pies and danishes. However the coffee was hot and the rum plentiful and distributed under the care of a RAN CPO. A highly memorable morning not to be missed.


The change of season is definitely upon us with almost daily thunderstorms and the wind more often swinging into the south. We had hoped to be well clear of this weather on our way to South Africa this year, but not to be. Our HF radio Pactor modem is now back in Indonesia - just not with us as yet. All the way to Germany for a half hour repair job. Groan!! All the jobs aboard Aquarius and the victualling are well underway, slowly looking shipshape and ready for sea a passage. Must be starting to get close as we are now into pre-departure comms checks eg satphone links, weather fax links, grib links, etc etc. Really looking forward to getting going.


Another week goes by at Nongsa.
Our new mainsail is reported to be 4 weeks away so here we sit and wait. This week we also discovered that our modem for the HF radio was unserviceable. The Pactor (thats its name) has given us 10 years of reliable service and has suddenly crashed. The modem is very important to us in that it is the means through which we download our weather reports enroute. So, after much to and froing, we finally despatched the item back to the manufacturer in Germany via DHL. Now to await the outcome.....and of course the bill.
In seeking out the DHL office in Batam we also discovered another shopping mall. This one is called DC Mall and we have heard it mentioned by several expats in the past. They had recommended the mall as a good source of supermarket goods including fruit and veg. It proved to be so! We loaded up on some lovely veg and some delicious smelling apples - yes we are guilty of smelling our food before buying it.
Around the marina there has been a fair bit of coming and going. We had a lovely surprise when two old sailing friends, Jack and Sandi off SV Zorana based in Langkawi, called into the marina for a couple of days. They are delivering a boat to Perth for the owners. We have also met up with a couple of yachts also making passage to South Africa this year and hope to see them again along the way.


Hic cup with a capital H. Raised the new main to the top of the mast this morning, all looking pretty good, until we noticed the leech of the sail ie the back of the sail, overlapped the backstays by up to a metre. Not very good and so after calling the sail loft the sail is now packed away in its bag and stowed on Mick's (a true friend) boat for return to the Singapore sail loft tomorrow. The sail will either a major re-cut and sew, or a replacement new sail. Hopefully this will not delay our departure this year. In the meantime lots to be done aboard in the countdown. Yesterday, being Good Friday, we ate fish for most of the meals; today we are stepping up with a roast chicken for dinner. Libby gave a squark from the galley as she got the chicken out to prepare it for roasting. Once again we have been done proud by the chicken man and have all the attachments as you can see by the photo. Maybe we could do a little fishing with the bits we won't be using.

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