02/16/2013, Rebak marina, Langkawi, Malaysia
Today was Saturday and I decided to just chill. Chill is the key word. It was one of the hottest days we have had since returning and I just could not get up for working in this heat. Thus, I simply stayed mostly indoors and enjoyed the comfort of an air conditioned boat.
Oh, sure, I did sneak outside for a bit and hung up the shade tarp over the front of the boat. However, I was motivated in doing so since it helped keep the inside of the boat cooler and helped the A/C a bit so it did not have to work as hard.
Outside of that, I stayed strictly inside. By staying inside, I had an opportunity to continue making progress of reviewing and correcting the untold errors in the techno-tips that I had previous written. It looks like the techno-tip document that Brian helped in organizing is going to be about 270 pages long and I am now up to page 195. These are well over 650 techno-tips which simply amaze me. By the time this document is finished, it will have a wealth of practical information in it. By far, it will have the most cruising tips in it than any other document I have seen.
I have decided that we will end up making 4 separate documents from the various tips we have written. The first is the document that we have already written on making the drive cone repairs to the Yanmar SD40 or SD50 saildrive. The second will be the document I am now working on. This has the bulk of the sailing techno-tips. The third document will be the travel tips we have written and the fourth document will be by Mary Margaret and will contain her kitchen or galley tips that she wrote.
By the time this is all done, we will have a "library" of books that will be available for free to whomever is interested!
02/15/2013, Rebak marina, Langkawi, Malaysia
It was so nice to get Valentine' Day emails and blogs from friends and family. Thank you. The US is a day behind us here in Malaysia so we were able to celebrate twice! The photo attached to this blog is our grandson, Isaac. How cute is that! He certainly steals our hearts away!
This morning was Veggie Man day. Each Friday an enterprising Chinese gentleman drives his van loaded with various fruits, vegetables and frozen meats and fish over to the dock area on Langkawi where the shuttle boat from Rebak Island lands. He sets his various boxes of stuff on the ground and we cruisers wander around picking up the goodies we like for the next week. It basically is our little grocery store on wheels. Since the supermarkets and meat stores on Langkawi are in the town of Kuah, which is about a 20 minute drive away, Veggie Man makes our lives very nice and convenient. We have to either take a taxi or rent a car to get into Kuah. This way, we just take the free 0830 shuttle boat to Langkawi, buy our week's worth of groceries, and then return to the Rebak Marina.
Mary Margaret has been fighting a bit of a bug this last week so I took the list of goodies she made and went over to Langkawi to get our groceries. After filling up a shopping bag worth of stuff and paying $200 RM (about $65 US) I was done. Along with what was on Mary Margaret's list I had scored a package of bagels, a package of cream cheese and two packages of lox which made my total bill a bit on the high side but what the heck. It has been a while since I have had those fixings for breakfast.
Once I paid my bill, I hoped in a taxi and drove about 4 miles to the local sail maker's shop. Nasir had texted me that our shade cover was ready to be picked up. Last week I had asked him to sew on some white seatbelt material that I brought back from the US around the hems of the shade cover to strengthen the hand stitching that Mary Margaret and I did last year. This cover should now give us years and years of great use. It is made of a double layer of polypropylene material. Its total cost was just about $250 which was about 1/8 of the cost of the old Sunbrella shade cover we used to have.
Once I returned to Leu Cat the rest of the day was spent on...Yep, you guessed it...more boat projects!
02/14/2013, Rebak Marina, Langkawi, Malaysia
Once again, it is that time of the year when we better not forget to tell our love ones how much we love them. The thought goes out beyond just our mates but to all of our family. While we have always been a pretty close knit family, I think our feelings have deepened even more for each other since Mary Margaret and I started cruising. The cliché: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder", really is true. For us, it is now a very special treat to come back to the US each year and see our kids and our brothers and sisters and their respective families. We get one shot a year to see them. It is very special and we try to make the most of it.
What makes it so difficult is that our respective families are so scattered around the US. By the time our stay in the US is over, we are exhausted from all of the travel. However, our hearts have been refilled with the joy of seeing love ones once more. Given how spread out our families are, we never get to see everyone we want. This past year, besides spending time with our kids and new grandson, we saw my sister, Doti, my brother Don and his wife Debbie, and Cass the wife of my younger brother, Dwight, who passed this last year, and her two kids. The previous year we made a special trip back east to see Mary Margaret's two sisters, Gaby and Lonie, and their families who live in the Washington DC area. Next year, Mary Margaret would like us to return there to see them once again. Family is just so important to us that Valentine's Day is always so very special. To all our family we say: Happy Valentine's Day! We love you, we miss you and we wish you could be with us so we could give each of you big hugs and kisses.
02/13/2013, Rebak Marina, Langkawi, Mayalsia
While the sun and the heat returned today, I continued to scrub the decks getting Leu Cat nice and clean. After sitting by herself in a marina for 3 months, she needed the good scrubbing. You now need to wear sunglasses to look at her as she is so shinny and clean. Whew, it was quite a job this time.
I also carried two of our empty propane tanks down to the marina office. They will refill them here without any problem. We have been in a few countries where refilling them can be a challenge. We have two small aluminum tanks and three large fiberglass tanks. When we were in New Zealand, we were told by the marina people that the gas companies would not fill our tanks without a New Zealand certification stamp. We were also told that New Zealand would not certify fiberglass tanks. Well, as it turns out, the cruiser net is pretty strong and word got out that there was a former cruiser in Whangarei that ran a propane distribution company and that he would fill any propane tanks that had active certifications no matter what country did the certification. Thus, because of his understanding of what cruisers face when they go from country to country, we avoided the problem there.
We also had heard that you needed special fitting in Tahiti to fill you tanks there. US fittings
are different that European fittings. However, that was inaccurate information as we never had a problem wherever we went in Tahiti or any place in French Polynesia for that matter.
I mention this only because things change with each passing year. What once was the case may no longer be so today. Thus, if you are preparing to cruise and are boning up by reading cruising books and magazine articles, just realize that they may be out of date by the time they are published.
02/12/2013, Rebak Marina, Langkawi, Malaysia
Yesterday I moaned and groaned about how the hot and humid weather here has limited my ability to do outside boat projects. The result has been the "heating up" (if you will pardon the pun) of my "itchy butt' syndrome; my desire to leave and start our cruising down the Malay Peninsula. Well, I think that the weather gods must read our blog because they revamped the weather today so I could spend all day outside working. Yea!
Today was overcast and cooler with temperatures in the upper 80s and only hitting 90 in the late afternoon. Plus, there was a nice breeze that sometimes found its way into the marina. This was the first overcast day we have day since our return from the States and it was great! I was able to work outside for about 7 hours washing cushions and then scrubbing the decks of Leu Cat. I still have a bit more to do but great progress was made. Yoohoo!
I noticed Clint's comment to another comment we received on our blog a couple of days ago. Clint wrote: "Don't ya love this blog!!!! How awesome!!!" He was not referring to the enlightened and pithy writing I do on this blog. Instead, he was referred to a comment left by another reader. As it turns out, a former student of my brother Don is from Malaysia. She is now at Penn State University on a Fulbright scholarship. How great is that! Anyway, she read our blog and left a comment offering to meet us when she and her husband return to Kuala Lumpur in June. This truly is awesome!
As we sail around the world, our blog has opened the door to meeting lots of wonderful people. Blog readers have invited us to their houses in such places as Lima, Peru; Whangarei, NZ; Wellington, NZ; Brisbane, AU, Sydney, AU and Darwin, AU. We also have a standing offer from a fellow in South Africa, when we arrive there. Oh, I almost forgot...we also have met a really nice guy and his family from the US through our blog. Clint, how can I forget to mention you!
We have also received lots of timely advice from readers on how to repair things on our boat and on places to see and things to do when we get there. Our blog readers have been so nice and generous that I wish we could meet each and every one of them. Thank you from our hearts for your support, kindness and generosity!