06 April 2017 | St Lucie Inlet, Florida
02 April 2017 | Stocking Island, Exuma
01 April 2017 | George Town, Exumas
30 March 2017 | George Town, Bahamas
22 March 2017 | Elizabeth Island, Exumas
09 March 2017 | George Town, Exumas
04 March 2017 | Thompson's Bay, Long Island
03 March 2017 | Stella Maris, Long Island
02 March 2017 | Long Island
26 February 2017 | Crossing from Water Cay to Comer Channel, Jumentos
25 February 2017 | Double-Breasted Cay to Thompson's Bay, Long Island
23 February 2017 | Double-Breasted Cay, Jumentos
19 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Jumentos
16 February 2017 | Duncan Town, Ragged Island
14 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Jumentos
10 February 2017 | Hog Cay, the Jumentos
06 February 2017 | Duncan Town, Ragged Island
05 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Ragged Islands
05 February 2017 | Duncan Town, Ragged Island
05 February 2011 | Rebak Marina, Langkawi/Malaysia
Nancy and Burger Zapf
"Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder" certainly applies to hornbills! They're known to live for 50+ years, and mate for life. So some of the several pairs we've enjoyed seeing on our daily walks around Rebak Island have probably been "married" as long as we have ... The two couples we're now sailing with to Phuket are also "lifers," both married 40+ years, with grown children and young grandchildren. Compatibility is a necessary trait for us longterm cruisers, together 24/7 as we usually are!
It's nice to be underway again after more than six weeks in the marina. After a lovely daysail yesterday, we anchored off a tiny island with a white sandy beach and a coral reef teeming with tropical fish. Typical of Thailand's coastal topography, small islets rise steeply out of the water all around us. Last night the sky was star-studded and the horizon was lit by a string of fishing boats when we dinghied back to Halekai, after dinner aboard s/v Waverunner.
photo: hornbill pair on Rebak Island, taken by Dave of sv Amoenitas
Ready for Departure, Almost
01 February 2011 | Langkawi, Malaysia
Nancy and Burger Zapf
Break out the champagne! After four frustrating weeks of working out the details with the vendors and shippers, our new dinghy arrived from Australia yesterday, and the ultrasuede fabric from the States came today. Thanks to UPS tracking we've been enjoying its journey vicariously: from Rhode Island to Boston to Kentucky to Germany to India to China to Malaysia.
Our lazy days are over as we now prepare for departure to Thailand. First we have to finish provisioning (very cheap booze here!) and then clear out of the country with Customs. In a few days we'll be on our way to Phuket to have new salon cushions made as well as other boat projects. We'll be daysailing together with Kiwi, Aussie and British friends we've made here at the marina.
Photo: Burger Zapf in front of Langkawi Eagle
Turning Back the Clock
31 January 2011 | Langkawi, Malaysia
Our intense daily exercise regime has us back, almost, to the fitness of thirty years ago, when we jogged and worked out together in Connecticut. But my pride at being able to once again do deep knee bends was crushed while watching Malaysian dancers perform at the resort the other night. The men jumped up and down repeatedly from a crouch, like frogs!
Click on Our Photo Gallery to the right see our latest album of dance photos. And for a photo of a clock that does indeed go backwards!
Things I Wish I'd Known
23 January 2011
Beth Leonard etc.
Things I Wish I'd Known, Cruising World magazine Sept 09
The Cheapest and the Priciest of Meals
20 January 2011 | Langkawi, Malaysia
Wanting to see how the ultra-rich live, we visited the posh Four Seasons Resort, where rooms start at $500 a night. We lunched in style, overlooking the cabanas on the snow-white sand beach. The bill for our shared pizza, salad, coffee and dessert came to $60! But the food was delicious, the service impeccable, and it gave us the opportunity to explore the magnificent grounds. Too bad we didn't bring our bathing suits ... Lush landscaping and opulent architecture had Burger snapping photos at every turn. We strolled through boutiques filled with luxury items with no price tags. If you have to ask, you can't afford it.
By contrast, our cheapest lunch was at the Star Café near the Rebak Resort ferry dock. An ample portion of Malaysian noodles with meat and veggies topped with a fried egg set us back $1.50 each. Malaysian food can be very tasty as long as you avoid the red hot pepper slices before they numb your taste buds.
See the Four Seasons album on our Photo Gallery (right side of main page). I just added another album of Langkawi photos, taken upon our arrival here in October.
The Best Kept Secret
19 January 2011 | Langkawi, Malaysia
What else have we been up to lately, besides working out and doing boat chores?
About once a week we take the resort's speedboat ferry for a 10-minute ride across the harbor to Langkawi, where we shop, do errands, and sightsee. We rent a wreck for $15/day from Mr. Din, the unsmiling Chinaman who has his fleet of cars parked at the ferry dock. We try to get one of his "luxury" cars for an extra couple of dollars as they're usually in better shape. One of them even has automatic gearshift. We pay in cash, no driver's license requested, no paperwork, no insurance. (If a foreigner has an accident here, it's his fault. All part of the adventure of third world travel.)
The first thing we do upon leaving the parking lot is to gas up, since the fuel tank is almost empty. Mr. Din is rumored to siphon off any extra fuel when cars are returned, leaving his customers just enough to get to the nearest gas station.
One day, I googled the Hole in the Wall, named for a narrow entrance gap to a river on the north side of the island. It leads to a popular anchorage that we'd heard about and wanted to explore by car, in case we want to sail there one day. It's a secure hurricane hole surrounded by mangroves, where some cruisers leave their boats for weeks or months at a time while traveling off-island.
My online search brought me instead to the Hole in the Wall Fish Farm and Restaurant, so we decided to have lunch there. A speedboat took us upriver to the open-air thatched roof restaurant, where we had a lovely meal, complete with romantic music and view of the the anchorage. Afterwards we toured the floating fish farm, with all kinds of fish and pet sting rays that beg for food.
A newspaper review displayed on a wall proclaimed the restaurant to be Langkawi's best kept secret, and we can see why. Its location is remote and we've seen no advertising for it anywhere. It seems to thrive on word of mouth.
Photo: Our seafood platter, about to be consumed by Burger and me
See our Photo Gallery for more photos of our explorations of Langkawi.
13 January 2011 | Langkawi, Malaysia
Fridays, the Muslim day of rest, everything is closed except stores that are owned by Chinese. They're open seven days a week. One day we rented a car thinking it was Monday when it was actually Sunday (Cruiseheimer's Disease, it's called) but we didn't even notice, since it was business as usual everywhere. The locals we meet are unfailingly friendly and polite and eager to please. Most speak some English so it's easy to get around.
Plastic utensils are served with food to tourists. There are no chopsticks. Locals eat with their fingers, even rice, which they eat with most meals.
It’s a challenge to find plain old moisturizer anymore. How ironic that most of the lotion sold in SE Asia claims to “whiten” your skin, whereas in the West, the shelves are full of self-tanning lotion.
There's a helmet law for motorbikes here but it evidently doesn't apply to children. Muslim Malay women, wearing colorful chadars under their helmets, ride with bareheaded little ones on their laps.
How must the Saudi Wahabi guest I saw one day feel, wrapped head to toe in her black burqa with just a slit for her eyes, sitting by the pool next to women in skimpy bikinis? How must she feel about her husband dressed in shorts?
Photo: Chadars at Muslim dress shop
Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Winter ...
12 January 2011 | Langkawi, Malaysia
Nancy and Burger
New Year's Resolution: get fit!
Chasing the Demons
02 January 2011 | Rebak Marina, Langkawi/Malaysia
At midnight the staccato of thousands of firecrackers surprised us on the dance floor. We stood entranced, our hands over our ears, as the deafening chain reaction made its way around the pavilion, chasing away the demons of 2010 and welcoming in the New Year. When it was over we all cheered and sang Auld Lang Sine, amidst a cloud of white smoke. Here's to a fresh start in the New Year!
Pigging Out in Penang
29 December 2010 | Penang, Malaysia
Next month we'll be sailing to Phuket, Thailand, to have some refit work done on the boat. Halekai is nearing 17 years old and is beginning to show her age. A new mainsail and new salon cushions are high on the list. There's a nest of marine businesses and marinas serving yachties there, less expensive than elsewhere and with a good reputation.
What would we do without the cruisers' grapevine? Luckily we learned in plenty of time that if we want to be in Thailand more than 30 days, we need to get a 60-day visa from a Thai embassy outside the country in advance of entering Thailand. The nearest embassy is in Penang, just a short hop from Langkawi by plane or ferry, and the modest cost is about the same. So the day before yesterday we took the 30-minute flight to Penang and began the paperwork process, with pick-up next day.
In the meantime we've been exploring Gerorgetown, Penang. The former British colony was once a major center of trade between Asia, Europe and the Middle East, reflected today by a mixed population of Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and others. The city is especially known for its many ethnic restaurants. The old part of town has crumbling old buildings in the shadow of high rises, and many streets have open sewers, used only for rainwater today. We walked from our hotel to the Thai visa agent in Chinatown through narrow streets with few sidewalks, and motorbikes wiggling their way between us and the heavy car traffic.
Then we continued on to a modern multi-level mall where I got a haircut and pedicure. Burger used the time to check out the electronic stores. Later on we discovered the huge karaoke center on the top floor. There was a long waiting line of young people waiting to use one of 50 individual soundproofed rooms, each with comfortable sofa seating and equipped with microphones and flatscreens. Food and drinks were available from a restaurant buffet. We peeked into the rooms to see people partying and singing, having a great time. Hmmm, is this typical of Malaysia or is this the latest trend everywhere?
We ate at The Sushi King, a chain restaurant with a revolving conveyor belt of assorted sushi. What fun! It's tempting to eat too much, which we did, but the total bill came to only about US$25. They even had "kurage," jellyfish salad, one of Burger's favorites.
Photo: Enjoying sushi at The Sushi King
Christmas with Cruisers
26 December 2010 | Langkawi, Malaysia
On Christmas Eve we joined the fifty or so other yachties here at the marina for a potluck cocktail party, carol sing-along and music by some talented sailors, among them a rock singer accompanied by saxophone, trumpet and guitar.
The following night the Hard Dock Cafe put on a gourmet Christmas feast that included, among a vast array of goodies, roast turkey with all the trimmings and Christmas pudding. All for US$20 each. After dinner we danced the night away to the hotel's live band, till our clothes were drenched from sweat.
Photo: Christmas dessert buffet overlooking the marina
Home Sweet Home, Back Aboard Halekai
24 December 2010 | Langkawi, Malaysia
It was a full day of travel from Hong Kong to the boat in Malaysia, with a 3-hour stopover in Kuala Lumpur. All flights were blessedly on time and our baggage arrived undamaged. Once back in hot and steamy Langkawi it was just a five-minute taxi ride from the airport to the ferry dock, then a 10-minute water taxi to the marina. How convenient is that?
We were happy to find Halekai just as we'd left her. We let the a/c cool down the cabin while we dined at the marina's Hard Dock Café. Lots of new faces were there, including a grateful Canadian couple who remembered us from the last time we saw them in the Cook Islands five years ago. Burger had diagnosed and prescribed pain meds for the husband's kidney stone attack while anchored at Suwarrow, one of the remotest coral atolls in the world. They managed to make it to American Samoa where he underwent extensive diagnostic testing and treatment at the hospital for a mere couple of hundred dollars.