Tearing It Up
22 September 2020
The things you do when you’re bored. Like importing a few bunny rabbits to Australia for a bit of sport taking pot shots at the little buggers. Or, going for a sail after several months tied to a dock.
In August, as I think I mentioned, we walked over a hundred miles. Not that we needed to or in fact had anywhere to go. Like Forrest Gump, we just walked. In the end, it all got too much and we thought that as it was quite nice we actually had “a wee boat”, maybe we should go for a sail. A quick dash south over maybe five days would allow us to re-visit the ports we dashed past on the way north, leave Singapore to the left and head up for the reportedly stunning islands off the east coast of Malaysia.
However, as you may have read, things didn’t get off to a great start. Like teenagers staring at a torn condom on their first night, our ambitions were thwarted when we ripped a giant hole in the dinghy. Despite that, a week and few hundred Ringgit later we were set to go.
“Where you off to?” asked the marina manager. “Round to Tioman” says I. “Hhmmm. It’s not a great time to go” says he. And, in monsoon terms, on the west coast it’s not. But on the east coast, it’s still all sunshine, beer and skittles. We thought a quick dash south would do it. We could handle a bit of monsoon weather. I mean, one man”s monsoon is a Scotsman’s “maybe we should take a hat”.
So, off we boldly went, quickly awakening our hibernating skills. All except the bit about - now you’re away from shore power, don’t use the electric kettle - which emptied itself into the chart table as our first monsoon blast hit us. Thirty knots, blinding rain, reefed down to a pair of knickers and, of course, a hat.
The good thing about monsoon weather as opposed to Scottish weather is that these blasts only last minutes, perhaps an hour as opposed to days or even weeks at home. Some would say months. And then, no sooner had it arrived, given us a wash down and a bit of workout at the winches than it was time to get all the sails back out and bail out the chart table. Eight hours later we were tucked up in Penang ready for shopping malls, traffic, high rise apartments and shack and jungle living, all depending on your income.
The bad news is, we were warned to expect and enjoyed increased check in / check out because of Covid, including requests for medical certificates. This was likely at every port. Oh joy. One day of admin to check in. One day of admin to check out. And we’d only planned to stop overnight.
And as that’s all way beyond my patience threshold the plan’s in the bin. Langkawi here we come.