Category Archives: Redgrove

A Day in Kuala Lumpur

We arrived back in Terengganu 25th August and spent the next 4 days cleaning Camomile inside and out.  I made 3 trips to the laundry with big bags of washing not having done any for the last month, lucky we mostly live in swimmers.  I wanted to leave everything clean and tidy as we were leaving Camomile for 3 weeks for an adventure to Hong Kong and China.

Bill boarding our bright yellow plane

Bill boarding our bright yellow plane

 

It all started with a taxi at 6.30 on Sunday 30th August to take us to the airport to catch the 8.20 to Kuala Lumpur. Our plane wasn’t the usual Air Asia red but a brightly painted yellow.  The flight left right on time.  Our flight to Hong Kong wasn’t until the next morning but very early so I had booked a night in the Tune hotel at the KLIA2 terminal giving us a day in Kuala Lumpur.

 

Bill and I in Chinatown

Bill and I in Chinatown

We were too early to check in but left our bags in their left luggage room and jumped on the KLIA express train for the half hour ride to KL Sentral then took the underground to Pasar Seni and walked to Chinatown.  The main street is Jalan Petaling and was full of bustling stall selling all sorts of chinese goods.  A bought my self a nice new purse because mine has recently broken.  We also visited the Guan Yin temple which was a bit like one of the clan houses in Penang but not as nice.  Our impressions of Chinatown was that it was very colourful and noisy and not as nice as the Chinatown in Singapore but it was interesting to look around. After lunch in a local food court we headed back to the underground and made our way to KLCC with the magnificent Petronas twin towers as its center piece.

The Petronas twin towers

The Petronas twin towers

 

 

 

We forgot to take a picture of the outside but this a picture we took last year when the sky was much bluer, it was quite hazy today.

 

One of the Petronas racing cars

One of the Petronas racing cars

 

 

 

 

 

In the entrance they have 2 formula 1 racing cars sponsored by Petronas that have been used.  Bill was interested to see the body structure which his company used to make patterns for on similar vehicles. You could see the under body protection plate that had scratches on it from where the body had grounded out.

 

 

Interesting shop

Interesting shop

 

I had booked tickets to visit the viewing towers at 4pm so we had several hours to wander around the huge shopping mail that was contained in 4 floors at the base of the towers.  There are many designer shops including many shoe shops but I resisted.  This shop caught Bills eye and we had to have a look around but guess what …… no hardware or boat shops. Yippee!!!

 

Bill standing by the expansion gap.

Bill standing by the expansion gap.

 

At our allotted time we joined the tour. The Petronas Twin towers were once the tallest building in the world at a height of 452 metres.  It’s largely constructed of reinforced concrete with a steel and glass facade designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic architecture.  The Skybridge is at the 41st and 42nd levels and that’s where we started our tour. The bridge is the highest 2 storey bridge in the world and is attached to the towers with a sliding system that allows the towers and the bridge to move independently up to about 10 inches each side.   It’s built to with stand winds of 180kph, fortunately the strongest they’ve ever had was 80 kph but the expansion gap had moved by 4 inches during the last Japanese earthquake.

 

 

Bill on the skybridge

Bill on the skybridge

The huge supports

The huge supports

 

 

 

 

 

My panoramic view of the two towers

My panoramic view of the two towers

Our selfie

Our selfie

 

 

We continued to the observation deck on level 86.  This was our selfie.

 

 

Looking down on the other tower

Looking down on the other tower

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Sadly it was hazy today so the view wasn’t quite as good as we had hoped but it was still amazing to be so high up.  I didn’t like looking over the edge.  It was interesting to see the other tower next door.

 

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After our tour we made our way back to KL Sentral and took our train back to the airport and the Tune hotel.  Tomorrow we fly to Hong Kong. Weeeeeee!!

 

A week of goodbyes

The steering flange under the bed

The steering flange under the bed

 

 

 

Meanwhile in Malaysia Bill had been getting on with his jobs, he took the steering and gearbox out to overhaul. It was fortunate that he did because a steering flange had broken in half and I had a last minute call to order a new one.

 

 

The broken part on Bill's bench

The broken part on Bill’s bench

Newly painted decks with all the blue masking tape over everything

Newly painted decks with all the blue masking tape over everything

 

 

The gloss paint had arrived so he was getting on with the topcoat painting. There were the same issues with painting in sections and being very careful with drips and sags. The topsides were harder to get a good finish than the hull because of having to paint around windows, shrouds, etc but of course he managed it.

Once he had painted the 2 topcoats, with a very light rub down in between, he had to wait a few days then remask on top of it so he could paint the side decks and coach roofs with the anti skid granules added to the paint. It’s difficult to see in this photo because the sun is so bright.

 

Goodbye Logan

Goodbye Logan

 

 

Monday 30th March the day after the wedding James and I walked back over to the hotel to join everyone who had stayed overnight for breakfast; this included Thomas and Sonal. Afterwards we picked up the car and we all returned to Angela’s house, I with a heavy heart knowing I would have to say goodbye to everyone. I finished the last of my packing and loaded everything in the car. Kirsty came round to let me have one last cuddle with Logan. So it was goodbye to Dave and Pat and Lesley, Angela’s friends, goodbye to Kirsty and baby Logan, he’ll probably be walking next time I see him and finally goodbye to my sister Angie and Terry, I hope you have a lovely honeymoon and a wonderful life together; there were lots of tears

Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral

Thomas and Sonal in their car and James and I in Alan’s car paid a quick visit to Mum’s grave to lay some flowers then headed down to Havant to ‘invade’ Claire and Gordan again. We spent the afternoon in Chichester where I had to buy a new backpack to get all my new clothes back to the boat. We had a wonderful evening with them but the next morning James and I had to leave for the airport. Thank you for having all of us Claire. I forgot to take a photo of us all so I’ve added one of the lovely Chichester Cathedral instead.

James had to fly back to Scotland so it was another goodbye, not sure when I’ll see him next. Be careful James, love you lots. x

 

My lovely niece Jasmine

My lovely niece Jasmine

I continued onto Amanda’s to return the car and spend my last couple of days with her and the family. Jasmine and I were laughing at the photos I’d taken of the wedding.

During the afternoon I completely unloaded the car and laid everything out on her floor to repack. Some of the heavy stuff had to go in my hand luggage because my bags were way too heavy with all the boat bits I was taking back.

The fountain at Wisley

The fountain at Wisley

 

 

Wednesday 1st April turned out to be a lovely day so Amanda and I went to Wisley gardens. Unfortunately we forgot it was Easter holidays and it was full of Mum’s and kiddies but there was plenty of space for everyone.

 

Beautiful spring flowers

Beautiful spring flowers

The daffodils and the spring blossom looked delightful. Amanda and I had a wonderful day wandering among the flower gardens. I was probably taken as a child but I don’t remember it. We decided to beat the rush and have an early lunch before continuing on our tour. The café was filling up fast but we enjoyed a delicious lunch together.

 

Dad was watching us

Dad was watching us

 

Afterwards we went into the tropical greenhouse. Haha there were plants in there that I see in the wild everyday but it was lovely to wander. A little robin followed us in, probably my Dad coming to watch us.

Amanda and I

Amanda and I

Majestic orchids

Majestic orchids

It was nice and warm in there but we kept our layers on. It smelt exquisite with all the lilies and orchids in flower. The orchids were all suspended from the ceiling with wire; they looked really eerie just hanging there.

 

Beautiful waterfall in the tropical greenhouse

Beautiful waterfall in the tropical greenhouse

 

 

The centre piece was a magnificent waterfall which was very reminiscent of the ones we have over here but it lacked the sounds and smells and, of course, the heat. The tops of the beautiful banana palms were touching the roof and trying to get out. Some how it seemed sad seeing these beautiful plants hemmed into such a small space, a bit like a horticultural zoo! When I get back I’ll post some photos of the banana palms on the island.

 

The alpine garden

The alpine garden

 

We continued our walk passing the alpine garden that I loved so much. I needed to get back and finish the packing so we didn’t linger too long.

 

Jasmine, Amanda and Tristan in there lovely new extension

Jasmine, Amanda and Tristan in there lovely new extension

Thursday 2nd and the packing was finished so we spent the morning chatting. It’s a very fine balance between staying with someone and having some quality time together every year or so or being able to pop in whenever you want, which you don’t normally find time to do in a busy life style. I felt I had some quality time with my sister and Tristan and Jasmine. It was hard to say goodbye; more tears.

Sally came to pick me up and take me back to where I’d started, at her house outside Gatwick. We had a lovely evening together out at a local restaurant for a scrumptious meal, my last meal in the UK for a while.

Goodbye Sally, thank you for being my airport taxi. X

Thomas and Sonal came to the airport to see me off.   I was very nervous about getting everything on the plane. Emirates were very good they didn’t even weigh all my bags together luckily and the 35kgs went into the hold. I still had my pull along bag, which weighed 20kgs, my rucksack with my new clothes in which was probably about 5kgs plus my computer bag so altogether I got about 60kgs on that plane.

The last goodbye was to Thomas and Sonal, it was sweet of them to come to the airport particularly as my flight was at 10am.   Take care you two, love you both lots. x

Goodbye England for a while.

Back in KL

Back in KL

So I started on my long journey back landing at KL airport the next morning, which was the equivalent of 2am in the UK. I had booked an afternoon flight back to Langkawi in case the plane had been delayed.  I managed to get my entire luggage on the airport train to go one stop to the other terminal to catch the Air Asia flight. I spent the day wandering around the airport until check-in then finally got caught for costs. Even though I had booked 30kgs on the air Asia flight they picked up that I had 35 so I paid MYR222 (about £40) for the extra 5kgs. That was ok I deserved to pay something.

The entrance to the marina comes into view

The entrance to the marina comes into view

Flying over the marina

Flying over the marina

The flight to Langkawi was only an hour. The resort is on the edge of the flight path so I made sure I sat on the left hand side of the plane and got a good view of the marina as we came in to land. I could see Camomile sitting waiting for me.  Bill was waiting to greet me with a big happy smile on his face.

Home again, home again, jiggerty jig.

Camomile’s 30th birthday refit – week 1

Panoramic shot of Rebak marina

Panoramic shot of Rebak marina

Bill has been planning Camomile’s refit for over a year now. The treadmaster on the deck has become badly worn, the woodwork is gradually eroding, the hull has become stained and yellowing and the mainsail has become weakened and torn by heavy duty and UV damage. As she will be 30 years old this year and with the miles we’ve travelled she’s in need of a face-lift.   I did an assessment of the marina prices before Christmas and, despite everyone saying Thailand is cheap, it was going to be cheaper in Malaysia. The two options were Rebak marina or Pangkor marina further south. They both had lifting facilities but also both had their pros and cons. The biggest pro for Rebak for me was that it has proper showers, washing machines and a pool to cool down in after a hot day working on the boat, the con is that the internet signal is weak and it’s based on an island so everything had to be on board or brought over on the ferry.   Pangkor pros were that it has a reasonable internet signal, Joe had given us a competitive quote to do the deck painting and good shops nearby but the biggest con is that there are no proper showers and only men’s toilets that the yard boys use. Call me a princess but I choose Rebak for our haul out!

A beautiful beach in Thailand

A beautiful beach in Thailand

 

 

So after leaving Thailand early on 30th January (I’m hoping to write a blog on our adventures in Thailand soon) we motored all day and arrived back in Kuah, on the island of Langkawi, Malaysia at 9pm ready to check-in the next morning. Our last week in Thailand had felt like a holiday and now we were back home (?) to get on with some work.

 

 

 

 

Saturday 31st February

Camomile ready to be lifted

Camomile ready to be lifted

There were a couple of errands to do after we checked in (so easy in Malaysia). Bill bought a length of studding for taking out the rudder and after taking our mainsail off it was taken into Phil the sailmaker in Kuah to see whether or not it was beyond repair as a back-up; our new one was due to arrive within the week. We then motored round to Rebak tying to the pontoon at 7pm.

Diver adjusting strops

Diver adjusting strops

 

 

Sunday 1st February was lifting day.   First on the list Bill backed Camomile onto the lifting jetty while the yard boys tied up our lines.  We’ve found in the past they always take such care when lifting boats on this side of the world and Rebak was no exception. A diver was sent down to position the strops maybe they don’t do that in the UK because he would need a full wet suit on.

 

 

Camomile slowly coming up

Camomile slowly coming up

 

 

Once every thing was in place Camomile slowly raised up out of the water. I always feel a bit emotional watching her come out; she looks like a fish out of water.

 

Shovelling barnacles

Shovelling barnacles

 

 

Straight away we could see how mucky her hull was. The Cuprotect is still working fairly well because there wasn’t any serious weed growth just the usual layer of slime and loads of barnacles which the yard boys starting shovelling off straight away. The travel lift wheeled Camomile into the pressure wash area for her ‘bath’.

In need of a bath

In need of a bath

Bill dismantling the rudder shaft

Bill dismantling the rudder shaft

 

Meanwhile Bill took our mattress out and rolled the bed up so he could take off the front of the cupboard to start releasing the rudder. The studding Bill had bought was passed through a wooden block and screwed into the rudder shaft to stop it suddenly dropping out.   Bill released all the bolts that held it in position.

Our view across the bow

Our view across the bow

 

After about an hour Camomile had had her pressure wash and was wheeled into her new position. We’ve got a nice view of the marina across her bow and the jungle from her stern.

 

The forklift was ready

The forklift was ready

 

The yard boys brought the forklift in ready to take the rudder out but Camomile was objecting to her ‘colonic irrigation’ and wasn’t going to release the rudder easily.

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The rudder slowly releases

 

Bill unscrewed the studding and the boys were jiggling from the bottom but still it wouldn’t move. Bill started hammering on the top of the shaft with the old Hydrovane shaft but it wasn’t having it. There must be something else holding it. Bill did the studding up again to stop it accidentally falling out and did a further check inside the cupboard and discovered a keyway had become fouled. Once cleared and with the rudder resting on the forklift the studding was slowly released to allow the rudder to gently slip down.

 

The rudder was carefully lowered

The rudder was carefully lowered

Putting the cradle into place

Putting the cradle into place

Once the forklift prongs were on the floor Camomile was lifted higher in the strops and it was out. Finally the boys could get on with their job of fitting Camomile into the cradle that would hold her steady for the next 4 or 5 weeks.

 

Releasing the strops

Releasing the strops

Taking the boat lift out

Taking the boat lift out

 

 

The strops were dropped and the boatlift pulled away leaving Camomile comfortable in her new bed.

 

 

Scratches on the keel

Scratches on the keel

 

The first thing we noticed were the scratches across the front of the keel from sitting on the reef in Indonesia. No damage but it would need some sanding.

 

 

Looking up into the rudder housing

Looking up into the rudder housing

 

 

This photo is looking up into the hole the rudder came out of. The bearing will need to come out and it all looks a bit worn.

 

 

Working on the propeller

Working on the propeller

 

 

While I disappeared off to the laundry Bill started scrubbing the propeller with a rotary wire brush and by the time I got back it was nice and shiny Apparently he had found a live oyster growing on the prop.

 

The rope cutter behind the prop

The rope cutter behind the prop

 

 

The prop holds the rope cutter in place, which is our silent friend. We never know whether its done its job or not but we’ve only ever been caught in one net so it obviously does. Bill loves to tell the story that I bought him a stripper for his 40th birthday and it usually raises a few eyebrows until he tells the full story.

 

His puller kit laid out on the rudder

His puller kit laid out on the rudder

 

Bill got his ‘puller’ kit out and removed the prop without too much trouble; the rope cutter decided to be more difficult.   The reason the rudder has been removed is partly to replace the bearings but also to get the prop shaft out.

Cleaning up the P bracket

Cleaning up the P bracket

 

 

After Bill detached it from the engine it came out without too much trouble and Bill was able to clean up the P bracket – which he also managed to bang his head on giving himself a nasty gash on the head and renaming it ‘the complete and utter bastard bracket’.

Bill's first injury

Bill’s first injury

A bare rear end

A bare rear end

 

 

So her rear end looks a bit bare now without a rudder or a prop shaft.

 

 

Removing cutter

Removing cutter

A grovvy prop shaft

A grovvy prop shaft

 

 

Bill set about removing the cutter from the prop shaft, which took another hour. Time flies when you’re having fun.

And this is why it needed removing. The stuffing box packing has worn a grove, which has been causing bad leaks in the engine bay. We intend taking it to a local machine shop to get a new one made.

 

 

Cutlass bearing inside the P bracket

Cutlass bearing inside the P bracket

 

 

Inside the P bracket is the cutlass bearing, which also needs to come out and be replaced.

 

Bill's cutlass removing 'tool'

Bill’s cutlass removing ‘tool’

The cutlass bearing is extracted

The cutlass bearing is extracted

 

Bill, of course, had made an invention to remove it. As you can imagine the P bracket unattached to any thing is fairly delicate and the last thing you can do to it is whack it with a hammer, tempting though it may be.

The cutlass bearing out with a final tug

The cutlass bearing out with a final tug

So Bill put together a series of metal tubes with the studding through the middle which when tightened with the clip on spanners gently pulled the smaller tube into the P bracket pushing the cutlass bearing out with it.   I’ve suddenly realised all this detail is way too boring but some people might find it useful. That was the end of our first day out of the water. In the evening we sat down to a nice lamb curry that I had made. Our bed was still upside down so we had to sleep in the forepeak.

 

Monday 2nd February

The 'before' picture of the transom

The ‘before’ picture of the transom

This is a view of the transom before we started.   As you can see the paintwork isn’t in bad condition but all the metal fittings need a through clean and the wood of the bathing platform has gone all green and black. As the transom has always been painted it will need to be painted again so everything has to be removed.

Bill removing bolts from the inside

Bill removing bolts from the inside

 

 

 

This had Bill back in our cabin removing all the bolts from the inside.

 

 

100s and 100s of barnacles

100s and 100s of barnacles

 

Meanwhile I haven’t been sitting around without anything to do. When Camomile was pressure washed it took all the slime off but left the bases of lots of barnacles that needed to be removed. Not sure if you can see the little white dots in the photo because they are quite small but some of them were stuck fast and needed quite a bit of scrapping. I felt that was something I could do so over the space of several days, in between the washing, cooking, washing up and generally trying to keep things tidy I took every one off with a little scraper and the hull went from this….

All gone

All gone

 

 

 

… to this.

 

 

 

Matching shorts and crocs

Matching shorts and crocs

 

 

Bill said to point out that I still managed to find some old shorts to match my crocs!

 

 

The forepeak has become Bill's store cupboard

The forepeak has become Bill’s store cupboard

 

Inside our bed is back in place and the forepeak bed has now been lifted to store all Bill’s pots and potions. All of this is supposed to be kept cool but with 32C outside and 80% humidity it’s a bit difficult. Luckily we’ve got the air conditioning unit going. This job would be so difficult without somewhere cool to retreat to at the end of the day.

 

Tuesday 3rd February

The ferry across to the Langkawi

The ferry across to the Langkawi

We needed to take the prop shaft and rudder bearings to the machine shop on the main island so we joined the 8.45 ferry, which takes about 10minutes, and hired one of Mr Din’s cars. The advert says “ALWAYS starts, usually no fuel, no insurance, cash only 40RM” (£8) and that’s exactly what you get. Our one also had air con and the doors locked! (We’ve had one before that didn’t, neither did the speedo work but as they don’t do more than 40mph it doesn’t matter.) Forgot to take a photo, I’ll take one next time.

Chinese father and son in machine shop

Chinese father and son in machine shop

We drove to the little machine shop we found at Christmas time and showed the father and son our prop shaft. Bill had made a drawing of what he wanted and took it with him. The son speaks a bit of English but the father very little.   There were lots of smiles and ‘can do can do’ which was encouraging. “New year, new year” meaning after the chinese new year wasn’t quite so but he has a lathe and he makes all the prop shafts for the local ferries so fingers crossed. We also gave him our lump of POM bought in Thailand to remake our rudder bearings “can do can do” along with big smiles so here’s hoping. I’ll let you know if we ever see either of them again! We carried on into town to the International shop to buy the paint for the transom, one of the few things we hadn’t bought in Thailand. After lunch we headed back to the ferry, left the car in the car park with the keys in it (NO ONE is going to steal it) and back to the boat.

Removing Camomile's name

Removing Camomile’s name

In the afternoon Bill started removing the lettering with a heat gun and rubbed the transom down. Camomile is now completely anonymous because the sail bag with her name on it was removed at Christmas to be remade. She’s going to look so posh at the end of this refit.   I carried on with my scrapping.

 

All bare and rubbed down

All bare and rubbed down

 

At the end of the day the transom looked like this ready for painting. The rubbing strake was new in 2008 so won’t need replacing. Bill has rubbed it down ready for oiling with the rest.

 

Cycling to the pool

Cycling to the pool

As I said at the beginning of this blog Rebak has a pool. This is our third day here but we haven’t visited it yet. So after we’d finished our work we cycled over to the other side of the island for a well-earned dip in the pool.

Into the resort

Into the resort

A rare photo of Bill relaxing

A rare photo of Bill relaxing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday 4th February

First coat on the transom

First coat on the transom

 

Bill was up early before the sun got too hot to put the first coat of paint on the transom.

 

 

 

Barnacle removing from the rudder

Barnacle removing from the rudder

After my run (walking jog) and more washing in the machine I carried on with my scrapping, this time on the removed rudder.   So as well as router and navigator, chief cook and bottle washer I’m now an expert barnacle scraper with sweat dripping off the end of my nose like a dew drop, at least it’s not a cold dew drop.   One of the odd things that happen here is that the hotel does tours of the boat yard so every now and then a golf buggy carrying photo clicking tourists comes by taking pictures of us all – bizarre.

Removing the gold strip

Removing the gold strip

After painting Bill moved onto removing the gold strip and rubbing down the blue cove line. Again we’ve got new ones of these. He has to keep changing sides because in the tropics it’s important to work on the shady side of the boat unlike in the UK he used to work in the sun to keep warm.

Rubbing down blue strip

Rubbing down blue strip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cleaning the hull with oxalic acid

Cleaning the hull with oxalic acid

Thursday 5th February

Bill gave the transom a second coat of paint and finished off sanding the blue cove line before spraying down the topsides with oxalic acid. This was time consuming because each section had to rinsed before continuing to the next.

The reconditioned bathing platform

The reconditioned bathing platform

 

 

In between jobs Bill has been rubbing down all the pieces that came off the transom. This is the bathing platform hardly recognisable with all it’s green slats rubbed down. I finished scrapping the hull and washed down where the boatlift straps had been as the pressure washer missed them.

 

 

 

Ready for chatting

Ready for chatting

My next task is to clean all the metal work from the transom with metal polish. It’s a nice job because I get to sit in the shade and chatting to everyone who comes by. Another swim in the pool at the end of the day.

Friday 6th February

The end of the week here. Fridays are the Malaysian Sundays. All the shops are shut on the main island, the yard boys don’t work on a Friday and all the men go to the mosques to pray. It’s also the day the little Chinese man sets up his fruit and veg stall on the Langkawi side of the ferry dock. After my early morning run I joined a group of yachties on the 8.45 ferry to go and see what he had. All the fruit and veggies were really fresh plus he had some frozen salmon and chicken in polystyrene boxes and Easi-yo yoghurt mixes, which are really difficult to get here. I came back all happy to find Bill despairing back on the boat. The hull won’t cut.

We went over to the resort to sit down and have a coffee and talk over our options.   Apparently while I had been out he had rubbed down a section of the hull and tried cleaning it with the aggressive rubbing compound we had bought but it wasn’t cleaning up. There are white blotches on the hull from past repair work and they show up against the yellowing of the original hull. Bill had hoped to clean up the yellow patches to bring them closer to the colour of the repairs but it wasn’t working, he said he had been dreading starting this stage because it was make or break time.   Do we go to the expense of repainting the hull or do we leave it as it is?

Lombok and the Gili’s with Thomas and Sonal

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Minibus into town

Friday 12th September was an exciting day, our youngest son Thomas and his lovely girlfriend Sonal were arriving for an 8 day stay with us in Lombok and hopefully the Gili islands. We had a message from them that they had arrived safely in Singapore and were checked onto the Bali flight ok so it was time to leave the boat and head down to Mataram where I needed to do some shopping. Medana marina, where we are staying, is an oasis of calm and order next to a little local village bordered by a frantically busy and dusty main road. Step outside of the gate and you are transported into the chaos of half finished houses with many people living side by side in a friendly but very poor existence. Bill and I agreed we would wait 20 minutes for a local bus to stop for us, if they didn’t we would call for a taxi. We were in luck after 10 minutes waiting at the side of the road (bus stop would have been too grand a word) a local minibus on it’s way to the market stopped for us. I managed to find a seat among the ladies and their wares in various boxes and baskets while Bill got into the front seat (commonly known as the suicide seat as there aren’t any seatbelts). He spent the rest of the journey observing the road rushing past through a rusty hole in the floor, contemplating Karma and brakes while taking care not to lean on the door, which randomly unlatched itself. The journey took 2 hours over the mountain pass and cost us 60,000 rupes, about £3, for the pair of us, I love Indonesia.

Thomas paddles in the tropical water

Thomas paddles in the tropical water

First stop in Materam was a coffee shop in the mall for our first proper coffee since leaving Puteri harbour and the afternoon was spent in the Hero supermarket stocking up on fruit and treats that you can’t get in the outlying villages. The airport was another half hour from the city so we took a citycab out to it. There was a bit of a hiccup because we had a message from Thomas that they had arrived in Bali safely but the flight to Lombok was closed. Luckily there was a Garuda flight also coming to Lombok and they managed to get seats on that. Finally at 18.30 they came through the arrival gate looking very tired but happy to have arrived. By now it was dark but when we got back to Medana (taxi all the way) Thomas couldn’t resist putting his feet in the warm tropical water. They managed to stay awake long enough for a lovely meal in the restaurant before getting into the dinghy and Sonal’s first view of Camomile, the family home, even though it was in the dark.

Early morning view

Early morning view

 

 

 

The next morning Thomas put his head up through the hatch and said ‘Wow’ when he saw this view.

 

 

 

Tropical fruit for breakfast

Tropical fruit for breakfast

 

 

 

I prepared a lovely breakfast for them of tropical fruits, yogurt, muesli and juice.

 

 

Medana bay resort

Medana bay resort

 

 

Thomas and Sonal relaxing

Thomas and Sonal relaxing

 

We wanted them to relax on their first day and have a chance to recover from the jet lag so we walked to a very nice resort behind the marina complex for a chill out day and lunch by the pool.

 

Sue and Sonal in the pool

Sue and Sonal in the pool

Bill and Thomas catching up

Bill and Thomas catching up

 

 

 

The resort was deserted and we all had a wonderful day catching up on all the news and gossip.

 

 

As the next day was Sunday I cooked a Sunday breakfast of sausage, scrambled eggs and toast while everyone relaxed on board.

Thomas snorkelling

Thomas snorkelling

 

 

Later that morning we all got in the dinghy and took the snorkels and fins over to the beach. The water is so warm here and the beach gently shelves so it was ideal for some snorkel lessons.

 

Sonal snorkelling

Sonal snorkelling

Thomas and Sonal both did really well although the water was a bit murky so after about half an hour we got back in the dinghy and headed out to the reef where the water was clearer, for a better view of the coral and fish.

 

 

Fish swimming over coral

Fish swimming over coral

Thomas's starfish selfie

Thomas’s starfish selfie

 

 

 

Thomas took my waterproof camera and got some good shots of the coral and fish.

 

 

Local kids stickfighting

Local kids stickfighting

 

As we are here at the same time as Sail Indonesia the marina had a couple of events planned. The first of which was stick fighting. There appeared to be members of 2 villages present and it started with ‘fights’ among the boys first. We weren’t sure of the rules although the referee had a whistle, which was blown frequently to prevent anyone getting hurt.

The adults having a go.

The adults having a go.

 

When the adults started it became much more violent although it still seemed friendly. Several of the men finished with welts across their bodies.   I’ll put a video on facebook of one of the fights. Not sure what the ‘elf & safety’ people would have said back home, let alone the NSPCC.

The early evening line up of the Blues band

The early evening line up of the Blues band

 

After a delicious buffet supper of local foods the Blues band started playing. There were about a dozen musicians available and they took turns in playing and singing.   Once the evening got going and everyone was enjoying dancing they brought on ‘Aretha Franklin’, a local lady who was a little on the large side but her voice was amazing, she sang along with a guy in a top hat who also played the guitar. If they lived in the western world they would make a fortune. The range of their voices was incredible. The band stopped playing at 11pm but not before we had all danced the night away in bare feet on the sand.

The local kids watched us all dancing.

The local kids watched us all dancing.

Bill feeding the monkey

Bill feeding the monkey

 

As Thomas and Sonal had arrived in the dark they didn’t get to see the monkeys on the mountain pass so on Monday morning we hired a local taxi to take us on a bit of a tour. We drove through some local villages then up over the mountain pass where there are lots of monkeys sitting beside the road.

Sonal feeding the monkeys

Sonal feeding the monkeys

Sue feeding monkeys with beautiful view across the valley

Sue feeding monkeys with beautiful view across the valley

 

 

Our driver had bought some bags of nuts from a street seller but warned us to get them out one at a time. The monkeys were delightful taking the nuts from us so carefully and gently.

 

They took the nuts so gently

They took the nuts so gently

Monkey drinking from the bottle

Monkey drinking from the bottle

 

They are really clever. The driver gave the water to this monkey with the lid on but he carefully unscrewed it and drank from the bottle. There must be an advert there somewhere!

 

 

There were lots of mums and bubs

There were lots of mums and bubs

This one seemed to be enjoying himself!!

This one seemed to be enjoying himself!!

 

 

 

We spent about half an hour watching them play.

 

 

 

Workers in the field

Workers in the field

The drive continued across the valley with rice padi fields but a lot of them are unplanted this time of the year because it’s the dry season. This group were working out in the hot sun. We stopped at a wood carvers where we bought a nice bowl, and a pearl shop where Thomas bought Sonal a beautiful pearl necklace.

Gili Trewangan on the left, Gili Meno in the middle, Gili Air on the right

Gili Trewangan on the left, Gili Meno in the middle, Gili Air on the right

 

 

The circuit took us to Senggigi where we stopped for lunch before driving back on the coast road with tantalising views of Gili Air.

 

 

 

 

Panoramic view of the marina frontage

Panoramic view of the marina frontage

We got back just in time to see the other Sail Indonesia event put on by Medana marina. The marina guys had spent the day erecting canopies for us to sit under. Once the dignitaries had arrived the festivities could begin. There were welcome speeches from government ministers and 2 cruisers from 2 boats responded thanking them for providing the event and saying how wonderful Indonesia is. We were all presented with hand made scarves then invited to watch a wonderful dance programme.

A local band

A local band

 

A local band playing traditional music supplied the accompaniment.

 

These two men danced and played these drums at the same time, very clever.

 

Drummer dancers

Drummer dancers

The fan dance

The fan dance

 

 

 

These stunning young ladies were performing the fan dance.

 

 

 

More beautiful dancers

More beautiful dancers

 

These girls had a very interesting dance portraying cleaning the house. Videos on facebook again. After the show was over we were all invited to another Indonesian meal.

Thank you Medana marina.

 

Rice paddies

Rice paddies

Tuesday was hopefully going to be one of the highlights of Thomas and Sonal’s visit. We had booked a car to take us all to the Rinjani national park. The journey took 2 hours passing through green rice paddies and climbing the steep road to Senaru, the start of the 3 day trek to the rim of the caldera.   Sadly we didn’t have time to do the trek but we opted for the 4 hour village walk that takes in two waterfalls.   Eddie and Nemo were to be our guides.

Traditional houses

Traditional houses

First stop was a traditional village with houses made of bamboo. At first we thought it was just set up for tourists to look at but then we realised that there were people living in them. Many of the houses had fires burning with smoke just being allowed to drift out through the straw roof. We didn’t get to see inside but it must have been bad for their lungs.

Dear little chap

Dear little chap

 

 

 

 

 

I found this beautiful little chap and couldn’t resist a cuddle before handing him back to his Mummy and sisters.

 

 

Local petrol station

Local petrol station

 

 

 

Believe or not this is a petrol station. All of the bottles contain petrol for the numerous motorbikes in this area. Anyone got a light?!!

 

 

Lots of the houses had coffee beans drying outside; this lady is grinding the beans to fill the sack with coffee. Note the cockerel just strolling out of the house.

 

 

Lady grinding coffee beans

Lady grinding coffee beans

Wild pineapples

Wild pineapples

 

 

 

It was a wonderful walk and Eddie and Nemo were very informative about our surrounding. There were wild pineapples growing along the track and huge bushes of wild poinsettia’s that would only grow in a green house in the UK.

 

 

 

 

Wild poinsettia

Wild poinsettia

 

Large vines

Large vines

 

 

 

We couldn’t work out what these were but they looked like huge grape vines. Nemo said they make palm wine with them.

 

 

This lovely lady has been out in the bush gathering food for dinner, she very generously gave us some nuts from her gathering. Even with the pot on her head she’s still shorter than Sonal and I.

 

The people are very small

The people are very small

 

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As we got higher and nearer to the waterfalls the area became more lush and green. The scenery was beautiful; very rustic.

 

 

Lovely scenery

Lovely scenery

Dutch irrigation system

Dutch irrigation system

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The water has lots of uses

The water has lots of uses

 

 

This canal irrigation system using mountain water from the volcano was designed by the Dutch, built by the people of Lombok to keep the paddy fields watered and is used by local people for bathing, washing their clothes and washing up.

 

 

 

We’d already walked several miles but everyone was still smiling.

 

Sonal with her selfie stick

Sonal with her selfie stick

Difficult to capture in one photo

Difficult to capture in one photo

 

 

 

The last section before the first waterfall was along the edge of a ridge with spectacular views across the valley.

 

 

Sweet monkey

Sweet monkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

We started seeing wildlife; this little monkey was watching us along with several friends.

 

 

 

 

Amazing waterfall

Amazing waterfall

Finally we came to Air Terjun Sindang Gila, a spectacular waterfall. The foaming cascade exploded over the volcanic stone 40m above our heads.   It’s impossible to get an impression of what it was like so I’ll post a video on facebook.

 

Picnic by the falls

Picnic by the falls

 

We sat and ate our picnic, which the guides had brought along. This picture looks like the water is landing on the table but it’s actually about 30m away. The noise was deafening.

 

 

Crossing the river

Crossing the river

 

 

The second waterfall was another hour or so uphill and it involved crossing the river. Fortunately it wasn’t flowing very fast.

 

 

Rare black monkey

Rare black monkey

 

We were up in the jungle now and lucky enough to see a black monkey in the distance. Our guides said they were rare. (It didn’t move, could it have been stuffed?)

 

 

 

Air Terjun Tiu Kelep waterfall

Air Terjun Tiu Kelep waterfall

The pool at the bottom

The pool at the bottom

We continued on, Thomas and Bill decided not to put their shoes back on so were barefoot for the last quarter mile, until we walked around a rock and Air Terjun Tiu Kelep appeared in front of us. So lucky to get this shot without any one in the water.

"Beats working"

“Beats working”

"Do I look younger yet"

“Do I look younger yet”

Rumour has it that if you swim in the water you will become a year younger each time. While the rest of us were trying to decide if we wanted to go in Bill was off across the rocks for his dip. Apparently it was freezing cold but bracing.

 

 

It was cold

It was cold

Thomas and Sonal joined him but I stayed back with the camera although I might as well have gone in because I was soaked by the spray any way. We all agreed it was the most spectacular waterfall we had ever seen. Our guides were telling us that in the wet season it’s closed because someone died last year by getting trapped in a whirlpool that the cascade produces.

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Stunning

Stunning

 

 

 

 

Thomas took the camera into the pool for a closer view.

An amazing sight.

We entered the tunnel (we must have been mad!)

We entered the tunnel (we must have been mad!)

 

 

 

 

 

On the walk back the guides were telling us of a tunnel that’s a short cut through the hill. We thought they were joking until we arrived at it. After about a 5 minute discussion with everyone daring everyone to do it, we went ahead and took the short cut. The water was up to our knees but not flowing very fast but there were lots of spiders and bats in there. It had air holes at intervals that would have been escape hatches but a bit of a drop on the outside. Half way along Eddie, who was in front, warned us that the concrete was breaking up and be careful, we had to walk over a sort of criss cross mesh that normally holds the concrete but the concrete was gone, what was under it I shudder to think. We all felt really brave at the end, again ‘elf & safety’?????

Dinner with a view

Dinner with a view

After a total of 5 hours and about 8km we arrived back at the restaurant for an early dinner with a view across the valley one way and Gunung Rinjani the other, before our car took us back to Medana.   We all slept well that night.

 

 

Gunung Rinjani

Gunung Rinjani

Bat fish

Bat fish

 

After our exertion the day before Wednesday was spent quietly. It started with Thomas and Sonal taking us for breakfast ashore in the restaurant as a late treat for Mothers day and Fathers day. We all had a lovely snorkel in the morning when we were lucky enough to see some bat fish among others.   In the afternoon Thomas and Sonal had a look around the village outside the gate and had a peaceful walk along the beach. The wind had got up and Camomile was rolling a bit in the afternoon so they were happier ashore.   We joined them in the evening for a delicious meal in the restaurant.

 

 

Gili Air

Gili Air

Thursday morning we dropped the buoy and headed around to Gili Air. The wind had dropped and it’s only an hour’s journey so at least Tom and Son could say they went to sea. The beaches looked very inviting on our approach. With 6 other yachts in the anchorage we didn’t think we would find a buoy but we were lucky to get the last one. Bill wanted to stay on board to check everything was ok with Camomile but dropped the 3 of us ashore in the dinghy to explore.

Tom and Son outside their little cottage

Tom and Son outside their little cottage

Thomas and Sonal had done really well and survived 6 nights on board but when they found that accommodation on the island was only £30 a night they couldn’t resist checking in. They found a lovely place with little cottages around a garden with verandas outside complete with hammock, a proper bathroom and air conditioning.

'Bob Marley'

‘Bob Marley’

 

Gili Air is a great place to chill out with bars and restaurants all along the beach. This was our favourite bar man, we named him Bob Marley because there was reggae playing there all the time and he walked around with a joint in his mouth most of the time. Really friendly guy.

Best table on the beach

Best table on the beach

 

 

We had a meal at a table on the beach that evening. The boys had huge pizzas cooked in a proper wood burning oven and Sonal and I had massive kebabs from the BBQ served with jacket potato and salad. Mmmmm.

Sonal at sea

Sonal at sea

 

 

The next day, Friday, Thomas had arranged for us to all go on a snorkelling trip. The public boat was only £5 each for the day but a private trip for just the four us was only £30 which included a guide, so that’s what we decided upon.   Tom and Son boarded the boat on the beach and then it came out to Camomile to pick Bill and I up, it saved having to drop the dinghy.

Conger eel well camouflaged

Conger eel well camouflaged

 

 

The first snorkel was off of Gili Meno turtle sanctuary and within 10 minutes of being in the water our guide had spotted a turtle rising to the surface. Tom and Son swam with it for a while and when it lifted his head out of the water to take a breathe, Sonal did too, she was really happy. (Forgot camera) On the second snorkel the guide spotted this conger eel poking out of the coral, it was very well camouflaged; he was looking for an octopus but didn’t find one.

Beautiful Gili Meno

Beautiful Gili Meno

 

Sonal didn’t want to join us for the next snorkel so the boat boy took us to the beach to drop her off and we went out for our third snorkel before we all went back onto Gili Meno for lunch. The island had beautiful white sand beaches, true paradise.

 

 

69In the afternoon we had one more snorkel off of the reef that surrounds Gili Air. The water clarity was amazing. There were lots of fish. We dropped Bill back on Camomile then I returned to their room with them for a wonderful shower.

 

Lovely horse and carts

Lovely horse and carts

 

The only way around the island is horse and cart or walk. After our showers we decided to take a horse and cart for a trip around the island. It only took about an hour but it was a great way to see all around the island. On our last evening Sonal treated us all to a meal in Scallywags for our late birthday presents, it was delicious.

Waiting for the Bali ferry

Waiting for the Bali ferry

 

All to quickly their time with us came to an end and on the Saturday morning they checked in with the ferry that was going to take them to Bali. The original plan had been to sail there but we thought it would be too much for Sonal on her first trip, maybe next time. We all sat on the seats on the beach waiting for the ferry to arrive.

Getting on the ferry

Getting on the ferry

 

Tears were shed as they boarded the boat that was taking them onto the next part of their adventure, 4 nights in Bali and 3 nights in Singapore. We’ve all got 100s of photos so I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my selection.

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Their ferry passing Camomile

Their ferry passing Camomile

 

 

 

Goodbye Thomas and Sonal, see you in March. XX

PS Miss you.

Angela’s Holiday and Sue’s Birthday

Ice cream sundaes, yum yum.

Ice cream sundaes, yum yum.

As I sit here writing this blog my sister Angela is winging her way back to the UK. By the time I’ve posted the blog I’m sure she will have forgotten her holiday but we did have a great time. Angela arrived Sunday 27th April – 3 days after the lightening strike. Bill had spent hours trying to get enough of the boat systems working so we would be able to limp out of the marina to see a bit of the area. We spent the first couple of days in Danga bay marina in Malaysia. Although it’s easy for us to pop back and forwards to Singapore, (but you get a total of 4 stamps in your passport each time!) it’s difficult and costly to get the boat in and out so the boat remained in Malaysia. On Monday Angela and I hit the malls and she was soon leading me astray.

Walking around the fruit farm

Walking around the fruit farm

The rally had organised a tour of the Johor area on Tuesday so we decided to join it.  The coach left at 7am and took a nice drive through the countryside to a tropical fruit farm where they showed us many different varieties of fruit, some of which I hadn’t even heard of.

 

 

The fruit was wrapped in pink plastic bags for protection

The fruit was wrapped in pink plastic bags for protection

After a short presentation on how their honey is produced in a very welcome cool air-conditioned room we were shown to the restaurant where the staff had prepared a smorgasbord of fruit platters for us to try. Our favourite was dragon fruit, which I’d often seen in the supermarket, now I’ll be more willing to buy some. We also tried deep fried breadfruit, which looked like parsnips but tasted like chips before moving onto a local village for lunch. On arrival the villagers provided us with a display of martial arts accompanied by some loud banging of drums. The ladies had prepared some beautiful food so, after visiting the handicraft stalls we got back in the coach with very full stomachs! With palm trees stretching as far as one could see our next stop was a visit to a factory where huge bundles of palm nuts are turned into oil. As we got out of the coach the smell was awful, Angela and I had a quick look at what they were doing then retreated to the coach. We continued on to the ruins of a 16th century fort and though little remained, there was a nice museum and amazing views of Singapore from the raised area the fort was built on.

Crocodile farm

Crocodile farm

Our last stop was a crocodile farm where we watched the owner call and feed dozens of crocs. Ang and I thought there were too many to each pen climbing over each other to get to the smelly chicken that was being thrown their way. A walkway had been constructed over the pens so you could look down on the reptiles though we lost count of how many there were however 500 wouldn’t have been an over estimate… they really didn’t have very much room. All in all it was a long day but a good first outing. I would have liked to show more photos but my new camera has eaten them and won’t give them back, the outing photos are from Jacqui on Jackster.

Wednesday we stayed on the boat so Angela could start her sun bathing and all packed our bags ready for Singapore. Thursday 1st May saw us starting our journey from Johor Bahru (JB) to cross the border to Singapore. As I said the boat was in Malaysia and since Singapore gained its independence in 1965 it’s now a separate country with borders and bureaucracy to cross. The trip started with a bus from the marina to JB Sentral where you walk through C.I.Q. to the Malaysian border control, much like airport departure gates. As we were walking through the elevated glass sided halls the taxis were visible as they queued underneath us to get through passport control. We’ve done the journey in a taxi and a bus and I think the bus is quicker, even though there’s a lot of walking. After we had been stamped out of Malaysia we went down the escalator into no mans land and the buses. For the princely sum of MYR1.30 (about 25p) you get on a bus and cross the causeway bridge. The buses are always packed to the gunnels and the last one in is given a push so the driver can shut the door. Fortunately although there’s a 50kph speed limit you’re lucky if the traffic moves at 10kph so it’s quite safe. On the Singapore side you have to go up the escalator, over the top of the taxis again, have your passport stamped and down the escalator on the other side into Singapore and back onto the bus, although not necessarily the same one, and your MYR1.30 carries you to the first Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station where you can get to most parts of Singapore on this over/underground metro system. The whole process can take several hours. We took the MRT to Lavender and walked to our hotel.

The beautiful buildings of Little India

The beautiful buildings of Little India

The Arton was clean and modern but the rooms were tiny, they had everything you needed though and the beds were comfy. The hotel was on the edge of Little India so having dropped our bags we took a little walk. I thought for once we weren’t going to do any thing to do with boats – WRONG.

 

Bill window shopping

Bill window shopping

 

 

 

Little India is also next to Sim Lim towers where they have lots of electronic shops but as it was the 1st May bank holiday in Singapore most of the shops were closed. Bill just had to make do with a bit of window-shopping. The deal was for every 5 minutes in Sim Lim towers Ang and I could have half an hour in the proper shops so 30 minutes of wandering gave us 3 hours in Orchard road.

The famous Orchard Road

The famous Orchard Road

 

 

 

The whole road consists of mall after mall. We found a good one and started shopping; shoes were bought!

 

 

 

We went shopping

We went shopping

The top floor was a huge food court so we had dinner there before heading back to the hotel.

Chocolate waffles for breakfast

Chocolate waffles for breakfast

 

The next morning was my birthday and we started it off wantonly with chocolate waffles in a local food market. As time was limited we had decided the best way to see the city was a morning coach tour. The guide was very informative giving us lots of interesting explanations as we were driving along.

 

First stop Merlion Park

First stop Merlion Park

The first stop was the famous Merlion park where the symbol of Singapore stood. The statue has the head of a lion, a fish like body, stands 8.6 metres high, weighs in at 70 tonnes and is one of Singapore’s most well known icons. The Merlion is representative of Singapore’s humble beginnings as a fishing village.

The impressive Merlion statue

The impressive Merlion statue

 

 

It’s set against the backdrop of sky scrappers in Singapore’s CBD.

 

 

 

 

We were dwarfed by the statue

We were dwarfed by the statue

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Overlooking the park were the triple towers of the Marina Bay Sands hotel where room prices start at S$340 (£170) a night and that doesn’t include breakfast.

 

 

The Thian Hock Keng temple

The Thian Hock Keng temple

 

 

We got back in the coach and continued on our drive through China town to the Thian Hock Keng temple. Singapore’s oldest and most important Hokkien temple was a haven of tranquillity. Built between 1839 and 1842 it was once the favourite landing point of Chinese sailors before reclamation pushed the sea almost a kilometre down the road. Upon completion of the temple southbound immigrants who had just landed or northbound immigrants heading back to China would always stop by the temple facing the waterfront to pray for calm waves and a safe journey; It stuck a chord some how.

The beautiful carved ceiling

The beautiful carved ceiling

 

 

The carvings in the ceiling were amazing. Angela and I were given some josh sticks to say a prayer with and light, which we did for Mum.

 

 

 

Thian Hock Keng temple

Thian Hock Keng temple

 

The chocolate shop

The chocolate shop

 

 

Our next stop was a chocolate shop (who picked this tour?) where the assistants were waiting to hand out samples to encourage us to buy their wares; we didn’t disappoint them. Pride of place in the window was a chocolate lion; lucky he didn’t lose that paw.

 

Chocolate lion - shall I kiss your paw?

Chocolate lion – shall I kiss your paw?

 

View across the city

View across the city

We drove around more of the city before heading up to the viewpoint on Mount Faber. Although it’s only 105 metres high it’s one of the highest points in Singapore giving a fabulous 360º panoramic view. In 1857 it was decided to build a fort for fear of revolt among the local Indian sepoys. Defence work was carried out and granite gun emplacements were completed halfway up the hill but Mount Faber never became a fort and instead an observatory was built there in 1905.

Another Merlion

Another Merlion

 

 

 

To the south the famous Sentosa island could be seen with it’s designer apartments but to the north was just mile after mile of the high risers of inner city living all under the watchful gaze of another Merlion statue.

 

 

 

 

Raffles hotel

Raffles hotel

Table next to the harp

Table next to the harp

We were taken back to our hotel in time to change and get back on the MRT in time for tea at the Tiffin tearooms in the famous Raffles Hotel, for my birthday treat. As it was my birthday they gave us a very nice table right next to the harp.

 

 

 

Just for starters

Just for starters

 

 

There was a 3 tiered cake tray already on the table with 3 of each sandwich on the bottom tier and 3 of each cake on the top two tiers. The waiter directed us to a buffet table, which had some hot items, as well as more cakes, and a table with a selection of fruit. After finishing the first lot of sandwiches they brought more. As we hadn’t eaten lunch we made a big dent in their buffet.

The hot buffet

The hot buffet

The fruit platters

The fruit platters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday lunch

Birthday lunch

Followed by Birthday cake

Followed by Birthday cake

 

All the time the harpist was playing beautiful music before striking up with Happy Birthday when the staff brought out a surprise cake with a candle and Happy Birthday Sue on it. I was over whelmed and speechless (not a natural condition for me(Bill added that bit)) but I soon recovered and blew my candle out.

Beautiful cake

Beautiful cake

Yummy

Yummy

 

It was a delicious chocolate cake although we couldn’t work out what the filling was but it tasted divine.  I was going to save the chocolate name for the boys who both love white chocolate but I appear to have mislaid it – sorry boys!

I even had my 4 cards to open at the table (courtesy of Ang who had brought them with her).

 

 

My birthday cards

My birthday cards

A very grand hallway

A very grand hallway

 

 

Angela and I decided to explore the hotel a bit although a lot of areas are for residents only. This was the amazing hallway. Then we found the bathroom and took a selfie through the mirror, it was beautifully decorated.

 

Our selfie in the bathroom

Our selfie in the bathroom

Singapore slings

Singapore slings

 

After we had eaten all the sandwiches, pastries, fruit and cakes we could manage and drank numerous cups of tea we rounded off the afternoon by adjourning to the iconic Long Bar for – What else? A genuine Singapore sling (although Angela and I choose a tropical cocktail version because they sounded nicer).

Suntec city with the fountain of wealth

Suntec city with the fountain of wealth

One of the places we had driven past in the morning was Suntec City where it’s said ‘you can buy everything under the sun’. As it was just around the corner we made our way there. It consists of 5 buildings the proportion of 4 fingers against ‘the thumb’ which was behind me. In the centre of this open “palm” lies the Fountain of Wealth which has featured in the Guiness Book of Records as the world’s largest fountain. It is said if you walk around the fountain 3 times you will come into money so of course we just had to do that.

Buildings 1, 2, 3 and 4

Buildings 1, 2, 3 and 4

The fountain of wealth

The fountain of wealth

The fountain was quite beautiful; the water jets were rotating in an interesting and continually varying pattern as we walked around them.

 

Restored shop houses of Chinatown

Restored shop houses of Chinatown

 

We continued to the night market in Chinatown where stepping out of the MRT we immediately entered an area that was more about the vibe than the shops. Restored shophouses looked down on a mixture of retro stalls selling mostly cheap tat.

 

Bill with Captain Haddock

Bill with Captain Haddock

One shop that caught Bill’s eye was the TinTin shop so, having been a fan as a young boy, he wanted his photo taken with Captain Haddock before admiring the stacks of TinTin memorabilia. Along a bit there were lots of delicious looking street food stalls but sadly, still stuffed from our tea, we didn’t get to try anything.

Waving cats

Waving cats

It was an easy several hours spent looking around and enjoying the atmosphere before it was time to be making our way back to MRT station but, on our way back I spotted these. If you’ve ever wondered where to buy those awful cat ornaments with the waving arms, well here they are. S$10 is about £5. If I’d paid £5 for 3 I think I’d have been robbed! The next morning I allowed Bill the time to go back to look at Sim Lim towers while Angela and I went back to Orchard road for more shopping. More shoes were bought but not by me this time then that afternoon we headed back to the causeway bridge to repeat the customs journey back into Malaysia.

Sun setting over the shipping

Sun setting over the shipping

Sunday 4th May we started Camomile’s engine and slowly motored down the Johor straits to the sea. Bill anchored the boat at the entrance ready for our early morning start the next day motoring around the south of Singapore island. Angela coped well with her first night at anchor and also without the air-conditioning unit, which can only run when we have power in a marina. We had sundowners watching the many ships passing through the Singapore straits against the sun set.

Lots of big cargo vessels

Lots of big cargo vessels

 

The sun was just coming up when we weighed anchor the next morning giving us a beautiful sunrise to watch. There were many ships of all sizes anchored and this local fishing boat was busy taking photos of us taking photos of them.

 

 

Local fishing boat

Local fishing boat

Tug and tow

Tug and tow

Tug and tows are the bane of our lives in these waters,they don’t have AIS and they rarely display the correct lights at night. It can be quite unnerving coming across one in the dark as they chug along with barges the size of a small island following.

 

 

Singapore from the sea

Singapore from the sea

 

 

It was interesting to see the CBD from the deck of the boat although we couldn’t get very close and Singapore is patrolled by many small police boats which are constantly watching for any one entering Singapore waters illegally. They are quite obsessive about it.

 

 

 

 

Marina Bay Sands hotel from the sea

Marina Bay Sands hotel from the sea

It took all day to motor the length of the island before clearing Singapore waters and anchoring off the Malaysian peninsular on the eastern side. Tuesday 6th was another early start because we had to motor all the way to the first island to make sure we had a calm anchorage. Since Mum died last year Angela has had a difficult time and I’ve been nagging her to come and stay with us so I could show her some deserted islands and catch a glimpse of the life we lead. After the lightening strike I didn’t think we were going to get there but we had made it. Fortunately the one instrument left partially working was the depth gauge, without it we wouldn’t have been able to leave the marina so someone up there was helping us. The sails came out for some of the journey and we had a good tide most of the day but the engine stayed on. Bill had rigged up the emergency tiller pilot to the Hydrovane so he didn’t have to hand steer all the way as the autopilot was another victim of the lightning. We used my new Samsung tab for Navigation, not ideal but better than nothing. So we limped along to Pulau Sibu, our first deserted island, although it had a village on it and a big resort around the corner. The next morning we went ashore and had a drink in a little café looking over the beach before walking through the village. There were palm trees everywhere and cows roaming freely. The little houses looked very well kept but the heat of the sun was very strong. The three of us walked back along the beach but it was really hot so we retreated back to the boat. (Sorry no pictures we left our camera behind!) In the afternoon Bill moved the boat to the next island and anchored on the south side of the island. It was such a good decision because that night a storm blew up. Although the wind instruments weren’t working Bill felt we had 50kts winds blowing over us and put more and more anchor chain out, hoping the anchor would hold. Luckily Angela didn’t seem worried about it and was busy watching the lightening. With winds coming from the north we were well protected. The storm lasted for several hours before the winds subsided and the sea returned to normal. By the morning everything had returned to normal. We learnt a few days later that it had caused quite a bit of damage and was only the 5th bad storm they had had like that in the last eight years, lucky us!

A proper deserted island

A proper deserted island

 

Thursday 8th May we finally found a little deserted island. With the dinghy loaded with deckchairs, etc we took the dinghy over to it and were the first footsteps in the sand.

 

 

 

Our little dinghy took us to the island

Our little dinghy took us to the island

Angela on a shell hunt

Angela on a shell hunt

 

Angela started a shell hunt of which we found several nice ones. It was lovely and peaceful. As we were walking along the beach a beautiful butterfly fluttered past; was Mum watching us playing?

I put my snorkel and fins on to discover a wonderful world just a short distance off the beach. Not so many fish but lots of coral, Angela decided she didn’t want to have a go, chicken!

Angela and I laying in the warm water

Angela and I laying in the warm water

 

 

The water was beautifully warm and we just laid in it with the waves lapping over us. Paradise.  In the distance we could see One Tree island, that is it’s name on the chart and sure enough it had one tree on it.

 

One tree island in the distance

One tree island in the distance

Another beautiful beach

Another beautiful beach

 

As the tide was out we clambered over the rocks at the end of the beach to find another beautiful beach round the corner, again, deserted. I love the silence of these places, just the birds calling and the lapping of the waves, stunning. On our way back to the boat Bill motored very slowly over the coral so Ang could look down onto it from the safety of the dinghy. Continuing on later that day to Pulau Besar which had a really nice yachtie friendly resort. The restaurant was available to non-residents so we ate out that evening. The owner had just bought a catamaran and wanting to make a good impression on the yatching fraternity offered us a drink on the house. That’s the way to do it! Free is cruiser price.

Angela and I went to the loo later in the evening, I wouldn’t normally mention this but the bathrooms were the most ornate I had ever seen. All marble with gold patterns, simply amazing.

The view from the restaurant was superb looking out across the boats. Two other rally boats turned up the next day. Ang decided she wanted to spend the afternoon sunbathing on the beach. As I was battling with a nasty cold I decided not to join her. When she returned she realised why we don’t sit on the beaches here because she was covered in sand fly bites all up the backs of her legs, hundreds of them.

That evening when we went ashore for dinner again and made sure we were sprayed for mossies too. As we were at the bar with the other four that evening we all got another round of drinks on the house. This is why we get ‘stuck’ in places like this. Photos courtsey of Janice on Zoa

The original plan for Angela’s holiday was to spend a week in the islands and then put her on a bus back to Singapore on Tuesday 13th but with the boat in the state it was we needed to get back to the JB area to get it sorted. So Saturday 10th we motored over to Mersing on the main land to pick up some supplies before motoring back to Pulau Sibu, the first island for an overnight stop before a very early start the next day for the 2 day motor back to Puteri harbour.

Another beautiful sunset

Another beautiful sunset

Sunday 11th was Angela’s last night at anchor and we all watched a beautiful sunset. On the Monday we arrived back at Puteri harbour and put the air conditioning back on. Angela had one more day so we spent it shopping, of course.

 

 

The fish stall in the night market - what cigarette?

The fish stall in the night market – what cigarette?

Angela doesn't look very impressed

Angela doesn’t look very impressed

In the evening we joined a group of people from the marina and went to the night market in the next village. I like shopping in these markets but I think Angela was horrifed, she’s used the pristine shelves of the English supermarkets.

 

 

 

4am Wednesday 14th May saw us all getting into a taxi for the trip back across the causeway, to Singapore airport, to home for Angela. Tears were shed but I think she had a nice time and nice rest. Byebye Ang see you soon. x

Byebye Angela

Byebye Angela

30 Days in Thailand

Leaving Pangkor

Leaving Pangkor

This is our blog for Thailand but it takes quite a while to load so I’ve broken it into two parts.

Part 1

After our land travel and Bill doing more boat jobs, it was finally time to leave Pangkor marina on 15th February, Camomile having spent the best part of 4 months there.

 

Tim and Rebekah with Ophelia on the left and Willow on the right

Tim and Rebekah with Ophelia on the left and Willow on the right

We sailed gently up the coast stopping in anchorages overnight and then had a few nights in Rebak marina. Here we caught up with our sailing friends Tim and Rebekah, fellow Westerly owners on their Ocean 49, and their lovely twin daughters Ophelia and Willow. We enjoyed some baby squeezing time between lovely languid swims in the resort pool.

After stocking up the boat on the duty free island of Langkawi we checked out of Malaysia on 28th February but will be back here for the start of the Sail Malaysia East rally on 2nd April giving us 30 days for a whistle stop cruise around the Andaman coast of Thailand.

Bill raises the Thailand courtesy flag

Bill raises the Thailand courtesy flag

 

 

Our first anchorage was off Ko Adang in the Ko Tarutao national park. As is our tradition Bill hoisted the Thailand courtesy flag on arrival.

 

 

 

 

Beautiful anchorage

Beautiful anchorage

 

 

The island was uninhabited and a great place for picnics on the beach and snorkelling. This was what we had imagined Thailand to be. As I’d bought a new waterproof camera in Langkawi I was anxious to try it out.   It felt strange putting it under the water but I managed to get some interesting shots.

Crown of Thorns starfish

Crown of Thorns starfish

Beautiful clams

Beautiful clams

This starfish, beautiful as it is, is a member of the crown of thorns variety, which destroys the coral. Luckily this was the only one we saw, but it reminded us of reefs visited on our voyage that have been devastated by these creatures. It was a striking specimen.

There were lots of lovely clams, which draw themselves in as you swim near them; the colours were stunning. Difficult to photograph though so I probably need to play around with the cameras settings.

We watched the sun go behind the tiny island

We watched the sun go behind the tiny island

We took pleasure in spending a couple of days there while enjoying sundowners and watching the stunning sunsets before stopping off at Ko Rok Nai for 24 hours to do some more snorkelling. By this point we were getting pressed for time as we needed to get to Phuket to meet James again.

 

James on board

James on board

The official port of entry for Phuket is Chalong bay. We only stopped there long enough to check in, do some shopping and washing and pick up James. Chalong is full of bars with white men of the age 60+ being entertained by girls of between 16 and 25. Some people think it’s ok but I think it’s awful. Some of the older women offer ‘masssssaggge’ but they all looked like Ping Pong from the TV programme ‘Little Britain.’ You had to run the gauntlet trying to get past them walking to and from the boat jetty.

We left Chalong and sailed to a bay on the south west corner of Phuket island called Hat Nai Han and anchored off of the Royal Phuket yacht club only to discover it wasn’t a club but an upmarket hotel and they didn’t have any yacht facilities.

Sailing on up the west coast of Phuket we anchored in Karon bay. Within 10 minutes Camomile became victim to the jet ski brigade. As there wasn’t anyone else anchored in the bay the jet skiers thought it would be good fun to come and have a look at us. After about the 10th jet ski that came whizzing passed us in half an hour it was time to move on again! We continued past Patong bay and Surin bay because through the binoculars all that could be seen were rows and rows of deck chairs literally right across the beach and yet more jet skiers.

Took the dinghy into the waterways

Took the dinghy into the waterways

Refuge was finally found at the northern end of Ao Bang Thao, the deckchairs being at the southern end. With only half a dozen boats anchored in the bay we got a peaceful night. At the northern end of the bay a channel led to a very interesting waterway, which was great fun to explore in the dinghy.

This old girl won't be going very far.

This old girl won’t be going very far.

Lovely sunsets

Lovely sunsets

 

It was very calm with lots of local ‘long tail’ boats up on the side; some wouldn’t be going anywhere any time soon.   We all went ashore for a nice beach side meal that evening and watched the sun setting again.

 

 

The fishing port of Ngan Yong

The fishing port of Ngan Yong

The 10th and 11th March found us doing a couple of long hops up the coast to Ngan Yong so that James could spend the day ashore renewing his visa. It’s possible to get a 30 day visa-on-arrival but it can’t be renewed inside the country so then it’s necessary to do a ‘visa run’ to Myanmar (Burma) or Langkawi. If you want to stay longer it’s best to get a 60 day visa before you arrive but James hadn’t and he’d already been in the country 3 weeks. Bill dropped him off at the fishing port where he managed to catch a bus to the border town of Ranong then he took a boat to Kawthoung in Myanmar to get his passport re-stamped.

Sailing out to the Surin islands

Sailing out to the Surin islands

Thursday 13th was a lovely sail out to the Surin islands, a group of islands with pockets of white sand beaches and rocky granite headlands creating some nice little anchorages. The water was really clear enabling us to see the wonderful marine life. We picked up a buoy under a headland on the northern island of Ko Surin Neua and joined a group of cruisers on the beach for sundowners.

A beautiful scene .......

A beautiful scene …….

 

 

 

The next day started with a dinghy ride around to the Park Headquarters where there’s a café with basic but nicely cooked food.

 

 

 

..... until someone stuck their face in it!!

….. until someone stuck their face in it!!

Bill loves Magnums

Bill loves Magnums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stunning views

Stunning views

 

 

 

 

 

After lunch we walked around the bay while looking out at some stunning views; more real Thailand.

 

Panorama of the bay

Panorama of the bay

 

James with his Mum

James with his Mum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More coral

More coral

 

James free diving

James free diving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Bill

and Bill

 

2 metre Moral eel

2 metre Moral eel

 

 

 

We got in the water for a snorkel and found lots and lots of fish including a 2 metre long Moray Eel.

 

 

'Long tails' anchored

‘Long tails’ anchored

That night the wind got up and was licking round the headland making us roll really badly. As none of us could sleep Bill decided to drop the buoy and make a night sail to the Similian islands some 55 miles south. It was a slow sail through the night under main and genoa and once everyone was up in the morning the cruising chute went up. Camomile made good time and by midday had picked up another buoy this time off of island No 4 Ko Miang. It was packed with tourists but fortunately by 3 or 4pm most of them have gone leaving just a handful of campers and the yachties.

Camomile in the beautiful azure water

Camomile in the beautiful azure water

 

 

The island has a very good trail to follow to the top of the hill that afforded stunning views. Camomile looks very comfortable on her buoy in the beautiful blue water.

 

 

More islands

More islands

 

 

Looking to the north you could see the little group of islands that we snorkelled that afternoon.

 

 

 

 

Climbing back down the hill

Climbing back down the hill

That evening a very unseasonable storm blew up from the east with lashing rain and high winds putting us on a lee shore on a very bouncy buoy giving us a nervous night. Fortunately everything held ok but the next morning we decided to leave and motor sailed back to Ao Bang Thao, some 51 miles; not pleasant with wind on the nose most of the way but it felt more secure back at anchor with an off shore wind.

Tuesday 18th we were back in Chalong for more shopping and washing again before leaving to tour Phang Na bay between Phuket island and the mainland but that’s for the next blog.

Camomile is having a rest

Camomile being lifted

Camomile being lifted

Camomile’s position is 04º12.6 north 100º36.1 east she is up on the side at Pangkor marina, Malaysia with Norsa by her side so she won’t be lonely.  Norman, Sara, Bill and I are in the UK where the temperature is 20C less than Malaysia!

 

 

Bill inspecting the hull after Camomile was lifted

Bill inspecting the hull after Camomile was lifted

 

Bill and I have come back to the Uk to celebrate James’s 30th birthday with him and Thomas on 1st November.  We hope to go to the WOA SCG AGM on 9th November.  The BWR reunion is on 15th/16th November and then we will be heading to Scotland mid December for Christmas with James and back to Malaysia early January.  Hopefully we’ll get to see many of our friends and family in between.

Bill is in France with the boys (or should I say young men) for a few days and I’ve been helping my sister’s Angela and Amanda sort out Mum’s bungalow

My UK mobile is 07968 351920 look forward to seeing many of you.

Camomile and Norsa

Camomile and Norsa

Our mini break in Ubud

Casa Ganesha

Casa Ganesha

18th September we left Camomile in the safe hands of Medana bay marina and headed to the ferry port in Lombok for the fastcat to Padang Bai on Bali.  It was a lumpy crossing which took almost 2 hours.  The price included transfer to the hotel so we were loaded into buses and whisked off to Ubud, a further hour and a half down the road.  We arrived at the Casa Ganesha a friendly little hotel on the edge of town, mid afternoon.  It only had 48 rooms but each one had air-conditioning, hot showers and a really big bed – heaven!

The hotel pool

The hotel pool

There was a nice little pool but I don’t think we’ll have time to use it.  We walked up into the centre of the town for a nice Italian meal that evening.  It felt like we were on holiday, although I know most of you think we are on one long holiday!!

 

 

Inside the Ubud Palace

Inside the Ubud Palace

The next day we used the hotel’s free shuttle bus to get back into the town.  Cappucino cafes, craft shops and the central crowded marketplace make up the centre of town but once you start exploring you start to come across the many temples.  The first one we entered was the Ubud palace.  Rebuilt after the 1917 earthquake it has many ornate corners and you can wander around the  traditional buildings built around the compound.

Beautiful carved roofs

Beautiful carved roofs

Ubud Palace

Ubud Palace

 

 

The carvings, especially the roofs, were exquisite.  Note the buildings don’t have any walls because it’s so hot and therefore unnecessary.

 

 

 

What an entrance gate

What an entrance gate

 

 

 

Just north is the Pura Marajan Agung which has one of the finest gates and is the private temple for the royal family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More temples

More temples

 

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The stone carvings on this entrance was all done by hand, amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stone work was all hand carved

The stone work was all hand carved

 

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This is Pura Desa Ubud the main temple for the Ubud community and a backdrop for one of the many performances that Ubud is famous for.

 

 

 

Offerings

Offerings

 

Unlike the Indonesian islands we’ve visited so far, Bali is Hindu and we noticed lots of little offerings around the place.  We were told that once a year the whole of Bali ‘stops’, planes don’t fly, shops shut and everyone stays in their houses.  Why? because the spirits move around to different places on that day and then stay there for the next year.  If anyone makes a noise it attracts bad spirits.  Indeed if you’re found on the streets on that particular day you will be arrested for your own good! For the following year offerings are placed by the spirits new home.  Most of the offering is biodegradable being made of flowers, rice and biscuits and some even have a few sweets in them.

The water palace

The water palace

 

We made our way to the very picturesque Pura Taman Sarawati or the Water Palace.  Waters from the temple at the rear of the site feed the pond in the front, which overflows with pretty lotus blossoms.

 

 

Lotus blossom

Lotus blossom

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Pura Taman Saraswati

Pura Taman Saraswati

 

 

The temple behind was equally beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch with Carol in the Cafe Lotus

Lunch with Carol in the Cafe Lotus

 

We heard that morning that one of our friends from the Blue Water rally was in town.  We arranged to meet her in the Cafe Lotus overlooking the Water Palace.  We reserved a nice table with a lovely view of the garden and had a great time catching up.

 

 

The monkey started climbing up me.

The monkey started climbing up me.

 

 

 

 

 

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After lunch we walked around the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary which is inhabited by a band of grey-haired, long tailed, Balinese macaques.  They are very greedy and always on the lookout for food.  One of them decided to climb up me onto my back.  After all the warnings that they are dangerous I was quite worried but it soon jumped off when someone held out a peanut for it.

 

The babies were sweet

The babies were sweet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pura Dalem Agung (Temple of the Dead)

Pura Dalem Agung (Temple of the Dead)

 

 

Further in the forest were more temples covered in foliage and more monkeys giving it a real Indiana Jones feel to it.

 

 

 

Goa Gajah

Goa Gajah

The beautiful gardens

The beautiful gardens

About a mile outside Ubud is Goa Gajah (Elephant cave) which Carol took us to.  The origins of the cave are uncertain but it probably dates back to the 11th century.  It was rediscovered by Dutch archaeologists in 1923 but the fountains and pools were not found until 1954.  The cave is carved into a rock face and you enter through the cavernous mouth of a demon.  Inside the t-shaped cave are various statues but it felt very oppressive inside and we hurried out.  The surrounding gardens were very attractive.

Bill and Sue in sarongs.

Bill and Sue in sarongs.

As it was a temple Bill and I had to wear sarongs around our shorts.

The Kecak dance

The Kecak dance

That evening we saw our first dance performance.  It was a kecak or Monkey chant dance which we were told was a classic Balinese dance.  The performance was in one of the temples adding to the atmosphere.  The costumes were beautiful.

 

 

Colourful costumes

Colourful costumes

Afterwards we had a wonderful dinner with Carol at her friends restaurant, Waroeng Bernadette.  We enjoyed a delicious Rendang, slow cooked beef in a spicy sauce.

To be continued

 

Arriving safely in Kupang

Our position at 9.00 Tuesday 30th July

10º 09.6 south

123º 34.2 east

Kupang harbour

 

A rickety Indonesian fishing boat

A rickety Indonesian fishing boat

Our 4th day at sea had seen some wind and we sailed with the twizzle rig up all day.  Now we had a dilemma because as the passage had been slow our predicted time of arrival was going to be after dark.  We could motor, but probably still wouldn’t get there in time, or we could slow the boat down.  We opted for the latter.  I hate doing that, it seemed crazy to slow ourselves down but the approach to Kupang is through a fairly narrow channel and travelling through after dark would be difficult.  We were 20 miles from the entrance at 22.00 with 5 other boats around us.  After communicating on the vhf radio we all decided to hove-to for the night.  We didn’t have the main up so we just winced the gennies in and let the boat drift.  We were still travelling at 1½ kts towards the entrance.  Bill had 4 hours sleep then let a bit more sail out.  At 6am we proceeded into the channel.  There were lots of fishing boats on their way back in with their catch plus lobster pot buoys everywhere so I think we had made a wise decision.

Our first sight of Indonesians was in a fishing boat coming towards us on its way out of the channel to go fishing.  It looked very rickety with a tatty sail; I don’t think I would have liked to sail in it.

The Kupang fishing fleet

The Kupang fishing fleet

 

 

This is the local fishing fleet a little way away from Kupang.

 

 

 

 

 

Bill hoisting the Indonesian courtesy flag plus the 'Q' flag

Bill hoisting the Indonesian courtesy flag plus the ‘Q’ flag

 

 

When we arrived Bill hoisted our Indonesian courtesy flag along with our yellow ‘Q’ flag to await the customs.  During the day the last of the fleet arrived, mostly under their own steam.

 

 

Tiare Tiporo III being brought in by the dinghies

Tiare Tiporo III being brought in by the dinghies

 

This boat’s engine had broken down on the third day and they had sailed with whatever wind they could find.  When they arrived at the anchorage I put a call out on the net to ask for dinghies to help tow them in the last bit.  The camaraderie of the rally is starting to show.

We’re back on line

Sara, Norman, Bill and Sue on Bill's birthday

Sara, Norman, Bill and Sue on Bill’s birthday

Bill has finally managed to get the website back on line.  Sorry it’s been down so long.  Lots been happening.  We made it safely to Darwin for Bill’s birthday but the next day we had bad news from home that my Mum was very ill.  I decided to fly back to the UK to see her even though she might not have been there.  Fortunately she started getting better when I got there.  Sadly I couldn’t stay long because we are due to leave on Sail Indonesia on 27th July. We will be in Indonesia for 3 months before we move onto Malaysia when we plan to come home for a couple of months for Christmas.

 

The base of this 'London bus' is made of beer cans

The base of this ‘London bus’ is made of beer cans

 

 

Before I went away we went to watch the Darwin Beer can rally.  All the rafts were made of beer cans and most of them floated.  It was a fun day out with lots of activities going on all day.

 

Another beer can raft

Another beer can raft

 

Any one for tennis?

Any one for tennis?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill next to a termite mound

Bill next to a termite mound

 

 

 

 

 

While I was away Bill went a trip with Norman and Sara and our BWR friend Tom to the Litchfield national park where they saw huge termite mounds, saw beautiful waterfalls and sat in lovely crystal clear water.

 

 

 

Beautiful waterfall

Beautiful waterfall

 

Norman and Sara enjoying the cool water

Norman and Sara enjoying the cool water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom with his 4 x 4

Tom with his 4 x 4

 

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