Sunday, 29 July 2007

These Visitors Paid A Tasty Cruising Tax

Lesley Colley and Barry Barber, ex SV Sea Dancer and Australian cruisers came for a visit to Borneo in July. Before they left Adelaide, they asked if there was anything they could bring over. An assortment of boat bits promptly arrived on their doorstep, weighing 8kgs in total. Added to this were the compulsory three jars of Cruising Tax (Vegemite).

Their travel plans were loose, sail with us and then do some land travel. They explored Miri, trudging through muddy National Parks, while we slaved over replacing the element in the hot water system. Lesley met some Iban bead artists at the craft centre. She bought necklaces and a belt of this traditional craft. We dined on seafood, Chinese style, provisioned and cleared out of Sarawak.

Our next port was Labuan, a duty free island of East Malaysia. Following a late afternoon departure, we had a delightful sailing moment (3 hours), until the wind disappeared and ominous black clouds with startling lightning overtook us. Using radar we threaded our way around these storms and through the gaggles of oil rigs that populate this coastline.

We dropped anchor in Labuan harbor the next morning. After a leisurely breakfast we hailed a water taxi and began our mission to restock the cellar, liquor cupboard and beer store. Our standard method is to buy a variety of wines and have a wine tasting evening. Next day, we returned and bought a few case loads.

Mission accomplished, we cleared out of Malaysia and motored over to the Royal Brunei Yacht Club at Muara, to clear in to Brunei. We headed for the pool and spent the afternoon relaxing and watching a thunderstorm roll in. Our mission in Brunei was to fill up with diesel. At A$0.26 cent a litre it is real bargain.

Lesley and Barry had sold their yacht, Sea Dancer to Bill Kerr, who is a pilot with Royal Brunei Air. Bill is based in Brunei and we managed to catch up with him over the next 5 days. We hired a car and explored the museums, cafes and mosques of Bandar Seri Begawann, the capital of Brunei. We got lost and rained upon daily - what fun. Too soon it was time for us to go our separate ways, land travel for Barry and Lesley, Miri and boat jobs for us. We had a great time together, they are great company, experienced crew and fabulous dish washers!


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