Sunday, 9 December 2007

Singapore Sojourn

Lat. 1 degree 14 minutes North, Long. 103 degrees 50 minutes East.

Our passage from Kuching to Singapore was mostly uneventful, with almost no wind and a lot of motoring. The South China Sea was kind to us, and the only scary moment was when our radar failed mid passage. Entering the busy shipping channels of Singapore without radar was not a happy thought. Fortunately it came back to life, we only experienced one storm and made our way into One degree 15 Marina on Sentosa Island at midnight on Friday, November 16.

This is our fifth visit to Singapore aboard Crystal Blues and the marina has graduated from basic docks to full resort facilities in two years. Swimming pool, gym, restaurants, meeting rooms, bars, cruisers' room, laundry, dock boys and free buses to Harbour Front make this a very pleasant place to hang out - specially when you're head down and bum up with a screwdriver in your hand...

The Work Begins

Exotic Singapore is the home of can-do and can-get - we always plan to do maintenance here. Our list was not that long- fixing the radar and rebuilding the drive train on the Onan genset ( not again I hear you say!) were our main priorities.

New parts for the genset were waiting for us, but as they were exactly the same parts that failed last time, we hesitated to re-install them. With many emails and phone calls to and from Australia, we hope we have now solved the drive train problem. We did have to use our initiative and have some lathe work done on one part, only time will tell how this works out.

We were not looking forward to replacing our six year old 48 mile Raymarine Radar. Ley hauled Neil up the mast and the lid was removed, to reveal water inside ! Very gently the unit was dismantled and lowered down. Condensation had formed within the scanner casing and had not drained, despite the drain hole being clear. The result was water creep across the main circuit board and corrosion on the power supply connectors. Our good friend Barry Middleton (BJM Trading in Queensland) suggested that we should try to carefully clean up the surface mess. So we dried out all the parts and used a corrosion busting pen (fibre glass brush) to clean the parts, which then revealed no substantial damage. The unit was then reassembled and installed back on the mast, this time with additional packing under the forward bracket to aid the self draining process. We were pretty relieved when it powered up OK, as sailing without radar is just not an option for us. Our Caribe dinghy had also sprung it's first leak, at 7 years of age, so that area plus a few more wear points were patched with hypalon fabric and SC2000 glue.

Retail Therapy

Shopping in Singapore is hard to resist. With whole buildings devoted to electronic technology, Neil was in shopping heaven. We walked the floors of Sim Lim Tower and Square, checking out new technologies and products, sourcing a few bits and pieces. SITEX, the annual computer show also beckoned us. Our old, tired HP three in one printer was replaced with a new model, and we installed a weatherproof (outdoor) wi-fi antenna on the stern rail. The Sony video camera was given a new life with the replacement of the old mould effected lens and many boat spares were sourced.

Catching Up

Robert and Elaine, our long time Singapore friends met us soon after we arrived with the news that they had finally bought a cruising yacht, SV Sunrise. The marina has many international cruising visitors, so we've enjoyed the usual round of barbecues, shopping, sundowners and eating out.

Whats Next?

We hope to leave Singapore sometime this week, heading for Penang. Langkawi and Thailand are also in our plans before the end of the year. In January we plan to sail to the Andaman Islands for a month, before returning to Thailand. Obtaining our Indian Visas (for the Andamans) gave us our first introduction to Indian bureaucracy. We're both looking forward to cruising in clear waters, swimming, snorkeling, fishing and exploring a different culture in a land thats new to us and well off the beaten track.

Whale's Revenge Our aussie friend Ian Scott sent us the link below. Whale's Revenge is an international effort to collect and submit a huge petition, to support a ban on whaling. Please go to the site and sign the petition ..... http://www.whalesrevenge.com

NEWS FLASH!!!!! We're about to become auntie and uncle again. Peter and Maria Langford have proudly announced to the world that they are expecting their first child in late May 2008. Wonders never cease - what wonderful Christmas news !

We wish you all a very safe, peaceful and joyful Christmas season.

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