Monday, 18 August 2008

1000 Miles To Phuket

Latitude 06 degrees 32.31 North, Longitude 099 degrees 25.16 East. The Southern Andaman Sea

Its 1000 nautical miles (just under 2000km) from our long-house anchorage in Borneo to Phuket in Thailand. Right now we're just 90nm from Phuket and should arrive there tomorrow morning. Then we start work in earnest, as Crystal Blues will come out of the water onto the hard stand for a six month intensive refit and paint job.

We departed Sarawak, Borneo, on July 23rd, and paused in Singapore for a 4 day break that (typically) turned into a 2 week layover. Why does this always happen to us ? Catching up with friends is part of it, and being thoroughly entertained by the Stonham family (we call it being "Stonhamed") also took its toll. However we did spend a lot of time checking out equipment for an upcoming video shoot, completed our AIS transponder installation, re-installed our wifi antenna system to the davits aft and purchased a lot of the materials needed for the refit.

Our good friend Robert Goh, who lives in Singapore, is a newly initiated cruising sailor. He's also a 1st rate alpinist and mountain climber. Unfortunately he was caught up in the sad disaster that engulfed the climbing teams on K2 in Pakistan this season - Robert wasn't hurt, he was below the ice fall and he returned to base camp safely. Check his website here. His summit attempt has now been cancelled and he's naturally very disappointed. Robert's partner Elaine spent time with us as the disaster progressed, and is naturally quite relieved that he's on his way home.

We escaped from Singapore on Wednesday August 13, heading north up the Malacca Straits and arrived in Langkawi (Malaysia) exactly 2 days and 11 hours later. Every hour of that passage was on the engine - the "new" Cummins engine has now clocked over 2000 hours. There was no useful wind for the entire trip. The even newer Comar Automatic Identification System also proved its worth - more on that in a future story. 36 hours anchored at Kuah town in Langkawi let us abuse our credit cards whilst stocking up on essential duty free "beverages" and adding further to the collection of refit materials now clogging the boat.

Stashed below are 2 sheets of Dow RTM Styrofoam insulation for our new freezer box (each 2.6m long), plus a roll of vinyl marine hooding for Ley to make new covers. On deck we have a new aluminium extension ladder for access to the boat on the hard. A deck mount air-con unit loaned by SV Tweed fills the salon, thanks Jon & Pam (thats the Tweed crew in the image at left, breakfasting on Roti in Langkawi). Our aft cabin is full of grog, hardware, stainless steel angle, paint and spare parts. Its now a big floating hardware store, and it all has to come off the boat and go into storage when we arrive, along with everything else on the vessel - food, clothing, utensils, parts, tools, mast, rigging etc. This will take a while, though we hope to complete the transfer before we haul out on September 4th.

We departed Langkawi this morning and have a fine weather forecast for the next 24 hours - a little wind this time, so we're now motor sailing with 7 knots of breeze just aft the beam. Flat seas and sunny weather, little rain, its unusually mild for the South West monsoon. Ley and I expect to be in Thailand for 6 months, and will be renting a house for the duration, somewhere close to Phuket Boat Lagoon. Friends and family are always welcome, so please email or call us if you'd like to visit.

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