Thursday, 21 January 2010

Time To Go ......

Our Iban friends waving goodbye on Sungai Tulai
Each departure has its own emotional signature - leaving Australia over 4 years ago was different to leaving Borneo 18 months ago.  In each case the lead-up is similar - prepare the vessel, stock up, share special moments with family and friends, then say goodbye. As cruisers (sea gypsies?) we soon learn to quickly look ahead to our next destination and to savour what it might offer - that is, after all, why we do this. When we departed Borneo last time the entire community was there to see us off, and many tears were shed on the dock and on board Crystal Blues.

Tomorrow, we depart Thailand after 15 months of serious refit work,  plus various part time employment in the region. We won't be shedding any tears.  Its not that we don't love the people (we do), and we have made some fabulous friends, its just that 15 months is too long - our sea gypsy blood requires us to move farther and more often than we have been able.

So the past week or so has seen a familiar tension re-enter our life, as Ley tries cutting the dock lines every day and I urge caution and point out the important jobs still on our to-do list.  This is a personal conflict we've waged many times.  Lately, with the boat looking so beautiful, its easy to feel like I should just roll over and agree. Each time I look at Crystal Blues she seems to want to move, so it feels like both the women in my life are ganging up on me.  Its difficult ....
Ready and waiting at Grand Ao Po Marina, Phuket
Yesterday we filled our tanks (fuel & water) and sea-trialled our re-commissioned auto-pilot system.  Everything worked, so I declared us OK to depart.  Ley baked more bread, the outboard motor disappeared into the forward hold, the dinghy was strapped into the davits and we requested yet another weather forecast.  Today we drove down to Ao Chalong and cleared both immigration and customs, so we're officially on our way at last.

On the way home we purchased our final stock of fresh produce and had dinner at a favourite local restaurant - steamed whole fish, three different varieties of mushrooms and lots of lovely stir fried local vegetables. When we explained to the restaurant owners that we were leaving they immediately showered us with gifts - fresh local fruits for our voyage - the Thai people can be so generous.

We launched on December 4, so it has taken almost six weeks to complete the necessary jobs on board, working 7 days a week.  Today we're sailing for Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, where we plan to spend a few weeks of well earned chill out, before returning to Thailand.  Fair winds all.

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