Well, it’s November 27th , the day after Mark’s 63rd birthday, and we are planning to leave Malaysia tomorrow. We have been in the same marina since October 25th. (Rebak Marina on tiny Rebak Island near the larger island of Langkawi on the west side of Malaysia) It was unusual for us to spend so much time in one place. There are lots of other sailors here and we had a nice little community of friends, old and new. We are neighbors with two Australian boats who are very friendly…. Soul and Investigator II, and we also have good friends down the dock on the boat Revelation. Intiaq was here for a while, as was Freeform and Dedalus. Lots of other friends are here, all waiting to head up to Thailand.
I was doing yoga and pilates in the mornings with a group of other cruisers until I threw my back out one morning. Since then, I have just stuck to swimming in the resort pool which is lovely, especially in the late afternoon. Our marina, as we may have mentioned before, is kind of a showpiece for a 5 star resort which seems to be a popular honeymoon spot for Saudi’s, Indians, as well as many westerners. It’s a great mix of women in burkhas and women in bikinis.
We get decent internet here so we have been able to catch up on the news everyday and have been able to talk to the kids and my mom on a regular basis through either Skype or Google voice. Cell phone service is cheap, but the reception here is kind of spotty and we find we do much better with the computer options.
Since we are on a small island which is a few miles away from the main island of Langkawi, we have to take a ferry to get to town. We have gone in about once a week to get groceries. It is relatively easy, but still a major undertaking. The day before we go to town we have to contact a Mr. Din by phone to request a car. He is a Malaysian guy who rents out very crappy cars for about 50 ringgats ($15) a day to cruisers. We hop on the ferry that is run by the resort (several crossings every day) and take the 15 minute ride over to Langkawi. Mr. Din is always there with a lineup of dented, much abused, but still running cars. You just pay him the 50 ringgats and he hands over the keys. No paperwork- no insurance. The only rule is that you have to leave two bars of fuel in the car (hence the nickname 2 bar Din) Once in the car it is about 10 miles into town, but along the way there are lots of different places to stop and shop for whatever you want. It is not a very attractive place, but is well stocked since it is a duty free island. The sailors love it because you can get booze very cheaply, along with whatever else you need. We are not exactly big drinkers, so we didn’t benefit so much from the cheap booze, but did find some delicious duty free chocolate which we will have no problem eating over the next few months. The only hard part of the excursion is that once you have collected all your groceries and cans and bottles and returned the car to the dock you have to load everything onto the ferry boat, and then when you get back to the marina you have to unload it and carry it up one dock and down another and then onto the boat, and then down the companionway stairs. It is always so hot by that time of day that we are absolutely pouring sweat and once we get home and get everything put away we have to collapse for a while. Makes life interesting and makes you appreciate whatever food you have on board.
There is a restaurant here for the cruisers called the Hard Dock Café and we meet there pretty regularly with friends. Service is incredibly slow, but the food is good. There is also a lovely place to have breakfast at the main resort – a delicious breakfast buffet that we have tried to take advantage of at least once a week.
Our trip to Cambodia ( November 6th – 14th) which was by airplane, not by boat, was an interesting excursion, but since we have already posted pictures of that trip on the blog, I won’t talk about it here.
It is only 24 miles to the Koh Lipe, our first Thai island. Just a few hours by sail.