We set sail today around noon. Have to top off the water tanks, stock up on a few more provisions, go through immigration. It will be 4 days until we reach Phuket. We will anchor each night. Tonight we will either anchor at Koh Turatao (27 nautical miles) or Koh Bulo Le (33 nm), the second night will be Koh Rok and the third night will be Ko Pipi and the 4th night we arrive in Phuket. The waters should be clean and swimmable but will vary.
I must say its been extremely advantageous being in Langkawi with someone who speaks the language (Malay) and knows the area. We avoid the touristy areas and Ed drives around like a native. Ken arrived yesterday. He is very nice and reminds me of Harrison Ford.
I feel so lucky being able to learn sailing with two people who are so experienced and willing to teach me no strings attached. I will either be paying Ed a small amount of $ or making some paintings for him as trade. I've heard its unusual for crew to "pay to work" but I don't mind at all its such good experience and Ed is such a laid back, easy going person.
So far I am having a very nice time. I am on the SW portion of the island of Langkawi in Telaga Harbor Marina. The boats here are varied in size and type and seem a little more weathered than the boats in the Florida marinas. The boaters are also much more ethnically diverse. Many europeans and also vacationing Malaysians. All the Malays have been extremely friendly and everyone speaks English. Although I say many, there is a very sleepy slow paced feel to the area, I would say the entire island, just a slower pace of living and not very crowded at all. Its a very rural island and reminds me of Kaui in Hawaii. There area is lush, the roads are lined with rice fields and rubber tree plantations, water buffalo, cats and monkeys. Haven’t seen a single dog here. Hmmm? Are the rumors true? (There are cats all over this marina and I can’t help but think someone should collect them all up and spay and neuter them. I wonder if there is a spay and neuter clinic here, for some reason I doubt it.)
Malaysia is a predominantly muslim country and most of the local women wear head scarves. Because the industry is tourism there doesn’t seem to be much friction between the conservatism of muslim customs and westerners and their loose ways, although i have no way of truly knowing this in such a short time. I do confess though, while swimming in the pool with a muslim woman in her full body headscarf swimsuit I felt exposed and self conscious even in my ultra conservative granny swim shorts and sports bra.
Although it IS very hot and humid its not as bad as I thought it would be .The mornings and evenings are very pleasant. The heat of the day is extreme yet so far has been bearable. I haven’t been able to swim in the ocean yet because its too polluted in the marina.
I passed my motorcycle permit class the day before I left Oregon and not more than one week after I did almost everything I was taught not to do regarding protective gear. Most people get around on mopeds so I have been riding as a passenger on Ed's moped. No one and I mean no one wears any kind of protection other than helmets and not even full face helmets at that. My helmet fit poorly (clearly designed for round ovals and not long or intermediate oval) and I'm fairly sure riding in shorts and flip flops was strongly advised against. As was your first few rides being in a foreign country riding on the left side of the road, which I will do soon. Riding a moped though will be easier than a motorcycle since shifting isn’t involved but then again the monkeys running in the road may make up for that.
Ed is extremely friendly and kind and was intent on my not doing much work my first couple days here so I could acclimate to weather and time change. Today we rode the moped all over the island and to the top of a mountain which was much cooler temp and had amazing views. There was a very sinister looking tower structure which reminded me of a James Bond Villains lair. We came across a fellow who asked us to take his photo from the waist up as shorts was not culturally acceptable where he was from which happened to be an oil engineer from Siberia. We talked about politics of the oil pricing wars and he said he liked Obama whom he thought was intelligent and careful. He thought Ed and I were from Japan Ed being Chinese or Malaysian (not sure which but more or less the same right? haha jk ;) and of course I don’t look american either as you all know. Ed is Australian.
The food is amazingly delicious and very cheap.
Ken, Ed’s friend is arriving tomorrow, Sunday and we leave Monday morning after we go through customs to depart the country into Thailand. Ed says Ken is conservative and if he was in the US would probably be Republican so should be interesting mix. The boat isn’t large, 35 feet long but I think comfortable enough for 3 people. My berth is small and feels more like drawer in a closet. I am learning a little more each day about Sade. Today we went cruised around in the dingy, went over the seacock locations, radio use and a few other things. Flushing the toilet is a major pain in the ass. The men pee overboard but I have to hand pump the damn thing like 40 times.
Tomorrow is provisions shopping, picking up Ken and dinner out.
I have so much to do before I leave on Tue that I haven't been able to think too much about the trip. For the most part it seems surreal. But then I get fleeting moments of excitement, fear of the unknown and sadness. I will miss my friends, family and cats.
You guys already know me.