Monthly Archives: July 2019

No more calls, we have a winner

Ah, so Sydney it’ll be. After spending an inordinate amount of time inviting family and friends to a largely expense paid vacation in exotic Malaysia aboard Escape Velocity, we were honored with a proffered week in one of our favorite towns with two of our favorite people, Diana and Alex formally of Enki ll. It’ll  count as a reset for our Malayian visas as well. Weighing the pros and cons took about two, maybe three seconds. The mountain goes to Mohammed.

Marce started the insanely frustrating process called booking an airline ticket in 2019. Of course we have a few complications such as, and I’ll be generous here, spotty internet in Rebak, and maybe even less cell “service”. Turns out the month that you want to fly is critical as is the date and day of the week. I never knew the hour of departure could effect the price of one’s ticket to the degree it apparently does and of course we have to factor in the schedule of our little ferry to and from Rebak, without which we aren’t going anywhere. Suffice it to say you really don’t want Yours Truly anywhere near this process.

It was about at this time we realized that it’s winter in the land down under, we have no warm clothes and they don’t offer much, if anything, in the way of thermal wear here. It’s damn hard to find anything that even fits a reasonably healthy Yankee frame in Langkawi.

Being the packrats that we are we came up with what we hoped would be enough layers for what the weatherman said was a seasonably moderate 5 – 15°C…whatever that is.
Marce accomplished her usual magic, coming up with red eye flights to and from Sydney, which allowed for our Rebak to Langkawi ferry schedule while getting us to OZ mid morning.

We found Sydney sunny and clear but predictably cold after being efficiently stamped, inspected, welcomed, and shot out of the transportation end of the terminal. Well, that was easy and we weren’t separated or locked up in a dog cage as others seem to want to do.

It was all quite familiar all the way to Rozelle by train and bus, and when that cheerful door opened it was hugs all around. It feels like home. 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Here we go again

It’s hard to believe but once again it’s time to plan a trip out of Malaysia to get a new 90-day visa stamp on our return. Where should we go this time? We’re planning our first US trip in almost five years in two months and that’s going to put a visible dent in our budget so this visa run needs to be cheap. We could untie the docklines and sail 30 miles to Thailand for a week of beach life at anchor but neither of us is keen on that. Flying out of Langkawi is so cheap we prefer to go that route and avoid the added paperwork and hassle of clearing the boat in and out of two countries. We narrow the affordable, desirable options to Singapore and Changrai, Thailand. And then we have the brilliant idea to invite our greatly missed Sydney friends to join us at either destination.

But damn, our Window of Opportunity doesn’t fit their Window of Opportunity and our spirits fall until a further email pops up with an alternative proposal. “Come to Sydney!” they say. “Yes!” we say. The idea of spending a week with good friends in a city we love is the exact thing we need right now, as we suffocate in the tropical humidity of the Malaysian summer, a little lonely for company with the marina nearly empty of inhabitants and those who are still here mostly taking refuge inside in air conditioned comfort, including us. We need to get out.

I’m shocked to realize that Sydney is very far away and booking the journey takes on the complexity of a major campaign. As much as we’ve traveled, neither of us has been on long-haul flights, and while this doesn’t qualify as that, it will be the longest flight either of us has taken before. And as with any trip from tiny Rebak Island, it all starts with a ferry ride to the bigger island of Langkawi where the airport is. Coordinating with the limited ferry schedule is the greatest challenge of any trip from here but I manage to get us to Kuala Lumpur in time for an 8-1/2 hour red-eye to Sydney without too much distress.

Diana insists they pick us up at the airport but we point out the need to clear customs and immigration, find an ATM, get a SIM card for the phone and arm ourselves with Opal cards for Sydney’s excellent public transportation system before we’re ready for pickup so she relents and allows that maybe it’s better if we make our way to their house in our own time. We look forward to the 45-minute downtime buffer between the buzz of the airport and welcome in Rozelle. But first we make our way to the duty free shop where we’ve ordered a two-pack of bubbly to celebrate our cruiser reunion.

We haven’t even presented ourselves at the pickup counter before the clerk looks up and says, “You must be Jack.” We’re both startled and suspicious as we look behind us to make sure he’s addressing us and not some long-lost distant cousin, but yes, he’s looking at Jack. We’re apparently the last of our flight to retrieve an order, as our age-adjusted pace from the plane, through the restroom gauntlet, down long terminal walkways and through the arrival hall means our Moët is the only remaining package.

With errands done and luggage compiled in traveling mode our feet remember the way to the train for the city, and we feel the nostalgic pull of a place we considered home not too long ago. It’s very good to be back.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized


We’ve been filling in some of our adventures from last season. If you’re not a subscriber use the calendar on the menu and go back the beginning of August 2018 to start reading about Buton, Flores, Komodo and Lombok. We’re doing our best to get up to date. More to come.


Filed under Uncategorized

Just add it to the list

Word came up from down under. Down under the sink that is. It’s never good news to hear that it’s wet down under the sink. There’s a lot of tortured plumbing jammed in under the sink and access, if you can call it that, is minimal at best. You’ve got the union of the twin sinks that drain somewhere down there. Freshwater hot and cold faucet with spraying hose, and taps, drinking water filter and faucet which likes to leak, foot pump and its faucet, and the main freshwater pressure pump, which runs the whole works. Have I mentioned I really hate plumbing?

Most of the connections have to be “Micky-Moused” because the authorities have decreed that there will be no compatibility between home and boat systems, thread type, or hose and hose clamps to whatever the hell kind of fittings various countries around the world use. In short I have to fix it with whatever I can find, wherever we are. 

Long story short, after removing our medium sized garbage bin, an awesome collection of cleaning products, a rusty spray can of WD40, rags (mostly worn out tee shirts), spare garbage bags and crap I’ve already forgotten about, I found a small puddle of water which had collected under our beloved smart sensor freshwater pressure pump. This pump has quietly been supplying water to the entire boat since 2004. Definitely some kind of record. If you’ve ever experienced the racket the typical water pressure pump makes in a boat you’d know how treasured a truly quiet one is.

I start by dipping a finger in the puddle. Every captain has to do this; it’s in the bylaws I think. Is it fresh or is it salty? Which means are we sinking or do I just have a plumbing problem? I immediately set about trying to find the source of the drip. There was no squirting involved. None of the fittings would give up the source, but there the puddle would remain. Sadly, and I do mean sadly, I started to remove our beloved pump.

As I’ve said before it’s always the pressure switch and I hated to be right again but there it was, dripping. Still, it works fine except for the drip so back under the sink cabinet with a small collection bowl strategically placed under our smart sensor Shurflo quiet pump. 

After due research we found that many others have gone before us in this quest only to find that Shurflo, in their infinite wisdom, have redesigned the pump and the pressure switch is not retroactively compatible with anything older than 2006.  

Maybe someone around here will have one last old Shurflo pressure switch. What are the odds? We add it to the “to buy” list. In the mean time I think it’s your turn to empty the bowl.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized