Daily Archives: November 9, 2021

Now what?

The offer on Escape Velocity came as a surprise since Malaysia’s international border is still closed and even interstate travel was restricted at the time. The buyer was eager to take possession and asked how soon we could vacate the premises, throwing us into a whirlwind of sorting, packing, selling and giving away all of our worldly goods. This is completely different from moving house, where you can toss it all in boxes, load up a truck and sort it out later. We chose the keepsakes we want to hang on to and arranged a shipment, but most of the contents of the boat can easily be replaced and will be cheaper to buy new than to ship.

Our friends and dock mates benefitted from the giveaway frenzy, just as we’ve benefitted when others near us sold their boats. The liveaboard community are masters of sharing and it makes me happy knowing that my beloved Cuisinart pots, the knives I bought in Berlin in the 80s, my well-used pressure cooker, and all the rest of our life’s accumulations will continue to be useful on other boats at Rebak Island Marina and beyond. I even gave my Atlas pasta machine and a kilo of semolina to the owner-chef of our favorite Italian restaurant. Thirty years of ravioli, tortellini, agnolotti, and caramella came out of that machine. I know Lorenzo will keep it busy.

A boat is not the best place to pack up a life, so we asked the resort, which is temporarily closed to guests while they repair the fresh water system, if we could possibly have a room where we can spread out and organize. Not only did they give us a room, but they put us beachfront, with the sunrise view I’ve been walking to most mornings.

The view from our room at the resort.
Haulout for survey.

In the midst of the packing, we had the marine survey and sea trial, all the various complications of selling a boat from one country to an owner from another for registration in a third. I admit to mostly being in a daze and just followed the expert guidance of our broker until it all got done.

Then we handed over the keys to the new owner, said our goodbyes, gathered up the rest of our belongings, and boarded a plane for Penang where we’re eating bagels and ice cream to our hearts’ content while we plan our next move.


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Two stones roll into a bar

One turns to the other and says, ”hey what’s all that moss about?” “Well I’ve been hanging around here for quite a while now and it kinda feels like a change would do us good.”

Where to start? I’m searching for the words. After all, I’ve found Rebak Island to be an amazingly safe hurricane hole, both for storms and Covid, quiet, friendly, beautiful, with abundant birds, sea eagles hornbills, monkeys, lizards and so many fish that it can be annoying.

We’ve even been able to carry out many projects, collecting boat bits from all over the world’s chandleries.

But after returning from our South East Asia travels and getting locked down by the pandemic, we took notice that a curiously odd bit of lurgy was spreading out from roughly our neck of the woods. Some of our cruiser friends provisioned up and asked to be excused. I mean they rolled right on out of here while the rolling was good, even though the traditional harbors along the way were closed. Even Thailand’s border, almost within sight, was closed. Many of those brave souls got involved in international imbroglios spending many months quarantined on their boat. Most, in true cruiser fashion, found a way to have fun and adventure regardless. Unable to travel off the boat because once you left Malaysia you couldn’t return, and feeling less and less inclined to cross the Indian Ocean, we stayed put.

We aren’t used to “put.” We don’t do “put.” It chafes. We watched as the world turned upside down under lockdown. Stuck in our own little tropical paradise doesn’t sound so tough, but it wears. A velvet lined trap for the traveling soul.

Maybe it was time for a serious change. A big change. It’s tricky changing when everything you own in this world is stashed into forty feet of sailing yacht.

For me it felt like a stealthy plan that formed out of the ether, which then snuck up on me while Yours Truly was dozing poolside. Much too soon, before anyone was even allowed into Malaysia, improbably an offer was proffered for our loyal home. Big changes were afoot. It was madness from the get go. Eleven large boxes, overstuffed with, well stuff, numbered, weighed, categorized, schlepped, ferried to Langkawi to await a slow boat to New Jersey.

But what will we do with us? I mean what’s the plan Stan? Every day we have to field that question and I usually say, ”I’m not driving this bus my friend.”

The logical destination would be Thailand but they’ve been working Covid as a money making proposition with weeks of quarantine at their special hotel eating their special food, with special testing, special visa prices, etc. We will pass on that at least for now, although rumors persist that they’re going to lighten up.

I don’t know, where do you Escapees think we should go? The problem is that we’ve been here so long we’ve got to calling it home.


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