Posted: 29th August 2012.
I know …I know…you’ve all been wondering, “Where the bloody hell are ya??” Well, be rest assured, we have not been torn apart by rabid monkeys on some deserted island, we are both alive and well! Just another one of those “too slack to write things.” Trying to remember exactly where we last left you?? Think it was around Melaka (Water Islands) after getting struck by lightning…to cut a long story short(just in case you have heard it before) we hand steered our way to Port Dickson, Admiralty Marina where we were able to assess our electronics further in a more stable environment. Turns out we were pretty fortunate and only lost part of our gear, unlike others who have lost the lot! Spent a few days at Pt. Dickson where we met a great Swiss couple Ava and Rolf on SV Present…hung out with those guys for a couple of days while Cam rewired our electronics enough for us to continue up the coast to Pangkor.
Best decision we made was to go to Pangkor (Marina Island)(a little thank you goes out to Mike from SV White Rabbit here for that spectacular advice received at Water Islands the day before we got struck) to order parts and do antifouling etc as it meant we didn’t miss out on popping into places like Penang!! Spent two and a half weeks at Pangkor (2 on the hardstand) and the staff were extremely helpful with everything…Our new wind instruments and tri data turned up from the U.S in good time (will order the AIS later) and we also found a gem of a local fibreglasser/painter in Joe who repaired the keel damage we incurred in Kupang as well as some superficial cracking on our hulls…AND got his two guys to sand down and redo our anti-fouling…sooooo CHEAP!!!! Met some great people at Pangkor but then we’ve found that’s half the fun of cruising…you really do meet some very interesting people. Some you may travel with, some you may keep bumping into at various locations, others you
may meet one day and never see again, but they always have an interesting story about where they come from, where they’ve been and where they are going! So to those “cruisers” we met at Pangkor and shared a drink or two at the “Yanmar Bar” with, thank you for making our brief stay there a fantastic one!
From Pangkor, we day hopped our way to Penang where we stayed at Straits Quay Marina (22 July – 28 July). Played tourist for a while doing a day tour around the spice gardens, butterfly farm, temples and war museum and spent the big “40” there…great stopover!! Caught up with our old neighbors from Danga Bay (Mike and Jodi from SV Savannah) and then made way for Langkawi.
So have been in Langkawi now for just under a month… first up we hired a car and drove around the island seeing what was on offer, then sailed around the Fjord areas, which are spectacular! We plan to spend time here until November when we will head up to Thailand for the cruising season(nov – mar/apr)so had to do a visa run….and where better to do a visa run than Sri Lanka to catch up with our mates Andy and Mel from SV Spectacle. Had a fantastic ten days in Sri Lanka!! Spent a few days in Colombo first off, wining and dining then took a trip up through Kegalle and Kandy travelling through villages of Pineapples, Cashews, Wicker and Woodworkers, Clay pots and Vegetable stalls to Pinnawala where we visited the Elephant Orphanage and had the privilege to actually pat the baby elephants (totally cool). We were unable to make a booking to stay in tea country so our guide stopped at a tea factory where we were able to see the whole process and sample pure Ceylon tea (sooooo much nicer than the bitter stuff we get!). We climbed the hills to the Buddist Rock Temples in Dumbrulla which were incredible – our first taste of Sri Lanka’s “cultural triangle”. Stayed in Habarana, which was a great base for seeing everything over the next few days.
Next day we headed to Anuradhapura (the most important city to Sri Lankans) where we explored the ruins, archeology museum, visited the famous Bodhi tree and several incredibly large Stupa’s. That day the roads were lined with soldiers as the president was apparently in town…though throughout Sri Lanka they seem to be a fairly common sight…that and Police(we managed to get pulled up 6 times in 10 the ten days we were there – Sri Lankan drivers are just frikkin crazy!!! Especially the bus drivers!!) Had our first taste of King Coconut, Egg Hoppers and ate this amazing sweet corn off the side of the road (people sell this everywhere!) Saw heaps of wild peacocks that day and even managed to catch sight of some wild elephants.
Day 3 in the cultural triangle took us to Batik and silk stores, wood carvers and gem stores…all very interesting but the biggy for the day was Singaria a palace/buddist monastery on top of a humungous rock – and yes we did climb to the top, though the knees were a little dodgy by the time we made it back down again!! We also covered the more modern ruins of Polonnaruwa, taking heaps of pictures to the point of Buddha exhaustion. Next day we picked up Mel and Andy from Polonnaruwa train station at midday and had a 4 ½ hour drive(should have taken us 2) through the crappiest of crap roads, dodging road construction, cows, buses broken down in the middle of the road, drivers who don’t want to give an inch and some pretty dodgy short cuts which ended us up in the middle of nowhere with a new driver that barely spoke a word of English…so by the time we actually arrived at our Hotel in Kuchchaveli we were ready for some beachside resort not doing much action!! Which apart from a tour to Trincomalee where we visited the war cemetery (2 Aussies in it from WWII), the fort and Hindu temple etc is pretty much what we did! We had tried to get a guide/driver to take us up to Mullaittivu (site of some LTTE action) but to no avail…though Cam and Andy did get to talk to a former LTTE soldier who had been injured, relocated after the final attack and now works at the resort. Our trip back to Colombo was much improv
ed as Andy managed to find us tickets on a plane operated by the Sri Lankan Air force and took only ½ an hour (huge improvement) to get back to Colombo. Took a mad tuk tuk ride back to Andy and Mel’s place that arvo, quick shower and of we went to have drinks at Galle face Hotel (very Raffles) then went to a party at the very exclusive Colombo Swimming Club. Got back to Andy and Mels about 0230 got some quick shut eye before getting in some last minute shopping and brekky at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel before high tailing it to the airport (and getting picked up by the police again!)
So we have been back in Langkawi for just a few days and have booked ourselves in to Telaga Marina for an extra few weeks, hired a scooter to get ourselves around and joined the Hash House Harriers of Langkawi Beach (should be interesting – a running/walking club for people with drinking problems???). So there we are finally up to date…and I don’t think I’ve forgotten too much! So until next time people XXXXX from Us Two.