Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tuesday 16 December 2008

Tuesday 16 December 2008

We’re back. If not exactly on the high seas yet, then not far off. Ali and Jo had a good trip back to Australia visiting family and friends in Melbourne and Darwin while Lex stayed back in Langkawi and worked like a Trojan for the month we were gone. He now has so-o-o-o many brownie points I’ll never catch up. As well as being an experienced sailor, he‘s become a competent mechanic. All of the major jobs were problems he hadn’t encountered before, but he worked them all out, and solved every one of them. The rudder, propeller shaft and anchor winch are all repaired and a zillion other smaller jobs completed. Today and tomorrow we’re painting the blue anti-foul on the hull below the water-line, and the final coat at sparrow’s tomorrow morning. Then at 11 am we splash, as they say here on the hardstand.

It's an interesting microcosm on the hardstand. The sun doesn't rise till about 7 am, so not much happens before then. Work on boats generally starts about 8 or 830, and then people go hell for leather for the next 8 or 10 hours with a break for lunch at the Hard Dock Cafe, an open air cafe on the hardstand where they serve things like chicken curry, fried rice, pizzas and sandwiches, all freshly made. A decent size pizza costs 12 ringgit, or about $4.50. Sometimes the food's not that great, but it’s a training facility for the resort. We mainly eat on the boat ourselves, but occasionally come up here for a change. By about 5.30 pm, people start to down tools and head for showers or, in the case of any Australians, gather in the shade of someone's boat for a few beers. Dinner is available at the Hard Dock in the evenings as well.

Rebak is definitely a DIY marina – there’s ample workspace, power and water available, but no tradesmen, apart from painting contractors. People are very generous with tools and advice, and everyone seems happy to lend the first and dispense the second. Yachties seem to operate of the premise that if you help someone, someone will help you when you need it, so people are generous. What goes around definitely comes around. Yes, they all drink too much, but I guess they're just doing their best to selflessly boost the local economies.

There are lots of kids here, mostly aged around 7 to 14. Schoolwork takes them out of sight in the mornings as most of them are home schooled, but by lunchtime they’re out in force, small boys marching purposefully around with wooden swords and home-made bows and arrows, being ignored by their sisters who are intently ‘Facebooking’ friends all over the world, and more than likely MSM-ing the girls beside them! (Not only has the internet given us new ways of communication, it’s invented all these new verbs!)

Time for the next coat of tacky blue stuff… let’s see if I can get more of it onto the boat than onto me this time.

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