Stolen Kiss

Stolen Kiss

December 31, 2005

Life happens when you are busy making other plans. Phuket/Langkawi 2005

The tide came in and washed our plans away!

Floating in Nai Harn Bay post tsunami we decided to stay around another year. Some of our destinations namely the Andaman Islands and Sri Lanka were out of bounds and we were not sure about the weather. So we sold some of our stores and sat back to see what would unfold. Apparently the Tsunami was voted (BBC poll) as the most significant event in the world of the year. We had front row seats.

Two yachts we knew quite well, Mahdi (who we cruised the West Coast of WA with) and Gandalf (from Telaga) ran into trouble between Salalah and Aden and shot back at some pitates who fired upon them. There was much conjecture as to what really happened, but the end result was that Gandalf sustained 30 bullet holes and Mahdi, 3. We followed the journey of these yachts up the Red Sea and listened to those who had an adventure going to and coming back from Chagos.

The first two months of 2004 saw us hiding out in Yacht Haven painting the deck of the boat, in between visiting Bill ‘Time Out’ and giving him a hand with his mast during his repairs from the tsunami in Telaga. We explored some new anchorages (to us) in the north of Ko Yao Yai, where there are no tourists; just fishermen who come to look at the yacht. We went ashore and hired a motor bike for a tour!

We did the usual up and back between Langkawi and Phuket before we finally returned to Langkawi to leave Stolen Kiss for the wet season once again. When the NE monsoon dies down there are so many great anchorages on the NE sides of the islands to explore.

As we decided to volunteer for the Royal Langkawi Regatta, we turned once again and headed for Langkawi towards the end of January. The deal for regatta volunteers included a week’s free mooring in the marina and fun tickets! This turned out to be a fantastic opportunity to break into regatta volunteering, allowing us to establish contacts with those who do this professionally. We were fortunate to be offered the chance to finish the yachts racing down from Phuket in the feeder race, so off we went for an all expenses stay at Rebak Island Resort. Unfortunately the yachts could not anchor in the marina at the conclusion of the race due to the effects from the tsunami.

Peter and I were on the start boat. I managed to score the job of the race navigator, being responsible for setting the course, given the wind. I was instructed what our course choice would be, which I then laid out on the chart, giving the coordinates of the buoys. I had to ensure the big boats always had enough water to get round the marks. At one stage Ed (the beautiful Bolero) said he only had half a metre under his keel. An inch is as good as a mile! The best party would have had to have been at the sensational Four Seasons Resort at Tanjung Ru. Our glasses were never empty and the food was to die for. If the heavens did not open up around 2230 there would have been even more serious hangovers. We had so much fun that we decided to volunteer for the Kings Cup as well, but this time drag our friends on Pollen Path, Laura and Randy along too. A good time was had by all, and the next plan is to get to Doha for a regatta there in 2006.

Following the regatta and much juggling, Peter was offered a position as Assistant Manager of a boat yard ‘Wave Master’ in Langkawi, essentially fo customer relations and overseeing the rebuild of some of the catamarans damaged in the tsunami. The organization of Peter’s work permit involved an overnight ferry trip to nearby Satun, Thailand and his re-entry into Malaysia as the captain of ‘Polaris’ which is a 120 foot ‘ship’.

Being marina bound did have some advantages as we purchased a second hand air conditioner (from Mahdi) and did much needed work on Stolen Kiss; a new toe rail being the most significant. The time also allowed Peter to visit the dentist in Penang and have some much needed dental work (for a very small price.)

The Royal Langkawi Yacht Club is a little challenging at times as it is rolly due to its proximity to the ferry terminal coupled with a significant tidal flow. This makes for some interesting maneuvering! Being open at both ends was the only reason the yacht club pens survived the tsunami. There is always a positive!

In March we all had a scare. We received a phone call at 0100 from Kay Sira that had just been hauled out in Port Klang. They were woken up as the yacht was moving violently – and they were on the hard! Another major earth quake centered at Nias Island, south of the earthquake in December that triggered the tsunami. We turned on the VHF and spoke to one of the superyachts in Telaga Harbour. They had just been on the phone to friends in Padang, Sumatra (near the epi centre) and there had been no tsunami there. By the time our conversation had finished the VHF was alive. Other yachts had also received phone calls and people were waking other yachts up in the marina.

Understandably there was a lot of concern and a little hysteria. Some yachts decided to leave. Given the state of the tide and the possible problem of having many yachts leave at once, we decided to stay for a while. As there had been no tsunami in Sumatra, we at least would have a little warning. The yachts that were in shallow water in the nearby Kuah anchorage went out into deeper water. We could see the yachts with their nav lights on in a ‘holding pattern’ outside.

Some yachts moving around outside got tangled in unlit fishing nets; the fishermen not knowing that there would be such traffic in the wee hours of the morning. The yacht club staff were a little surprise din the morning when yachts were calling up to come back in their birth!

Rather than staying in Langkawi whilst Peter was working, I returned home to work. Peter followed some months later to spend a month in Fremantle. He had had a very rewarding time working with the Malays at Wave Master.

Before we returned, we flew to Adelaide to camp on Didy’s farm to help celebrate her 6oth birthday. Gorbar did a sterling job in his organization. We had big bonfires at night and had flare practice with our out of date flares (of the non parachute variety!).

On our return it was a quick re-provision for the Indian Ocean (we had had a practice run the year before), a sort out of laptop problems and off to Phuket for the Kings Cup Regatta and to meet Barnaby and his two mates for xmas. Very sensibly they (23 years old and not at all interested in the same entertainment) were not staying with us! They are the most beautiful boys and we enjoyed catching up with them.

The weather was still very unsettled in early December, so much so that we saw the largest water spout near Ao Chalong in Phuket, where we were anchored. To our relief it was heading north, parallelling our anchorage. We had seen many water spouts around Langkawi the previous May, all of which were heading north/south along the islands and never to where we were. At a later date, Backchat (Fremantle) got caught up in one at anchor in Kuah; all the yachts watching as the boat was getting dragged around in circles. The wind gusts were around 50 knots. The owners were jst leaving the yacht club in their dinghy and watched rather in awe (and horror) seeing their yacht in th emiddle of the water spout. it was short lived and no serious damage was sustained. Other yahcts have had sails ripped to pieces being caught unawares in one.

New Year was spent once again in Patong Bay, Phuket for the amazing fireworks. The Indian Ocean awaits us.

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