As I sit here bobbing about on the back (or stern I believe is the correct nautical term!) of a 30foot cruising boat with the Penang skyline starting to light up in the distance I wonder what on earth I am doing here.. and how i got here! Well actually I can sort of answer both – I met Chops when I was doing my DMT in Lanta (Thailand) and we got talking about doing a trip on his sailing boat... and unlike so many conversations you have with people you meet on your travels, this one actually happened! Amazing!
I have learnt how to put the anchor down and how to tie a few nautical style knots (a skill i’m now very proud of!!) i've also learnt how to cook when rocking about on the water and how to pee off the back of the boat(!) but I have to say that I miss being able to trot about on land whenever the mood takes me. There are of course some very good reasons why I find myself tapping away on the back of this lovely boat; of course my lovely friend owning the boat is the main reason
but beautiful scenery, peace and quiet (when there are no storms!) natural views without a person or building (apart from my friend, the owner and captain of said boat) for miles around and some seriously fresh air are the reasons! (I should also mention that going to the loo off the back of the boat, directly into the ocean is weirdly liberating (!)... as is standing naked on the back of the boat using a bucket to shower! (Much better before the sun has set so you can dry in the warm breeze (!), however when in a busy marina (especially in a Muslim country) it’s a little more practical to wait until it’s dark!!
So. I spent two weeks on the boat with Chops. We didn’t really do much... well I say we didn't do much.. we sailed..well actually we cruised (most of the time we had the engine aswell as the sails up!!) and just pottered about the boat whilst bobbing about in the warm waters around Langkawi and Penang. The biggest journey was the 12hours it took to sail/motor to Penang; if I’m honest I have to say that I got a bit bored!! That sounds
so terrible, but 12hours with just my thoughts to keep me company as I kept a look out for fishing nets was ok for the first 5 hours, then I needed a change... which reminded me that i have a very short attention span and I like a bit of action!!! It was, of course, beautiful and calm and all those things, but i’m clearly no Dame Ellen!
However, we did have a laugh; Chops and I. We watched endless episodes of ‘Cheers’ at night, cooked lovely food (really nice to have some food that hasn’t been fried!!) and did little odd jobs on the boat. I say little. Actually we did some major jobs! .. I came to realise that boats are one of those things, like a flat... or children - i imagine(!) that need constant upgrading and endless money spent on them... and you never really feel like they are finished!! Chops and I painted, sanded, filled, sewed, cut and screwed (no pun intended) endlessly.. and when i left, there were still more jobs to be done!
And now I am on a flight to Bali, via Kuala Lumpur. I have had such conflicting reports
or at least some very big boats!! .. moored up in Penang
on Bali. Most people told me not to bother, to simply leave for the nearby islands... and i very nearly did this, but i have decided to find out for myself so as soon as i arrive i am going to head to Ubud in the centre of the island and see what it’s like there... then i’ll see how long i spend there before moving on!
I have just under one month before I head back to the UK. So I intend to spend the last month in Indonesia hopping about between the islands and getting some diving in (I’ve missed diving...it’s been at least 3 weeks since Pulau Weh!) and trying not to spend too much money... although from what i’ve heard that may not be possible! We’ll see.
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