We went back to the UK for 6 weeks from Mid July until the beginning of September. It was a hectic time visiting friends and family and spending time with our grandchildren. Jon (Mike's son) and Carrie were married towards the end of our stay which was a lovely day and then we looked after Alex (grandson) while they went on honeymoon! It seems that each time we return home it gets more tiring!
When we got back to the boat we spent time getting over our jet lag and recovering our energy. We left the marina and anchored in a lovely bay called Singar Besar which is perfect for the SW monsoon. We had to give the boat a good clean as most of the wood inside was covered in mold, a good indication of the amount of rain here while we were away. The rains are now decreasing and the winds are starting to blow from the East again marking the end of the SW monsoon which is good.
As normal we purchased lots of things for the boat while in the UK all of which constitute at least one job. The one thing we have realised over time is that there is no such thing as a small job. Thinking a job will be quick is the worst thing you can do as that guarantees it will take most of the day!
At the beginning of October we decided to head to Phuket to get some stainless steel replaced on the toe rail. We also needed to get the generator fixed as we had been unable to get it started since we returned to the boat. We left from Telaga, at the the north end of Langkawi, ahead of what we thought was a squall. Unfortunately, it lasted longer than expected and was extremely violent so we had to abandon our trip and go back to the anchorage. The wind continued to blow strongly all night so it was definitely the right decision. After our false start, we left the next day and spent 3 days motoring to Phuket. We had a small sail the last day and also decided to fish at the same time. We managed to hook a tree! While trying to slow the boat so that we didn't loose all our line we managed to get the line around the boat. Mike had to get in the water and sort the line out before it got caught around our prop so that was the end of the sailing and the fishing!
After clearing in to Phuket at Ao Chalong, we went to Boat Lagoon marina to get our jobs done. There is a very long entry channel to the marina which is supposed to be dredged to 2m. We entered with 2.5M of tide and got stuck on the bottom even though we only draw 1.5m! So much for the dredged channel! We got our jobs started and then escaped from the marina on a nice high tide and went around to Yacht Haven at the the north end of Phuket.
Our metal work was sanded and polished rather than replaced and our generator head had to be removed and worked on. While we were waiting for them to be returned we sanded and painted the toe rail. It was hard work in the heat but at least the weather was good to us and it stayed dry until after the paint had dried. It took us 2 days and 9 tubes of silicon sealant to re-attach the stainless to the toe rail plus lots of paper towel!!
We anchored out side of the marina for a further week while we varnished the wood in the cockpit and then we headed back to Ao Chalong to clear out. The visibility has been very bad in Langkawi and Phuket from the forest fires in Indonesia. The airport in Langkawi has been closed a few times and schools have been closed as the air has been so bad. It seems to have cleared at the moment and hopefully the NE winds will blow it away.
We left Phuket and planned to make a few stops on our way back to Langkawi. The first stop was directly into the wind plus the wind direction and strength were excellent for a sail straight back to Langkawi so that is what we did. We had 12 hours excellent sailing but had to motor the next 12 hours whilst dodging all the fishing boats through the night.
We are now on our way to Penang to hopefully get our visas for India. We have also ordered new batteries for our house bank (the main battery bank that runs everything but the engine) which are being delivered to the marina. We are not looking forward to fitting 6 batteries. When we fitted the existing ones we were never sure how we got the last one in so getting them out could be interesting!
After Penang we head back to Langkawi to leave the boat again while we go to Sri Lanka for 3 weeks. We fly on 24 November and have an action packed 3 weeks planned. Then it will be back to Langkawi for Christmas with friends.