We’ve learnt about the politics of the Maldives, met young, enterprising businessmen and finally seen the ‘other’ side of the Maldives. Mafushi and Guiridhoo were real eye-openers for us, a side of the Maldives we hadn’t expected to see. Having spent quite a few days tied to a mooring buoy in the bay of Guiridhoo, it was time to move on. […]
Teak decks are being ripped off, toilets have been removed, the top-sides have been spraypainted black and someone is creating so much fibreglass particles and sawdust that even after three showers we're still itching like hell. The question, therefore, should be: exactly how close are we to a nervous breakdown after a month on the hard here in Thailand? The video clip should put it all in perspective...
Six days of work in a three minute video clip... and whilst Liz gets a smack in the head we bring the entire yard to a standstill as we move four boats out the way so we can take prime spot in the corner of the yard. A snippet of time-lapse video trickery in this week's video summary too. Low-point of this week was having to let one of the staff go, but this was off-set by being relocated to our new home. We now have our own area, away from the dust and grime of the fishing boats, and work continues at quite a pace.
Week Two of Esper's refit moved as quickly as the first week. The crane was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, which it did, and Un's team duly removed both main and mizzen mast in two hours. We recorded the whole shebang, though you'll be pleased to know we reduced to down to a short clip, complete with some explanatory commentary. If you've not seen this operation before, take a look and marvel at the ease in which both masts were removed. We've also booked in the plumber, the mechanic and the electrician to begin their projects, which we detail a bit more in the blog post. As usual, plenty of pictures for your Sunday entertainment and it ends with a video summary of this week's work, hosted by a Mexican bandit.
We've been off the radar for the last few weeks, if you'll excuse the nautical pun there. It's been a busy time with us leaving Malaysia, entering Thailand, hauling out, finding a house, emptying Esper of our worldly goods and preparing our beautiful but tired boat for a strip down. Esper's refit is a monumental project. At the very least we'll be stripping her of her gelcoat, her teak deck, her masts and rigging and her electronics. If we're lucky, we might just strip her insides too. Having spent the last five days lugging box after box of stuff we're flabbergasted at the amount of crap we've accumulated in the last eight years! Fortunately the yard was there to help, and so too was our project manager, Un...
Our website, like our lives, is in a state of flux. Whilst we prepare to haul Esper in Thailand and undergo a major refit, so followtheboat.com is getting some special treatment too. We were offline for a couple of weeks whilst we saw out Christmas at Rebak Resort and New Year at anchor. We even had Esper's lights lit whilst partying ashore, which made it very easy to find her at two in the morning, half-cut! We've included some recent photographs and a hint at what's happening next in our lives. Expect some interesting updates during 2014...
We plan to spend some time on the hard doing some major refitting to Esper. Unfortunately Malaysia doesn't really figure as a viable option for the amount of work we're planning so the obvious alternative is to get the work done in Thailand. No great shakes since we're only 200 miles from Phuket where all the big boat yards are, but there's another option: head 25 miles east from Langkawi to the mainland and check in to Satun's boatyard, PSS. Here's a brief intro to this sleepy town, packed full of images.
Galvanising your anchor and chain is a cost-effective way of lengthening the life of your gear. Here in Penang we used Steelway, who picked up our tackle and double-coated it in less than a week. Along the way I learnt a bit about the process and I've included some photos to show you the shiny result.
Sailing Today magazine is featuring our adventures from India to Malaysia in two editions. What's even more exciting is that we are on the front cover! The first part, a seven-page spread, covers our time from India to the Maldives and the image features Esper at anchor at the beautiful Hideaway Resort.
It's been too long since we last posted a blog update. We'd just sailed 1,500nm in some superb SW winds, but having lost our wind-pilot 200 miles into the trip we spent the rest of it exhausted and battered. Needless to say when we arrived in Langkawi, Malaysia, the last thing on our minds was reading, writing or even talking about sailing. Since then Liz returned to the UK for three months and I became a border-line alcoholic, discovering the delights and frustrations of Langkawi Island.
One of the highlights for me was being dropped off in the middle of Wadi Rum and walking through a 'ravine'. Khaled drove off and met us at the other side a few kilometres away. Walking through this ravine I came across a piece of perfectly preserved, albeit completely bleached, coral. At that point I could imagine Wadi Rum as a sea, with us walking on the bed.
The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted some pretty big changes on followtheboat.com. We've completely redesigned the blog so that it is now 'responsive'. What does this mean? Well. it's pretty clever stuff...
Depending on your definition of what justice is, the Somali pirates who murdered the crew of s/y Quest have been brought to justice.
I was pretty stoked to have two of my three submitted images selected in the MyWanderlust Top Ten Photography Competition (titled 'Weather'). One was of the Kanchenchunga Massif, taken in Darjeeling, the other you've probably seen already of the two school girls walking through monsoon puddles.
Thirteen hundred miles hand-steered and no foresail, just two of the challenges we faced when completing our fifteen hundred mile trip from the Maldives to Malaysia. A complete account with observations, events, our turtle rescue and some great HD video clips including the one of Liz helming in a Force 6. Not to be missed!
I was honoured to be approached by Bellamy Hunt for an interview on his fantastic camera resource website. You may have come across his "In Your Bag" series, but he also features photographers of different styles too.
Tomorrow we leave on an epic journey, and if the winds are in our favour we may get further than the horrific Equator trip of last week! We hope to be updating our progress via satphone, which will log our position on a map. Check out our progress over the next few weeks as we sail the 1,400 mile trip from the Maldives to Malaysia.
Our shipping agent, Muzhid Rasheed of Seline, is a young and ambitious man. A supporter of Nasheed, he is like many of the local people we met in the Maldives. A man of integrity, honesty and professionalism, he is in the vanguard of the new-school Maldivian outlook on life. Sadly he has to contend with the corruption and insider dealings of competitiors who pull strings in an attempt to put him out of business.
I've jumped out of aeroplanes, mountain-biked the world's most dangerous roads, surfed following seas at 15 knots, and hit storms off Africa that had crew throwing up, but nothing could have prepared me for the four days of hell Liz and I just endured. You see it wasn't the weather itself that terrified us, it was the situation we found ourselves in after the first squall hit. We entered the Twilight Zone, and for four days got trapped in an increasingly desperate situation.