Does living on a boat get old? What’s it like as a western woman travelling in Muslim countries? These are just two of the questions put to us by you that we are answering in a new series of Q&A sessions. Each week, Liz and Jamie will take it in turns to answer two questions related to living on a boat, from technical to sailing tips to travel and culture. If YOU have a question you’d like us to answer, get in touch or leave a comment. We’ve included the two videos in this post.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll no doubt have heard that we lost Millie overboard. In our latest vlog we cover off the story. We’ve changed things around a bit on the video front. The editing is faster and we’re trying to engage more with our viewers by answering questions and covering off topics that you might find interesting. If you have any questions about being a cruiser, or about anything else for that matter, please do send us a message and we’ll try our best to answer it in a future episode.
How/when/why did we end up living this alternative, slightly crazy life? It will be 10 years in December. Blimey!
There were still a few more days before our Thai visas expired, so we took a slow sail south from Phang Nga bay. Ao Chalong sits on the south-eastern corner of Phuket and is the place where sailors and boats go to check in and out of Thailand.
We undertook a complete refit of SY Esper in 2014. We were told it would take three months, BUT we knew it would probably be six months. Pretty soon nine months seemed optimistic, then as we kept adding new jobs we reached a year! In February 2015 we left PSS Shipyard with what was almost a brand new boat. Here’s the whole refit squished down to a couple of minutes.
Apart from the deep joy of discovering that our engine has seized, it feels like some kind of nautical episode of ‘Back to the Future’ here on SY Esper
Our regular Sailing Log Diary on YouTube–which out of necessity runs a few months behind real time–shows Jamie sailing alone in Thailand with Liz back in the UK looking after her ailing mum. And yet, right now, Liz has just returned from her >second visit home to tend to Dottie while Jamie has been solo-sailing in Thailand.
In the words of Shirley Bassey and the Propellerheads , “…it’s all just a little bit of history repeating…”
Jamie didn’t like the darkening skies, so he took a look at the forecast to discover some big weather coming in from the west. Fishing vessels, large and small, arrived from deeper water, dropping noisy anchor chain and crowding into the anchorage behind Ko Tarutao’s high hills. He told the others to prepare themselves for some potential big winds.
Sadly, for reasons beyond our control we are both on opposite sides of the globe this year, and can’t enjoy our usual special day. So we thought it would be nice to extend the seasonal tradition of exchanging gifts to include every one of our followtheboat subscribers across the world.
We made our run down the east side of imposing Tarutao, one of Thailand’s largest islands and the country’s first national marine park. Once a penal colony, it was the perfect place to cast away undesirables. With its unforgiving tropical rainforest, strong tidal currents and fierce salt-water crocodiles escape would have been impossible.
We arrived back at beautiful Ko Rok, the same point where we had broken the passage on our way north from Langkawi. It was as serene and scenic as we remembered and this time we were able to quickly find our old mooring buoy and get settled for the night. Within minutes Liz had the fishing line over the side…
We started to look on the bright side. We were insured. We were floating. The Portabote–swinging from the new davits–had taken most of the impact, acting like a large fender. If we had been hit anywhere other than the stern, Esper could have just started her life as Phi Phi Don’s new wreck dive.
When the first murmurings of this year’s SW monsoon came rumbling in, we cancelled our plans to meet friends in town and stayed aboard. Squadrons of clouds hurled lightning across the sky at each other for two days, while we sheltered in the cockpit and collected rainwater in buckets.
Next time you turn the tap on for a glass of water, to have a bath or make a coffee, enjoy the ease of that simple act. In our latest episode we explain why it can take us over two hours to do the same.
Checking in is easy in Ao Chalong, with harbour master, customs and immigration in three rooms next to each other. The whole process took 15 minutes, considerably faster than finding water.
If you would like to know which is Liz’s favourite anchorage, what superpower she has always wanted to have and where she would like to be right now, you’ll need to catch the video…
American McGee is an inveterate lover of story-telling and all things aquatic. “I spent my childhood watching endless re-runs of Jacques Cousteau and Monty Python, which had an everlasting effect on me,” he told us.
Are you checking your moles? No, not the hairy ones, I’m talking about the ones that appear on your body and occasionally turn malignant. Like the one the doctor found on my back yesterday.
The island of Penang lies south of Langkawi on the north-west coast of mainland Malaysia. Before Kuala Lumpur developed into the international capital it is today, Penang was the economic and cultural hub of Malaysia. But it wasn’t always so.
“I Nazar seven two. Maybe you want diesel? Maybe wash boat?” With a sideways, rolling nod, he proffered a flimsy business card. Maybe, I thought, taking it from him. His anxious expression relaxed, and a brief smile smoothed his shiny face.
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