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JJMoon Diary
Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Sat 30 Oct 2010 11:02

Back on board again and we are starting to pick up the pieces.  It is nearly 11 months since I last saw JJ Moon and I am trying to remember where everything goes.  There is a mountain of stuff piled up inside the boat and I cannot believe there is a place for everything; before very long everything must be in its place.  We both had good journeys from the UK and in spite of the medical nuisances we look back on our sojourn in Bath with very positive memories and warm affection for our friends and relatives.  May our feelings be reciprocated!


One of the first jobs back here was to ring Mr Din.  Mr Din rents cars at £8 a day; strictly cash, no licence, no questions.  He delivers the vehicles to the ferry jetty on the Langkawi “mainland”, notes change hands and on completion of the day’s business the car is put back where it was found, keys under the carpet.  There is the minimum of fuss, although I am sorry to say there can be a rather unseemly scramble up the ferry ramp while Australians and Americans jostle for the only automatic car.  We headed for the red one, said to be the queen of the fleet.  No chance.  We had been allocated one of the grey ones.  The cars are provided with just enough fuel to reach the first garage where a judgement must be made on how much more to buy.  Any surplus is siphoned off at night so that only the minimum is left in the tank for the next day’s business.  Mr Din’s cars are not the latest models and lack some of the most modern refinements.  For example they do not enjoy the benefits of central locking or power-assisted steering.  For someone still seeking to restore himself to full fitness this was very positive – parking outside the Chin Ho General Trading and Hardware store gave plenty of exercise to the upper body muscles.  Nevertheless, ours had air-conditioning and having successfully purchased 4 diesel fuel cans and a water filter from Mr Chin’s delightful assistants we were in a relaxed frame of mind as we motored back to catch the 1630 ferry, particularly as we had earlier found our two DHL boxes of yet further stuff from England sitting at the front of the couriers’ local office as good as gold and with nothing further to pay.  The 1630 is a popular ferry for those who have made important and extensive purchases “in town”.  At first glance it did not seem possible that all those passengers together with all that cargo could be accommodated on board.  But they were, partly due to the very helpful Indian family who found themselves in the midst of the pushy, angular chaos.  They humped and carried and continued to smile while remembering they had booked in for a week in a quiet, exclusive hotel.  Instead they found themselves among the international yachtie set, full of hype, at full chat.  We do hope they enjoy the rest of their holiday.  At the marina landing all the gear got to the top of the dock OK.  Then we had to wait for the first return wheelbarrow.


We have been to see our gallant leader.  While in England we spotted details of an informal convoy sailing from Thailand to Turkey soon after the turn of the year.  We made some enquiries among our boating buddies and decided to pursue it.  René the Dutchman leading the group has been on his 60 footer in the marina for the past few days and we spent a useful half hour in his cockpit discussing routes and rules.  We formed a favourable impression.  We are advised not to broadcast too many details over the ether but, broadly the convoy leaves Phuket in the middle of January, sails to Salalah in Oman via a few days in the Maldives and heads west through pirate country in early March.  There is little doubt the closer we get in time and distance to the Gulf of Aden the less attractive spot it appears.


We are now due for a quick haul-out here to check the bottom, which has not been exposed for eighteen months and to clear the weed from the propeller and bow-thruster.  All being well we shall then prepare ourselves for sea and sail to Thailand.  We have a berth reserved in the Boat Lagoon Marina in Phuket from 18 November.