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Friday, December 21, 2012

December 1 - 15, 2012 – Settling in at Rebak Marina (just off Langkawi, Malaysia)

Rebak Marina is part of a resort that, as far as we know, owns the small island of Rebak; there is nothing else here. Guests of the marina enjoy all of the amenities of the resort, (pool, bar, beach, spa) but only to the extent that we do not overtake the resort guests’ space, which I admit, we tend to do (but only sometimes). The marina is a great place with a wonderful little café/pub appropriately named “The Hard Dock Café”, located adjacent to the hardstand. Several of our friends are here from last year and years past that had arrived and are either biding their time to carry on when it is safer to do so or who have enjoyed the inexpensive, and cozy lifestyle available here. It is a great place to get yacht work done for a tremendous cost savings compared to Australia and New Zealand, USA. We quickly arranged to haul Destiny out to have her bottom inspected for damage from our horrific reef hit back in Indonesia.

Meanwhile we got busy getting to know who is here, what is there to do: where to shop, eat, swim, drink, frolic and get provisions. It was like a great homecoming running into folks from this past year’s rally that had scattered along the way. Even better was running into Dick and Lynn from “Wind Pony”, Rick and Robin from “Endangered Species”, and a slew of others. We realized that, although there is a small convenience store onsite, shopping is done on the larger island of Langkawi.  Getting there requires some effort and patience though: a 20 minute ride on the water shuttle from the marina to the ferry dock near the Langkawi airport, then you either hire a motorcycle, a rental car or a taxi to get into Kuah town which is a good 40 minute drive. The rental cars available are as close to a joke as possible; but whatever works! They do come cheaply – for instance $15/day, but boy are they heaps of junk! One day, when I got in and reached to pull the door closed the entire inside panel of the door came off! Windows didn’t roll down or up in some, they shook and rattled and the seats were worn down to the frames and dirty, but as I said – whatever works!
At first we were fine with this adventure it took to get into town, but after a while it got to be a real pain when we forgot something on the shopping list and had to make a return trip. After all the shuttles run on a schedule that was not convenient to a quick trip into Langkawi. Inevitably this did happen several times. Had we not needed to be in the marina for repair needs we would have anchored at the town of Kuah.

It is beyond hot here. We are in a bowl – very protected from the roll and swell but also protected from any hope of a breeze. Being surrounded by hills internet and phone reception are severely restricted. Frustrating. We spent most of our time at the pool just to get some relief. Because our air-conditioning will not operate on shore power here we picked up a window unit in Kuah town. It now proudly sits atop the boat, jerry-rigged to flow into one of the top hatches in our salon. We absolutely could not live without it.  We have been told that we look like the “White Trash of the ‘hood”! Ask us if we care. This is living the dream.

Our haul out date arrived after being postponed a day. The plan is to get cleaned, checked and waxed. The guys here at the boat yard make hauling out a cakewalk. They actually have fun doing it! A diver goes into the water to assure that the straps are properly situated. We were so impressed with these guys!
Thankfully our hull looked pretty darn good. The front and bottom of Destiny’s keel had taken the brunt of the hit and was missing chunks of gelcoat, but for the most part we are once again reassured that Island Packet builds one heck of a solid yacht. Destiny is as sturdy as a tank – not that we want to do any more reef-climbing any time soon, but we know she can take it. Frank ordered some temporary patchwork done to scrape, clean and seal up the damaged portions until we can do a proper bottom job later this year. Our original hardstand time was to be two days that stretched into three, so we booked a room at the resort. It is a very nice room! They upgraded us to a big room with a massive bathroom and hot tub, and gave us a large discount for being patrons of the marina. We spent these three days acting like we were on a resort vacation – big buffet breakfast each day, time at the spa, pool and lots of time lazing around in the nice cool room in front of the television. Ha, ha, who would have thought a vacation to us is world news on TV, HBO and an air-conditioner? Frank checked the progress on Destiny each day, but otherwise we took it easy.

After Destiny splashed we made several trips to town for more bits and pieces. Langkawi is a duty-free island. If you want liquor this is the place to stock up. It is a very strangely disorganized town that is full of outlet stores. Corning Ware outlet shops are on nearly every corner. There were a lot of Duty-Free shops as well but as far as we could tell the prices were still quite high for everything but liquor. We did buy chocolates because we found the good Aussie and NZ stuff. The American and European chocolates were really pricey. I can’t speak about perfumes, jewelry or makeup. I’m sure if we had the time and patience to shop around we would have found some bargains but by the time we hit the essentials we were so hot and sweaty all we could think about was getting back home. One day it got so hot we had taken the floor mats out of the car to cover the windows while we were in town. When we returned to the car the mats had MELTED onto the back window! So being a Texas gal, when I say hot, I mean HOT! Paul and Glor (s/v Scallywag) had gotten us into the habit of driving to the ferry terminal for Starbucks frozen frappuccinos, followed by lunch at our new favorite Indian food restaurant.  Then our friends on Imagine turned us onto a place called “Dominos” that serves not pizza but great western-style hamburgers. Turns out it was right next-door to the Indian restaurant. I know it is a bit sad, but this is how we spent most of our time. So to sum up our two weeks in Rebak/Langkawi: Hard Dock Café; sweating; hull cleaning/repairing/polishing; sweating; hitting the pool; junk rental cars; sweating; running around endlessly looking for parts while sweating; seeing old friends come and go; Starbucks; eating and sweating…Oh, and a time or two in town meeting Ute and Hans for sundowners.

Before we knew it, it was time to get going. We had plans for Christmas in Phuket so the last few days there we went to see the movie “The Life of Pi”, checked out the country and made plans to leave Rebak on December 15th, 2012.

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