Wednesday, August 13, 2003 12:58 AM
Subject: Safe and Sound
We are safe and sound in the Perhentians. The boat is acting well but
I have had to pay close attention and maintain her good bearing. I took
apart the transmission again due to a large leak spraying oil all over
the bilge. It was coming from the base of the drive shaft so I figured
it had to do with some of the work we did in Songkhla.
I took the time to disassemble, for the third time, the transmission and
found that the new bearing / seal was just a tad too small and was causing
the leak. I still had the old one and put the transmission back together
with that and eliminated the leak completely. I cleaned the bilge AGAIN,
for the four thousandths time. I am slowly eliminating all sources of
oil and fuel and some day my bilge will be clean and filled with only
pleasant salt water.
Going through customs, port clearance and immigration in Kota Baru was
quite simple and even, dare I say it, fun? It went smoothly and the whole
thing took less than 3 hours.
Going up the river made me quite nervous but I went in at high tide and
we had at least 3 feet in the shallowest parts. Still a little nerve-racking
I must say.
Bad news, my crew is not very happy about the duration of our trip, the
long stay in Songkhla, and are having trouble adjusting to living on a
boat, sea sickness and too uncomfortable. They will depart here in the
Perhentians and I will look for more crew. If I cannot find anyone in
the next few days I will continue on alone.
I am a bit worn out and I need a few days rest so I will stay on this
island, Pulau Perhentian Kesil (island Perhentian small) for a few days
and just relax.
Unfortunately my cell phone does not work in Malaysia so I will have to
rely solely on the Internet.
My next stop after here is Redang and then I will call at the port of
Terengganu and re-supply and spend a few days there exploring and chilling.
I have to get port clearance there next and then decide upon my next major
port of call after that. Maybe the Tioman Islands.
The water visibility here is about 45 feet. Unbelievable! I hear it can
get up to 18 meters, that's over 54 feet. Diving off the boat in the late
afternoon is wildly creepy. It's a whole ‘nother underwater world.
I think I will find the good dive spots around here and do some snorkeling.
I took the time to scrape the bottom of the keel, which was unpainted
before we left Bang Pakong 7 months ago. There was a layer of barnacles
one inch thick and even some weird looking soft coral growing on the barnacles.
Strange. I scrapped about 1/5th of it and felt I was going to asphyxiate
so I stopped. Rigorous activity, 6 feet underwater, hanging onto the hull,
upside down is pretty tiresome. It's a wonderful time to check and do
maintenance on the hull though. I can see every little rust spot and critter
hanging on, making its home on the boat.
This is going to cost me a bit so I will send it off now.
Much love to family and friends,