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Pierre van Rooyen

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Sailing to Thailand.

Okay, it wasn’t very far, about a hundred and thirty miles from Langkawi to Phuket. Poo-kett … that is, with emphasis on the second cylinder, er syllable. Sorry, my vocabulary isn’t very good.



Credit goes to Coni Nikaus of Cape Cod for this pic. She took it during a land trip last year. Thanks, Coni. Didn’t want to use one of our own pics which are all sailing oriented.

Faith and I decided not to do an ‘overnight’ because that’s when the
fishing boats go ape and there are nets everywhere.

So we decided to sail from island to island and stop at each for a few
days. Coastal sailing is exhausting as we don’t take watches. Also,
it’s a sunrise to sunset thing with both of us in the cockpit,
working the boat as hard as we can in the tropical heat.

Getting the muddied anchor and chain up in the morning ain’t a pleasant job. And by the time we’ve arrived at the next island, eight or ten hours away, found a safe anchorage and put the chain and anchor back in the water, all we want to do is sleep, but there’s still supper to be made.

But listen to this. At the first stop, the mountainous Butang Islands, we came across a big square-rigged sailing ship lying at anchor. What’s more, she was carrying passengers just like any cruise ship. Wow, wow, wow, to see a real sailing ship in the twenty first century is something else. We found out later, she sails out of Singapore and
does a round trip to Thailand.

Once before, we had seen a square rigger, probably a sail training ship anchored in Langkawi. Also a fleet of navy ships anchored there too, probably a navy exercise.

So we sailed little Senta up to the square rigger to have a look-see. Up
on deck, officers were looking down at us. But there was also a VIP
wearing a business suit with them. We assumed he was Malaysia’s
defence minister or something like that.

‘You wanna swap?’ We called, pointing to his ship and then our boat.

Ha, ha, big smile on his face, but he shook his head.

Not easy to sail in the Malacca Straits because the tides are pretty
strong. Sometimes, we can be sailing forwards in a zephyr, but going
backwards on the tide. Frustrating.

Enough of my gab. The link takes you to Faith’s diary.




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