Life is not exciting right now. Sometimes that is a good thing. Remember, one of the worst Chinese curses is: "May you live in interesting times."
Several times we have shared rental cars with various friends. This provides a day away from the marina at least once per week, and it is a nice break in routine. The waterline on S/V BeBe is rising as we continue to add things that will not be available later. The "wine cellar" is fully stocked -- this literally is like a cellar because it is a large storage bin located beneath a floor locker. Bill has reviewed his spares list several times and I think we are as well-stocked as possible in that department. This week the rent car had a malfunctioning air-conditioner and the windows could not be lowered. It was sweltering!! We will not be renting that car again. Renting a car here is unbelievably inexpensive. We call a guy and he delivers a car to the ferry dock to meet us. Cars range from 40 ringitt to 80 ringitt per day. So far, we have only rented 40 ringitt cars and always share with another couple. The cars are delivered almost empty of fuel and we add 20 ringitt of gasoline. That brings our total share of car rental for a day to roughly $9.60 USD. What a deal! Don't know anywhere else it would be that cheap.
A few days ago we sent our anchor chain off to be re-galvanized. The owner of the marina chandlery takes the chain across the border to Thailand to have this done. This is the second time we have re-galvanized this chain, so when the zinc wears off next time the chain will need to be replaced, as you can only re-galvanize high=tensile chain twice. (BBB chain should never be re-galvanized) The chain showed almost no signs of wear and no rust at all, but we wanted to take advantage of being here and did the re-galvanizing early. Our chain is ISO standard and came from Europe, and we hope to replace it in Spain in 2 years or so. It has held up very well, far better than the 25 meters of Acco chain we bought in Grenada in 2007. After unloading the chain, we borrowed a pressure washer and thoroughly cleaned out the anchor chain locker. Inside a forward cabinet locker Amel installs a removable watertight access panel to the chain locker. We are far too large to fit inside there (shoulders won't even fit through the cabinet door, much less through the watertight access area), but we were able to use the pressure washer wand to clean the chain locker thoroughly. Check another chore off the maintenance list.
Note the Muslim woman in the swimming pool behind us in the photo above. She is wearing Muslim swimming attire-- which looks exactly like a ninja outfit without the foot coverings. Her "swimsuit" was dark brown and loose fitting. It was tied around her neck, wrists, ankles and waist to prevent the fabric from billowing in the water. It was exactly like the ninja suit that our youngest son worn as a Halloween costume in years past, except that it was dark brown instead of black. This is the first Muslim swimsuit that we have seen. None of the other Muslim women have gotten into the water; they usually just sit around in lounge chairs in their black coverings while their husbands frolic in the cool water. At least this young woman was laughing and kidding around with her husband in the water and appeared to be having a great time on their vacation. Supposedly these "swimsuits" are new and somewhat controversial. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Last week I planned routes up through the Red Sea and referenced each anchorage to the corresponding page it was depicted in the Red Sea Pilot. Bill then used GPS Utility to convert the Maxsea routes .wpt files to .kmz files and imported these into Google Earth. He then let Google Earth fly the routes and hover at 1,000 kilometers for 30 seconds to capture high resolution of each waypoint. This supposedly goes into cache and we can use Google Earth from cache without being connected to the internet. That will be really cool if it works. We also will be printing the Google Earth images of each anchorage and each difficult route area and placing these into a binder to use as we enter some of these intricate reef anchorages. It will be great to have aerial images zoomed in tightly on these poorly charted reefs.
Nothing else going on with us right now. We are looking forward to our trip home to Texas -- not the journey itself, but seeing everyone and taking care of all the things that must be done. We fly to Singapore in 9 days, then onward to Toyko the next morning, connecting to Houston -- with a huge difference in time zones. The jet lag will be horrendous for us old folks. Seeing family and friends will be worth it.
BTW, this morning I noticed that our boat living space looks more like an apartment these days. We used to keep everything in its proper place. That meant we could put to sea from a marina slip with only a few minutes notice, and almost instantaneously from an anchorage. Not true today. There are things laying around that would go flying should we need to flee this anchorage in a hurry. Guess it is time to get motivated and stow things away properly again. After all, that big tsunami on December 26, 2004, destroyed this very marina. We should remain better prepared to put to sea at a moments notice.