Thursday, May 31, 2012

Life at Rebak Island Marina, Langkawi

I've been so busy with life lately that I haven't had the time to update sailbirds. I know it's very hard to believe – it's not like I'm working full time or racing around after kids... just busy with the boat and life. I'll tell some of the stories here... oh dear, there's so much to catch up on... where to even begin?
Jane leads the way on our adventurous walk around Rebak.
Anima is now safe and snug in Rebak Island Marina. It's by far the best marina we've ever stayed in - the best part being, yachties have almost free reign of the 5 star resort facilities. The marina is based on a tiny island just off the south of Langkawi island. A small ferry zips back and forth 10 times daily to Langkawi with resort guests, staff and yachties onboard. The only other thing on the island is the aforementioned Taj resort. Consequentially, it's very peaceful over here. We're surrounded by forested hills bursting with local birds, monkeys, monitor lizards and mosquitoes. The latter is controlled by bi-weekly 'fogging' with some kind of petrochemical-based spray which is pumped through the resort, marina and hard-stand. This fog is thick and nasty. Our strategy is lock-down inside the boat – all dorades, hatches and portholes shut tight to minimise exposure to this unknown chemical. It does work to reduce the mosquito population though - perhaps it's a necessary evil.
Mosquito fogging. Pretty scary huh?
It's the south-west monsoon season now, so frequent strong squalls pass by. Being tied up in a protected marina is so nice when the wind howls past, making our rigging sing. It's also nice to be connected to shore power. Laptops, stereo, vacuum cleaner, lights, fridge and the stereo can all stay on for extended periods. Best of all, the hired air-conditioner (only 50RM/month) can cool us down as can the 240V fan. Relief from the extreme humidity is very sweet.
The pool.
There's so much to love about being here. The pool, fringed with flowering frangipani trees and reclining chairs waited on by a happy guy who gives you fresh towels, fruit skewers (sometimes) and magazines! The beach bar where yachties and resort guests meet for happy hour half-price drinks. The games area inside the resort where one can play anything from Scrabble to Carrom (Rene is undefeated so far with the latter). The twisting paths to walk and explore (more on this to come). Best of all, the SY69 building to escape the sun and do yoga every morning. What a place to practice yoga in! Surrounded by water features home to colourful Carp and vibrant tropical plants, I've been able to immerse myself deeper than ever into my Ashtanga yoga Mysore practice.

All of this is still over half the price of marina's in Australia!
Yoga bliss.
After being here for a month, I decided to explore more of the island by foot. The lovely Jane (from South Africa) was our guide as she had taken one of the more adventurous walks last year. It took her a while to recall where the track started as the jungle seemed inpenetrable and we had to brave a large tribe of monkeys and killer ants! Just as we were about to give up, there it was - marked with arrows. We scaled a slippery track through the jungle, up a hill and down the other side to the beach. Previously Jane had been able to walk along said beach back to the resort. We had judged the tide wrong however and had to tackle the forest once more. It was really fun to walk along, covered in sweat (thanks to the extreme humidity) pushing through, under and around lush jungle. We got lost a few more times, probably due to concentrating on our chats more than the path. Annoyingly I skidded down the bank at the end and twisted my knee but it only took 2 days to heal.
The other side of the island.
Last week I turned 31. Unable to celebrate with family/friends from home, instead I communicated to them online and had a very relaxing day by the pool. The marina staff gave me the most decadent birthday cake I've ever had. Unfortunately Rene was unable to partake in any so I shared it with the other yachties at the weekly Friday night BBQ. 
What an amazing birthday cake! Thanks Rebak!
Friday night BBQ just getting started.
Rene has not been in the best of health. He experienced pains in his stomach for 4 days before having it checked out at a Doctor in Kuah. Initially we thought it was a kidney infection but the blood test results (which we only received 2 weeks after the initial test thanks to a dodgy receptionist) showed Rene had Pancreatitis! He rushed to a medical centre on mainland Malaysia for a CT scan which thankfully showed no damage. Being young and fit probably saved his life. What will continue to do so is a complete change of diet. No more fatty foods or alcohol for Rene! We discovered that Doctors here in Malaysia only issue half-dose, half-strength antibiotics. Supposedly because the people are smaller (not really the case when obesity is a rising issue as is Diabetes).

Anima has sucked most of our spare time (sadly, we barely ever swim in the pool). I've spent days cleaning and scrubbing the decks and topsides. A stubborn oily black substance sticks to our beautiful new paintwork and makes Anima look old and dirty! If a Scientist could invent some kind of preventative measure for this black stuff, they would be rich as currently the only way to prevent it is to cover the boat in canvas, something we can't afford to do right now. 

Anima has also been very thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed inside. All of her walls inside are sparkling clean. All her wooden trim is polished and shining. Everything is clean. More boxes have been packed and sent home and more stuff we don't need has been given away or sold. Rene has cleaned and polished the engine and bilges. He's treated a rust patch that was under the floorboards of the head and some tiny spots that appeared on deck. I prepared and then he painted the remaining mint-green non-skid areas on the foredeck. I cut to size the wood lino and Rene glued them all on for the galley and companionway floorboards. Phew! 

We're gearing up to officially put Anima on the market. This week involves meeting with the Langkawi-based brokers and I've been working on our own sale website too.
The last rusty spot!! Mid-treatment.
Measuring and cutting the new "wood" flooring.
Each week we hire a car, drive across the island to Kuah and try to get all the things on our list. As we get to know the area more, it opens up to us and we find where to get things. The hire cars are complete bombs for 40RM, yesterday however we had to take a 50RM car and what a difference 10 Ringgit makes! We flew along in a shiny, tiny new car with working air-conditioning and gearbox. Each week I take the ferry across to Langasuka where a local Chinese man holds a veggie stall for the yachties. It's a little more expensive than the local markets, but the food is of a far better quality. I've been enjoying Australian Avocados (paying the same price I would back home for them) and big, sweet mangoes among other things.
Rene pushing 60Kg's of our stuff along to send home.
I know there is so much more that has happened and I could write this for many more hours. I'll finish with this cute photo. 
Newlyweds from Indonesia with us.
Rene was working out on the pontoon when he saw these two getting glamour-shots done near the marina for their wedding album. Rene being Rene offered them our boat as a location. They climbed up and stood on the bowsprit and giggled a lot. Her dress was amazing! They wanted this photo and I want the camera that took it!! Anima looks even better now - finally, no stuff on deck.


  1. Omg. That's me.
    Happy belated birthday Cerae! Hope Rene get well soon... I want to ask something that bothered my mind, when the Anima has been sold. Will your adventure ends?

  2. Wow! Do you mean in the wedding photo? I didn't remember your names sorry. Thanks for the birthday and health wishes :)
    When Anima is sold, we will be able to start other adventures! We plan to live in Australia on land again for a while and then after that... many other adventurous ideas await. Rene is already looking at other boats and hatching new dreams. So, don't worry - we will still live life to the max!!