Day 12, Year 5: Lines Up the Mast & Granola in the Cupboard
Date: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Weather: Threatening Clouds Amid Sunshine and Distant Thunder
Location: Rebak Marina, Pulau Rebak, Langkawi, Malaysia

We lucked out today with the rain. The forecast was for rain, but all we saw were threatening clouds and the rumbling of distant thunder. The outside temperature is about 85 degrees F but the humidity must be 110 per cent and when the sun is shining, it feels more like 95 degrees. My work continued today inside the boat, so I was protected from the heat, but Mark worked on deck all day. He was running the lines through the mast which required a few trips up and down the mast. I would go up to tail the winch when Mark was climbing, but that’s all I saw of the outside today. If you are wondering why the lines were not already run through the mast, here’s the longer story. When we had the mast down to be painted last year in Thailand, all of the lines had to come down. When we did that, we ran small messenger lines (disposable lines that show the way for the real thing) so we would eventually be able to attach the real lines to them and pull them back through. Without the messenger lines, weaving lines in and out of the mast would really be a trick. And I guess they are called messenger lines because they leave the message as to where the real lines are to be run. When we left Thailand, we didn’t put the lines back up the mast as we knew we would have to take them all back down again before going home. So we motored the 100 plus miles from Phuket to here and saved ourselves an enormous amount of work. If you are wondering why we would not just leave the lines up while we traveled home, the answer is that the tropical sun is deadly on lines, so you protect them when you can. So the lines that had been carefully washed and soaked in fabric softener in Thailand and stored inside the boat while we were gone are now all back up in their right places. Mark also got the staysail up today and hopefully the headsail will go up tomorrow. The mainsail needs to be taken to Kuah, the main town on Langkawi island, where a new sail cover will be made. We are planning on renting a car on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week to take the mainsail to town and to start our food provisioning for the trek across the Indian Ocean. But back to the mainsail . . . our current sail cover is a Doyle Stackpack and our mainsail is actually sewn into the cover. When the sail comes down, we just have to zip up the cover that is always right there on the boom. Ben, the sailmaker we will use in Kuah, is going to make us a new stackpack that will work just like the old one, but this time the sail will not be sewn to cover. That way it will be much easier to make repairs to the cover or to replace it without having to remove the whole sail with it.

My accomplishment for the day was making granola. We have eaten our homemade granola for so many years that we find it almost impossible to find a substitute. So I had the oven going for six hours and was very thankful, once again, for the air conditioner. While watching over the baking process, I continued cleaning out food cabinets, throwing out food that had not made it through the heat while we were gone, and organizing what is left. All spices had to be thrown out and they somehow solidify and mold. Most dry goods were vacuum packed, but that didn’t protect everything. Dried beans made it but lentils did not. Nuts survived but are rubbery, so those had to go. Crackers that have never been opened are all moist and have to be thrown out, but most noodles seem okay. Its like the survival of the fittest, but for the most part, we are going to be provisioning from scrap.

By the way, the cocktail party last night was fantastic. The resort hotel staff treated us like kings and queens, making sure we always had a drink and food in hand. This marina is different from most since it is located on an uninhabited island with only the marina and the resort. There is no town, which makes it slightly inconvenient when you need a boat part or run out of food. But it is a beautiful little island and being able to use the resort facilities makes it especially nice. I guess that is why so many cruisers get stuck here and return year after year.