Day 15, Year 5: Second Thoughts . . .
Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Weather: Sunny Morning Turning Stormy in the PM
Location: Rebak Marina, Pulau Rebak, Langkawi, Malaysia

Knowledge is supposed to be a good thing, but when you spend a day reading about how to get home from here, you get just a little apprehensive. I think I’ve checked every website out there and learned just enough to be dangerous. Just the sheer miles are daunting and then there are the piracy issues if you go through the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea or the wicked weather if you go around South Africa. Cochin, India is looking much more inviting than the Maldives, but again, that is at first glance. And then the Red Sea, which we thought would be cheaper for us than going all the way around South Africa, is looking more and more expensive. Just the Suez Canal transit alone will cost us $500-$700 US plus all the backshish (alternate spelling of baksheesh) we have to pay. Wikipedia states that, “Baksheesh is a term used to describe tipping, charitable giving, and certain forms of political corruption and bribery in the Middle East.” We know from other cruisers that this form of tipping is not an option. If you don’t pay, you might be awakened in the middle of the night during a terrible storm and told you must leave the Suez Canal RIGHT NOW. Fun and games. But there are wonderful things to see and beautiful people to meet, so we’ll continue the research and hopefully come up with a plan that suits us. We are still sticking with the Red Sea route for now, but as with almost every cruising couple we have met here, there is still a tad of indecision lurking out there..

Mark continued his work on our stove issue and determined that it is faulty sensors, so tomorrow we trek to Kuah on the main island of Langkawi to look for sensors, take our mainsail in to have a new cover made, and shop, shop, shop for food, drink, and various boat things. We have just gotten Windbird cleaned out and ready for provisioning, so now the process of filling her up with food stores for the next six months begins. It is an arduous task, but once done, you really do have your food supplies for months and only need to catch fish and buy fresh veggies and fruit when it is available. By tomorrow night, Windbird will sit just a little lower in the water with all the goodies we find in town.