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Friday, August 27, 2010

August 27, 2010-Bottom Cleaning at Telaga

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Bottom Cleaning

We could either haul the boat at Rebak's boatyard and have them pressure wash it or scrub it ourselves but one way or the other the bottom needed cleaning.

Plus we needed fuel and Telaga Harbor has both a fuel dock and a clean anchorage.

So we went to Telaga for a few days.

We filled up the tanks at their fuel dock and then we anchored in the anchorage and scrubbed the bottom.

It took around 3 hours, all told, me doing the prop and the lower bits and Judy doing the waterline and down several feet. It surprised me after I did the keel and rudder how little of the rest of the bottom was left for me to do; Judy had reached down at least five feet along the full length of both sides. It seems that her fitness level is pretty good and I think mine is OK too. Cleaning the bottom of a 43 foot boat with a scrub pad and just snorkle and mask, and fins tests that in short order. Anyhow I finished the middle of the bottom and we were done.

Both of us working together; just as we always have.

The way it should be.

So now we have a full fuel tank, a clean bottom,

...and Pierre.


Pierre arrives next week. What more do we need?

Stay tuned, more adventures to come.


Fred & Judy, S/V Wings, Langakwi, Malyasia

Click here for more pictures from Telaga.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

August 21, 2010-Swimming under the Frangi Pangi Tree

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Swimming under the Frangi Pangi Tree

It’s twenty-five meters across the pool where I’ve been swimming these days.

I start in the corner near the lounge chairs, swim past the curved pool bar, swim under the Frangi Pangi tree, and swim over to the ladder on the far side. Then I come back.

Twenty six trips makes it six hundred and fifty meters. It takes me twenty minutes.

The best part is swimming under the Frangi Pangi tree.

I do my best thinking there, swimming under the Frangi Pangi tree.

Six hundred and fifty meters allows for a decent amount of thinking.

Today I was thinking about how good the slow pace in this quiet corner of the universe feels and how it suits me these days. When you slow down enough thinking can turn into meditation.

The choices Judy and I are about to make need some slow and careful consideration, some meditation.

The kind I can do swimming under the Frangi Pangi tree.

So we go over to the pool nearly every day and get water logged as we laze away the afternoon talking to the other cruisers about the things cruisers talk about and if the pool is not too crowded I swim my laps and meditate.

I swim under the Frangi Pangi tree, slowly and methodically putting one arm after the other over my head into the water and slowly and carefully consider things.

Today I found some peace. I came to the conclusion that I don’t need to make any big decision about the future, that I am OK with the changes in our lives however they turn out as long as Judy and I are together. I don’t need to feel anxious. I can be relaxed. The worry about what we need to do with our lives fell away as I was swimming under the Frangi Pangi tree. I realized it doesn’t matter.

As we walked back after our swim to the other side of the island in the long afternoon shadows, toward the setting sun, Judy and I talked and we shared that peace and our love for each other and we felt happy.

Life can’t get much better than that.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Langkawi, Malaysia

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Monday, August 09, 2010

August 10, 2010-A Quiet Place to Sort Things Out (Revision)

I decided I didn't like the tone of this posting as I originally wrote it. This is a revised version.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Telaga Harbor, Langkawi

We needed a quiet place and some time to begin to sort things out. The realization that we had to stop crossing oceans, that joint decision that came out of nowhere and put all of our plans and dreams to rest with the suddenness and finality of lightning strike, left us lost with no solid footing or direction, somewhat despondent and perplexed as to what new path forward we would find.

We needed a new star to steer by. The westward star, which was our true guide, suddenly blinked out… and, well, when that rug was pulled we just needed a place where we could think about things and move pieces of the puzzle around until some sort of picture started to appear.

That quiet place is Langkawi, Malaysia. We’ve been here a week and there is no sound but the birds and nothing moves here; even the cows haven’t looked up from their green grass to see what is going on because even they realize that nothing is.

Perfect for thinking about things.

We are not alone here; at Rebak Marina there are others in this limbo where we can’t go ahead and we don’t know how to go back and we’re all thinking about what we want to do. Some of these folks were the same people who were here in January, still living here on their boats and not saying much about their plans. We might have fallen in with this group. In fact we did for a while.

But, it’s all a bit too depressing so we know we need to get out of this space and out of this place.

We know that if the ocean can’t be crossed there must be other options and we’ve got a few figured out, such as shipping the boat to the USA and then going to Mexico to live on it there. There are some other options too. They aren’t all bad.

The positive attitude is sneaking back and new dreams are starting to materialize out of the funk.

The quiet time is starting to bore us. That is a good sign.

Stay tuned.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Langkawi, Malaysia

Click here for other pictures from Langkawi

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Monday, August 02, 2010

August 1, 2010-Deciding Not to Continue

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Sailing back from Sumatra, contemplating the future

We arrived back at Telaga Harbor on Langkawi Island at noon on Sunday, August 1. It was a benign 2 ½ day passage crossing from Sumatra, Indonesia and should have been a joyous occasion, but it was not. For unlike our forced return from the western Solomon Islands to Australia in 2003 to fix an engine problem, when we went on to continue our cruise to Hong Kong, this time we will not continue with our cruising plans.

Returning to Langkawi and deciding not to continue represents the end of a dream.

It’s the dream Fred and I have had and lived for the last 24 years; the dream of living aboard our boat, sailing the oceans, experiencing the geography of lands, people and culture that we have only read about in books. Stopping now is the end of all of that.

We never said we had a goal of ‘sailing around the world’. We just wanted to keep heading west. And our dream was to continue.

But plans change: Sometimes due to situations beyond one’s control; sometimes because one consciously chooses a different direction. In our case it is a combination of both: I chose because of things I feel that are beyond my control; Fred chooses because he chooses me; both of us do so with a heavy heart at giving up a goal we have held on to for so long. The good thing about this is that there is only one heavy heart because over the years the two of us have truly melded into one.

Why end the dream?

The passage from Thailand to Sumatra was very tough on both my body and my psyche. Fred gave an accurate description of the passage in the previous post. We had expectations of head winds in the mid-20’s, but we can handle that and I did not object as we set sail out from Thailand. After all, we have sailed in those conditions more times than I can count. (For an accurate account I would have to go though the 25 years of logs books we still carry aboard.) I sort of looked at it as a ‘shakedown cruise’ for testing my physical stamina after good results from a back surgery in February. In reality, it was a ‘shakedown’ of my psyche and it was an exposure of my fear of bad weather.

Over the years people have asked me, “Aren’t you afraid?” Usually they are referring to ocean sailing. I answer them, “Yes, I am afraid, but I want to sail on my boat to different lands and to do that means confronting those fears and trying to be as prepared as possible.” We’ve sailed over 26,000 miles since leaving Seattle in 1998 and we have encountered storms which have frightened me. Each of those experiences I was able to concentrate on what I could and would do during the duration of bad weather, and after the fact was able to join with my husband with a toast “We made it through that one, no problems.”

This time was different: I couldn’t concentrate on what I could and would do to solve problems. This time I felt incapacitated. This time, in addition to suffering a bit from seasickness (a normal occurrence during the first two days of a passage), I felt a lack of confidence in my physical abilities. Mainly, however, I felt overwhelmed with the fear that, “If it is this rough here, what the heck is the passage from Reunion to Richards Bay, South Africa going to be like?” “If something happens to Fred how am I going to deal with this?” And the anxiety built from there.

I was not only fighting my fear of the storm at hand, but my anticipation of the bigger one in November.

When we arrived in Sumatra we didn’t toast with, “We made it safe and sound, no problems.” We knew we were safe, but we also knew that I was still obsessing about the passage to South Africa and other passages; all of them. I am no longer prepared and able to face the oceans and the fear.

So I chose not to continue. Fred chose to be with me. Here we are in Langkawi. Where to next? What will the next dream be? We are working on it.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Facing a new future, together

Click here for more photos from our trip back from Sumatra.

Click here to see the log book pages of our passage back back from Sumatra.

Judy and Fred, SV Wings, Langkawi, Malaysia

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