Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Langkawi was another gathering place for migratory yachts as they took advantage of the duty free status of the island and the repair facilities available.

For my part I replenished my stores with a tank full of cheap diesel and as many cases of duty free beer as I could cram into the the lockers. My excuse is that I've recently fallen in with a crowd of Scandinavians - no longer the abstemious French - so have to cater accordingly.

For a change from fresh or canned fish, Ben (Lasse) and I found "the Italian Butcher". The Italian/fanatical butcher imports his cows from France (apparently they produce the best meat in the world), tends them lovingly as they grow fat on the lush pastures of Langkawi and finally soothes them with music in the slaughter house before turning them into steaks. Be on-guard if you're ever shown into a darkened air-conditioned room with relaxing music emanating from the ceiling by an enthusiastic Italian with a glint in his eye.... Wonderful steak, mince and sausages though.

Great to meet up with lots of boats I haven't seen for a while, Lasse, Blue Marlin and Antares to name a few. It was particular good to see Lasse again as we haven't really seen each other since we arrived in Indonesia. Lisa, aged 5, greeted me with an eight page story describing my future life. She's decided I should stop growing any older so she can catch-up and marry me. There were scenes of our wedding, us leaving on our catamaran for our honeymoon, and finally, me cooking on-board while Lisa looked after the children. Very sweet and one of the better offers I've received in a while...

There's much discussion in the anchorage about the trip west; piracy avoidance strategies, rumoured exorbitant costs in the Maldives and Oman and what the food's like in Somalia. One of the strategies is to form a mutually protective convoy through "pirate alley" - "circling the wagons if the pirates appear". It focuses the mind, thinking who you'd like to have around in an emergency. Hopefully the situation will improve in the next few months and it seems the pirates interest lies in something more valuable than a few impoverished sailors heading home. Let's hope so...

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