Four Year Report, the Voyage

This past year we revisited familiar places, old friends and great times. We arrived back in Phuket just in time to celebrate my birthday. As in years past i celebrated it with intrepid sailor and good friend , Steve, who shares the birthday with me. The events in Phuket went from local New Year and on to two more New Year’s celebrations. i do love how the Thai’s love to celebrate.

i partook in the two big local sailboat races. The King’s Cup is an opulent affair with phenomenal social events and five days of international racing, this year i volunteered for the race committee and worked at setting the marks. Next event was my favorite, the Nga Bay Regatta at which i was the crew boat for an all girl racing team. Yes i do get into the darnedest things.

The time in Phuket was also used to work on Furthur, a full report will be given. All work and no play?, never. We did another great dive trip to the Samilian Islands and some other local diving. i entertained some friends from home with tours of Nga Bay, always great to have visitors from home.

While in Phuket i enhanced my love of Buddhism and visited many temples with my Thai friends. My love of The Land of Smiles only grew more intense with my second visit. Alas, the seasonal change and the last extension of the last visa up so we left this mystical land and headed back to Indonesia.

We made fast tracks down Malaka Straights, stopping to visit old friends, first at Penang to see past crew member Troy. He was doing great at his government job. The current crew had heard so much about Troy and his exploits and were giddy curious to meet him. Next friends to see where Steve and Lorain on the new Patomba. This will be the last time i see my good friend as he passed away shortly thereafter on his new boat in the arms of his true love. Who could ask for more? The cruising world lost two intrepid sailors this year. the sad news that young Alex from Bubbles left us, all too soon. Both guys where living their lives on their terms, making their dreams their stories.

If you go back in my blog you will see the trip south was full of unusual events, not the least of which was me winding up in a Malaysian ambulance and whisked to the local hospital. As with most of my tales it has a humorous twist, when they mistook Rosie for my wife and demanded she procure a urine sample from me. We still laugh over that one. And then there is the time the girls visited a recent air plane wreck, got into the secured area escorted by a navy boat and brought me a piece of the downed airliner, never a dull moment.

Furthur crossed the Equator two times this year, making six crossing all togehter, a rare accomplishment for a cruising boat. We always celebrate the traditions and enjoy a visit from King Neptune who issues certificates to those transformed from Pollywogs to Shellbacks.

Back to Bali and the lovely Lovina, we drop in on another past crew member, Marisa. She is now managing two dive shops in northern Bali and doing great, we did a night out and a dive together, so good to see her doing well.

About this time the battery situation became critical and i made it to southern Bali to the Benoa Marina. There really is no technical support for cruising yachts in Indonesia, not even Bali. i rearranged the batteries and off we went to my heaven on earth, Gili Air. This would be a short stop as i planned to return for a month of diving with Blue Marlin Diving as a dive master. We picked up two of the most lovely German girls to make the trip to Komodo, again a boat load of five of the most wonderful, stunningly beautiful girls, ah the life.

We arrived in the Komodo National Park and it was like old home week, not sooner was Furthur anchored than several boat loads of old friends dropped by, “hello Captain Brian”. I was home again. We enjoyed the diving and natural beauty of the park, showed the new crew the dragons and went to the town of Labuan Bajo. I quickly found the musicians and began to play with the local band. The young talented pickers where eager to learn old school rock and roll, these guys had not even heard of Johnny B Good but played it like a ringing bell.

With the promise of returning soon we headed back to Gili Air. During Ramadan many of the dive masters go home to be with family leaving the dive shops shorthanded. My friends had asked me the year before to help out, sounded like fun. I was offered free diving every day in and asked to help the dive masters, soon I was leading dives and having a blast.

With the rising of the crescent moon so ended Ramadan and our stay in Gili Air. But not before I got a new tattoo that covered an old tat depicting an old life with a new brilliant picture of a dolphin. New Ink, new crew and back to Komodo we go. Back in town I resume playing with the boys and girls at the Lounge. This bar as the best internet in town so hordes of young travelers hang out there but never interact, just stare at the computers even during the music. I decided to interrupt them and went into a wild rock song, jumped up on the bar with my guitar and whaled away. Sure enough the computers dropped as did the jaws of my co hearts and crew. Sam covered her face as someone asked her what her “Dad’ was doing. This was a hit, so much it became my motto. I do hope that someday an old married couple who honeymooned at Komodo will say, “honey remember that crazy old yank who played on the bar in Labuan Bajo?” .

All things must come to pass and again the changing winds and visa limitations sent us scurrying north. We are about to cross the Malaysian border, visit friends on the way and explore the new land of the Philippines.