Sonnenaufgang über Langkawi

Sailing is Freedom, right?

I generally like to do what I feel like doing. Unfortunately, sailing and living on a sailboat is not always a matter of liberty and being able to choose your own way – even if it looks like it.

Already after nearly 2 weeks on our way through the Mediterranean I had to learn this bitterly. I expressed the wish ” I like to swim one more time before we get stuck in the harbour basin in Lefkas…”. Bad decision – we almost lost the boat (see here the blog from Greece in 2015). Since then, I’ve been thinking twice before taking decisions the weather god might disagree with…

Also the maintenance of the essential equipment on board always has top priority. It is worthwhile not to be sloppy here, especially at anchor or out at sea everything relevant must function.

In the last months, however, the external determination takes on a different dimension. If we were really confronted with a killer virus I’d also understand it. But form your own opinion, here from Worldometer the information about Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore :

Daily Corona deaths in Malaysia (32.4 Mio Population so 4 deaths/Mio polpulation)
TäDaily Corona deaths inThailand (69.8 Mio polulation so 0.8 deaths per Mio population)
Daily Corona deaths in Singapur (5.8 Mio population so 4 deaths per Mio population)

And even in Germany, Austria and Switzerland the facts tell us that this year is absolutely comparable with other years – attention the red curve is 2018 not 2020! :

Weekly total deaths in Germany in the years 2016 to 2019 in grey, 2018 ! in red ! and 2020 ! in blue!
Excess motrality in Switzerland and Austriafrom 2015 to 2020 (according to Euromomo) – compare the surface underneath the peaks, not the hight!

After emailing the Swiss embassy, ​​which asked us to fly back to Switzerland, we booked our one-way flight to Zurich (see blog from May). Well, our families and friends look forward to us and we look forward to them. After all, it’s been 2.5 years since we were last in Europe.

However, we naively assumed that we would come back to our ship after a few weeks. We heard rumors about a possible border opening in Thailand in July and imagined that Malaysia will act similarly, since they are also very dependent on tourism.

But then, 3 days before the “Conditional Movement Control Order” expires on June 9th, we learn that Malaysia is extending the “Recovery Movement Control Order” until August 31, 2020.

I cannot believe it!

With the new situation, we could stay in Malaysia until mid-September, which is great, but we have already booked a flight. Only if we fly home now, we don’t know when we can go back. We get this message from Philippe from Ulani who tells us at the same time “yes, then they will probably only open in September for the region and open the borders for International towards the end of the year… ”. I almost can’t breathe. When we look at the official information ourselves, however, we do not find any specific information at which date the borders will open. It can be both earlier and later, everything is possible.

Lots of beers and a sleepless night don’t really help to digest the news and calm down our nerves. Also not that in the meantime we are sitting in the marina (and I hate marinas), paid for 3 months and the marina management would not respond to my request to interrupt the 3 months due to the special situation.

We should urgently have our chain galvanized in Penang (a daytrip south of here). That was already planned for the beginning of April and our only 2 year old chain is corroding away like the previous 14 years old chain. But paying 2 marinas at the same time is no fun either. To stop the rust, Reto coats the entire chain with a rust converter.

Ein Rosthaufen nach nur zwei Jahren
A whole bunch of corrosion after only 2 years time
Die rostige Kette wird gebadet und bestrichen mit Rostumwandler
The corroded chain is bathed and brushed with rust remover

Other mechanical parts on the boat also don’t chear us up: the starboard gearbox looses oil, Reto opens it again (as we already did a few times before). This means lifting the engine again and moving it forward to get to the screws of the housing. We suspect that the sealant used was too old, but then we find two “noses” at the location of the leak and it is clear that this is a production failure that should not be there.

Kein Wunder, dass es nicht dicht ist - die Fläche vom Getriebe ist nicht plan
No it is clear why the oil would leak out !
Reto feilt das Gehäuse flach
…die Feile muss es dann richten

Great! So in addition to the aweful engineering also the production is not well done – real expertise of engineering (and could be even from Germany as we find rumours…)!! But thats not all. At the reassembly one of the way too short fitting screws rips out the thread in the aluminium! It is an M8 and we only have the set for repairing the M6 (Helicoil).

In the whole town of Kuah we find the two stores that have the helicoil but of course in both of them the M8 is currently sold out. We order via internet and hope that it will arrive on time.

Schimmelvorbeugung - Sonnenbad für die Kleider
Fighting against the mold – all cupboards contents get to spend a few hours in the sun

In addition to cleaning the whole ship, taking the sails down and washing all the covers of the upholstery, there are other beautiful marina projects on our to do list. The nicest is the cleaning of the toilet tank and the maintenance of the toilet, which is pretty much the most disgusting work on a boat. Anyone who has done this before will agree with me. I usually like to leave this work to Reto, but since we want to put everything back together in the evening, I have to help this time as well.

Die Segel müssen runter
Taking down the sails…
...dabei zeigt sich der ein oder andere Verschleiss
…we find the one and the other item of wear
Fehlalarm - die erste Entlüftungsidee schlägt fehl
The first trial to get the hot air out turns out to be a flop

A nice project, on the other hand, is the installation of our newly acquired Aircon. The first attempt of installation ends in me laughing loudly at Reto: he connects the exhaust hose to a cabinet and blows the warm air into our double floor underneath the cockpit. But the air doesn’t want to go there. Instead it goes up to the steering wheel and chart plotter and back into the living room via a small ventilation gap ;-).

But the input for solving the problem of sealing the windows is given: the huge piece of shoe sole that I bought 4 years ago in Grenada to seal our saildrives is an excellent sealing material for the exhaust pipe.

Das neue Aircon Abluftrohr mit Mücken und Regenschutz
The exhaust pipe with insect and rain protection is mounted int he little window

Once installed, the system dehumidifies several liters of water from the ship. It literally dries out! Good thing: The goal is not to find everything moldy whenever we can come back!

Our new crew member is called Midea and will hopefully guard our home well when we are not there;-)

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