Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Packing up and Coming home.

I had a follower not too long ago ask me to continue blogging as long as we were more or less closing things out, as not many people do that and the information as to how to "quit" just isn't out there.  I thought that was a good idea so here goes...my first post on the details of packing up and going home.

There are so many things that need to be done and so many emotions that goes with each one.  I tried/am trying to tackle the whole thing like a job.  Make a list, cross them off one by one.  No tears, no emotions, just get it done.  Yeah, right.

The first one we tackled was finding a broker.  I started the process months ago and had decided on one, then we went with another, then we changed our minds again...blah blah.  The point being, making the decision to sell your boat (home) and leave it in the hands of a total stranger, trusting that they will do what you've agreed to do is a very hard thing.  It's a bit different than selling a house, at least it is for us.  We'll be half way around the world with no one to turn to if things go awry.  It's not just the usual price, commission and marketing questions to worry about.  It's location of where you leave your boat; do you trust the locals, will it be more likely to be shown in one place vs. the other, what's the cost of the marina/yard, do you  haul out or leave it in the water.  The answer is different for everyone of course, but the decision process and the emotions tied to it are probably pretty similar.  We've finally landed in Rebak marina and feel pretty comfortable with the final decision.  We'll see what happens.  We may be eating crow in a few months.

The next item on our list was packing up.  Where does one find packing materials?  Do you ship by air or sea?  Who ships it for you?  What's that gonna cost us?  Luckily for me, we had a friend who unfortunately had to sell their boat in Malaysia a few years ago and they were kind enough to share their information, which allowed us to skip a few research steps in the shipping department.  Every person that came by would look at all of our boxes and ask us why we had so much stuff.  The cruising community prides itself in being minimalists and never being tied down, owning too much, etc.  In reality, about half the boats out there are just like us (probably more if I took a formal poll).  They have a lot of STUFF.  Not nearly what we had on land, but my goodness, how in the world we fit all those things in that little boat, I'll never know.  I think it might be a new skill to put on my resume.  Our water line went up well over a foot.  We ended up with 20 boxes and a table top (not the tabletop we were attached to, the one we tried to replace it with but couldn't ever quite get it finished.  In the end, I kind of like it too so I decided to ship it home).  We had to pull up to the dock (we were in the anchorage) and offload the boxes for the shipping company to pick up.  All I can say about that is yuck, yuck, yuck.  What could have been a pretty emotional process though turned out to be not so bad. It was hot, a few things were comical, and all in all, it was nice to get the ball rolling finally.

Our motto that day was "There's no turning back now, it's all over but the crying."  It's funny, the whole crying thing.  It hits you out of nowhere.  I'm not a huge crier (Andy might laugh at that, but that's because he's a man and once a year is too much), but my eyes would well up out of the blue when I thought about leaving.  When I would look around the boat and it was empty, I would be relieved one minute and the next I was grabbing a tissue.  I thought I had it all together until we put our suitcases in the dinghy and started pulling away.  What did me in was watching Jake.  He was trying so hard to suck it up and just deal with it, but he couldn't take his eyes off Savannah.  "It's the last time we're going to see her,"  yep.  He stood up in the dinghy and tried to watch her as far as he could before we got out of sight.  My heart broke for him.

Coming out from customs in Atlanta's International Airport.
That's my dad to the left. 
It's amazing what 10,000 miles can do for one's mood.  Once we landed in the good ole US of A, Jake started looking forward and with the exception of one little moment, he hasn't looked back.  I'm taking his lead and just pretending it's not happening and living our life one day at a time (if it happens on the other side of the world, did it really happen?).  The obvious positive of it all is that we're back with our family here in the states.  Chick-fil-a is just as I remember it, as is Target.  The Bass Pro Shop here in GA is a bit smaller than the ones Jake was used to in OK and VA, but they had what he wanted all the same.  Dishwashers and washing machines are just as magical as I had imagined.  All is going well.

I think that's probably enough throwing up on everyone for now (I don't even have cute pics to make my rambling easier to handle).  More to come...buying our first smart phone, finding a job (you mean I can't wear flip flops to the office?), Andy comes home (he's still with the boat), buying a car (I need a car?), etc.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

And we're back in the water!

I never thought this day would come but for the love of Pete (and some understanding immigration officials in Malaysia) we are finally back in Telaga.  After an uneventful launch from G&T we discovered our anchor windlass (with the new $800 motor) needed replacing.  We discovered this when it decided to quit working at 10:30 at night with the moon not yet risen.  Anywhoo…nothing a well placed mooring ball and a reliable credit card won’t fix (can you get a credit line increase without a job????).  Our trip was uneventful except for the strange emotions passing throughout the boat.  Knowing this was our last “cruise” together was bittersweet.  Thailand, not being our favorite place in the world, was a weird way to end it.  But I think we did our best and thanks to some McKaskle style provisioning and a goofy kid on board, we pushed through just fine.

So today we checked in to Malaysia (some day I’ll tell the story why that was a big deal) and tried to rent a car to do all the work horse type things we need to do, but no cars were available so we decided to be tourists instead.  We took a taxi (too much walking in Phuket made us quick to jump in the car) to the Oriental Village not too far from the anchorage and we did all the silly things we put off last time.  We rode the skycar up the hill to a beautiful view of the anchorage and marina and well, all of Langkawi.  We experienced a silly 6D film that had us riding a roller coaster through the desert.  Jake got to fulfill his dreams of running with the hamsters by zipping himself up in a plastic ball and running around a pond.  Don’t ask me the draw, but I’m glad he did it because I haven’t laughed that hard in awhile.  And finally, we rode the paciderms (aka Elephants!).

A great view of our anchorage
and the marina.  Andy tried to show where Savannah is.

I had high hopes as did the rest of the crew, but in the end, I felt sorry for the poor old elephant.  He looked run down and rode hard.  We took an extremely expensive 10 minute stroll through the “trail” and enjoyed the view from above and the whole novelty of it.  But in the end, it didn’t hold a candle to our 5 minute ($7) trot with the camels in Australia.  To be fair, we’ve been blessed with a lot of time with elephants…we used to live near and were very good friends with the elephant trainer in Norfolk, VA.  So we’re not new to the gentle giants.  But I kind of felt like I should apologize to the old guy for making him walk in circles for our enjoyment.  But we did “ride an elephant in Malaysia”  so CHECK on that box.

Speaking of boxes, tomorrow we pick up our first round (and hopefully ‘only’ round) of boxes to begin sending our stuff back to the US.  I don’t know if we’re sad or excited or anxious or just want to get the damn thing over with.  At any rate, it’s going to start tomorrow and be done in a few days.  In the meantime, Jake has met a few new friends and been enjoying the beach close by.  It’s cool being a cruising kid… a few kids come by in a dinghy, they say hi, you jump in, you tell your parents “we’ll be on channel 8” and off you go.  Andy and I actually circled the anchorage tonight wondering which boat he actually went to.  I think they’re now calling this “free range parenting” at home.   You don’t know how long I’ve been trying to fit that into a blog. 

I hope you all enjoy the pics.  We did.  More to come soon…packing out, shipping out, flying out and heading to the marina for the final listing.  Stay tuned.

Some pics of Jake for the grandparents and some updated pics of Savannah with her new lipstick on.

New Trampoline, wood, and fresh deck paint.

More new paint.

and more paint...

Shiny new transmission, the reason for all the woe.

New upholstery.