Biting the bullet and jumping in with both feet

So we have done it, bitten the bullet, thrown caution to the wind, jumped in with both feet, taken the plunge – packed up our little townhouse, had another big chuck out, given more stuff away and put everything else in storage. It’s official! Bali Hai is our home for the next couple of years at least!

It was therefore, a bit of an anticlimax to find ourselves (apart from four nights when we anchored in Kuah on Langkawi) still stuck at the Marina on Rebak Island. Not that I’m complaining you understand – there are definitely worse places to be than a beautiful five star resort with pool, beach bar, dedicated restaurant for Marina residents and 20 per cent off at the main restaurant where the food is seriously OK.

We arrived in Langkawi after a wonderful six weeks of visiting family and friends in Brisbane on 31 January. Exhausted from the intense weeks of packing up, all the socialising and the flight, we spent a few days just relaxing.

Once recovered, and having caught up with friends from the Sail to Indonesia Rally – Tashi Delek, Charon, Evergreen, Sunchaser, Fruits de Mer, Allure and Island Bound, the plan was to set sail round Langkawi and explore all the beauty spots – the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden, the Hole in the Wall, and all the delightful beaches that we had glimpsed from the road but not yet visited

So we sailed off to replenish our fresh food stocks in Kuah (Langkawi’s main town). As we dropped our lines at Rebak Marina it was immediately apparent that the steering wasn’t as responsive as it should be – Jonathan had to really increase the revs to the engine in order to get Bali Hai to turn – it sounded like we were trying to take off an aeroplane rather than slip away sedately on our yacht.

The trip over to Kuah was frustrating as the wind had turned just as we set off and we ended up having to motor all the way with the wind on the nose. Bali Hai was very sluggish – we were going at least one or two knots slower than usual (that’s a lot when you only average around 6 – 7 knots!)

The day after we arrived at Kuah Jonathan jumped over the side to look at the propellor and emerged spluttering and bloodied after having an alteration with the vast colony of barnacles stuck all over the prop shaft, the prop and the bottom of the boat. 
No wonder we were so slow! While we were in Brisbane the crustaceans of Rebak Island must have thought it was Christmas – they had set up residence on the bottom of Bali Hai and gone forth and multiplied.

Worse than that – Jonathan found that the sacrificial anode which stops the metal propeller from degenerating was almost non existent.  

Our original plan was for Jonathan to spend a couple of weeks at the beginning of March doing a few service jobs and redo the anti foul while I went to the UK. He planned to join me once Bali Hai was back in the water. However, we realised that if we didn’t get the boat out of the water quickly we wouldn’t have much of a propeller left. We therefore made an urgent call to Rebak Marina and were given a new haul out date a few days later.

In the meantime, we discovered that a bearing in one of steering wheels was jammed which was another reason why the steering had felt so stiff. 

 Fortunately Jonathan managed to fix it with the help of local (Kiwi) welder, Fred, whose workshop we discovered when hunting for meat at Sailor’s factory outlet! Fred amazingly dropped what he was doing and welded the part immediately. Great service, cheerfully given. 

We spent the few days at Kuah loading up with diesel and two-stroke, replenishing our food, buying anti foul and purchasing me new glasses (I had lost two pairs of bifocals – one over the side and one at a restaurant!). 

Although not cheap the cost was considerably less than what I would have paid in Australia – even with top insurance cover. 

The afternoon before the haul out we sailed back to Rebak and anchored just outside the entrance to the Marina. It was a lovely comfortable anchorage and we felt very rested the next morning.
Everything was going fine as we hauled anchor – Jonathan was at the wheel and I was in my spot at the bow controlling the anchor winch with the electric controller. 

We have had a suspicion that the anchor winch had been overworked and possibly (probably) abused during Bal Hai’s five year’s on charter so we have always treated it very respectfully. 
When pulling the anchor up I take it very steady – always ensuring that the chain is slack and not straining the winch by trying to heave the chain in with the weight of the boat against it. 
On this occasion the anchor was off the seabed and with ten metres of chain to go when “boof” the winch stopped working. No amount of coaxing or sweet talking would get it to work. In the end Jonathan had to pull the chain up by hand and between the two of us we managed to ship the anchor. 

As Jonathan was tying it off I had to run back and put the engine in reverse as we were getting scarily near the rocky beach and shallow water. 

A bit late and somewhat frazzled, we arrived at the Marina to be hauled out feeling thankful that the winch had only given out at that point and not when we were in some isolated cove with the anchor well dug in and 60 plus metres of chain out.  

So the long wait for the new anchor winch began. Frustrating but who is complaining? Rebak Island is definitely not the worst place in the world to have to wait around in!

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

6 thoughts on “Biting the bullet and jumping in with both feet”

  1. Just love what you two are doing! I’ve had so much fun being an armchair sailor reading all about it! Let the adventures continue! Looking forward to your continuing stories … Have fun and be safe.


    1. Thanks so much Bobbie, it’s so lovely of you to follow our adventures and so good to be in touch after all these years. Do you ever visit England these days? Meeting Jackie (Grace) in July in Beckenham and hoping to see some others too. Any chance of you being there?


  2. Ah Dot I feel for/with you. One minute all is calm then it’s battle stations. But it makes for a great story. Love it! I like your writing. Taking notes.


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