Everyday cruising life: last days in Telaga harbour

Totem in Telaga

Our watermaker is broken, so there are routine shore runs to fill up a jerry can and keep our tanks from running dry. We have a single five-gallon capacity jerry: wwhen it’s full, it’s too heavy for me, so Jamie bears the brunt of the burden. At least potable water that’s readily available from the dinghy dock for the Telaga Harbour Marina, and only a couple of minutes to jet in from the anchorage for another load.

hauling water

The daily squalls are mostly over, but rainy weather still comes. The seasons here are not so much “rainy” and “dry” as “rainy” and “slightly less rainy.” It’s rarely similar to the spitty Pacific Northwest misty sprinkle. Bucketing down in fat drops is more like it: sometimes we can barely see Love Song, anchored just a few boat lengths away.


It puts a damper on beach time, but it’s great for water collection. Every bit we can catch cuts down on the jerry can runs. We have a very simple system, simply running a line alongside the toe rail as a barrier to channel water, then ringing the end of the line around the deck fills about amidships. When it’s time to initiate, Jamie yells out: “CATERPILLAR DRIVE!” and we all know what to do.

Our system is highly imperfect: the watermaker made it less important to invest time in a better setup. It’s sufficient, though, and we get by for now. When there’s a good daily dump, we can keep our tanks topped off.

We were rich with excellent company for the weeks in Telaga. It was early 2009 the last time we saw our friends on Love Song, but intervening years can simply melt away in cruising friendships. Reunions like these are a happy counterbalance to remember every time we have another goodbye. But for all the goodbyes, there were so many more hellos this time around, and so many great new friends to make.

new best friend

The big surprise was that these new friends were overwhelmingly American: we haven’t seen so many American boats in a very long time! For all that nationality really doesn’t matter a whit in the scheme of things, it’s still nice to be surrounded by familiar accents, and people with the same context, especially when it’s been a while. There was  Cashmere, who we traded messages with many months ago, hoping to intersect “somewhere.” Water Musick hails from our home state, as does Kalalau. Then, just before we were due to leave for Thailand, Utopia returned. More good times and memories to stash. (Notice how these families are all referenced by their boat names? That’s how it works, so choose yours wisely!)

Great night out at Tapaz
it’s not all beach bonfires: tapas and sangria night!

We checked in at the marina office every few days, looking for packages delivered there but bound for boats in Phuket. Almost every marina seems to have a bulletin board like this, with everything from crew positions sought to boat parts (and even boats) for sale, next to tidier harbour information like tide tables or a published weather forecast.

Telaga Harbour Marina

The marina was also a great source of car rentals, as the staff rent their personal vehicles for RM 10 (about $3) an hour. Perfect for a grocery run! How you’re going to transport the pounds of food a family needs every day is not something that requires any thoughtful planning before cruising. There’s a store not far from your home, and you drive there. Maybe weekly, but if you forget something essential, hey, no problem! Just pop out for a few minutes. It’s a little more complicated when stores are dispersed, you don’t have that car any more, and there’s no public transportation.

In addition to the bargain rentals from the marina office, there are some enterprising folks who rent a car for around RM 50 for 24 hours. We made full use of the novelty of car access to find what we needed. One store had the paint. Another had fittings. Yet another had the gloves and protective suit to wear for applying anti-fouling.

back door purchases
buying solar panels and batteries through the back door

Stores are spread out around Langkawi, and finding what you need is typically a scavenger hunt that requires visiting several, but it’s still a great place to find everything from quinoa to anti-fouling paint. Jamie sourced materials we’d need for our coming haulout from around the island so we could leave as few factors as possible to chance and mother nature, and get the work done on time.

We had fun, too.

Langkawi view
morning trip to the top of Langkawi’s tallest peak
road trip!
going to…a movie theater? in a car?!

Totem’s haulout date in Thailand loomed, and our last days in Langkawi focused on getting prepared. We try hard to avoid schedules, but they happen. In this case, we can’t be more than about a week of out water, or we’ll be late getting to Phuket to pick up our friend Dan!

3 Responses

  1. One of the biggest changes for my boat kids…The Car. My girls have a love hate thing going on with cars. They hate the fast paces rushing around cars bring, yet enjoy the interesting places and extra provisioning treats that cars can deliver.

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