A month ago we were headed to Borneo. Thanks to continued engine problems, we’ve been sitting in Puteri Harbour instead. Cruising plans torpedoed, Totem is shacked up at the monthly rate. A blog follower and friend wondered what happened to us the last few weeks. He nailed it, too, understanding that being parked makes my inner cruiser feel caged: I kind of lost my mojo, and the blog went quiet. So, what’s been happening in our non-cruising cruising world, besides getting our life raft re-certified?
If you’re following us on Facebook you probably know about the rat saga already. I wish this was a reflection with 20/20 hindsight but it’s three weeks today since I was awakened at night by a rat running up my body, and the rodent is still on board somewhere. We have deployed three live traps, two snap traps, an ultrasonic rodent repellent ipad app, invited neighboring cats on board, and distributed a variety pack of poison to catch the rat and his/her suspected friend (please don’t let them make baby rats!). They mock us making noise at night, streaking through the cabin, leaving gifts of ratty poo, and cleverly stealing bait from traps- even bait that is TIED DOWN. So sadly, I’m not here to share what worked, but to say we’re trying everything we can and just hope to evict them before they do enough damage to wiring or plumbing to drain our savings.
Meanwhile, it’s been Ramadan. This month-long Islamic observance is most apparent to an outsider through daily fasting, which stretches from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in this corner of the world. That’s not just abstaining from food, but also drink, cigarettes, sex, or other behaviors that might be considered sinful. I felt for the mechanics visiting Totem, sweating in the heat down below, who couldn’t have a drink and were clearly missing their regular smoke break. They were still smiling and helpful, but their energy flagged. I had to fast for one measly half day to do some bloodwork, and was completely grumpy about it: I have nothing but respect for people who cheerfully manage this practice for a month in order to remember those who suffer, or are simply less fortunate than they are.
Although it isolated (transportation required for anything outside the hotel/marina complex) and confining (oh, Borneo!), staying in Puteri Harbour has plenty of upside. It’s been a pleasure to meet several boats we have corresponded with, but not previously had tracks intersect.
Many memorable evenings have passed sharing nibbles on the dock while the sun sinks behind the waterfront hotel and shops. The staff is friendly and helpful, even delivering gifts of a rice dish traditionally eaten as iftar– the light meal to end fasting after sunset- to residents in the marina.
Three other “kid boats” mean a raft of new friends. The girls play Musical Boats for sleepovers, swing from Momo’s rigging, and race their scooters around the docks.
Dock sundowners have typically been parleyed into an occasion for theater, where the kids command attendance to elaborate their choreographed and costumed dance performances.
I’m taking full advantage of the managed access we have to certain hotel facilities. Yoga practice is so much easier when I have a large space, a beautiful view, a pleasant temperature, and no interruptions! When I need a quiet place to write, an air conditioned chart room has cushy chairs and a shaded view of the marina. It’s lovely.
Meanwhile, Jamie’s found more customers for rig checks and sail orders. The Indian Ocean is next for many, and nobody wants to go into that with any doubt about their setup. This is work he genuinely enjoys and a nice boost for our cruising kitty: a win all around.
Followers in flow know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.