Finding bliss in stagnant cruising

Siobhan in the pool
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?

sundowners on the dock
dock sundowners have also been happening

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.

Hari Raya decorations
one of the pictures the kids took, a project to learn about Ramadan

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.

SV Madrona
meeting Madrona after quite a few miles (and emails!)

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.

Fountain games
Siobhan with Jana (SV Momo) and onlookers

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.

dance performance
performance by kids from four boats

Dock sundowners have typically been parleyed into an occasion for theater, where the kids command attendance to elaborate their choreographed and costumed dance performances.


Fitness center bliss 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.

9 Responses

  1. Somehow I missed the very pertinent fact that you discovered you had one because it was RUNNING up your body TOUCHING YOU!!! AAAHHHH!
    I hope you kill the little bastard soon.

  2. So very sorry to read that the rats are still on board! I sure hope the bucket & can contraption works! Thanks for the updates. Wishing you luck & inspiration to overcome these challenges. Now!

  3. So sorry to hear about the rat! We had one aboard in the Solomon Islands. Sheri was the first to discover it when it jumped off her head in the middle of the night! The traps were useless. Rats are smart! The poison finally did the trick and fortunately, he made his last appearance moments before dying in some inaccessible location.

    The we picked up another one just a couple months ago in Straits Quay. Didn’t even bother with the traps, went straight for the poison. He ate some and left the boat on his own. Guess he didn’t like the food!

    Gene & Sheri
    S/V Reflections
    Terengganu, Malaysia

  4. The ripples in your lead photo look an awful lot like the space-time curvature maps from a general relativity calculation. Beautiful shot, but it brings back memories of grad school….

    Good luck with the rats. The big wild ones can be pretty scary buggers.

    Cheers 🙂

    1. Space-time curvature maps… I had to google it… love the connection! OK, so hopefully those were also GOOD memories of grad school. 🙂

      1. After enough time staring at equations, you don’t really remember whether it was good or bad, just that it happened. Probably.

        (I should probably get away from the computer and back to the hull planking now…)

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