The End of the World as We Know It.

It’s been a while since our last post. Here on Rehua, we are still coming to grips with the global crisis that has been unfolding slowly since the start of this year. It is hard to believe that we now live in a world where humans are not allowed to leave their house (or their boat, in our case) without wearing a facemask and only for essential grocery shopping. Socialising with other humans outside the immediate family unit is no longer allowed, unless it is via a video call. Outdoor exercise is allowed once a day, in the local neighbourhood, only one person at the time; family members are no longer permitted to exercise together.

These measures, applicable here in Singapore, seem extremely harsh. Singapore has seen a recent increase in COVID-19 infections, throughout many of the dormitories that are housing migrant workers. The local population however, remains largely unaffected. Luckily, the migrant workforce is mostly young and healthy and the total number of hospitalised cases remains low. Singapore has had 14 fatalities since the start of the crisis in February. For a population of 6 million that is very low and it proves that testing, isolating and tracing is really important.

As we were enjoying a sun-downer on the foredeck of Rehua last night, contemplating the current situation, Seathan and I were counting ourselves lucky. We are fortunate that we decided to stay in Singapore for another year. Many of our sailing friends are currently stranded in remote places across the globe. We know several cruisers that are currently ‘stuck’ in the Maldives. They are not allowed to go ashore, they have to stay onboard and they are not permitted to lift anchor or go anywhere else. The local authorities provide them with fresh food once a week. They are safe for now, but the weather window to cross the Indian Ocean will soon be over and it will leave many of our friends in a real predicament.

Other friends that are currently sailing through Indonesia were told they are no longer welcome. One cruising family reported they were chased away by locals who threatened to send bullets through the hull of their boat if they tried to anchor near their island. This is hard to imagine. Indonesia is a country where we spent nine months and where we visited so many beautiful remote places with friendly and welcoming locals. It seems a different place now.

I realise that we are in a privileged situation. Many people around the world, both in developing and developed countries, face unemployment, hunger and even starvation. The socio-economic effects of this crisis will be massive. We are extremely lucky to be safely moored up here in Singapore. I can continue to work from home, the kids are still being home-schooled and Seathan has a long list of boat-jobs to work through. By the time we will be ready to set sail again, everything will hopefully be back to ‘normal’.

Or will it?

I worry that now that countries are locked down and have closed their borders, they will only gradually re-open them, and probably never to the extent they were before. Before this crisis, we were able to sail from one country to the next without pre-arranged visas and obtain the necessary paperwork upon arrival. We were free to come and go as we pleased and the world was our playground. I love travelling to new places, visiting remote islands and meeting locals (who can usually teach us a thing or two about how to live a sustainable and self-sufficient life, by the way).

Travelling around the world, on our own boat, being as self-reliant as we can, is the ultimate way to feel alive, free and happy. All this freedom has now been taken away and I fear we will never get it back.

I’m worried about what comes after the lock-down. My concern is that many governments have gradually taken away many freedoms and introduced new laws and restrictions that prevent free movement of people. They will be reluctant to lift these restrictions as long as the virus is still around.

I hope I’m wrong, maybe everything will be back to normal by the end of this year. However, there is one thing I’ve learned since the crisis started and that is that we should never take anything for granted.

Raffles Marina under lock-down.

Off to the shops, facemasks are the new norm.

Social distancing on the MRT.

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The swimming pool is closed, so we made our own.

Daily walk (or scoot) to the lighthouse.

Raffles Marina lighthouse.

Another Year, Another Plan

If you would have told me ten years ago that I would be living and working in Singapore, as part of a stopover on an around-the-world sailing adventure, in a marina, on a boat, a catamaran nonetheless (instead of a monohull), I would have laughed and told you you were crazy.

When we left the UK in 2014, it was meant to be for 2 or 3 years only, 4 at the absolute maximum. Definitely not 6 or more. We sold our house but we left most of our belongings in storage, thinking they would come in handy on our return.

Now, I wish we had gotten rid of everything before we left, so we wouldn’t be paying a monthly storage fee for things we mostly don’t care about anymore. Furniture, books, clothes, kitchen appliances, toys, clothes, CDs, DVDs, skis, bikes, … The only thing I miss having with me is some of the jewellery that I inherited from my grandmother (and has sentimental value) and my favourite Mulberry handbag (but only because I could use it now that I’m back at work). And I know the kids would love to get hold of some of their Lego sets that we left behind.

Reflecting back on 2019, it was a very busy year for us. Going back to work after nearly 5 years off was a bit of a shock. Combining the daily grind with a live-aboard lifestyle, homeschooling the kids and keeping up with boat projects and maintenance, has left us all feeling rather exhausted.

So, we took a break over the Christmas holiday period and did what we enjoy most: we went sailing. We didn’t go far and decided to explore what Singapore has to offer in terms of anchorages (which is not much, I have to admit, but it was plenty for a short break).

Rehua dressed for the holidays

We left Raffles Marina on Boxing Day and sailed over to St John’s Island, just south of Singapore. It’s a well-protected anchorage that gets frequented by tourist charters during the day but empties out in the evening. The weather was beautiful and not too hot and, despite it still being the wet season, the sun came out and only disappeared briefly during the solar eclipse on Boxing Day.

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Solar eclipse on Boxing Day

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Eerie atmosphere at sea during the solar eclipse

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Approaching St John’s Island

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And then, just like that, the sun was back (and so were the tourist boats)

We anchored in the sheltered bay and jumped in the sea for a refreshing, salty swim. It felt so good to be back at anchor. The kids did some surfing behind the dinghy and crazy jumps off the boom. We turned on the BBQ and ate some delicious home cooked food and then slept the most peaceful sleep at anchor with the breeze coming through the boat and the gentle rocking of the waves.

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St John’s Island in the background

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Surfing behind the dinghy

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Singapore skyline in the background

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After a couple of days (and nights) at anchor we nipped into nearby One15 marina, arguably the poshest marina in SE Asia, for a treat and a night out in town. The next day, we did some laps in the resort-style pool and sauntered along the marina’s border walk which is lined with fancy restaurants, bars and cafés. On New Year’s Eve, we left the marina and sailed around the top of Singapore to the Changi Sailing Club, where we celebrated the start of a new decade with a few sailing friends.

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Singapore skyline upon leaving St John’s

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Marina Bay Sands in the background

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Sailing along the coast of Singapore, on our way to a New Year’s Eve party

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Mooring area at Changi Sailing Club

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Getting ready for New Year’s Eve

The party was fun and so was New Year’s Day but we fancied a few more days in a quiet anchorage to finish off our holiday. We sailed back south and enjoyed another couple of peaceful days and nights at St John’s. We finally saw a first drop of rain on the 3rd of January. We had been very lucky with the weather; it was supposed to be the wettest period of the Northeast Monsoon and we had been enjoying some lovely dry days filled with sunshine. Regardless, it was time to return to our base in Raffles Marina and get ready to go back to work and school and boat jobs.

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Sunrise over Lazarus Island

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The beach on Lazarus Island

I think we’re ready for another year. It’s going to be another tough year and we’ll all be working hard to reach our goal of setting sail again and crossing the Indian Ocean. It will all be worth it. Having taken a break from cruising this year has made me realise how much I love sailing and living onboard, being able to travel and explore new and remote places, meeting new people and simply being together as a family away from all the craziness that comes with modern society. I can’t wait to continue our travels.

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Sunset over the Singapore Strait

If I had one wish for 2020, it would be to catch up with some of our close family and friends we haven’t seen for the last few years. Hopefully some of you will consider a stopover in Singapore in 2020. You know where to find us!

Romantic Escape, Chased by Warship

Last weekend was a four-day long break for most people in Singapore. On Friday, the young nation celebrated its 54th birthday and on Monday, there was a public holiday for the annual Muslim observation of Haji (the ritual pilgrimage to Mecca). Friends at Raffles Marina were planning a short week cruising around the south of Batam, Indonesia, and we decided to take a couple of extra days off and join in the fun.

The kids are away in Belgium at the moment, visiting their grandparents, so it would be a romantic sail, just the two of us onboard for the first time ever. We had looked at doing a city trip to Vietnam or visiting temples in Cambodia, but, to be honest, the thought of busy airports, hotels, sightseeing, … didn’t quite excite us. When your boat is your home, you can just throw the lines without having to pack any bags and go explore. No queues, no traffic, no crowds. I was very much looking forward to a few nights at anchor, a swim in the sea off the back of the boat, some yoga at sunrise and a few sundowners with new sailing friends.

We cast off at dawn on Thursday and proceeded to the Western Quarantine and Immigration Anchorage, 22 nautical miles southeast of Raffles Marina. A few minutes after we called them on the radio, the immigration vessel arrived to clear us out of the country. We handed our paperwork over, using a fishing net, and they returned it soon after, with all the necessary stamps attached. Efficient and fast, as you would expect from Singapore.

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The Western Quarantine and Immigration Anchorage, Singapore

What followed was a busy day, avoiding the many tankers in the Strait, and, we had to pick our moment carefully to cross the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme).

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Busy as usual, crossing the Singapore Strait

We arrived in Nongsa early afternoon and were welcomed by many old friends. The marina took care of all the paperwork and we were all set to leave early the next day for our 50 miles sail south, to Ranoh Island. A few more Singapore-based yachts were joining the trip, so it promised to be a bit of a social gathering.

The sail south was wonderful. The industrial landscape of the north of the island disappeared quickly, to make way for lush green islands. It felt good to be back in Indonesia.

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We had beautiful sailing weather

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The green and lush islands south of Batam, Indonesia

The anchorage near Ranoh Island was well protected, although a bit rolly. It didn’t stop us from enjoying a refreshing swim and a good sleep. Ranoh Island itself is a beautiful setup with white sand, palm trees, a beach bar and restaurant and all sorts of water activities to keep the day guests entertained (who were dropped off by a fast ferry from Batam late morning).

We had a chill-day ashore and then some sun-downers on a nearby beach while watching the sunset and I felt like we were back in cruising mode.

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Ranoh Island

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The beach bar at Ranoh Island

On the way back up, we anchored for one night nearby Piayu Island and a recommended local seafood restaurant. Black pepper crab, gong-gongs (local sea snails), chilli prawns, crayfish, fried cuttlefish, steamed fish, scallops, … yum!

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The seafood restaurant at Piayu Island

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Piayu Island

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Sundowners onboard Rehua

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Cheers!

And then it was time to head back to Nongsapoint Marina for outward clearance. We had an extremely enjoyable downwind cruise with the sails goose-winged while surfing the two to three metres high waves. We were smoking along at eight or nine knots until, all of a sudden, the radio crackled.

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Goose-winged sailing down the coast of Batam

“Sailing vessel Rehua, sailing vessel Rehua, do you copy? This is the warship on your starboard side.”

“Warship, Warship, this is sailing vessel Rehua on channel 16. Over.”

“Rehua, Rehua, channel 17. Repeat, channel one-seven. Over.”

” Warship, Warship. Copy. One-seven.”

A huge 250ft Indonesian warship had approached us and they wanted to board us. There was no way Seathan was going to let that happen. They would simply crush us and could seriously damage our boat.

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An Indonesian warship approaching Rehua

“Rehua, Rehua, this is Warship, please switch off your engines and stop your vessel.”

“Warship, Warship, this is Rehua. We are currently sailing under sail power alone. Our engines ARE switched off. Repeat, our engines are switched off.”

This was then followed by a long silence where we suspected they were waiting to get the conversation translated by HQ before they could respond.

Next, they asked us to change course and we had to explain that would involve us lowering the sails first and we would need to point our vessel into the wind to do that, and, they would need to move out of the way.

Another long silence.

After more back and forth, with many radio silences in between, we managed to convince them to lower their tender.

Meanwhile, we were still on course for Nongsapoint Marina and only a few miles away from our destination by now.

Eventually, three heavily armed figures appeared in a small tender and we agreed to hand them our paperwork in a fishing net. We tried to explain that because their tender is not a soft, inflatable one, it could still seriously damage our boat should they try to board us. As you can imagine, two moving vessels and a big swell makes these type of manoeuvres extremely tricky. They said they would ‘try’ not to damage us.

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We handed over our paperwork using a fishing net

More conversations followed on the radio. From channel 16 to channel 17 to the translators at HQ and, finally, they asked for our passports. And they still wanted to board us too.

“Why do you need to board us?” Seathan asked. “You have seen all our papers. Is there a problem?”

They weren’t sure how to answer this. The three guys in the tender radioed back and forth with the big warship and the response we got was “because our commander says so.”

Hmmmh.

Seathan suggested they could come onboard once we were in the marina (by now we were getting very close).

“Sir, you are not allowed to enter port until we release you,” was the response on the radio.

We seemed to be stuck in an impossible situation. They asked us one more time where we came from and where we had been and where we were heading. Then, more conversations between the warship and the guys on the tender and HQ.

And then, for some reason unclear to us, they just handed us our papers and passports back and we were free to go. We even had a chat with the three guys in the tender about our trip and crossing the Atlantic and the Pacific. They wanted to take some selfies with us and Rehua in the background. When we asked whether we could take their picture, they happily posed with their guns in hand. Big smiles, lots of waving and off they sped, back to the warship, which was a good few miles away by now. I hoped they had enough petrol to make it back.

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Big smiles and happy faces after all the checks were done

In the meantime, we were just outside the marina and had to make sure we didn’t crash into the reef.

We were very happy to tie alongside the dock in Nongsa where our friends from SV Windancer were waiting for us with a celebratory beer in hand. They were lucky to escape the warship too, because they would have been next in line. They had heard the entire story unfold on the radio.

One more night in Nongsa and then back to Raffles Marina. Another busy day of crossing shipping lanes, avoiding big tankers.

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Nongsapoint Marina, Batam

It was a perfect little escape. Sunshine, beautiful sailing weather, relaxed time alone and with friends. I feel totally recharged and refreshed. 😊

 

“Métro, Boulot, Dodo”

On weekdays, I get up at 6am. Seathan makes coffee while I get ready, we have a quick breakfast, I give the boys a kiss and a cuddle while they are still in their cozy, warm beds and I’m on the MRT by 7. My days are filled with meetings and by time I get home in the evening, my brains are fried and I’m ready for bed.

As with so many things in life, only when you stop doing something, you realise how much you really enjoy it. I’m so happy we didn’t sell the boat and settle back into ‘normal life’ because I can’t wait to go sailing again. The Indian Ocean awaits.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that all four of us are eager to set sail again. We all crave the sailing lifestyle. We miss being in tune with the world around us and living by the weather, going to bed when it gets dark and waking up naturally when the sun rises (instead of being woken by the buzzing of my alarm clock), jumping into the sea for a quick dip before breakfast – or any other time of the day, spending several days sailing non-stop to a new place and enjoying the wide-open ocean with nobody else around, catching a fish for dinner, having time to read a book or play some games, and, most importantly, having time for each other. It’s not a holiday, it’s a lifestyle.

I miss being at anchor in a place like this …

…and being able to go for a quick dip anytime of the day.

There is a flip-side, there always is. We don’t see our friends and family often, many of whom are on the other side of the world, and, although we meet a lot of new and interesting people, we often have to say goodbyes. Living on a boat is not always easy, the space is limited, everything takes longer because you usually have to do everything from scratch (think making bread or pizza which starts with making the dough), grocery shopping is usually a half-day event, there’s always something to fix or service and there’s often no internet available.

But I wouldn’t swap it. I enjoy living on the water. I love not being tied to one place. Now that we are based in Singapore for a while, I’m glad that we still live onboard, even if it is in a marina. It feels good to be away from the city-centre with all its high-rise buildings, traffic jams and shopping malls.

Singapore is a real bubble. Life is very comfortable here. Everywhere is very safe, and clean. The public transport network is great and taxis are cheap. You can get any type of food you want. The supermarkets have imported produce from all over the world (Singapore doesn’t grow anything) and the restaurants are top notch. You can have French, Italian, Greek, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese,… and of course Chinese. The typical hawker centres serve delicious local favourites at an affordable price.

In Singapore, you can buy anything you want (except for chewing gum, that’s not allowed because it could make the streets dirty). There are shopping malls everywhere, all air-conditioned of course, so that people can still wear jeans or suits or trendy clothes despite the hot and humid climate. But it’s a very consumer-oriented society and I’ve become very skeptical about buying things I don’t really need.

Maybe it’s because we live on a boat that we don’t get tempted to buy many things as there simply is no space for an extended wardrobe, designer furniture or new kitchen appliances (and because our boat is 110V we can’t buy local appliances that work on 220V). So, let’s just forget about that new breadmaker, the kids will just have to keep doing the kneading.

The kids are used to having chores, which we think is very important. They’re lucky that school usually only takes half a day, so even after doing their chores they still have plenty of time to play. Minecraft is still the number one favourite activity. Apart from swimming, scooting and just hanging with friends.

When we arrived in Singapore we considered sending them to a school but when we found out how expensive the international schools are (the chances of getting into a local school are pretty slim for foreigners) we decided to continue homeschooling, which Seathan took over. They benefit from one-to-one tutoring and are getting through the curriculum much faster than they would if they were at school. And I don’t think they are deprived from social contact. There are some other kids in the marina and we’ve caught up with friends we knew from back in London, who in turn introduced us to their other friends, all with kids of similar ages.

So, I hope you get the picture. Life is busy but we are fine. We’re just taking a break from the ‘real world’ to do some work and earn some money.

Talking about work, our list of boat projects is quite long. After five years at sea, there are a number of things that need to be replaced or renewed including all the safety gear onboard, some of the sails, our mainsail cover, our cockpit enclosure removable clears, some of the interior upholstery, our watermaker needs a makeover and we need to rethink our instrument set-up (radar, electronic chart plotters, etc.). And I know that there are many more things on Seathan’s list that I’m not even aware of.

It is a bit frustrating that, at the moment, we can’t even go out for short daysail on the weekend because one needs a local licence to sail in Singaporean waters (which you don’t need if you are clearing out internationally). Seathan is looking into getting that licence so that we could nip out for a bit of much needed escapism on the weekend… In the meantime, there’s still the pool!

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Fish for dinner and an impromptu biology lesson

It’s not a holiday, it’s a lifestyle.

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Sunsets at sea are the best.

 

Two Down, Ten To Go.

The months have just flown by and we can’t believe it’s April tomorrow (and that means another birthday coming up very soon). I think it’s fair to say we’re still settling in. Raffles marina is great, we definitely made the right choice in terms of Singapore marinas. The pool was the determining factor for the kids, the distance to the MRT station for me. And both have lived up to our expectations. The walk to the MRT station and my daily commute is absolutely fine. It takes me about an hour to get to work but it’s valuable ‘me-time’ that I quite enjoy. And getting home to Raffles marina in the evening is like coming home to a different world. It’s peaceful and quiet with space around us and the contrast with the fast-paced and hectic life in the city centre is wonderful to help one ‘switch off’.

Seathan is cracking on with schoolwork, and on weekdays the membership lounge (which is hardly used) is turned into a class room. There is the bonus of a free coffee machine to keep the teacher going and the kids can be separated by a few metres and each have their own desk which can make a huge improvement to the concentration levels, as you can imagine. There are daily trips to the gym and, of course, to the swimming pool. Add to that the usual chores of grocery shopping, laundry, cooking and cleaning, as well as boat projects and maintenance, and you can imagine that the boys are pretty busy all day. It’s great to see the kids helping out more than they used too, and I have to give Seathan credit for that because he’s much better in delegating than I am. 😀

So what about work? Well, I’m actually really enjoying being back. It’s been remarkably easy to get up to speed and I feel I can really add a lot of value. I couldn’t have wished for a better role, I’m challenged and I have a lot of responsibility but I also have a lot of support and I feel very appreciated. I work with great people and I’m also learning new things. The hours are long but I don’t mind that because the days just fly by so quickly.

Now, would I rather be out there sailing the big blue ocean? Of course I would. I miss it every single day. I miss waking up at sunrise and jumping of the back into the turquoise clear water for a morning swim. I miss going snorkeling together, admiring the colourful fishes and corals. I miss not seeing the boys all day. I miss having an afternoon nap on the trampoline under the sunshade. I miss sailing for days in a row and then arriving somewhere we have never been before. I miss going ashore in the dinghy, in some remote atoll, and meeting the local villagers. I miss being at anchor and feeling the breeze come through the boat. I miss watching the sunset from the cockpit. 

But, it is what it is and I think a year will go very quickly. The only thing that has been worrying us a bit is finding friends for the kids. There are not many other liveaboards in Raffles, let alone liveaboards with kids. But, you would think that in a big city like Singapore, that wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. Most kids go to school and have a series of after school clubs and social commitments we wouldn’t really fit into. We’re also keen to keep homeschooling. International schools are very expensive and local schools hard to get into. And homeschooling works well for us. Luckily, we’re not the only ones in Singapore doing homeschooling. There are quite a few in fact, including a lot of expats. So there we go, this weekend we caught up with two other families, one American and one Australian, who both have kids of similar ages and who also homeschool. The kids all clicked and had a great time, so we’re very hopeful this is a sign of more to come! 

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The pool at Raffles marina

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Jump

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Scooters rule

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Exploring town, Marina Bay Sands in the background

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Gardens by the Bay

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Otters! Such cute animals

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Happy city-trippers

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Rooftop at the National Gallery

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Sunrise over the marina

 

 

 

Week One, Some Observations

One week in and I’m totally exhausted. I’m physically very tired after a week in the office. It’s been a big adjustment. The work itself is great, it’s as if the role was made for me. The content knowledge and business skills all just came flooding back. It’s a bit like riding a bike. The company is also very impressive (I’m not allowed to mention the company name here as this is a public blog, but you can find out on my LinkedIn page).

I’ve spent most of my time in meetings this week and there are a lot of names to remember. My biggest issue was the temperature change. I’m well acclimatised to the tropical climate and don’t mind the heat but in Singapore it’s freezing everywhere because of the aircon. The office, the MRT, the shops, the restaurants, … everywhere it is so cold. I’ll have to start carrying a cardigan around I think.

It’s a big adjustment for Seathan and the kids too, they’ve mainly focussed on school this week and the change in teacher was a good opportunity to review the schedule and the curriculum and to re-organise classes a bit. They’ve also started visiting the pool and the gym at Raffles on a daily basis and ventured into town to do some grocery shopping.

It’s a very strange feeling to all of a sudden be separated like this, whereas before we spent pretty much 24/7 together. We’re making the most of the weekend together and yesterday we went into town to play tourists. Today we’re just going to chill by the pool, here in the marina.

And then there’s the culture to get used to. Singapore is so different from anywhere else we’ve been. Everything is super organised and super efficient. But you can’t deviate from the rules. People work extremely hard and long hours, the dedication is impressive. Most people won’t leave the office until their boss goes home. There’s a strong work ethic and a culture of respect and inclusiveness.

The language is something to get used to as well. Even though English is the official language, most Singaporeans speak a local version of it. They tend to speak very fast without pronouncing everything properly and ignoring the grammar. It will take some getting used to. We were in a shop yesterday, buying some phone credit, and I had to translate to Seathan what the shopkeeper was saying (Singaporean English to normal English) 😂.

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Scooting around town, Marina Bay Sands in the background

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the rooftop bar at Marina Bay Sands

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admiring the view

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it’s a long way down

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happy tourists for the day

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life is better with a cocktail in hand

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thirsty work being a tourist!

 

 

 

Welcome to Singapore

First of all, I’m very happy to report that Tyrii is recovering really well. He’s managing to eat solid foods again and can almost speak normally again too. The stitches (16 or so!) will take up to 3 months to dissolve. I don’t think he will be doing any front flips for a while and he’ll probably stay away from trampolines all together. It was a big trauma and we’re all very relieved there were no further complications.

So, yes, we have finally landed in Singapore. The sail across the Singapore Strait took an entire day as our destination, Raffles Marina, is on the other side of the island. We received a very warm welcome and we’re happy with our new berth and surroundings. It’s not as exotic and lush as Nongsapoint but there is a great swimming pool featuring water slides and even a jacuzzi, a decent gym, restaurants, a bar, and, it’s peaceful and quiet. It will do just fine.

Best of all, Raffles Marina has an MRT station (aka underground or metro) right outside the entrance to the marina. It takes a good hour to get into the centre of town but the MRT is very comfortable, clean, airconditioned and there is phone signal everywhere.

I’m starting work on Monday but have already been into the office to meet and greet some key people and collect my new phone and laptop. They had also organised a welcome dinner which was a very nice gesture.

So, here we are, Singapore, we are ready for you. It will be a big adjustment but we’re excited for the changes ahead. Wish us luck!

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bye bye Nongsapoint

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Singapore, here we come

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approaching the big smoke

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Singapore skyline

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at the Western Quarantine Clearance, first check is done by the Police

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busy Singapore Strait

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it’s near sunset as we approach Raffles Marina

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Raffles Marina

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entrance to Raffles Marina with the famous Raffles lighthouse

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we have a lovely quiet spot at the end of C dock

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our gorgeous neighbour

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C dock

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there’s even a complimentary newspaper, delivered directly to the boat each morning

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view from the bar

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the swimming pool is approved by the kids!

 

Accidents Happen…

I know it’s part of life and most parents will have to deal with it at some point, but it is soooooo upsetting. At a lovely Sunday BBQ with friends, here in Nongsa, the kids went to jump on the trampoline and an attempted front flip went wrong. Aeneas came running for help: “Come quickly, there is lots of blood, Tyrii has hurt himself.” He was in tears himself. Seathan and two other guys rushed to the scene and it turned out Tyrii had bitten his lip in two. Lots of blood. Lots of pain. Lots of tears. First to the local clinic in the resort and then straight to the hospital in Batam for stitches. I’m so grateful Seathan is good at dealing with these kind of emergency situations. I’m not that great with blood and injuries…

Tyrii was very, very brave when they had to stick a big needle in his tongue for a local anaesthetic. Seathan had to watch and assist the surgeon sewing the tip of Tyrii’s tongue back together. I think the image will haunt him for quite a while. When Tyrii got back to Rehua last night, he managed a little bit of chocolate milkshake and scrambled eggs. Eating is going to be difficult for the next few weeks. He’s also on a course of antibiotics and painkillers. We hope he heals quickly.

 

Other news. We’re still in Nongsapoint marina, but will be moving to Singapore with the boat in  the next couple of weeks. I signed a 12-month contract and we’re just waiting for the Employment Pass (work visa) to come through. It will be a big change, going back to work, but it will be good top up the coffers before we continue across the Indian Ocean. Seathan will be a ‘boat-husband’ and take over the homeschooling until we settle in and then perhaps we can look at schools. We’ll continue to live aboard Rehua of course.

Finally, a few pictures from this morning, when we joined the start of the Neptune Regatta. This annual event is very popular with Singapore sailors and takes everyone to the Equator (near Neptune Island) and back in a week-long regatta.

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waiting for the start sign

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the committee boat

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At the start-line

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Rona is at the party

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Captain David and Lia

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Prime Factor, Seathan used to race against this one in Sydney

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Start for the multihulls

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And they’re off…

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Beautiful classic yacht Rona

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Rehua in Nongsapoint Marina

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Indonesian Hogmanay

If you know us a little, you’ll know that we don’t like to plan too far ahead. We prefer to go with the flow. Hogmanay was just like that. We took Rehua out for a sail the day before, and had thought of going cruising around Bintan and Batam for a few days. The weather decided differently, and after a 7-hour sail we headed back into the marina. Without any plans really for New Year’s Eve, we hooked up with all the likeminded people in the marina plus a lovely Italian family we met in the resort. The wonderful mix of nationalities (Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, Australian, Scottish, Belgian, Dutch, English, French, Italian, and I’m probably forgetting a few) didn’t stop us from following some Scottish Hogmanay traditions: Auld Lang Syne on the foredeck, fireworks, a bit of first footing, a wee dram and some more Scottish tunes on the guitar. It was a wonderfully impromptu evening and we feel privileged to have met so many great new friends here in Nongsa.

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and adventurous 2019 !!

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New Year’s Day on Rehua

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First Footing on Rona

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How many people can we fit on the foredeck?

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Best seats in the house to watch the fireworks from

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Happy Hogmanay!

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with the Italian contingent

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entrance to the marina

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Nongsapoint marina at low tide

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view from the marina office

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the beach

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D-dock

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Rehua flying the Scottish flag for the occasion 

 

New Year, New Plan

Yes, I know, it’s been a while since our last blog post… So what’s going on? Well, we’re still in Batam, Indonesia, and yes, we’ve been stationary for a little while now.

After four and a half years of travelling around the world it was time to re-think our grand plan. We originally envisaged a three to four year trip to circumnavigate the world. But now those four years have passed, and we’re only three quarters of the way round.

We don’t want to rush the last bit, and also, we’re not really sure we want to go back to ‘life-as-it-used-to-be’. Especially not back to the UK; the Brexit chaos seems to be spiralling out of proportion and we can’t believe what is happening. And then there is also the climate. We’ve gotten quite used to these lovely tropical temperatures (ok, I admit we do complain that is too hot sometimes). And yes, we do miss our friends and family, but we really hope we can see some of you in 2019.

We’ve been staying in Nongsapoint marina, in Batam, which is just a short 30-minute ferry ride across the Strait into Singapore. It’s a lovely, relaxed marina with lots of liveaboards, a welcoming expat community nearby, a great swimming pool (and three more pools around the corner in the sister-resort), a dinghy sailing school for kids, a golf course, a spa, a restaurant and of course a bar with happy-hour drinks.

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Nongsapoint marina

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the view from our cockpit with the beautiful 19th century racing yacht Rona in the middle

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view from the bow: Spikey Lady aka the party boat

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the pool at Nongsapoint marina, perfect for a daily swim

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the pool at Turi beach, just around the corner

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the kids taking part in some dinghy racing in the marina

So, we settled in for a bit, made some fantastic new friends, celebrated Halloween, had a couple of birthdays on board and are now getting into the Christmas spirit. It’s a nice change from last year, when we celebrated Christmas at sea, struggling our way out of Indonesia against wind and tide.

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Ready for the Halloween party, with the crew from S/V Mersea

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Halloween party at the nearby Infinite film studios

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Happy Birthday Aeneas!

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And they baked the cake themselves! 

So what’s the plan then?

I’ve been hopping back and forth to Singapore for job interviews. The market is a bit different from London, but thanks to some great recommendations from my previous employers, I now have a few interesting opportunities lined up for the new year. So it looks like we’ll be spending a year or more in Singapore.

And that’s not a bad thing. It means we can earn some money and then continue our trip, maybe stop somewhere else again in the future.

So not the Indian Ocean for us in 2019, but exciting plans nonetheless!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a healthy and happy 2019, from all of us on Rehua.

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We’re getting into the Christmas spirit here too, despite the tropical temperatures!

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sunset over Nongsapoint marina