Another quiet week for the crew of Long Passages. We started the week by hosting a dinner on board LP to repay a social obligation to our friends Art and Jennifer on M/V "Artswork." It was a very enjoyable evening with delightful and interesting conversation. Art is an ex-pat American who has spent many years in Singapore and currently consulting in the hospital services sector. Jennifer is Singaporean and general manager of a hospital and Nominated Member of Parliament.
On Tuesday we said goodbye to our air conditioner as S/Y 'White Rabbit", another cruiser, bought it and sailed off to Thailand with it. We are surely missing the cooling the A/C provided, too, but we did not have a place on LP to store it while underway. The nights here are about 83-85 degrees with about 75% humidity, so it is quite an adjustment to do without. The rest of the week was taken up with the last round of dentist and doctor appointments before leaving Singapore.
And on Friday we visited Clarke Quay, a very scenic area along the Singapore River where we went for a "bumboat" ride down the river and had dinner at one of the many nice restaurants along the quay. Our departure has been delayed by problems getting our INMARSAT C unit installed and working, but we hope to overcome the problems next week so we can leave for Malaysia. We are currently in the transition season between the SW and NE monsoons and there has been an increase in the frequency of the "Sumatra" winds at night. These are sudden and violent rain squalls with winds between 30 and 50 knots, sometimes with lightning and thunder. They usually hit around 2 am and are not a lot of fun in the marina, so we are definitely NOT looking forward to this as we head to Langkawi. Just hope they miss us.
Wait -wait - wait! It has been somewhat of a frustrating week. We are waiting for a simple bureaucratic item, a Mobile Number for our newly acquired Inmarsat C which must come from the USA Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Without this number (basically the equivalent of a phone number) it cannot talk to the satellite constellation and thus no one could hear us. And of course, as Murphy decreed, as we applied for the number we found out that our radio license had expired - 4 years ago. And so we wait.
Not all time was wasted however:
We limit our waiting to this week, and leave next Monday (Oct 22nd), weather permitting.
It seems like each week promises to be our last one here. We have given up on getting the Inmarsat C connected to the maritime network since we have to re-apply for a radio license - that will take weeks/months. So we filled in our last opportunities with a few things we had planned, but never fit in before:
Next week we plan to leave for real, we must 'get back on' the crew list for Long Passages, make our final arrangements and check out. We have met up with friends on their large black schooner "Voyager", last seen in the Marquesas, and plan to buddy-boat with them up the Malacca Straits to Phuket. Stay tuned to see if we really leave...
Will we leave or won't we? We spent a good part of the week resolving the minor item of 'getting back on the crew list'. When we went to Nongsa Point last weekend, we carried a letter to use on re-entry to Singapore that would end our status as 'normal tourists' and return us to being 'crew' on Long Passages. It worked something like this:
Theoretically we then had 24 hours to get out of Dodge (or Singapore in this case), but we lazed around one day, got ready the next, and then waited for weather. So, by the end of the week we were officially 'overstayers', but not too worried since the Marina office coordinates with the Port authorities, so they keep them informed about our real whereabouts.