Sept 30 2017 7:12 am – Fab 3d trip up jungle river, close up viewing of wild endemic apes, macaque monkeys, Proboscis monkeys, birds of all sorts especially hornbills, reptiles, insects, & plants. Inland excursions day & night to witness scheduled and much anticipated Orangutans feasting on bananas and milk at the feeding stations. We traveled, ate, & slept aboard 3-decker Borneo river boat w/ Captain, guide, cook, & 2 deck hands which meant we did little but enjoy the experience. Went with 2 couples from 2 boats, so 8 of us. No cooking – food and drinks provided. Another 2 yachtie couples rented a smaller river boat for their 5. We buddy boated up & down the river. Smaller boats maneuver better. Saw many boats with just a couple on board. Recommend the experience highly. The key is a good guide w/strong English, or you miss half of the education and things you can/might see.
We went w/Mr. Bain. His guide, Usup (like YOU-soup) is great. Cost 2M rupiah ($180) pp all expenses included. We booked only 2 days in advance. Celebrated Trent’s 14th on board, rafted to other boat, tied off Eco Lodge dock. 1 sailor had toured western Amazon during rainy season said Amazon had much more life. We’re in the dry season, & the park is smaller. But he thought the Tanjung Puting National Park was fantastic & thoroughly enjoyed the different and truly extraordinary wildlife. Took lots and lots of pics.
Bryce anticipating our movement into Sekonyer River.
Entrance statude to Tanjung Puting Nat’l Park
SV Ocelot and Grand Cru stopped to gawk at male orangutan. We joined in too!
Orangutan male isolated in the jungle
Rare sight to see proboscus monkeys swimming in fright.
Two male proboscis monkeys
Young female proboscis monkey
Leslie Rigney catching a glimpse of a female proboscis monkey and baby.
Dominant male proboscis monkey.
Upclose view of female proboscis monkey and baby.
Male Proboscis Leader watching over his group
Guide made Leslie a fern hat .
We plan to sail tomorrow if we can repair mainsail furler. If not, will limp along with trysail instead until we can get to a place where we can repair it. Not the end of the world. Just means we travel a touch slower.
BTW: Nick Rigney is scheduled to join us on the 8th. Woohoo!
Sept 30 2017 13:48 – Repaired the furler. Transferred fuel from port to stbd tank. All is well. Decided to leave earlier for Belitung. Must go slowly. Less than 4.5 kts over 300 nm to arrive at daylight 10/3, 3 days Anchored. Squalls, lightning, countercurrent, & headwind suggested to me that we anchor the night & start first light, WITH the elements. So happy with our decision to wait out the storm!
Sept 23 2017 – Kalimantan (Borneo) & upcoming plans:
Travel up & anchor in a river next to Kumai town.
Tour a traditional Dayak village with Sail Indonesia Rally 2017 and tour Kumai all organized by the local rally committee.
Learn about orangutan conservation @ Camp Leakey
Find & try bird’s nest soup
Reserve a Klotok river boat, guide, etc for a 3 days cruise to take us to Tanjung Puting Nat’l Park w/wildlife stops and onboard meals along the way, observing from & sleeping on the elevated deck.
Find a “boat boy” to watch over Kandu, living in the cockpit while she remains locked up; a common Kumai practice
Prepare to celebrate Trent’s 14th Bday with some “forest people/orangutans.”
Head off for exotic Belitung Island where Nick will join us.
That’s what’s planned for next week starting 9/25. As always, twice as much will occur over what is planned. There could be a welcoming dinner with trad’l dancing, a museum or temple or two, geological points of interest, food items, etc.
Sailing at night, we must pay close attention for little red & blue flashing LED lights affixed to wooden scaffolding fish attracting devices. Also, few Indonesian boats have AIS, even the larger fishing boats, ferry, tugs, & cargo vessels, which by int’l maritime law they are required to. Makes for a very attentive watch. FAD’s are invisible to RADAR and can cause great damage to a sailboat, esp the prop & rudder. Also have to be on look out for the occasional large ocean obstacle – in this case a random buoy.
Sept 24, 2017 – Celebrated Bryce’s 16th bday yesterday with chocolate brownies instead of cake! He loved the specially wrapped gifts of the items he’d picked out in Yogyakarta!
Arrived Kumai to unexpected gift. M/Y (Motor Yacht) Restless M owned by Claire and Errol White, longstanding friends of Eric was anchored in the river waiting for us. We anchored up to their huge yacht, enjoyed dinner together while BnT entertained us boat jumping and swimming in the muddy river water.
Sept 27 2017 – After reading about and hearing the sounds coming from swiftlet bird’s nest buildings, our imagination was peaked. The bird’s nest are highly sought after in China and they sell for large amounts of money per kilo. We bought 2 bird nests after 2-day tour of S. Central Kalimantan (Borneo).
Black swiftlet in nest
More bird nest infos
Edible swiftlet bird’s nests.
We were introduced to local tribes, sultans, & culture, including playing with blow darts and rice wine. During tour, took narrow 4-person river boat tours up a large stream to visit a local market place. It was like we were sent back in time.
Dart games using bamboo
Rice wine served in bamboo
Sticky rice cooked in bamboo
Dayak tribe in costume
Leslie w/ Dayak woman
Trent & Dayak Guardian
Older Indonesian Man
Palm oil pod
BnT & Rainer on riverboat
Open market egg carrier
Open mkt vegetables
Open mkt chicken
Open mkt fruits
Then orangutan conservatory lunch. A Jr. High School visit had special local music and dance. After the show, our boys were signing autographs like rock stars, girls screaming like at Beatles concerts. Leslie was asked to sing center stage to introduce them to opera. Then we headed off to the Kumai Tourist Center where we enjoyed more dance and music. They truly spoiled us!
Incredible jungle lunch
Jr High Welcoming Committee
Junior high school presentation
Jr High Dancer
Jr High Band
Trent trying stilts
Scouts in Borneo!
Jr High Teachers
Jr High students
Meet n greet
The second day of the Kumai rally tours brought us to a fancy Indonesian outdoor buffet held on Dayak communal grounds. The performers entertained us on a stage set-up under their Dayak house. They were beautifully trained middle school dancers and musicians. We felt thoroughly spoiled and honored. After lunch we were off to visit the local sultan and his family. The eldest daughter and wife were dressed in the most beautiful yellow gowns. She took a liking to Leslie and walked with her arm in arm around her grounds to Leslie’s absolute delight. They couldn’t talk to one another except in facial & body language yet the overall sentiment was equal admiration. It was a GREAT 2 days.
Kumai student tour guides and dancers.
Kumai middle school dancers.
Kumai middle school
Starting tomorrow we will live on local river boat cruise for 3 days w/friends on all-inclusive excursion into Nat’l wildlife jungle park to glimpse orangutans in the wild, probiscus monkeys, macaque monkeys, birds, etc. We’ll be 8 to a river boat, communal room sleeping. They have a cook & r providing the food plus a guide. Leslie is happy – No cooking & cleaning!!
Some work to do on Kandu when we get back. Main Sail furler is turning roughly & we must clean port side fuel tank.
Upon arriving at the Borobudur Buddhist Temple entrance, we hired a Borobudur guide to enjoy and understand more what we were seeing as we climbed and strolled the ancient temple and the grounds museum. It was a spectacular visit learning about Siddhartha, the incarnate God. His life story is portrayed chronologically in the ancient rock panels of the temple as you walk around and up each level.
After walking back to our simple hotel, we hired a car and driver for the next 48 hours. He first drove us to another smaller temple where Buddhist pilgrims used to change clothing & worshiped before walking to the main Borobudur temple.
We lunched at a local cafe where no tourists go, enjoying goat brochettes & goat curry stew (regional favorites).
He then drove us to our meeting point for our river rafting adventure, a wonderful 2.5 hour playful journey down the river with about 10 other boats from various other raft companies.
The trip included a drinking coconut & local snacks at the halfway point. All along the way we had fun splashing & being splashed by other boats, and posing for pictures with groups from other boats.
At the conclusion of our energetic excursion we were hosted to a simple Javanese dinner, something we had not expected, but was included in the rafting package. The unexpected meal meant we needed to postpone seeing our third Buddhist Temple, the first of the three that were traditionally visited during an ancient Borobudur pilgrimage, until tomorrow. It was from this unplanned dinner that we headed off to photograph the Borobudur sunset & found ourselves in the midsts of our own celebrity/paparazzi experience.
Our last stop on our first full day in Borobudur was to be a higher end restaurant with a great sunset view of the temple & home of the sleeping Buddha statue. Just to take pictures, we arrived & the place was packed w/an event & special security. We snuck in just to catch some sunset photos of the temple when the owner approached us. I guess we were a bit conspicuous. He explained how this was a very important event hosting the nation’s minister of national businesses.
We had just finished white water rafting, so the six of us, including Natalia and Bolo, weren’t dressed our best. I apologized & said we would leave immediately. On the contrary, he was so delighted to have “bule” (European/Caucasian) tourists with which to put on display, that he & his bank officials begged us to join their ministry officials for dinner and their evening events, and would we please pose for press photos with the minister.
Well how could I refuse, so we engaged. I didn’t have time to explain to the others of my party what was going on, I just insisted they play along with me. Once photos & newscasters were done where we posed behind the ministers, we were ushered to a special sunset dining area with various appetizers & beverages. An Indonesian Sarsaparilla soft drink was offered. They thought we wouldn’t like it. When I told the boys it was root beer, we drank all the ones at our table and that of the empty table next to us. Our Polish friends said it tasted like medicine, so more for us! Our hosts were delighted by our enthusiastic desire to try all their dishes, and pleased by our great approval.
When 7 girls & their dance teacher began to demonstrate for the invited guests their traditional dance, our event guide suggested we join them. To their surprise & delight, we did! Leslie followed me, & soon so did Bolo, our Polish friend. We all did our very best to honor their dance, and the affect was as if we had practiced. As the girls gracefully walked off stage, Bolo & I ended with an impromptu dossie-doe finale. The crowd giggled & applauded. We thanked the girls for allowing us to participate, exclaiming how beautiful they were via hand gestures and vocal tone.
While we were dancing, Natalia, Bolo’s girlfriend, played a middle-eastern game with some young people, a game she had learned in Turkey, and won! We were offered cups of their special coffee, the most expensive in the world, as the digested beans are recovered from the scat of a cat-like animal, cleaned, dried, & roasted. Coffee in Indonesia is served with the fine grounds in the cup.
Leslie Rigney in front of drying Lewak Coffee
Dried coffee unwashed Lewak scat.
Live Lewak, much like a cat, a little like a raccoon. This one allowed us to pet it.
This is the type of serendipitous, surreal events we experience on a regular basis, but have difficulty sharing. These events aren’t well captured in photos & are too complex to describe in a short Facebook posting. We don’t have time to write up and post quickly on our blog such events, especially w/limited Internet access. Well that night was the cherry on a spectacular day of touring Borobudur temple in the temple region of Central Java, Indonesia.
We later read how Indonesia’s economy plummeted 2yrs ago. I’m guessing the gov’t is working to develop tourism to attract foreign revenue. American tourists are rare in Indonesia. I suppose parading a real-live US tourist in front of one’s minister demonstrates how effective a business person or official is at attracting tourist revenue streams. This is my guess. I also learned that Indonesians have a class structure. To have photographs of oneself with a white person elevates one’s status among their family & friends. The affect on us is fun, surreal, sometimes annoying and a bit perplexing as to why anyone would care about us in this way. But we play along because it makes them so happy, and it sometimes makes for an extraordinary experience we’ll never forget. Sorry for the long text string, but I had time on my watch, and thought you might be interested in one of our crazy experiences. Eric
Sept 20, 2017 Hello Dear Shannon – I love it that you wrote me to tell how things are going back in Ventura, California!
It was a fabulous piece of fortuitousness that we got to meet up in Sydney over the X-mas and New Year’s holidays (2016). I have great memories watching your daughter Hazel feed the koalas and wallabies, all of us eating together in downtown Sydney, and then having Charlie hang out overnight with Trent and Bryce. They were so happy together. Truly a magnificent X-mas gift for BnT!
The boys enjoy very much keeping in touch with Charlie through Instagram. Per what you said – high school seems to be working out for him. Terrific to hear how he’s doing in waterpolo. I really wanted that for BnT, but alas, there are a lot of things they are missing out on – their junior high and high school years. I just hope that what they are experiencing with us will work out well for them in the long run. So many people say what we’re doing is the BEST education our boys could experience – yet as a mother, I worry.
This last week here in Indonesia has been full of beautiful and arresting sights and experiences. For a reward due to all their hard work on the boat, BnT and I as chaperone headed down on a five hour drive to the southern section of Bali to catch some great internationally renowned surf (Ulu Watu and Padang Padang) staying in a hostel on the beach for four nights while Eric remained with Kandu in Lovina at the top end of Bali.
While we were away, Eric had fun cleaning out our water tank of dead cockroaches. Not! The surfing was terrific – the boys’ hearts and bodies were full of peace & happiness from their exertions – I too enjoyed special quiet time not having to follow orders, clean, and cook. I read my book: Blue Lagoon – a free classic kindle download that was made famous by the child star Brooke Shields. Truly fabulous read and made all the more special since I was reading it with the sounds of tropical ocean waves crashing ashore. Wow!
The night of our return marked the opening of the Lovina 2017 Festival. The Sail Indonesia fleet was invited for a Regent hosted dinner and then treated to a fabulous parade of local talent from the neighbouring villages, including drum troops, theatre like skits with masked performers, bamboo basket craft displays and a child marching band that was conducted by a young girl! The evening concluded with a professional troop of 12 Balinese female dancers enacting a beautiful and complex dance in traditional costume. It was truly spectacular!
The next day, leaving the boat for five days, Eric and I decided to end our pest problem once and for all by setting-off three roach bombs inside the closed boat. The poisonous air was so fierce that the four of us hastily escaped to catch a 17 hour bus ride (including a ride on a water ferry) west to Yogyakarta on Java Island for four days to visit the impressive Buddhist temple Borobudur and Hindu temple Prambanan both built in the 9th century. Our boat buddies Bolo and Natalia from s/v Wassyl joined us in the fun excursion.
The two temples were constructed nearby each other around the same time in competition (Borobudur was completed around 825 and Prombanan was completed in 850) and then 150 years after construction was completed, both experienced extreme damage by huge volcanic earthquakes and consequently were covered by thick ash due to the subsequent enormous eruption by the local Mt. Merapi volcano. The survivors left the surrounding area due to the bad soil quality – farmers could no longer grow food in the acidic ash environment. 150 years or so later, the environment became increasingly hospitable, but by that time, with no written records, the incredible temples were mostly buried until local Indonesians revealed their existence to British ruler of Java, Sir Thomas Stamford around 1814. Renovation was instigated by the Dutch colonisers in the late 1800’s, but the largest restoration project for Borobudur was between 1975-1982 by the Indonesian government, mostly funded by UNESCO.
Siddhartha needed a head!
Borobudur is the world’s largest single-structure Buddhist temple decorated with 2,672 carved panels and 504 Buddha statues – more than half of those are missing their heads. With a tour guide, we walked the incredible structure and learned by study of the panels about the early life of Siddhartha. Cool!
Hindu Prombenan of Central Java finished in 850 CE.
The restauration of Prombenan, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia was started in 1918 by the Dutch. They began with the centermost and largest temple which is dedicated to Shiva and finished the one in 1953. Once the first puzzle was solved, the other 8 god temples were then reconstructed. Of the surrounding 225 priest temples, just three have been reconstructed. The two temples and grounds are truly wonders to see and visit. Both sites are incredible in their stature, intricate carvings, symbolism and holiness.
Straight away, we visited Yogyakarta’s Sultan’s Palace to witness their special puppet shows: Wayang Kulit. The puppets help maintain oral history and also recount stories like Ramayana – which is the one we witnessed. The action is extremely slow accompanied by music – interesting for about 1/2 hour. We didn’t stay until the end, but headed off for a visit of the palace filled with historical significance and artifacts.
Wayang Kulit puppet show
Special Sultan Palace Guards.
Were Indonesian Sultans the inspiration for Spock?
Museum Interior of Sultan’s Palace.
Sultan’s Palace Courtyard
Last night we ended our stay in the colourful Sultan ruled Yogyakarta by enjoying the famous Javanese ballet, Ramayana, about Rama and Sinta, a Hindu “Romeo and Juliet” type tale. It was terrific to witness in person their highly stylised movements and to hear the live Javanese classical style singing and orchestra. I loved every moment of the hour and 1/2 performance and could follow along the story pretty well after having read the synopsis. The boys were a little less enthusiastic, yet they seem to be absorbing quite a lot about the Indonesian culture, growing to appreciate it more and more.
It was 24hr local bus ride to return to Bali from Yogyakarta with a 30-min inclusive dinner stop: rice, fried flattened tofu something, fresh vegetable soup, various chicken parts in flavorful sweet Indonesian kecup sauce, chili paste, shrimp chips, and sweet hot or iced tea. Excellent! After that it was only 10 hrs to go with a loud kung fu movie all in Bahasa! The traffic back was terrible and running very late, the driver was a crazy man honking and darting around scooters. It was miracle he didn’t hit one. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride!
Before sailing here, I didn’t have any particular expectations of what we would discover except perhaps a bit of exotic asiatic influence. Indeed, the culture is asiatic as are the faces and smaller, generally lean bodies. Bryce and Trent are considered tall, as am I for a woman! LOL! Our last six weeks traveling from east to west have been full of amazing discoveries involving this country’s vast physical beauty and mixed yet well integrated cultures. If you didn’t know, Indonesia is 80% Muslim with the greatest number of Muslims living on Java, Sumatra Lombok and Sumbawa. The outlying eastern islands tend to be mostly Christian (Timor, Alor, Flores, Komodo, Rinja). Bali is Hindu with some Buddhist. I don’t know the statistics of Borneo, but I suspect it is predominantly Muslim.
Women everywhere you look have their hair covered except in Bali. When motoring on scooters, their colourful head & upper body coverings trail behind them, while the lower half is clothed in skin tight skinny jeans – an odd juxtaposition I must say….in the more conservative areas, we all wear long pants and I cover my shoulders and arms. I sometimes wear my red floppy hat, but in temples we’re instructed to remove hats. A little confusing considering the head coverings worn by the women. FYI – 35% of scooter drivers wear masks over their nose and mouth to protect against the carbon & burning plastic pollution. I find myself regularly sneezing and congested.
It is not at all scary here. We find the people generous, kind, modest, happy, and much less encumbered by stuff – although everyone has a phone! (The middle aged and older population tend to have a lot of missing teeth.) The most favoured shoes are thongs even when riding scooters. Scooters are everywhere with sometimes four people hanging on or a small kitchenette restaurant attached. I’m glad not to be driving myself.
BTW – the food is tasty albeit spicy. Much smaller portions than in the states: lots of tofu and rice. Meat is available but more like a supplement or flavor additive than a mainstay. Prices for us are fortunately inexpensive, however, bargaining is necessary to get the inexpensive prices! Outside the prominent sightseeing structures, kitch is everywhere for sale with hagglers holding up souvenirs and following you down the street to encourage you to buy.
Rice fields are a constant vision, along with some corn and tobacco crops. We are experiencing arid heat during this dry season; it’s hot and dusty. The cities are mostly cement block houses and buildings sometimes colourfully painted. There are few sidewalks, predominantly two lane highways except in busy highway type thoroughfares where there are two lanes on each side. Like England, you drive on the left side of the street – or as they say here: the “correct” side. The overall look of most city areas is rather dirty, unkempt with crowded conditions. Plastic trash can be seen everywhere especially on undeveloped lots and in riverbeds. Sailing the waters, we see plastic trash regularly floating on the surface. We worry about our prop getting tangled by plastic bags and nets.
Well – that is a lot more than I bet you expected to read. But since you mentioned that you are interested in traveling here to Indonesia someday, I thought I’d write a bit more about our insights and experiences. Big hugs to you, Leslie.
Oh – almost forgot – in Central Java one day near Borobudur we had the most incredible time cooling off and rafting down the local river in the very capable hands of Mendut Rafting with our travel buddies Natalia and Bolo from s/v Wassyl. It’s one of Bryce and Trent’s favorite foreign adventures so far!
Bryce Rigney, Trent Rigney, Natalia Ptasinska, Wojciech Maleika, Eric & Leslie Rigney taking a coconut break during river rafting.
“Bali is a popular tourist destination, which has seen a significant rise in tourists since the 1980s.Tourism-related business makes up 80% of its economy. It is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music. The Indonesian International Film Festival is held every year in Ubud, Bali. In March 2017, TripAdvisor named Bali as the world’s top destination in its Traveller’s Choice award,” pulled from Bali – Wikipedia.
For all their hard work on the boat, Eric Rigney and I wanted to reward Bryce Rigney and Trent Rigney with a trip down to Southern Bali to surf the famous Ulu Watu and Padang Padang breaks with their s/v Ocelot buddy Rainer Dawn. Eric stayed in Lovina to guard the boat and I went with them as chaperone. Our 5 hour drive south included a stop at the Twin Lake Trekking Point with pretty lake views where the boys goofed off a bit, and a fellow had bats to hold for a photo-op.
Then we stopped off and had a tour of a coffee plantation specialising in Lewak Coffee (a little catlike rodent critter who eats the fruity coffee beans and digests them whole. After coming out the other end, the beans are then cleaned, roasted to perfection, ground and voila…delicious tasting coffee!).
Lewak confined to his quarters.
Coffee beans growing at Subak Bali Agro Coffee Plantation.
Hand roasting Lewak coffee beans.
Subak Bali Agro Coffee Plantation tour guide and Bryce.
Passing straight through Bali’s capital, Denpasar, and heading along the only route south, the Jelan Bypass Nusa Dua, past Bali’s Intl airport, we culminated our 5 hour taxi drive south arriving at the bottom of Bali on the SW corner of Bukit Peninsula.
Just barely noting an unassuming wooden sign pointing the direction down a dirt road, our taxi driver hesitatingly drove the narrow route to a dirt lot on top of a cliff with a long dirt walking path heading down to the Bali Rocks Hostel. We unloaded the taxi and waved goodbye to our still unsure taxi driver. He was worried because the Bali Rocks Hostel was not a typical “hotel” with a typical hotel entrance. It is tucked away down a cliff – like most of the other homes/apartments/hotels along that beach, and literally hanging over the famous Pedang Pedang surf and beach, otherwise known as Labuan Sait Beach. The hostel manager was there to greet us with a smile and showed us to our very tidy two twin bed room with private toilet, sink and shower.
We arrived just after noon. Having already eaten lunch along the way at McDonald’s the boys quickly got organized to surf. Leslie
Here is Trent’s journal account of the adventure:
The day after our boat Kandu arrived at Lovina Bay on Bali, Bryce, Rainer Dawn, myself and mom left to the southern end of Bali where there is great surf. On our drive, we stopped to look at really cool, tame bats. The bats were fruit bats. We could have held them, but I didn’t want to pay the money.
We got hungry, so our driver stopped off at a road side fruit stand for us to buy curious fruits and packaged snacks. We bought strawberries, passion fruit and delicious rice snacks to tide us over for the next couple hours of driving.
Lovina Taxi driver extraordinaire!
Indonesian passion fruit
Road fruit and rabbit stand.
Rainer Dawn, Bryce and Trent Rigney munching fruit with baby rabbits.
Just past noon, we finally arrived at the end of a dirt road. I got all the stuff I could carry and walked down 50 stairs to our hotel which was perched on the cliff right beside the beach. We arrived in the early afternoon at Pedang Pedang, which allowed us to surf until low tide when the waves became too small to surf. We walked up the dirt road into town for dinner. It was really expensive! The next morning, we surfed at “Impossibles” which is a little big for my BIG Robert’s epoxy board (hard to duck-dive) but still pretty fun. “Impossibles” is good at low tide, and at high tide, we moved over to the beginner/intermediate surf break toward the beach area. That’s where I caught a lot of waves.
On our third day, we surfed “Impossibles” in the early morning as the tide was coming in and the other intermediate area at high tide later that morning. We broke late and ate linner. Mom discovered a snack restaurant at the neighboring hostel. Boy, that chicken burger and fries never tasted so good! We ended up eating there for most of our meals. After a little rest, the three of us decided to rent long boards because after 2.5 days of boogie boarding, Rainer was ready to surf! The three of us headed out for the beginner spot. Rainer did great and I caught even more waves than I caught the day before. I also got huge rashes on my legs because the board was made of foam. Rainer stood up for the first time on his long board. The three of us even caught waves together – they call those party waves!
The next morning “Impossibles” was too big for me. Bryce had taken off before sunrise on his own to surf the famous waves of Uluwatu with his GoPro. Later we learned he caught a ride on a scooter and joined up with some French guys. He caught a gnarly barrel.
We had a crazy experience dealing with the macaque monkeys that morning. A bag of granola had been left outside the room from Bryce’s breakfast. A monkey must have found it, spread the word to the other monkeys, and it seemed like 25 monkeys swarmed the hostel to get their share. They made a terrible mess – turning over all the garbage cans, pulling out the trash, and scattering the oatmeal everywhere. Only a long stick or broom could actually scare them away. I tried to shew one away, and it lunged back at me baring its teeth. I dodged the male, but it spooked me enough, that I never approached one again unless I had the broom. I swept up the mess, and eventually the monkeys went away. Unlike the previous days, the beach in front of the hostel was swarming with all ages and sizes of monkeys the rest of the day. The local dogs had a great time chasing after them.
Bryce returned later that morning. Because the waves were too big for Rainer and I, we didn’t surf again until after lunch. That afternoon, we all surfed the beginner spot. I surfed this time with my short Robert’s fiberglass surfboard and it wasn’t very fun. So I paddled back to the hostel and exchanged it for my boogie board and fins. I got a pretty cool barrel!
The next day our taxi cab driver from Lovina came to fetch us at 13h00. Unfortunately, “Impossibles” was too big in the morning and the other site wasn’t good either, so we didn’t go surfing. On our ride back, we went inside the coolest and biggest surf shop ever with a huge statue in front: Surfer’s Paradise.My mom wanted us to hold the bats, but when we arrived at the spot, they weren’t there. We took a detour to see a very special area of rice patties which was cool. The entire valley was so green. We also stopped off at The Temple on the Lake – Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. It was a pretty place and full of tourists. It felt good to be out of the car. The three of us joked around knowing that our buddy surf trip was just about over.
We dropped Rainer off at his aunt and uncle’s boat with the dinghy and unpacked to repack our sacks with clean clothes for our next adventure. The day after we returned to Kandu, we took off on another road trip to the neighboring island, Java. But this time by bus and ferry.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan – Temple on the Lake
Trent, Rainer Dawn and Bryce at Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
Pura Ulu Danu Bratan, Temple by the Lake, Bali.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
Trent Rigney impersonating a funny statuette at P.ura Ulun Danu Bratan
Leslie Rigney at Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Bali, Indonesia.
I met my friend Bryce Rigney when I was in 4th grade at Goethe International Charter, a German Charter School. I remember I stuck up for him in class one day when some kids were giving him trouble. Bryce was small and kids made fun of him for that. I was bigger and nobody bothered me about that, so I had his back. After that we started being friends and when we realized we basically had the same personality. We didn’t care what people thought of us and we wanted to have fun.
Bryce was fidgety in school like I was. In 5th Grade we both had stand up desks and they were in the back of the room. It was cool that we got to be ourselves and the teacher was ok with it.
Bryce and I used to write songs together when we hung out sometimes after school. Sometimes we would do this in my room. I was usually playing the guitar. We would write and sing and those nights were some of the best we had. And when we went camping at a place called Rancho Oso we sang for a group of girls and it was so cool to see their faces light up. Bryce’s voice was higher and mine lower so it always sounded like we had harmony going on. We really loved singing for anyone who would listen to us and music was a big part of our lives. It still is. And another cool part was that Bryce’s Mother was an opera singer.
Bryce and I both liked to play sports and I guess we clicked because whenever I went over to his house we’d go to his neighbor’s yard and play a game where we would pick characters that had special powers. We also played a game with his younger brother Trent. Two guys would stand on one side of the lawn facing one guy. The object of the game was for the one person to get by before the two could tackle him. We played in his neighbor’s yard because they had more room, no trees and a hill we could roll down. We loved to be rough and tumble. We loved to be physical. And we loved to laugh.
When we went into Byrce’s house to play, we liked to play Bay Blades. They were the newest thing that were “poppin’” back them. Bay Blades are small metal toys that you spin, similar to tops. You would try to knock out the other players’ Bay Blade. We put them in a little arena and we would spin them around and compete to win. We also played with nerf guns in the house and the yard. If we weren’t playing nerf guns we were playing video games. And we so loved to ride our scooters. We would ride down a big hill in his neighborhood and get a lot of speed. We also jumped off a ramp at my house on scooters. Finally, we both loved to talk about girls.
Bryce and his family planned to sail around the world once they got into Middle School. They moved away from Los Angeles to Ventura to live and work on their boat. I remember being on their boat before they left. They even let me steer the boat and it felt great to feel the boat push through the waves.
When I would visit them at Ventura Marina, we went hunting for crabs. We would throw stones at the crabs to kill them. I know it sounds kinds of violent, but it worked. We would then just crack them open and eat them, without even cooking them. We used to see one big crab at the dock sometimes. We called him, “Mr. Crab”. One time, we found a fishing pole and tried to catch him. We hoped to kill and roast him, but we never caught him.
I used to really like visiting Bryce and Trent on the boat. Sometimes we would dive off the side, which was really fun. They also used to teach me how to tie knots. Bryce and Trent were Boy Scouts and knew how to tie great knots. It’s important to know how to tie knots on a sailboat. One-time, I remember Bryce had a cool wrist-band and said if you needed rope for rock climbing or an emergency, the wrist band would open up and become 9 feet of rope.
Three years ago Bryce and the family decided to begin their sailing trip around the world. It had been their father’s dream before they were born. I still remember saying good-bye to Bryce and seeing them leave from Marina del Rey and not believing they would be gone for five years. I thought they would be gone maybe for a year.
They gave us crew shirts that say Kandu on them before they left. Kandu is the name of their sailboat. To this day they still want me to travel out into the world to meet up with them and sail back to California. Hopefully that can happen one day.
It’s been interesting to have a friend who was so important to me just sort of go away. For the first year or so I felt a sort of pain. But as time goes on, I’ve gotten more used to him being way. I still hope to see Bryce soon. I believe that wherever Bryce and Trent are, they’re having lots of fun and get to see many different cultures and ways of life and how people are living their lives.
Sometimes I wish I was on the sailboat with them, getting away from school and my troubles. But at the same time, I’m happy to be home having my life. I imagine they are sailing as I write and hope I can see my best childhood friend soon. I also hope they stay safe and that most of all Kandu is still holding up.
Hangin’ for dinner at Fox Hills Mall, LA.
In n Out Burger fans!
Cleaning up the California Beaches on a Goethe field trip.
Cory and Kristin Norton-Frank at Goethe’s jogathon.
5th grade graduation.
Cory, Aiden, Bryce and Trent at Corinthian Yacht Club, Kandu in the background.
It started the night before the morning we planned to leave Langkawi. We had returned that night late in the evening from a fantastic several days with new life-long friends, the Khoo family, having just visited the beautiful Cameron Highlands (local mountains) and Boh Tea Plantation together.
The plan was to install the newly fabricated stainless steel engine exhaust pipe and leave our slip in Pangkor Marina at dawn the next morning for Langkawi Island, where we had haul out reservations to perform some minor repairs on Kandu. The route was set in our ship’s chart plotter navigation system, used by the autohelm to steer the boat. All I had to do was bolt on the exhaust pipe, set the smart phone alarm, and go to sleep. That was my plan… not Kandu’s, or should I say, KanKnot’s.
Preparing the exhaust pipe installation at midnight, I noticed red fluid in the bilge. While we were gone, the transmission had apparently bled all its fluid, a catastrophic transmission leak for sure. I thought, “Must be the seal.” Not wanting the auto-bilge pump to pump the fluid out into marina waters, I proceeded to clean it up. Soaking the automatic transmission fluid up, like blood from some animal sacrifice, I came across a bolt sheared from one of the engine’s four mounts, heavy-duty rubber and stainless steel feet that secure the engine to the boat. Not good. Tomorrow’s departure: a no-go.
The next morning, the marina’s marine mechanic surveyed the situation. After a fifteen-minute discussion, we agreed that, with the rust visible on the metal brackets that support the engine mounts, the engine’s age, and considering our plans to sail to the Red Sea, we would pull the engine. This would require hauling Kandu out of the water and placing her “on the hard,” meaning standing her up on land and doing all the work on land, not in the water at the dock.
All sailors (and boatyard owners) know that once you haul out, many more “discoveries” will be made, which need immediate attention, taking advantage of being on the hard. Since the investment of hauling out has been made, boat owners typically choose to take advantage of the circumstance to do all the jobs that would be otherwise too difficult or impossible to do while in the water. And since we’d had planned to haul out in Langkawi, we’d just do that work here in Pankgor Marina instead.
Langkawi haul-out list:
Check and adjust the folding propeller
Add a couple coats of bottom paint
Install our new wind generator (purchased and waiting for us in duty-free Langkawi)
Install our new anchor chain.
Caulk a couple leaky windows.
Have a rigger ‘tune’ the mast cables (stays and shrouds)
But what happens all too often, is that the problems discovered along the way of making repairs multiply like Star Trek tribbles, in number and size. It begins to feel like a conspiracy to prevent you from seeing wonderful things while robbing your savings account at the same time. We travel according to seasonal preferences, to avoid rough and/or dangerous weather. These timetables drive our itinerary decisions. The longer we are on the hard, the fewer places we can stop to visit and the shorter the stays in the countries we do visit. These constant “discoveries” wear on me, generating much internal frustration and stress. I become bitter, grumpy, and curt with my crew; all of which serves no one. It’s counterproductive. So what to do? Yesterday on Christmas Eve morning, it came to me (no bright lights, stars, angels, magi, etc., just an idea). What if instead of seeing discoveries as problems, I internally convert my perception, making them “gifts?” The bigger the problem, the greater the gift! Everybody likes gifts and it’s the season of gift giving, why not flop my perception? But how? What’s the gift? The gift is, I get to meet new and wonderful people who I’d otherwise not have the opportunity to meet, people who will help my solve my problem. This is an idea a friend in Raiatea tried to convey to me. Another gift is education and learning. I get to exercise my mind and learn things that instill greater awareness and confidence. And, finally, I get a better, safer boat. Wow, what a concept. So it’s Christmas, let’s take a look at the list of presents Kandu gave us.
New engine mounts and cleaned up/painted brackets (the brackets were in great shape after clean up)
New engine and transmission seals (keeps the oils in)
New injectors and fuel system inspection
10 other new items that were worn and could easily be replaced
New prop shaft and cutlass bearing
New engine paint job after thorough removal of rust and cleaning
Alternator inspection and subsequent repair
Starter inspection (good)
Prop inspection (good) and re-greased
Discovered “opportunities” while the engine was out:
New hoses to replace older hoses easily accessible with engine removed (120 feet)
New hoses for the water heater that were about to cause an engine coolant leak.
Completely mopped, scoured and repainted white the filthy black bilge.
Repaired/replaced plywood, insulation, and stainless surrounding the refrigerator and freezer caused by water damage created by a leaky freezer cabinet (didn’t see that coming).
Aft cabin acrylic window cracked and needed replacing
Glass dodger window adhesive repair I implemented in Vanuatu was not holding, need to redo with appropriate adhesive (unavailable in Malaysia).
And let’s add the list of woodwork we’d planned to do in Thailand since we have the opportunity:
repairing teak veneer on table and chain plate covers
….Oh, and reinstalling the galley counter that I’m going to remove tomorrow so we can address the leaking fridge issues.
-Strengthen an already excellent relationship with James Khoo, marina manager.
-Taxi driver: Krishna, check your fuel injection system whenever you pull your diesel engine.
-Engine: Anas, Zamin, his wife Annie and sons, and the mechanic’s “boys” (young men who do the mechanical grunt work). Philosophies: Go slowly. Rushing causes injuries. Investigate carefully and wait for results of investigation before developing next steps saves time and money.
-Stainless: Chye, great stainless fabricator – fast, inexpensive and high quality!
-Wood: Islam, excellent advice on how to approach problems: Take at least two full minutes to sit and think before taking any action. Go slowly, take small steps. Work deliberately and with caution. Take your time. Discover and repair what caused the problem before repairing the damage done. On a boat, small problems become big, so address the small problems as soon as possible. Try not to create them.
-Refrigeration: Ryan, take things one-step at a time. Don’t make decisions until all the facts are understood. Don’t shy away from the hard work necessary to get to the point where you can properly assess the problem (apply Islam’s advice for this part). Several options available, but need to pick the best one for the circumstance, which can only be done once we know the whole picture.
-Church: Wesley Methodist Chinese Church; love and appreciate our family, especially Leslie’s singing and the boys’ participation in their youth program. Thus we get immersed in the wonderful Malaysian Chinese culture.
And on and on . . .
Kandu Lessons and Benefits:
I partially dismantled a diesel engine and about to dismantle a galley counter top, both skills new to me. I learned a lot about constructive problem solving approaches. The boys are learning a lot about boat maintenance and repair, and patience. At the end of this, we’re going to have a stronger more dependable boat to get us the rest of the way home, providing greater confidence over and understanding of our floating, moving home, especially whilst passing by some potentially hostile nations along the way.
So you see, this has been a great Christmas, sooooo many gifts!
Don’t miss the recent newspaper article published about RigneysKandu found in the Christmas Issue, December 2017 of the West Los Angeles Argonaut.
September 22, 2017 – We left our boat for the day at Labuanbajo, a big and safe harbor located at the western end of Flores Island close to Rinca and Komodo Islands.
The dive boat, organized through Divers Paradise Komodo picked us up directly from our boat. Our Polish friends on s/v Wassyl, Bolo and Natalia, joined us on the dive boat too.
The boat was organized in sections: the open front held all the diving tanks and gear, the back area underneath was the kitchen and toilet, the upper deck was more like a crawlspace where blankets and pillows were spread out for the guests to lounge. The upstairs was very comfy. They served snacks and there were self-serve hot drinks too. During the first dive in very clear water, we saw a lot of turtles – about ten of them. All of them were the same size and the same color, some were sleeping. These sea turtles weren’t as big as the turtles in the Galapagos, but were still a good size of about 3 feet long by 1.5 feet wide.
We also saw a huge puffer fish, but he wasn’t frightened, so he didn’t offer us a show. The second dive, we saw many many manta rays. We hovered above them watching their every move. I love how they glide through the water. Their swimming seems so effortless.
After the dives, we went to Komodo National Park on Rinca Island to see free-roaming komodo dragons. The dragons were great sleepy animals. It was a bummer they didn’t breath fire. When we first arrived, we paid an entry fee and a fee for a mandatory guide. The guide walked around with a long forked stick to make sure the komodo dragons kept their distance and wouldn’t attack.
Our guide did get attacked once while walking on the trail with a guest. They had to quickly climb up a tree and stayed there for an entire day (no cell phones back then) until the guide got a branch and threw it at the dragon hitting it on the nose. The dragon didn’t like that much and left. The two ‘prey’ were able to walk back to the tourist office where his foot was treated. He had to take antibiotics to make sure the bite wouldn’t get infected.
Normally how dragons attack is they wait in the bushes until you’re right in front of them, and when they bite they release poisonous venom into the victim. The infection from the venom is what kills his prey. They prefer to eat their prey rotting dead. The full-grown dragons like to stay in the shade. We saw a lot of them under a house. And the little dragons stay in the trees where the big guys can’t eat them.
When a mother dragon prepares to give birth, she digs about ten holes as camouflage and lays her eggs only in one hole to make it hard for predators to find them. We walked around the entire park and got to see a female dragon digging her many holes.
What’s different about the komodo dragon from other lizards is that the males have two penises. Weird! For food at the national park, they eat wild monkeys, deer, water buffalo and the other baby dragons. We went to visit Komodo National Park again, but this time we motor-sailed there by our own boat and we brought Rainer along. Unlike the first time, we went in the morning and saw the water buffalo with they’re big horns.
Earlier in the day the komodo dragons are less active because they’re cold, so most of the dragons were sleeping under the guides’ houses around the tourist office. Dad witnessed, that even though people are not supposed to feed the komodo dragons, discarded food was being thrown out the window right over where the largest dragons hung out. Easy food is their game.
We said goodbye to Rainer who had to return to his aunt and uncle’s boat, Ocelot. It was sad to see him go as we won’t be seeing him again until Kalimantan, a couple weeks later, where we’ll be taking a river boat tour together to see orangutans in the wild.
We brought up the anchor and motored away to make the next rally spot, Sumbawa, to join in some buffalo races. But our engine stopped working in the pass between Komodo and Sumbawa. Dad worked for an hour trying to fix the problem, but realized the problem was too complicated. There was no wind, no other boats around, and you could see the current racing toward us. Kandu needed to make its way to a safe anchorage. Quickly we had to pull down the dinghy and hitch up our 9.9 horsepower outboard to push/pull Kandu ourselves to a safe anchorage nearby. That’s the main reason why dad bought such a big outboard motor before we left California. I was elected to sit in the dinghy and stear the two boats.
Turns out that s/v Wassyl and s/v Burmese Breeze heard our radio calls and came as fast as they could. It was nice of them to come to our aid. By the time they arrived, we had already safely anchored in a protected bay. With Bolo’s help, dad worked on the engine almost all night long to try to fix the problem in order to leave the next day.
However, when we left early the next morning, the engine still didn’t work. Bolo on s/v Wassyl offered to tow us to Sumbawa until my dad figured out what the problem was with the engine. After a lot of hard work while under-tow, dad figured out that we had an air leak problem between two of our oil filters. His solution was to bypass two filters to stop the leak until he could really fix the problem when we arrived at our next port of call. Because of that, dad and mom decided to head straight to Medana Bay on the north west coast of Lombok, the next stop on our rally.
Rigneyskandu wishes a Merry Christmas 2017 and a Happy New Year 2018 to our dear friends, family and followers. We’ve experienced a formidable year sailing north through the South Pacific, Torres Strait, Timor Sea, Java Sea and the Strait of Malacca.
We made the cover of December’s issue of The Argonaut – a West Los Angeles newspaper. Have a look! Somehow it seems appropriate. The definition of the word ‘argonaut’ is: an adventurer engaged in a quest. RigneysKandu’s quest is to share to our friends and family that the world isn’t scary…it’s grand and awesome!
“I don’t feel I’m living a dream. I feel I’m living. I think we all are, in our own way, living our values. It’s not what we say, it’s what we do that matters most. I imagine no life is stress free. Mine is very stressful. We’re spending our savings to be with our boys as we explore the cultures of those with whom we share the planet. But I’m having to pass up a lot of special places along the way. Oh, poor me, I don’t get to experience Thailand this month. Sounds ridiculous, right? But think of all each one of us has, how we spend our good fortune too often thinking about what we wish we could do, not realizing we are already doing so much. Do we trust each has a purpose and God will provide or do we just hope it might be true for us someday in the future? I’m learning supreme lessons because this experience kicks my ass on a regular basis. But they are only learned if I put them into effect. I hope I do, or what a supreme waste. I think no matter where we are, the same holds true. You don’t have to spend your savings and leave home to take advantage of the beauty and the relationships that surround us. Your pictures of family and of sunsets show me that you are grateful for the life that is yours. Mine is not better, only different (more expensive!). We didn’t spend the holidays with family this year, but spent it with new friends. Not better, … different.” Eric
Here is the pdf version of the Article as printed in Los Angeles’ newsweekly paper “The Argonaut” : Argonaut_12-21-2017 cover story found on pages 10-12.
Now that we’re moving more west toward Bali, 85-90% of the women wear head scarves all day long…taking it off only for sleep. Even the very small girls wear the jilbad. Long sleeves and long pants and/or skirts are also the norm among the Muslim women even in the boiling humid heat. It is not required by law that they wear such coverings, but when asked, they find conforming is easier. In a fashion, it’s enchanting to see the women’s colorful head scarves fluttering behind while they drive on their motor scooters – the vehicle of choice here in Indonesia.
In Medana Bay during the day and night before the final day of Ashura on Sept 29th, the local mosque played practically nonstop cantored prayers over the loudspeakers. The speakers were blown, so the sound wasn’t pretty. Sometimes there was a decent cantor and the melody was clear, but when a young boy got the chance to practice his cantoring, it sadly sounded like a skinned cat.
The marina manager/owner Peter Cranfield of Medana Bay Marina recommended that we take a walk over to the local mosque early around 7:00 am on the final morning of Ashura to visit. As we walked through the small village, we noted the townspeople dressed in their finest. On a side note, a man who wears a white hat indicates that he has completed a pilgrimage to Mecca. As we approached, we were beckoned over and welcomed to participate in their service. Women worshipped upstairs. Even though Natalia and I had made our best efforts to dress as conservative Muslims, we had apparently missed the mark and thus the women covered us from head to toe in their traditional white, hiding especially our hair and feet. The men worshipped downstairs in their dress-up street attire.
On small rugs, Natalia and I knelt and stood along with the women and children, obviously understanding little, but enjoying the spiritual community and the differences of worship. From Eric’s point of view, he said the men kept suggesting he move closer to the front, but he remained closer to the back. As the lead person spoke, it appeared as if the practitioners rocked back, cupping their hands open to the sides of their ears to capture more intently the holy words spoken. When it came time to bow fully down to the floor, men next to Eric and the boys spread their prayer rugs horizontally in front of them so they’d have a rug to press their foreheads against.
After the service, the congregation filed in a circular formation to greet each and every member. Immediately upon shaking hands with a person of similar age, members brought their right hand to their breast as if to bring a piece of you to their heart. Younger members would bow slightly forward and bring the top of older members’ hands to their foreheads as a sign of even greater respect. Adults did the same for the elderly, sometimes kissing the back of their hand before doing so. Following the lengthy warm greeting procession, the six of us were invited to join in celebrating the end of the fast with an elaborate communal lunch or begibung. Men and women grouped separately into clusters of 3-5. Multiple plates of delicious food was placed center of the cluster. A bowl of clear water was set for each cluster to share in order to rinse his/her hands before, while, and after eating. We each spooned ourselves portions of rice and then covered parts of it with various spicy sauced dishes of fish, chicken, and goat. The custom is to only eat with your right hand. With three fingers and thumb, we pressed the rice into the sauced meat, forming a temporary ball which we’d quickly bring to our mouths. We must have looked pathetic for soon they delivered us spoons. The special spiced hard boiled eggs and other delicacies, many fried, were easier to eat by western hand. We felt very special, indeed, to partake in such a rare cultural experience. Out of curiosity, I researched the meaning behind Ashura:
“Ashura Eid ul-Adha” is a festival of remembrance in Islam – but Sunni and Shi’a Muslims celebrate for different reasons. In Sunni Islam, Ashura follows the traditions of Judaism as Jewish people followed a day of fasting around this time of year (commemorating the parting of the Red Sea for Moses and his followers to escape the Pharaoh.) The Prophet Muhammad thought that this tradition was worth following so he fasted and encouraged his followers to do the same. Sunni Muslims fast and celebrate by reflecting and showing respect and thanks. For Shi’a Muslims, Ashura is sacred as a day of remembrance of the death of the grandson of Muhammad” abstracted from the website ‘The UK Sun.’
Street outside the Medana Bay mosque wall.
Medana Bay mosque, Lombok, Indonesia.
Entrance to Medana Bay mosque
Eid ul-Adha ‘begibung’ at Medana Bay mosque: women outside.
Eid ul-Adha ‘begibung’ at Medana Bay mosque: Bolo, Trent and Eric
Eid ul-Adha ‘begibung’ at Medana Bay mosque
Eid ul-Adha ‘begibung’ at Medana Bay mosque: Leslie Rigney
Eid ul-Adha ‘begibung’ at Medana Bay mosque
Eid ul-Adha ‘begibung’ at Medana Bay mosque: Bolo, Bryce, Trent & Eric
Eid ul-Adha ‘begibung’ at Medana Bay mosque: Natalia and Leslie
Bolo, Bryce, Leslie, Peter Cranfield, Natalia and Trent in front of Medana Bay mosque.
Bolo, Bryce, Leslie, Eric, Natalia and Trent posing in front of the Medana Bay mosque.
Eid ul-Adha ‘begibung’ at Medana Bay mosque
The next day, as part of a privately arranged tour, we were invited to share a meal or ‘begibung’ with the family of our driver/guide. He and his family were delightful and their food was delicious. For six of us (including our 2 Polish friends Bolo (Wojciech Maleika) and Natalia Ptasinska from S/V Wassyl) to enjoy that intimate experience, we paid a little bit to cover the family’s cost amounting to US$23. We also brought many gifts for the children and 3 teenage girls. The toys and caps were ones saved from Bryce and Trent’s stock when they were little (the children were ecstatically excited), and I provided 3 binders filled with writing paper, 2 pens, coloured pencils, and plastic pocket. The older teenage girls were flabbergasted with the school binders. Natalia also brought paper products, pencils, pencil sharpeners and the like, plus some tea for the Mommas/Aunties.
Our tour included an incredible morning at the Lombok Elephant Park where we rode, fed, and pet elephants. All four of us got hugged by Valent the friendly orangutan; Valent took Eric (Valent is short for Valentine) for a walk. Plus we goggled at the many birds who sat on our shoulders. Being led by a park guide, we witnessed private active shows from all the endemic zoo animals. We even got to feed the pygmy hippo. Getting a chance to ride an elephant was definitely on my bucket list – never know if we’ll actually make it to Thailand – so, no time like the present! For more fun pictures, browse our Lombok Elephant Park 2017 photo gallery.
After all that ‘busy’ness, I’ve come down with a cold – a little congested, a bit of sneezing, low energy. People eat communally, so germs get passed around pretty quickly. Oh well. Today – the guys are working on the boat. Bryce and Trent are cleaning our boat bottom for US$50 and then the neighbours smaller boat for US$30. This will be their first gig outside of our family. Pretty good!
I read your recent emails. Thanks so much for writing about all the things you’ve been up to and happenings: recounting the work weekend up at Tahoe, how hot it is in California, the fires, and the terrible hurricane that has hit Houston. I too did not know how large that city was – 6 million people!! So much got damaged by water. What terrible losses!
I’ve been reading outloud to the boys: “Old Man and the Sea” by Hemingway. It has a great message about endurance – and is a rather short book. We’ve read halfway. I’ll pick it back up when we’re sailing again. We haven’t played cribbage lately, but this next sailing leg, I know we will. Too hot to cook. Most of the time while I cook, my face drips sweat, even with all the port lights and hatches wide open. However, the air is a bit dryer here than in Polynesia so our clothes and bed linens don’t smell as bad as quickly. Not many mosquitos either – very happy about that.