After stocking up on tea, we swooped down the mountain side, back to tropical heat. We were excited to return to Sonrisa, as we’d received word that the Boat-Bling we’d ordered is waiting at the marina.
This was one of the projects we had been working on before we left. Sonrisa’s anchor and anchor chain has seen many leagues of sea water and sand patches over the last few years, and the protective coating over the chain had been slowly dissolved and rubbed away. This leaves the chain subject to rust and deterioration. We inspected each link, and upon satisfaction that the chain is in good condition besides the need for a little sanding off of rust and more protective coating, we sent it away to get it re-dipped and re-coated in molten zinc. This sort of thing makes Sonrisa very happy.
We make the rounds and enjoy one last of each of our favorite desserts that seem to be at their best here in Pangkor: Sugared Roti, Coconut Shake, and Cendol (pronounced Cendol) which includes iced coconut milk, rose syrup, green slippery worm things, noodles, kidney beans, squares of chewy agar agar, chewy dried coconut, chunks of pineapple and mango. You wouldn’t think this would suit our palates, but it does. It’s so cooling on an equatorial day.
But, we have a date with my little friend Leah and her family in Langkawi in a few days. So, we shove off from Pangkor waving goodbye to the sailor potlucks, tasty food, and a handful of new friends.
The weather is on again-off again, with sunny calms nestled between rolling black squalls. Andrew is happy to try out his freshly re-built roller-furler for the genoa (the big sail in the front of Sonrisa).. Full sail out for the light air, a small corner of sail out for the ripping wind that greets us at the front of every storm, and sail completely rolled up when the motor goes on in dead calms. (There are no purists aboard over here, sorry.) Sonrisa enjoys a sunset at sea, motoring with no wind at all while we make our last few miles toward our anchorage.
The next day is much better for sailing. Sonrisa stretches her sails under an over-cast sky and a perfect steady breeze. I putter around on deck taking photos from this angle and that, I stretch out in the cockpit and enjoy the quiet of Sonrisa’s hull pushing through the water, her five knot gurgle.
This Melacca Strait area is spoiling us. The sea state is mostly calm, with waves only as big as those we might find on Lake Mead. The depth is shallow everywhere, so we can stop and anchor anywhere we like. With all the fishing, it’s ill advised to try to sail at night. So, we time our passages between anchorages in twelve hour gaps, and we have not had a night watch for months. There are nice marinas with plug-ins for the air conditioner and hoses to fill up our tanks with water. We can hardly remember what it is like to dull our sense to rolling wave-bombs on the hull and the isolation of ocean crossings. It’s easy and fun sailing out here, that’s to be sure.
We arrive at the edge of the Langkawi island group as the sun drops low in the sky. Captain Andrew’s feeling rather nautical, so we sail onto our anchor to test our skills. The sun lights Sonrisa’s whole port side with a golden glow. She’s so beautiful, the anchorage is beautiful, the night is beautiful. We settle in, pour a cocktail, and watch the sunset while green-glowing squid boats surround us in higher and higher number until it looks like we are at the center of a Martian Invasion.
Next morning, we move to a bay surrounded 270 degrees by jungle layered cliffs and white sand beaches at their foot. We are all alone, and the only sound is from the little wavelets rolling up against Sonrisa’s stern. We unfold Grin and take a spin around the neighborhood. We visit one beach with monkey tracks, monitor lizard tracks, and a funny hermit crab…
…and second beach where I lose Andrew completely as a result of his unintended camouflage.
As the sun sets, it’s beam is broken into star shine by the gap between two islands. Sonrisa nestles herself into a most picturesque spot and requests that I spend the next half-hour trying to get “just the right angle”.
Grin wants his picture taken, too. Yes, Grin, you are very handsome.
Back on Sonrisa, I hang my hammock and kick back as the sky as it develops into neon red, pink, and blue. “We are getting soft,” I start to think, but I reprimand myself mid-thought. “Enjoy it while you have it, Leslie.”