I know this is my fault. I know I made this happen with all my fear and negativity. You see, sometimes you worry and fret so much that you pile energy into the thing you fear most, and all that energy pushed at the wrong thing makes it come to pass. I guess this isn’t my worst fear, maybe my second to worst fear…or no. Maybe it is my worst fear. What is worse than rotting away in a marina with no where to go? Yep, it’s my worst fear.
They’ve installed…an air conditioner!!!!
I blame the catamarans.
Putrie Harbor, our first stop in Malaysia, is a veritable civilization! Sky scrapers filled with condominiums, restaurants at their foot hosting all manner of delicious food and drink. A running path, water and electricity plugins, and live music firing up in one pub or the other each afternoon.
“I bet we can finally restock our stash of chorizo!” Leslie tells Andrew, hopefully. The last time we found chorizo was Timor Leste over a full year ago. It’s not long before we start meeting our dock mates and Andrew and Leslie are pulled into the cockpit of Chantilly for a drink. I scowl at them from across the dock, watching them cavort in the open patio cockpit. I do not trust catamarans. They have stolen more good-hearted sailors from monohulls than any other type of ship I know, and for what? So you can bounce around on two hulls like jumping popcorn? No, better to roll around like pigs in a blanket, I always say.
Soon, Andrew and Leslie disappear into Chantilly’s hulls. A few moments later, they burst out laughing and carrying on…oh they are sooooo amazed. Apparently, Chantilly carries not one but two full sized dirt bike motorcycles, three gasoline powered remote-controlled race cars, a tin dinghy AND a regular inflatable, several generators, a full karaoke set up, and of course an ice maker. “Aren’t catamaran’s sensitive to weight?” I ask as Leslie gives me the full report.
Lucky for me, Chantilly is scheduled to cast off for an East bound sail around Singapore toward the Philippines at the end of this week. In the meantime, Chantilly’s crew invite Andrew and Leslie to join them on provisioning runs, and they show them all the great spots for finding the necessities: (streaky) bacon, chorizo, the cheapest beer, and best of all — a fizzy water maker! Finally, I can stop listening to Leslie complain of her “grave error” leaving the U.S. without a fizzy water maker.
My crew joins Chantilly’s crew for Malaysian Independence Day Celebrations, meeting locals who converge on the marina parking lot in waves of the exact same car painted white or blue, all parked in rows organized based on paint color. At midnight, fireworks are lit and a delicious fudge cake is enjoyed to wish Independent Malaysia a happy birthday.
By the time our survival rations are acquired, my crew has befriended Chantilly’s crew and they have secured an invitation to Chantilly’s cast off party. So, the next Saturday morning, Leslie and Andrew wake early to bake a chocolate cake with Nutella frosting and chill a cooler full of beers. I watch as Andrew and Leslie are spirited away on a twenty-five person booze-catamaran-cruise.
… Did I mention I do not trust catamarans?
I swear the duck has a suspicious look on his face.
Once Chantilly and her crew cast off on the next leg of their trip, I thought the marina dock would quiet down and we could focus on preparing for our own next leg. But, Andrew and Leslie just made new friends! On another catamaran! Each morning, after Captain Richard of Catamaran Por Dos had shuttled his wife Dawn off to her contract job as a school nurse, he would stop by Sonrisa’s cockpit and share a cup of coffee with Andrew. All manner of normal Captain discussion progresses while Leslie toddles along editing and culling down pictures.
“Are you leaving tomorrow?” Richard asks.
“Yes, leaving tomorrow!” Captain Andrew declares.
But just last night Andrew had spied a billboard for the upcoming Jazz Festival, and just last night had said “If I could trust that it would actually be good…”
He might stay.
That night, Andrew and Leslie join Richard and Dawn at “Jen’s” for the highly recommended cheeseburgers. There, Dawn reports that a few people she works with are “in the know” and they all say the Jazz Festival exceeded their expectations last year.
Andrew twitters with uncertainty - to stay, to go, to stay, to go. BUT A JAZZ FESTIVAL!
“The last time we stuck around for a music festival coming to town, you were asked if you played any instruments.” I reminded Captain Andrew, as I am in favor of sailing on sooner rather than later.
Andrew and Leslie drag their feet and delay; “we can’t leave yet, we need more chorizo to last us through what will undoubtedly be another long chorizo drought.” Leslie explains. They go shopping at the night market, fool around making pickled vegetables, stock up on beer, and go shopping at the nearby Ikea (Yes, an Ikea!!!) for a new mattress they can cut apart to fit our pizza shaped bed in the bow. Richard and Dawn host them aboard Por Dos and share home made bacon while Andrew teaches these catamaran sailors the benefits of having a cast iron pan on board. (How else can you make your bacon extra crispy?)
Before we know it, it’s Thursday, which means we may as well stay until Saturday because we can’t sail on a Friday. The stages begin to be lifted and it’s starting to look like something. We enjoy a night-before microphone test and dress rehearsal while Andrew and Leslie eat Singaporean noodles.
It turns out, managing expectations was unnecessary. The morning of the jazz festival cultural dancers from age Tiny all the way up to adult sized showed up at the marina dressed to the nines. We watched them dance, their gold woven fabrics glittering in spotlights.
Dinner was adequately provided by the food truck contingent, Andrew insisted on purchasing a “Boat Orchid” he has named “Octavius,” and my front deck serves as ring side seats and perfect acoustics for the “Marina Stage.” We gather a collection of friends for beers and snacks.
The next morning, Andrew and Leslie wake to an invitation to British Breakfast in another new set of friends land-apartment overlooking the marina. If there is one thing I distrust more than a catamaran, it’s a land-apartment. They wave to me from the apartment patio, I grumble and wave back. We have to get out of here.
But, after breakfast, Andrew and Leslie walk right past me and continue down the row until they reached the decks of Pos Dos. They had a gleam of purpose in their eye that I do not like. “What are they doing?” I think. They disappear around the corner for a few moments until they re-emerge, Andrew in the lead, toting a white, square, plastic box down the dock.
I watch him sauntering toward me, his flop-flops popping and snapping with each step, Leslie trailing behind in her bright red Tahitian wrap. “Maybe he’s just helping Richard carry that thing to the garbage. No one needs one of those things. Poor Por Dos, I wonder how long she’s had to tolerate…”
Andrew makes the turn onto our dock finger.
“What’cha doing?…Where are you…no!” Holding the big cube, Andrew straddles between my deck and the dock finger. I back away to create as much space between me and the dock as I possibly can. Maybe I can toss them both in the ocean. I pull, Andrew’s long legs reach the distance, and I grunt with the effort to escape the taut pull of my docklines…. “Ughhh, Noooooooooooooo!”
Andrew pushes off the dock with his trailing foot and hops aboard - with the cube. I can’t believe this is happening to me. We’ve had this conversation. Seriously, of all the disrespectful…Leslie pats the side of my hull. “Don’t.” I say, sullen.
“Oh, Sonrisa. Don’t worry, it’s temporary. Its just while we are in these hot and stuffy marinas.” I sulk and look away. That’s what they all say. “It’s temporary.” It’s not temporary, it’s the death nell of every cruising boat I know.
“I thought we were leaving tomorrow morning! What do we need that for if we are leaving tomorrow?” I ask. Leslie explains that our next two major stops are hot and stuffy marinas. We will need it to survive the heat. “Well, then let’s just skip the marinas!” I say, as though this course of action is obvious.
Using his trademark move whenever his ladies are upset with the situation, Andrew goes about his business in complete silence, donning a closed lip smile. He removes the seat cushion and cover in our stern bunk and props the cube thereon. He leads hose into the engine room, one hose into the bilge and a big air vent out the rear facing port hole covered by the dodger. He straps the contraption into place with old mainsail ties and gives it a shake to see if it will stay put. Then, he thumbs a button on the top and it whirrs to life with a hum. Cold air starts blowing into the hallway and through my cabin. Wiping sweat off her upper lip, Leslie claps and sticks her face right in front of the vents. I roll my eyes.
“It’s going to make things worse, you know. You are going to become acclimated to the cold air and feel miserable all the time.” But, they ignore me. They turn on fans to blow the cold air from stern to bow, and they stretch out on my salon benches to enjoy the cool breeze.