Annual Summary of 2009

January - February - After owning the catamaran for almost 8 years we decided to eliminate round-backed settee "corners" in our main salon and make new cushions and covers. After designing and ordering a new main salon table we left "Arctracer" securely tied up in a slip at Georgetown, Penang's marina and left on Jan 17th to tour Burma. We rode a train to Bangkok, got visas, spent time with a friend there, then flew to Yangon. We flew north to Mytkyina, came slowly down the Irrawaddy River on various kinds of boats to Mandalay, then used buses to visit Bagan and Kalaw. One of the highlights of our trip was trekking for three days from Kalaw to Inle Lake. We met nephew Danny's wonderful relatives in Yangon on our arrival in Yangon and again just before we flew back to Bangkok. Our great trip ended with a sleeper train from Bangkok back to Penang.

March - May - Our new table for the main salon was delivered and installed just before Jerry flew to the USA in mid-March to help his parents. Nina stayed aboard and completely refinished the main salon and other parts of the boat with wood, sandpaper, epoxy, paint, glue, varnish, curtains, cushions, carpets, etc. When it was time to renew her visa, Nina flew to Makassar, Sulawesi, Indonesia for a short visit with girls from the Maluku Islands of Banda and Ambon attending college there. One of Nina's friends from Banda arranged for her to stay in their dorm house with them. This was a unique experience as many of the girls had little or no previous contact with westerners. One evening she enjoyed showing photos and answering questions from the girls about her lifestyle and adventures. A weekend adventure in a van with several of the girls was very rewarding to all involved. Needless to say, it was really wonderful for us to be back together again in Penang in mid-May after two months apart. In addition to the interior work done we also gave away our rusty anchor chain, got our big CQR regalvanized, and scraped props in the filthy water.

June - Leaving Penang Island, we sailed to Rebak marina and boat yard in Langkawi where we purchased new chain and new bottom paint. After being hauled out for 9 days we spent another few days at Rebak while we refurbished our windlass with paint and grease, made a "gate" for the mast track, and did an extensive repair and repaint of our Fatty Knees dinghy. In addition to work, we enjoyed the company of other cruisers, the resort's pool, and had a few good, low-cost meals ashore.

July - We left Rebak and anchored for two nights at Telaga to visit friends, then anchored off Kuah to check out of Langkawi. We day-sailed down the Strait of Malacca and tacked many times, for as usual we seldom used our engines although the mostly light breezes were predominately in our face. Days were often hazy because of fires burning on Sumatra Island. Squalls were fairly frequent but not terribly strong. At the new Danga Bay Marina (free at the time) we replaced our engine starting batteries, stocked up on fuel and food, got an "Internet-fix" using the marina's free wi-fi, and visited Singapore by bus.

August - We sailed around Singapore for the 4th time and up to Tioman Island where we checked out of Malaysia. We day-sailed up the east side of the Malay Peninsula, dodging nets, long lines of traps, and small fishing boats much of the way. With generally light breezes aft of the beam, we used our spinnaker most days. After we checked into Thailand at Ko Samui with its busy resort-oriented tourist scene, no other cruising boats, and few places to snorkel, we sailed north to Ko Phangan for a couple of days, then on to Ko Tao. This northern island in the group had quite clear water and good snorkeling, and its sheltered eastern side had relatively quiet anchorages which we enjoyed, especially once the hordes of tourist snorkeling and dive boats left in the early afternoon.

September - After a nice "vacation" of 10 days at Ko Tao, we sailed to Ko Anthong National Marine Park for more relaxation. Although the water was always too cloudy to snorkel, we enjoyed lovely scenery, good walks, beautiful anchorages, wildlife including dusky langurs and pied hornbills, and evenings with park staff members. When our visas expired after one month, we sailed back to Ko Samui to check out of Thailand. While we did all day-hops on our way north, we sailed south day and night (dodging fishing boats) to Malaysia's Perhentian Islands where we enjoyed good snorkeling for a few days. Further south we enjoyed snorkeling at Redang Island and Kapas Island. While typhoons hit the Philippines on the other side of the South China Sea, we encountered only a couple of strong squalls.

October - From Pulau Kapas we day-sailed down the coast to Tioman Island. Tourist season was ending on this side of the peninsula and everyone was getting ready for the northeast monsoon rains and winds. We even had trouble restocking with duty-free liquor as none of the stores planned to restock their shelves until after the northeast monsoon. We had a good time with daughter Jennifer and grandson Antonio when they visited us from the Philippines for a few days of walks, snorkeling, enjoying Tioman wildlife and trying Malaysian food.

November - We sailed around Singapore for the 5th time and settled-in at the (still free) Danga Bay Marina. Using public transportation, we visited Penang for more than a week while Jerry had a double-hernia operation. The rest of the month he recuperated on the boat, using his computer to update our website, do google searches and keep in touch with friends and relatives.

December - We left "Arctracer" in Danga Bay while we flew to Manila and Bohol Island in the Philippines for the holidays with daughter Jennifer and all three of our grandchildren (Sara, Nico and Antonio). "Arctracer" traveled 2412 miles this year.