Back in Malaysia

We hope you are enjoying your holiday season and just wanted to bring everyone up to date on where we are and what we’re up to. Also, we hope to hear from some of you with whom we’ve lost contact.

We brought in the New Year 2006 in Auckland, New Zealand, where we hung out for the southern summer. In late March we returned to Moonshadow, which has been based in Telaga Harbour on the gorgeous Malaysian island of Langkawi for the past year.

Moonshadow (just right of center) in Telaga Harbour

After a few weeks at “home” we flew to the United States for a two month visit. On the return trip to Asia we spent a week in Hong Kong followed by three fascinating weeks in China, taking in many popular sights such as Shanghai, Beijing, the Yangtze River and Three Gorges, the Forbidden City, Xian and the Terra Cotta Warriors and of course the Great Wall.

We returned to Malaysia and caught our breath before heading off for some cruising. It was a rather easy season which consisted of a backtracking 1000 nautical mile round trip through the Straits of Malacca to Singapore. During the month that we spent in Sing, we had an excellent time taking in the culture, enjoying a bit of city life and catching up with some ex-pat friends living there. We were also kept busy by making repairs and preparations, and gathering needed supplies for our upcoming voyage.

Along the way, we had the opportunity to spend more time dawdling in two of our favorite Malaysian ports, Malacca on the trip south, and Penang on the return trip, where hauled out Moonshadow for an anti-foul and some other routine maintenance.

Back in Langkawi, we had just enough time to put Moonshadow away and we were off on a five week “tour of duty” to Vietnam and Cambodia. Starting in Hanoi, we traveled the length of Vietnam and then went by boat up the Mekong River to Cambodia where we took in the Wats (temples) around Siem Reap. On our way home, we stopped into Bankok for a few days of R& R before heading back to Moonshadow in Malaysia.

We finished up the year with a short sail north to Phuket (pronounced Poo-get), Thailand where we are presently making final preparations for next year’s voyage, which include building a new main sail for Moonshadow.

Trekking on the Great Wall

We’re now in year 13 of our 5-8 year circumnavigation. Our plan for the year is to depart Phuket in mid-January for the Andaman Islands, a small Indian outpost in the Andaman Sea, northwest of Thailand. From there, we’ll sail for Maldives, which is a beautiful coral atoll situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean, just south of mainland India. After a month of cruising in Maldives, we plan to continue west toward the Red Sea, calling into Oman to join a convoy for the trip through a stretch of water called “Pirate Alley,” in the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen. From there we’ll head on to Djibouti where we’ll pick up fuel and provisions for the slog up the Red Sea to Suez. If all goes according to plan, we should complete our transit of the Suez Canal and pop out in the Med in some time in April. We plan to spend the northern summer cruising Greece, Turkey and Croatia and then park Moonshadow for the winter and return to New Zealand for the southern summer.

As usual, we have posted logs and photos of the past year’s travels on, in the Sailor’s Logs section, and we plan to continue to post regularly as we make our way westward.

We wish you health, peace and prosperity in the New Year and hope to hear from you and that our paths will cross in the not-too-distant future.

Cheers, George and Merima

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