Sunday, June 28, 2015

On the NEW Soggy Paws in Malaysia

We flew in June 23rd from the Philippines, and stayed one night in Kuala Lumpur.

Sherry's passport was running low on blank pages, so we made an appointment to stop in at the U.S. Embassy and add pages to her passport. This was a painless but expensive process ($82 USD). We were finished by around 11:30 am, and so hopped a 1pm bus from the main downtown bus terminal, to head for Pangkor/Lumut.

We spent 3 nights in the Best Western resort/hotel here on Marina Island (steps from the boatyard), while we got things set up on board. This is supposed to be an upscale resort, but it's just a teeny bit "not right". They have a weird layout in the Condotel rooms--I can't imagine anyone actually buying them to live in. But the bed was nice, the A/C cold, the wifi free, etc. And the room only cost $47 USD per night (this is a fairly expensive room in Malaysia).

At 4 degrees N, it's pretty hot here right now, but at least we've got a pretty good breeze. We managed to rent an air conditioner from the marina, but it's turned out to be a mixed blessing. The thing is a free-standing unit that exhausts so much hot air into the room it is in, that it's not very practical. However, it did get one hull cool enough last night that we had a good night's sleep on our first night onboard. We backed it up to the the door so the hot air went out into the cockpit, and blew a fan across the cold air coming out to channel it down into the port hull. This, combined with the night coolness, worked fine. I don't know what we're going to do when Kevin arrives and is sleeping in the other hull!

This has been a pretty stressful time for us--a brand new boat with no owners manual, in a brand new country, with none of our usual cruiser support group. Like our marina in the Philippines, all the amenities of town are pretty far away. Unlike our marina in the Philippines, there is hardly anyone else living aboard, and there is no "marina shuttle" to town. We have rented a car, and with the help of Google Maps, been finding our way around.

Though the marina and the hotel take credit cards, we owe cash to a few people for services rendered. Our first hit at trying to get cash from an ATM card at the airport was unsuccessful. I tried 2 machines and 2 different debit cards, and ended up exchanging a little of our USD at the money exchange counter at the airport. So I've been stressing about how to get enough cash to pay off our debts and pay to fill up on diesel fuel (must be jugged in from the local gas station). One of the other cruisers at the marina said "Oh, Malaysia is tough for debit cards--they probably won't work." What!!!?? We have never had a problem using at least one of our debit cards in any country so far. So was panic-ing (it wouldn't be stressful except for the time pressure for us to get away from here on Weds).

So I went online to Western Union, created an account, and transferred money to myself from my bank account to "any Western Union location in Malaysia", and there were about 10 agents listed in our area. In the Philippines, there are Western Union signs all over. It seemed like a great solution, and some of the agents listed were open on Saturday afternoon. Well, after trying 3 of the listed agents, we finally gave up--couldn't find them, or anyone who knew where they might be, even though Google said we were right there. We had a similar experience trying to find the "marine store". On Monday we'll try for a bank location and see how that works out. But in the meantime, we found an ATM that worked with both cards, so we're not quite so panicky about running out of ringgits.

Fortunately, there are a couple of big modern grocery stores here, and with a car, we re starting to loaded up. This too was stressful because we are starting from almost nothing onboard--not just topping up our food supply, but starting from scratch. Though there is a very nice big freezer aboard, there refrig is about half the size of CSY Soggy Paws', so I had to shop carefully to make sure we didn't run out of room with half the veggies still out on the counter.

So, we are making progress, still think we're going to be launched on Monday, and steam off to pick up our dinghy in Penang on Weds. But a lot of little things have to fall into place in order to keep to that schedule.

I have updated our position on Winlink, so the red pin on the blog position should be the correct location.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Life on the Hard

Last fall, we hauled out Soggy Paws, to keep her safe while we were off the boat (2 months in US, then 2 months in NZ). Then we planned to work on her out of the water for most of this year.

So this has been our home since October last year:

Soggy Paws "On the Hard"

Living this way has many interesting quirks. Like... we cannot use our bathroom facilities because there is no water to flush. So we go to the marina bathroom. And for the inevitable middle-of-the-night visits, we use a bucket. (I'll spare you the picture of our bucket!)

This is our front door.

Our Front Door

Anything that comes or goes off our boat now has to be hauled up or down that ladder. Everything from 5 gallon jugs of drinking water (can't use the watermaker and the marina water is kind of "hard") to the heavy sewing machine.

And ourselves, of course. After a nice happy hour on the balcony, teetering up and down that bamboo ladder... I have been REALLY careful making the transition from deck to ladder and back. We already have one friend who fell off a ladder in the yard (in NZ), and is barred from cruising for 6 months while ribs and broken arm heals.

Since the plan for this year was a cosmetic refit for Soggy Paws, we had 2 big plywood boxes built (4x8x2), so we could unload stuff from the boat, one section at a time, to start re-doing the interior. We thought 2 boxes would be sufficient to unload the non-essential stuff from the whole boat. Guess again!! We only got the V-berth unloaded before the boxes got filled up.

Our Home-built "Storage Pods"

But, progress is being made!! (in spite of all the other unplanned wrinkles in our lives) Our V-Berth is done and it looks really nice.

The New V-Berth

We have been working pretty hard, but it's not all work and no play. One night we went out to a local "watering hole" and it happened to be their first anniversary party. They had a great live band playing 60's and 70's pop and rock music. Great stuff! And they have a full Filipino and "Western" menu.

Jammin' at Tambayan

And we've hooked up with another cruiser who's been organizing a dive trip every Sunday, using the marina's boat. It ends up costing about $40 US for a 2-tank dive (we just split the cost of chartering the boat with driver). We have found the local diving to be amazingly good. The coral is healthy and there's a huge variety of soft and hard corals. Unfortunately, no big fish, but lots of interesting little ones.

Sunday Dive Trip with s/v Furthur's Crew

At the beginning of the year, I was about to commit hari-kari when I realized that the plan was to live aboard Soggy Paws in the heat, out of the water ALL YEAR LONG. However, I just realized that, with the purchase of the new catamaran, that today was the last day I'd have to live aboard on the hard for quite some time. When we come back to pick up where we left off, we'll be living on the the new Catamaran Soggy Paws, and we can truly unload the CSY Soggy Paws and not be trying to live aboard in the middle of a refit.

So, off we go today to Malaysia to pick up Catamaran Soggy Paws!! We are excited to say the least!

We have a had a few nibbles on our Soggy Paws For Sale ad on, but we honestly are not ready to sell yet--until we can get the Cat to the marina and unload the stuff we won't be selling with the boat (mid August). One guy wanted to see interior pictures. !!! Trust me, bubba, you don't want to see the interior of Soggy Paws right now!! (I sent him a picture of our V-Berth-in-Progress and tried to explain that the boat was such a disaster area right now that I couldn't take any representative pictures). But meanwhile, if you have a friend looking for a good cruising boat, they can't do better than a CSY. By 1 September we'll be getting really ready to show her off. So have your friends start planning their September vacation trip to Sunny Samal.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Soggy Paws the CSY is For Sale!!

We closed the deal on the new catamaran this week, so our beloved Soggy Paws, which we have owned and cruised for 18 years, is now for sale.

Arriving Under Sail in Bikini Lagoon

We have just posted an ad on Sailboat Listings. Here:

As most of you no doubt know, we have many many upgrades on Soggy Paws that are too numerous to list in an ad. As we were equipping Soggy Paws for long term cruising, we have bought tens of thousands of dollars worth of spares, so we could fix anything ourselves in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Plus of course, continually upgraded our equipment based on our needs and new technology. She is ready to cruise as-is, where-is. The one thing we HAVEN'T spent a lot of money on in the last 10 years is cosmetic work.

So, Soggy Paws is currently in the Philippines, undergoing a complete cosmetic refit--new Awlgrip paint on hull and decks, and interior painting and varnishing. In a few months she will look like new. But you couldn't buy a new boat like this for less than $500,000 dollars. They just don't build them like this any more.

For some reasons why a CSY should be your boat of choice, check out this page on our website. And then feel free to browse the "workshop" section of our website for all the upgrades and information about our boat.

We realize that it's going to be a hard sell for U.S. buyers to buy a boat in the Philippines, just because of the distance issue. But if you are getting ready to retire, this is a GREAT place to buy a boat. No need to make the 30-day crossing from Panama to EXPENSIVE French Polynesia (beer=$5). There is a large US ex-pat community in Davao and in the Philippines. Medical care (and everything else) is reasonably-priced and good quality.

From here you can island-hop all over INEXPENSIVE Southeast Asia (beer=$1)--the great diving in the Philippines, Eastern Indonesia (Raja Ampat) and Palau, and then make your way to the best of the South Pacific (Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomons)... we're leaving for there on our new catamaran in January, wanna join us?

If you are seriously interested in the rare CSY 44 Walkthrough, let us know, we'll work with you. We are willing to rebate the cost of your flight to Davao to check her out, from the final purchase price. Our asking price reflects the final refitted-as-new price. If you're in a hurry or want to do your own "cosmetic refit" on your own time, and get a discount in the process, let us know.

We'll periodically update the pictures as we complete our refit.

Note: Sold in April 2016 to a guy from Perth, Australia.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Right Turn, Clyde!

In somewhat of a shocking change of direction, we have decided to buy a catamaran!!

Our New Catamaran

This all started a couple of weeks ago when Dave heard that a guy in the marina was selling his catamaran. Dave has been hot to buy a cat for awhile now--ever since our good friends Jack and Nicole defected from the CSY camp to buy a Bahia 46. It flares up every now and then, but up til now I've managed to keep him focused on getting Soggy Paws around the world.

Great Dive Platform!

Well, one thing led to another, and after he looked at every cat in the marina and found them lacking (or too expensive), he found out friends of friends were selling a St. Francis 44 catamaran in Malaysia, and for a very good price. Looking at the pictures, it looked like a great deal. I couldn't talk him out of it. So we flew to Malaysia to take a look at Blue Moon.

And a Gorgeous Cockpit

Blue Moon turned out to be as nice-looking in person as she did in the ad, and I slowly came around to Dave's point of view. So we made an offer. "As is, where is" in Malaysia. And darned if our offer wasn't accepted!!

So we are now scrambling with trying to get all our ducks lined up to complete the purchase--without the luxury of being in the U.S. It's a crazy situation, with us here in the Philippines, the boat is in Malaysia, the seller is in New Zealand, and all our money is in the U.S.

Meanwhile, we've got people working on Soggy Paws to get her fixed up for sale. The boat, rigging and systems are really solid--it's mainly the cosmetic things that have suffered over the last 8 years of cruising. And this is great place to get that kind of work done. We've had 2 carpenters working for the last week in the v-berth, and it's already looking amazing.

Our plan, assuming we conclude the deal on Blue Moon in the next few weeks, is to fly to Malaysia around the 1st of July to get the new "Soggy Paws" launched and cruise her back to the Philippines. Once here, we can get both boats side-by-side and transfer all our "stuff", and then get serious about selling Soggy Paws.

It's going to a steep learning curve, going from a heavily-built monohull to fairly light and fast catamaran!

You can see a few more pics of the new boat here:

If anyone is interested in buying a great cruising boat and being able to cruise the South Pacific and SouthEast Asia, without actually having to cross the Pacific Ocean to get here, drop us a line! We'll have a proper "For Sale" page for Soggy Paws, the CSY soon.