This is the last edition of Zinc sailing. Five years of silly stories is sufficient, we think you’ll agree.
December was bitter sweet: We sailed in Phuket. We sold ZINC. We sailed to Langkawi for the handover. And, we flew to Nepal for an impromptu let’s-get-the-f@#k-away-from-sea-level holiday before we returned to Australia in January 2014. For. Ever. Well for as long as it takes us to scheme another harebrained adventure. Don’t tell our parents.
LIFE. When we were in the neighbourhood, we visited this boat, for obvious reasons.
…We visited Santa.
…We packed and posted a few boxes.
…We pretended to be frogs (thanks Aunty May for the equipment and the inspiration).
BOAT KID. Perhaps only a boat kid would think Dora is wearing a cap lamp around her neck.
…To be honest, we are concerned that our boisterous, adventurous, and rough and tumble boat kid is going to morph into a princess-obsessed, appearance-focused, girly-girl when we return to the Gold Coast. But maybe a balance will be struck. After all, already, she prefers to ride pink motorcycles.
…And, after bomb diving and throwing rocks into swimming pools, she loves to wear flowers in her hair.
LIFE. Freshly squeezed orange juice served to an almost-three-year-old in a tits and ass glass. Only in Phuket?
LIFE. A visit to the Phuket Zoo, which was everything I expected and worse.
…Newspaper headlines of zoo disasters flashed through my mind, and I spent the morning glancing anxiously over my shoulder trying to spot (and evade) escaping crocodiles, tigers, snakes, or elephants.
Willow ‘surfed’ the buffalo statue.
SAYA HAMIL. Dale, who is the best husband ever (and who is truly grateful he is not the one who gets pregnant), banished me to a resort on the beach around the corner from where ZINC was anchored for 24 (Willow-free) hours of reading, yoga, meditation, and massage. It was heaven. It was the second night I have spent away from Willow and she didn’t bat an eyelash. She cherished having uninterrupted time to dominate Daddy.
…I continued to paddle to shore to jog (waddle) half marathons. Each half marathon took me a week to complete, in five or six 40 minute stints. Embarrassing. Particularly at the start of the month before my bump popped. Though really, I have never been a great jogger; it is kind of pleasant to have an excuse for poor form.
BOAT. We sold our darling ZINC. It happened quickly. From listing to handover the deal was done in less than two months. We were adamant not to be “those” people who have their boats on the market for two years, plus. Apparently the new owners will continue to call her ZINC. If you see her on the water, say hello; her new family are lovely people.
…ZINC’s Australian flag flew for the last time. She is now a British citizen. For some reason, I am chuffed about this. I love the idea of an asset, our old family home, moving countries, changing citizenship, continuing on adventures without us.
PASSAGE: PHUKET TO LANGKAWI
LIFE. For the last time, we prepared ZINC for an overnight passage…
…we said farewell to friends on the dock…
…and we chugged down the Boat Lagoon Marina channel, bound for Langkawi.
SAILING. Our passage was fast and uneventful.
…For ninety percent of the night, Dale was on watch, dodging fishing buoys and storms. Willow and I took the helm an hour before sunrise and sailed ZINC the last few hours in to port.
Now, not long ago, Dale suggested that I must be embarrassed to have lived on a sailing boat for five years and yet still not know anything about boats or sailing. Well, I showed him in the end. In those last few hours coming in to Langkawi, I did some of my best sailing: I trimmed. I changed patterns. I changed course. I milked knots. And I finished it all off at the marina by executing my best dock line throw, ever. It was beautiful. If I don’t say so myself.
BOAT. The handover.
…The ex-yachties. There were tears. We will miss living on ZINC always.
LIFE. Some nomadic families boast about how little luggage they travel with. Not us. We always seem to have loads of stuff. And on the flights between Malaysia and Australia we set a family record: 240 kg of check-in luggage. I suppose we are moving houses and countries. And over half of our luggage is always sports equipment — surfboards, kiteboards, dive equipment, wetsuits etc. But still, my goodness. The logistics of physically moving this quantity of product is challenging.
LITTLE NOMAD. Willow is at her best when on the move, and particularly when on planes and when at airports. It is always a pleasant surprise. Though I suppose that after 50+ flights she very well should know the drill.
LIFE. We wanted a buffer between living on the sea in SE Asia and living at the beach in Australia. Nepal — a land-locked country that boasts the world’s largest number of locations that are the greatest distance from sea-level — seemed the obvious option. So, off to the mountains we went.
…It wasn’t really our idea though. We were inspired by friends who run a resort in Indonesia (Kingfisher Bay Resort — great people, great waves, great location — check it out). We heard they were in Nepal in October with their daughter, who is not much older than Willow, and, as fortune would have it, they were still there when we arrived in Pokhara a few days before Christmas. I was certain our girls would meet on a beach or in the surf one day, but instead, they met in a village on a lake surrounded by snow capped 7,000 meter plus mountains. Willow absolutely adored her new buddy.
LIFE. Life in Pokhara was colder…
…and more colourful than what we were used to.
…The local beer tasted “just like VB” (apparently).
LITTLE TREKKER TOURIST. In a new purple puff.
…On a yak.
…Getting in with the expats.
…Confirming that boats are so 2013.
…Melting down at inappropriate locations. We really should holiday at Westfield Shopping Centers.
…Losing a shoe or two in Kathmandu.
LIFE. We settled in to a holiday routine: Dale’s Day. Jeunesse’s Day. Family Day. Repeat x 4. On these days, we walked up and down hills. Alone…
…And as a family.
…I mountain biked above the clouds.
…We celebrated Christmas and New Year at the Pokhara Street Festival.
…And we got out on the water. We couldn’t help ourselves. There is something about boats.
AUSTRALIA: GOLD COAST
LIFE. And after all that, we returned to work and to ‘school’ in Australia.