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Republic of Singapore
January 6, 2008
(Warren) Our faithful three readers recently asked us
about the two and a half month lapse in updates and the sale of the boat. I
can't believe how fast the time has gone by since we've been in Singapore ...
The last week of October we motored up the Johor
straight on a very squally day and nearly anchored before turning the corner for
the marina. The staff was very helpful getting us sorted, except for the radio
operator who informed us that we needed to back into our slip (which happily was
not true). Raffles marina is a nice place to spend a month just taking it [very]
easy and getting fired up to move on again.
The marina has eight docks (A-H) in a "reasonably"
protected spot behind a breakwall. There's nearly always a little roll in the
marina I believe more from the passing super tankers in the straits than the
weather. Contrary to popular opinion the marina never reached full capacity even
during the height of the Indonesia Rally invasion. Cruisers were getting really
stressed out about getting turned away (no one did in the end AFAIK) and were
relaying booking confirmations back and forth across the equator for the two
weeks before arrival. Some people claimed they were ignored by the marina staff
when emails were not confirmed. The staff countered, during the final "gala"
dinner at Raffles, that the mails had been filtered out as spam. Personally, I
don't think anyone would ever be completely turned away here. At the very least
you could get a spot on one of the three massive linear docks used by the
Raffles is a very friendly place and has some good
facilities including two restaurants and a pub. Don't fault the pub for charging
exorbitant prices for local beer -- that's just Singapore sin taxes at
work (you can economize on Tues 2 for 1's). I was very happy to discover that
Raffles is complete with a decent gym that's free for members and anyone staying
in the marina. After nearly four years of riding the rails, a low protein diet
and too many brewskies, I was feeling pretty flabby. The day after arrival I
started working out everyday and haven't stopped yet! I'm feeling much better
and have put on about ten pounds of lean muscle so far (and the great thing is
that it is ALL-MAN-BABY). Steph has enjoyed the gym and is looking even finer
than usual when we hit the pool. Did I mention the pool?? During the weekends
it's a bit crowded with shrieking kids but M-F we have the place to ourselves.
The weather: not bad Oct-Nov when we arrived with
mostly a transitional feel about everything and little wind. December consisted
of near constant downpours everyday. Lately the rain is tapering off and the NE
wind has filled in which keeps things cooler and keeps the flies at bay (meaning
we only need to kill 3 a day not 10). I can't get a great feel for the wind
because the NE monsoon is in effect and we're in the lee of the island, but I
think the nice folks at the Royal Yacht Club on the other side of Singapore are
enjoying the sailing.
During the course of the first month we were also very
fortunate in that our good buddies on SY
Billabong were staying in Raffles as well. They were heads-down knowledge
athletes most of the time and did tons of work to their site. If you're thinking
about cruising, their "what works" section is a must read.
Billabong sailing on ...
At the end of month one we were extremely fortunate to
be visited by our dear friends Ian and Alisa from Seattle. They're some of our
oldest and most loved friends and it was a wall-to-wall love-fest. They were
only in town for four days so we all stayed in adjoining rooms at the very posh
Gallery Hotel on Clarke Quay. Many nachos and beers were enjoyed at Brewerkz and
there was wakeboarding at Ski-360. After a turn around The Night Safari we bid a
sad farewell before sending them back to the so-called real world.
Month two: Something happened after Alisa and Ian's
visit -- we both got extremely motivated! Maybe it's the fact that Ian won two
Emmies by the time he was 12 or who knows but they got us moving in the right
direction. I picked up the job search and started a skunk-works project with
Ian. Steph decided that she wanted to go to business school and get an MBA.
Anyone who's been down that road in the past knows that the first step is the
hellish GMAT entrance exam. Steph started studying eight to ten hours daily
(mostly math -- vocal wasn't a problem as she eventually scored in the 99th
percentile). All I'll say is that we both learned a lot of forgotten algebra and
combinatorics (which in the end wasn't even on the bloody quantitative section
During the second month we also did a couple of nice
diversionary / stress-busting trips to the local zoo and bird park. If you buy
your Night Safari, zoo and bird park tickets all in one you save a ton of money
and they're all worth it. Please don't harass the Siberian tigers.
Steph's hard work really paid dividends. The day before
xmas eve was a big day for us both -- I had setup an interview in (another)
foreign country and Steph completed her GMAT with flying colors. Lately she's
been writing about five essays a day and getting her applications in the mail
On selling Mico: This was obviously not an easy
decision for us but one we've been thinking about for the past year or so. Most
of the people out here cruising are in the 50-70 year age range and have had a
very hard time understanding our decision and I'm getting tired of talking about
it, actually. It came down to us wanting to have a bigger impact on the world
than the cockpit. We love the life but feel that we have more to offer in the
present. I know that we'll eventually be back to do it all again, and more in
I've been very vocal in the past about not using yacht
brokers whenever possible. I was happy to finally put this into action and sell
the boat on our own. We've getting close to a sale and have had pretty decent
interest so far. I mainly put out some notices on yacht bulletin boards and our
own site. I really believe that using the Internet completely obviates the need
to use a broker AND you'll make 10 percent more on the sale. In the end we
offered Mico for a very cheap price considering the market here and back in the
States. I took the fair market value of Mico and took off the price we'd pay to
ship her all the way back to the States, and that was the non-negotiable sale
price. Somebody is going to majorly score when you consider that Mico has never
sailed, motored or looked as good in the past twenty years as she does today. On
top of that the buyer gets to meet the seller (me) directly and ask about the
idiosyncrasies and anything else they like.
We're hoping to have Mico sold in the next couple of
weeks. After that it's back on the travel trail -- this time with someone else
doing the driving.