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Mico Verde
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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 super-yachts.

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 she took).


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 (or Internet).

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 the future.

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.


SV Mico Verde