Wednesday, February 23, 2022

2 Year Covid Boat Storage

Shredded sunshade and broken timber
We were back in the US for almost 2 years during Covid, Tortuguita stayed in Malaysia, covered by sunshade exposed to the elements.

We had no idea what to expect when we returned.  

I had built a timber frame on the deck to hold the sunshade.  Would that still be intact?  Would the sunshade be torn to shreds?

Broken timbers at the bow
Would the sunshade be dragging on the ground and make it easier for rodents to infest the boat?

Would there be ants and termites that found there way onboard?

Would monkeys be living aboard?

Worst of all, was rain leaking inside that would allow mold to grow all over?


Well, after 2 years, it really wasn't so bad.  Considering....

Green slime everywhere
 

Yes, the sunshade was shredded in places but not dragging on the ground.

The timbers had rotted or cracked from the high winds but the loose pieces did not cause any chaffing damage.

There were no insects nor rodents living onboard.

There were a few minor leaks but no mold.

Safe in the garage?
The dinghy had been chewed by some boatyard dog but it still held air.

The only mold was on the decks and was the green slime type that grows everywhere in Malaysia.  A little Clorox and pressure washing takes care of it.

The Volvo was parked under the boat well protected.  The tires were kind of flat and the cover was dry rotted but it could have been worse.



A real Rats Nest
Then again, it was worse as we began poking around.  Rats had been living in the car.  Don't know how they got in or how long they were there but it was not a pretty sight or smell.

If something had to be trashed, it might as well have been the car.  It doesn't owe us anything and I would much rather have a two thousand dollar car destroyed instead of a quarter million dollar yacht.

A worthwhile trade.

Wire Insulation must taste good












Sunday, February 20, 2022

SkyCab and SkyBridge

Yes, we are being tourists. Just like getting selfies with the Giant Prawn, Giant Mango, Giant Banana, and Giant Avocado in Australia, we had to do the Giant Cable Car and Giant Bridge.



 

The SkyCab is the world's Free Span, Single Rope Cable Car.  

At the top of the mountain is the SkyBridge.  It is the longest Curved Single Column Cable-Stayed Suspension Bridge in the world.  It is 125 meters long and sits on a mountaintop 660 meters high.  It has glass panels in the deck and can only be reached by the SkyCab.


 

The view really is incredible.

And just like the Giant Prawn, we'll do anything once.


Saturday, February 19, 2022

The Island Tour

 

Monkeys in our hotel Pool
Langkawi is a group of 99 islands, 30 miles offshore in the Malacca Strait near the border of Thailand.

Creative use of towels    
We will end up here with Tortuguita on our way North but the Bubble was a good way to check it out in advance.

We spent the first few days recovering from the flights and doing administrative things like getting a SIM card and shopping. 

We had the full run of the island with no restrictions.  This was much different than any other quarantine or COVID lockdown that we have experienced before.

Taking a break
Great idea


 

 

 

Thailand in the distance
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excellent Thai Restaurant at the Hotel
We met up with quite a few other cruisers who were doing the same Bubble.  Some we knew, some we didn’t.  Almost all were heading to Pangkor Marina Island like we were.  We would all meet up for Happy Hours and Dinner at one of the Hotel Restaurants.

 

 

 

 

Inside the 'Lucky Temple'
After a few days, we hired a driver for the day and did a circumnavigation of the island.  The drive without stops would take about 4 hours.

 

Our first stop was the “Lucky Temple” because, why not?  Luck is good, right?

There was an interesting carving in the marble hillside, the Goddess of Mercy”

 

The Goddess of Mercy

We will be anchoring here
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SkyCab with Telaga Harbor
Next was Tanjung Roo.  It is a quite beautiful beach area adjoining a mangrove area that tours visit.  There is an anchorage called "Hole in the Wall" that we will definitely be staying in.

Our next stop was the SkyCab Cable Car and Skybridge.  SkyCab is the steepest and  longest free span single cable ride in the world at 42 degrees and 950 meters respectively. 

From the SkyCab hill,we saw Rebak Marina Island, and Telaga Harbour Marina.  You have to take a ferry to get to Rebak but not so with Telaga.  So, we had the driver take us there for a look around.

Royal Langkawi, Rebak,and Telaga are the 3 yacht marinas on the Langkawi.

Friday, February 18, 2022

My Sejahtera App

Everyone in Malaysia is required have or be covered by a COVID App for Tracing and Tracking.

Sejahtera means “Safe” and “Prosperous” in English.  The My Sejahtera App is a combination of two COVID Apps. 

  
Our Status while under Quarantine    
MyTrace Malaysia is a Bluetooth scanner that looks to be an outgrowth of the Open-Source Blue Trace project initially developed by Singapore.   

 

 

 

It anonymously tracks all other MyTrace enabled phones for distance and duration of contact.  It notifies you if you have come in contact with a COVID infected person.

Typical QR Poster at businesses    
The other App, My Sejahtera, is a QR scanner and logger.  All businesses have a QR poster at their entrance.  You scan the QR and it is logged to your phone.  The data is only kept on your phone but if you get COVID, the health officials will download the time specific log and use it for contact tracing.
Self Test Results to be uploaded    

You can also upload COVID test results and vaccinations using the app. 

Since almost everything is handled by the individual cellphone, no information is sent to a central server unless you end up with COVID.  In that case, the health department accesses the data and encrypted notifications are sent out to other My Sejahtera equipped phones.

The app  seems to be pretty good.  It works whether you have a data connection or not.  The only downside is that there may be a queue for Checking-in if you go to a busy place.

I know Americans that would freak out about having to use an app like this because of freedom or some such thing but they sure don't mind letting google track their every search.

These types of things save lives and we don't mind doing our part.

 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Vacation In “The Bubble”

 

The Bubble Bracelet
We booked our flight on Qatar Airways from PHL-DOH-KUL-LGK and have a return from KUL-DOH and DOH-PHL with a 3 day layover to explore Doha.

We were given these fancy bracelets that let us get in special lines for Immigration , domestic connections, and testing.  

We had a PCR test that was done in an hour, not days, during the turnaround in KL and made the connection  for the flight to Langkawi. 


Upon arrival, we were picked up by the tour company and taken to the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club Hotel.

View from our room

We could have stayed at any resort on the island but it is nice to support the yachting community and the price was decent.  

 

 

 

 The entire bubble package was $1000 for the week including all the COVID testing.  This is about the same price as a Kuala Lumpur quarantine hotel except they do include meals in KL since you are locked in your room the whole time.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The only way back to Malaysia

It’s been a while since blogging and another post about COVID seemed unnecessary.

We've just spent the past 2 years in the US waiting for Malaysia to open back up and allow us return to the boat.  It was a good break and we got a lot of house projects done that have been deferred since our pre-boat times.

But, time’s a wasting and we need to get back to the business of boat refitting and Cruising.

For foreigners, there has been only one way to get into Malaysia.  We tried twice since last summer to obtain this coveted Travel Pass Visa but were denied both times.

Due to the economic loss to the tourism sector, an agreement was reached on November 15th which allowed the Island of Langkawi to serve as a quarantine station.  This Langkawi Travel Bubble is not dependent on any government approval and when the one week quarantine is over, free travel throughout Malaysia is permitted.

To comply with The Bubble requirements, we had to book a hotel for a week, have round trip tickets, and perform daily COVID testing.  Additionally, like the entire population of Malaysia, we had to have and use the MySejahtera tracking App. 

Even if we had been approved for the regular "Travel Pass Visa", we still would have had to quarantine for 5 days in a restricted COVID hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

So, a one week vacation in Langkawi versus 5 days locked in a hotel room in KL.  Seems like a no brainer, so off we go.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Post Covid Malaysia

Store access only with tracing App.
For the past 2 months, we have been living under Malaysia's very serious Movement Control Order (MCO).

Typical checkout counter
Malaysia was initially hit hard with Covid-19 but restricted the population under the MCO.  Malaysians had done the right thing, bit the bullet, took a short term hit to their economy, and really gotten the virus under control.

As we were leaving, the restrictions were almost negligible and the Covid-19 was almost eradicated from the country. 

Almost all the economic pain is gone and life had almost returned to normal.


As of today, Malaysia has a total death toll of 114.  That's 3.5 deaths per million. For comparison, the US is at 278 deaths per million.  275 times higher.  

There are 11 people being treated in the ICU and 7 on ventilators in the whole country of 33 million people.

Malaysia is so far ahead in testing and tracing that they have a chart similar to a family tree for every infection.  They can trace every case back to an index exposure or cluster.


Our state, Perak, had no cases for almost 2 weeks and it wasn't until inter-state travel was allowed that 2 new cases appeared from 2 siblings who came from the south. 

That moved us from being a green zone to now being a yellow zone until the siblings recover.  Different color zones have different restrictions.

We have been so fortunate to be there during these times to see how a prepared country operates in a pandemic.

Here is a really good short video showing Malaysia's recovery.