Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

As the Christmas is coming to it's peak and we're waiting for the Owner to arrive I wish, on behalf of me and my Indian crew, all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2010 :)

Courtesy of Nickelodeon
»»  read more

Friday, 4 December 2009

BIS visit to Kalizma

Earlier in November I was approached by Mr. Alistair Lawson from the British International School (BIS) if they could do a study visit onboard Kalizma. I was positively inclined for the visit and ran it past the office eventually receiving the OK, so I let BIS know that the visit was on.

The visit was to consist of abt 50 students 8-9yrs old and abt 10 accompanying adults. As the visit was 3rd, early morning at 0900hrs, we decided not to make a big deal abt refreshments as we assumed the kids had had their breakfast, but still we prepared some softdrinks and nibbles for them.

Finally, on the 4th morning all interior was setup and exterior as much we could without disturbing ongoing maintenance the first group arrived as expected with their teacher, Mr. Alistair Lawson. I greeted Alistair by the gangway and the kids lined up their shoes on the jetty. Once all were done I helped the kids onto the gangway to climb onboard.

Jyothi and Kalpana guided the kids down to the saloon where I wished them welcome onboard and explained how they were going to be divided into 2 groups and showed around the yacht and after that I would tell them a bit of thehistory of Kalizma and answer any questions. Off the kids went with accompanied exclamations "ooh", "aah", "Oh my God", "so nice", "cool", etc.

Children were shown guest rooms, tour of the outer deck, galley, crew messroom, bridge and the dining room. On the bridge Saini was explaing and demonstrating the navigation equipment. Once finished the tour, the groups ended up at the dining table, which was laden with cookies, softdrinks and chips. I admire how well disciplined they were as they kept their fingers to themselves until I gave them the "go ahead" for the goodies. Before this I told them about when and where Kalizma was built, her participation in both WW's, how Richard Burton gave her to Elizabeth Taylor and finally how she ended up with the current Owner and his measures in preserving this Classic yacht.

I also ended up teaching them marine vocabulary for galley, bulkhead, deck, porthole, capstan and windlass as well as how much is nautical mile (1.852km). Finally there were not so many questions, one recurring question was how much Kalizma was worth. I reckoned one had to give my Boss an offer he could not refuse but assured that their weekly allowance would not cover it. One girl asked "Why is she so nice?". Oh well, because the Owner likes nice and we're paid to keep her nice. Another wanted to know from where I was, Finland that is. One boy wanted to know how fast she is, well she is not fast at all, only 10 knots compared to todays modern container behemoths that race over the Oceans with 25kts speeds. One wanted to know if I been in bad weather with Kalizma, not really, I try avoiding bad weather.

Afterwards Saini told me that he had been heavily bombarded with questions so I guess the technical gadgets always win over dry facts and stories.

In the end all kids said a big "Thank you" and marched off to the jetty where they donned their shoes and marched off while waving goodbye to Kalizma. I hope they all enjoyed their visit, I know we did.
»»  read more

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Captain's Blog November 2009

November was a hectic month with some disappointments to boot.

We arrived Langkawi the 1st Nov for some guarantee works on our freezer as well as some repairs to galley equipment.

On the 3rd Vivek signed off to renew his CoC and to use up his remaining vacation days.

On the 4th afternoon we got some strong mistral wind down the mountains and they made our anchors drag (we had to moore stern to as per marina's orders). I had dropped both anchors doing a Mediterranean mooring but the bottom is too soft to give any good holding.

I ordered ME's started and land line disconnected so I have maneuvarability. Since Amnesia (that had been occupying the N-S pier) had left I heaved up the sb anchor and slacked port anchor and moved alongside the N-S pier. M/y Taipan beside us had similar problems and as I understood from her Captain, she had dropped her anchor next to the ferry terminal and still he was dragging. Anyway, all ended well, we did not get any damage and was safely alongside.

5th we discovered from where water has been leaking into radio room. It was a poorly insulated air duct that was letting water through from Captain's cabin to the radio room. We removed said duct and planned to plug the hole permanently upon arrival Yacht Haven in Thailand.

Same day I also go and meet the Thai honorary consul in Kuah Town in regards of issuing me and crew visas. The information we got from him was pretty disappointing, Two weeks upon arrival, no possibility of getting tourist visas. Also no viable explanation why we had been getting visas earlier.

6th I went hashing with Langkawi Beach Hash House Harriers, many crew joined me there too. The hash trail was pretty good and surprisingly I finished 2nd. The dinner was held at Fat Mama's restaurant at Pantai Cenang.

7th I was invited for a BBQ at Nick Coombes pad, it was huge and BBQ was delicious. I brought some Ferrari for his enjoyment.

8th we went outing with our crew and headed first for the "Hole-in-the-Wall" at NE end of Langkawi Island, the vistas opening up after each bend was stunning watching the "Geopark" formations. After this we visited the "Pregnant Maiden's Lake" on Pulau Dayang Bunting, legend says that drinking this water would help female fertility. I did not drink the water but cooled my feet in it while being tickled by catfish.

Left: airpicture of lake, center: geological view, right: view from the sea

9th Monday John Orr headed to Penang to get our visas sorted out. Same evening he telephoned me that he had not been successful and had been advised to go to Kota Baru border station where he could get the visas made out (!?).

11th I receive technician, Mr. Lee, from Lumut for repairing our Omron system, replacing a broken monitor.

Same day John telephones me that he has not been successful with our visas and has not been advised of what is the problem. Nick tells me he has a yacht in Singapore trying to get a Thai visa for his Indian crew and Indian visa for his Thai crew, also unsuccessfully. Maybe we are subject to political machinations, very frustrating as I have a lot of jobs scheduled for Thailand. Oh well, life must go on so I have to enter the Kingdom with VOA's.

12th was spent winding up business in Langkawi and so we departed on friday the 13th for Patong Beach and from there to explore the Surin Islands.

15th We dive at Ko Bon

16th We dive at Richelieu Rock that had more people in the water than Bangla road gals on a saturday night. Very overrated spot.

17th we arrive Yacht Haven and start maintenance works.

Until end of the month I service our CCTV system, radars, echosounder, Bose system, Sat TV system, start renewing teak dk on bridge deck, sanding & varnishing & teak oiling, the list goes on and on...

23rd I leave with Saini for Bangkok as we need visas, me Indian visa and Saini Malaysian visa. We decide to drive as the fuel consumption will be 1000THB less than VIP bus tickets. We started in the morning and arrived late evening, spent a couple of hours driving along the small soi's near the Indian Embassy trying to locate a cheap hotel and finally we found one called "999".

24th I go to the Indian embassy and Saini to the Malaysian. I get told off straight away that I can;t get a business visa unless I have resided in Thailand for more than 2 yrs. If I would be a business man on the roll and needed to change my itinerary to go to India, what could I do? I applied for a tourist visa instead....

Saini had same problems, they did not want to accept his application to arrive by sea and he showed them the last visa issued to him so they relented and said they'd take advice from Kuala Lumpur (sic!).

Having afternoon nothing else to do we walked around shopping haunts and in the evening ended up to RCA for dinner.

25th Saini did not get any news on his passport until late afternoon, they'll issue a visa next afternoon. We roam around Bangkok the rest of the day and end up having dinner in Hard Rock Cafe and then walking back to our hotel along Sukhumvit road. While passing trough Soi Cowboy we are being polled by some Christian missionaries thinking we are one of the pundits there.

26th we check out of the hotel and head to the Malaysian embassy on Sathorn road. After a couple of hours of waiting he finally gets a 2 weeks visa (sic!) after being told that for one month they need 7 days to process the application. I remember the days in 1998 when I applied visas and after filing in the morning one could get it in the evening...

Finally on the road back south we stop in Nakhon Pathom for an hour and I get to say "hi" to my kids that are busy making their homework.

We drive all day and half the night to arrive early morning for work...

Rest of the month same relentless maintenance is ongoing in preparation for the Owner's visit in December...
»»  read more