Where are we heading?
Eirik was soon well again. The cold disappeared and his “deliveries” turned back to normal conditions. We couldn’t get started on our new plan soon enough. We hoisted the anchor and waved good bye to Thailand. The course was set south – and not westward as we thought when we arrived in Thailand.
With the 1st Mate pregnant with number 2, we planned to sail back to Australia, most likely back to Yamba where we had good experiences when Eirik was born and where we had friends nearby. South Africa have to wait another year.
We had a nice sail from Phuket to Malaysia via Langkawi and Port Dickson to Puteri Harbour. We hoped that our visa applications for Australia would be granted by the time we were ready to leave Malaysia. The plan was to sail directly from Puteri to Australia, with a possible diesel filling stop somewhere in Indonesia. Still we would not totally exclude South Africa yet, before after Heidi had an ultrasound examination.
We spent a few days in Port Dickson to get the visa applications granted before we left again. Luckily Internet makes tasks like that easier nowadays. Still only Eivind’s visa was granted by the time we sailed from Port Dickson, but we assumed that only formalities was delaying Eirik’s and Heidi’s visas. In between the Internet-work we enjoyed relaxing life in the swimming pool at Port Dickson Yacht Club.
Reunion with our friends
Short after the arrival in Puteri Harbour our assumption was confirmed. Also Eirik’s and Heidi’s visas were granted. It was also very nice to see our Malay friends from our first Puteri visit again. Yong Kim’s wife was pregnant when we visited last time. This time we got to meet their son Hong Shen, three months old.
Together with the friend Ho Keat we all drove by car to the city of Melaka. This time we also managed to visit ”Zeng He’s Cultural Museum”. The book “1421 – The Year China discovered the World” came on board after our first visit in Melaka, and has inspired the Captain’s interest in history. The book is absolutely recommended reading for everyone travelling a bit further than Scandinavia...
Our friends also helped us finding a doctor and a place to get the ultrasound examination done. In Puteri we also used the opportunity to top up the food stocks, together with varying maintenance on Empire.
We also got the opportunity to invite our friends to ”Sail Course Part 2”. This time the course contained headwind sailing in narrow waters (Jahor Strait), sailing in no wind and no visibility and sailing in gusts. The youngest participant was 3 month old Hong Shen. Boon Ping, one of Yong Kim’s friends even managed to repair our shortcut inverter.
The sail course was rounded of with a typical Norwegian dinner on board, with meatballs, potato and vegetables. Before setting of from the pier the course day we served waffles with sour cream, jam and brown cheese! For long time our friends had called for a taste of real Norwegian food.
Heading toward Australia
In the beginning of April we set off for Australia. Heidi’s ultrasound examination showed that there was “only” one beating hart in the 1st Mate’s belly, not two… Heidi enjoyed days with a touch of morning sickness, and hoped it would not be to annoying to be in the beginning of a pregnancy on such a long voyage.
When Empire sailed out between the breakwaters in Puteri, we were four people on board – not including the little one in Heidi’s belly. Christopher Blake signed on board the day before. First time we met Christopher was in New Zealand, where we crewed with Christopher’s father Tony on the 72” classic wooden yacht Thelma.
Christopher was originally crewing on board the American yacht Bahati, with our friends Betsy and Nat. Illness in the captain’s family forced Bahati to change their plans for heading to South Africa. Christopher did not know what to do and we offered him to sail with Empire for Australia.