Thursday, 26 March 2015

Seven weeks of visitors

Seven weeks of having visitors was really really nice. I have had an amazing time with them all and I have spent a lot of time planning and looking forward to it beforehand, however, I must also admit that (now, almost two weeks after my mum left) it was pretty nice to be back to normal.

It was of course all planned around this lovely event, or actually our wedding came about because everyone were coming to visit, not the other way around! We knew that Langkawi Regatta was in the middle of January, so we allowed ourselves one week after the regatta to catch up on work, and then my twin sister Karen arrived. Actually she's a super cool mum, she flew here alone with three kids aged 2, 4 and 5!

Week 1 & 2: Phil slept on a couch at the loft and I sailed Karen and her three boys to Ko Lipe (Thailand).
Week 3: Karen's boy friend arrived and they stayed in an apartment in Kuah.
Week 4: Everyone arrived and we got married, and we all spent one week in Langkawi,
Week 5: Phil and his family went to Singapore while my family went to Ko Lipe, Phil joined us halfway through
Week 6 & 7: My mum stayed on after everyone left, we hung out in Langkawi, cruised a bit, and visited Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

Here we go, 28 photos of lots of fun in seven weeks.
Pure joy
Snorkel time
we have a new fun toy on Sophia, a stand up paddle board, or a SUP, lots of fun and supposedly good exercise. The kiddos loved going for a ride
checking out hermit crabs
cute and gorgeous photo
Sailing back to Langkawi (25 miles) was a windy affair and of course on the nose! One was sick from the night before, the other seasick
visiting the crocodile farm in Langkawi
super nice pool where Karen and family rented an apartment in Kuah
early morning walk up the hill with Karen
now everyone have arrived, here we're celebrating my dad's birthday the day before our wedding
We stayed at Sunset Valley, an amazing place in the middle of Langkawi, everyone loved it, each little family stayed in a traditional Malay kampung house, only one more house was occupied by another family, otherwise we had it to ourselves, Beautiful view of rice paddies, here they are being burned off after harvest
girly time the day before wedding, we got a massage and scub and had yummy Indian food
Cassie snapped this photo of Phil and I the evening before our wedding
Sunset Valley had a swimming pool and that's where we spent most of our time, I love these aerial jumps of each of my nephews
We also did some sightseeing in Langkawi, here Cassie, Pat & Colleen are in the gondola going down from the mountain view point
last night at Sunset Valley, we did a nice casual bbq and invited Glenn and Erja to come along and a really lovely evening
Now in Ko Lipe, we stayed in these three huts right on the beach and a couple in behind as well. 
these two have a special connection, and this photo captured it beautifully
off on a kayaking adventure
watermelon shake and cake break
Holger age five improved his swimming skills immensely after five weeks and at this stage was able to snorkel with his dad for 45 minutes with no inflation help and he even dove to 2-3 meters!!!
Now only my mum is left. We went to Penang to explore, here at the hill top
natural fish spa at the Tropical Spice Garden, a really cool place to visit
Chinese temple
See more Penang photos in this old post from when we first visited it a year and half ago
I love Penang's architecture, here's an example of a traditional airwell in an old shop house, now museum. 
I also took my mum cruising on Sophia (Phil was in Singapore racing). Langkawi has 99 islands and has a ton of anchorages which we embarrassingly hardly have explored
Proof you can go sightseeing in shops, here Rams in Kuah, it tells us lots about Malay style, lets just say, it's different :-)
we spent the last couple of days in Kuala Lumpur, here we're up the Menara Tower

Friday, 6 March 2015

Our wedding in Langkawi

Surprise - Phil and I got married on February 16 2015! We have been together almost six years, and I'm sure if you counted that in boat years where we're together 24/7 it would be  closer to 20 years, so it's not really a huge deal and there wasn't a romantic proposal leading up to it, but we ended up having the most fantastic day anyway. Even our parents agreed that it indeed was the perfect way for us to get married.

Being a mixed couple from opposites ends of the world it would have been hard to choose which country to get married in. Seeing that we now live in Langkawi and that our families were coming to visit anyway, it was the natural choice. One day when we're back in NZ (where most of our common friends are) we'll do a big party.

If you dream of getting married in Malaysia, have a look here for the government guideline on the paperwork requirement. It is quite a crazy amount of paperwork, eg our certificates of no impediment to marriage had to be certified by each our embassies in Kuala Lumpur, then two more departments in Putrajaya. We visited the local KDN office and the nice lady there in charge of wedding registrations explained the process to us, but then also recommended an agent who does all the paperwork. It wasn't cheap, but saved us a lot of time, travel and hassle.

We didn't want celebrant who doesn't know us saying words to us, so we opted to keep it simple and just sign the paperwork and say our own wows and that was it. Simple, casual and relaxed was our style. My dress was from H&M and we were barefooted (as you are on a boat!).

We did choose a most fantastic venue: Naga Pelangi is a traditional Malay schooner, 72 feet long and featuring a lot of lovely wood. Christoph and Uli and their crew are fantastic hosts and they really made our day special. One example: when we arrived onboard, they gave Phil and I beautiful flower leis! Langkawi itself is also the most spectacular venue, gorgeous lush green and cliffy islands set in tropical waters! I'll let the photos speak for themselves.
getting a bit emotional reading our vows
despite the ceremony being very short, I guess it got a bit boring....
such a cute photo, Erja hugging Phil, the two sail makers

Monday, 26 January 2015

Second half of 2014 in Langkawi

Wow, time flies, it's now been over half a year since my last blog post. I did mean to keep it up a little bit to chronicle our life in Langkawi, so here we go, one big photo post of half a year in Langkawi.

After the last post I flew to Denmark for one month in July/August and left Phil on Sophia. He went up and raced in Phuket Race Week with some friends.

September and October passed along pretty uneventful, we did a few hash runs, I did a cancer fundraising walk with Glenn and Erja, there was an iron man event taking place in Langkawi. Phil the sail maker goes to Singapore for racing and takes measurements for new sail about once a month, but since my friend Theresa moved to London, I don't come along very often, I really miss her.

In November we did the Raja Muda regatta, three overnight races from Port Klang (near Kuala Lumpur) to Langkawi as well as some harbour races. It was a lot of fun and even more fun to win every single race, most of them also on line, this is of course in the cruising class!

Right after Raja Muda I flew to Raja Ampat, a province in Eastern Indonesia (raja means king). In June I went to visit Nalukai, the Aussie catamaran with the cutest three girls onboard, and their equally super nice parents, and before they sail too far away (back to OZ), I had to see them again, and it just happend to be at this most amazing place. Raja Ampat is a well know diving hot spot with fantastic underwater life. We didn't dive, but we spent hours in the water every day snorkelling. I did post an album on facebook with lots and lots of photos.

Just before Christmas Langkawi again hosted a big fun event, this time an extreme festival: bmx, skateboarding and in-line skating competition. It was right next to the anchorage and actually a lot of fun to watch, especially the bmxes, some of the best pros in the world came along and did super cool tricks. Christmas in Islamic Langkawi is obviously not a very big thing (at all), but we did go to two lovely xmas parties with cruisers and expats.

Before New Year we went to Kuala Lumpur and bought a car. That's a sure sign of us settling into Langkawi! New cars are tax free in Langkawi, but older used (and cheap) cars are snatched up by all the rental companies, so it was much cheaper to buy a car on the mainland and just take it back on the car ferry. It's great having out own wheels, but also quite necessary in order to transport old and new sails around the island.

In January 2015 it was time for the Langkawi International Regatta, and how could we not do a regatta right in our home waters. Again lots of fun and lots more winds than the Raja Muda, we never had less than 10 knots of wind and most of the time much more. Again Sophia won, but we did wish for more competition and Phil would like to get an IRC certificate made, so we can be in a class with raceboats only (mind you we still live full time on Sophia on anchor!).
Me and three fun nephews
Beautiful little sister and her two kids
Twin sister, nephews and parents
home made water slide: sooooo much fun
three sisters
south west season in Langkawi is pretty OK, cool clouds and not endless days of rain, we stayed almost all the time in the anchorage
Phil and Clarisse on a hash run (walk) in one of Langkawi's many rice paddies
yummy coconuts
Phil, Erja and Glenn watching the iron man event in Langkawi
Singapore flyer
view of Singapore
Phil in his element: racing, here on Edwin's boat at Changi in Singapore
Glenn, Erja and I did the walk for life
Sophia in the lead during the Raja Muda regatta, here harbour race in Langkwi
we won lots of these trophies that week, not sure what to do with them all
really cool lion dancing in Penang during the Raja Muda regatta, thanks Erin for this photo
visiting the lovely Nalukai and family in Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Nalukai and Ocelot (Sue and John) and some amazing view
stunning underwater life in Raja Ampat
Xtreme festival in Langkawi. There's a skabeboarder somewhere in the photo...
Our new car and Phil the sail maker ready to deliver a bunch of sails
More racing, now Langkawi regatta, thanks for the photo Matt
the sail loft here in Kuah, Langkawi