Hope this letter finds you well and happy and enjoying all the Christmas shopping, Christmas parties and Christmas hangovers! As you know receiving a newsy letter or email from Neil or I is as rare as hen’s teeth. So, as Christmas is the time of writing Round Robin letters, here’s ours with a bit of a summary of how 2006 turned out for us. As you can imagine most of our focus this year has been on getting out of work and getting Distant Drummer ready to go sailing. We found here down in Phuket at the beginning of the year and she was pretty much what we were looking for, in good condition and at the right price. We felt a bit anxious at falling in love at first sight and looked at a couple of other boats but they were totally unsuitable. It couldn’t have been easier! At the end of March once all the paperwork was done Neil quit work in Indonesia and we sailed her back from Langkawi (Malaysia) where the sale took place. Since then he has been getting to know DD intimately, inside and out. No major repairs were required but we made several modifications to suit our needs as well as general repairs, replacements and fixing leaks! She’s in good shape now and makes a great home!
We have managed to squeeze in a couple of holidays this year so it’s not been all work and no play! In September we had three weeks in Europe which was fantastic. Maya came with us, She flew in to Thailand from New Zealand and had a couple of nights in Bangkok before we all flew on together to Switzerland. What better place to get over our jet lag than with Josephine and Andre and Mimi in Geneva.
Maya and Mimi got along really well and were soon racing around, playing and giggling and generally having fun. We just took it easy checking out the vineyards, wandering around the old town and eating and drinking sumptuously.
We were looked after wonderfully but soon it was time to move on and we took the TGV to Paris.
We had booked a triple room in a small hotel in the Left Bank, a stones throw from the Notre Dame and the Pantheon. It turned out to be a (very) small suite which suited us perfectly! The weather was brilliant and we spent our days sightseeing in a casual, low tempo kind of way, interspersed with coffees, pain au chocolat, brioche and numerous other snacks that taste so much better in France.
It was Maya’s dream to see Paris and we took hundreds of photos (thank God for digital cameras!). Maya loved the Louvre and posing on the Champs Elysees, she had her portrait painted in Mont Martre and we watched the sun go down from the steps of the Sacre Coeur.
In the evenings we wandered in to the student area where we enjoyed some fabulous food and wine. After five days in Paris we flew to Exeter.
As I look back at the photos I can see how tired we were so when we arrived in Devon we set about getting some serious rest and relaxation! After a few days of great food (as always), long walks, fresh air and lounging around and lots of sleep we were fully recuperated and ready for a final day in London before the flight back to Bangkok. It was a wonderful holiday but it was great to get home!
We didn’t have long at home however as I only had three weeks before I finished work at PTTEP and we were leaving Bangkok. We had worked hard to get all our belongings packed and shipped before we left for Europe, but nonetheless there was still a lot of clutter left which we had to sort out and send down to the boat. Finishing work was less of an ordeal than I had expected. As there was no-one taking my place I had to hand over various parts of my job to several different people. It sounded like a recipe for disaster but a little forward planning, good organization and a bit of patience (on all sides!) made it pretty painless for everyone. So far I’ve only received one phone call from the office so I guess that means all is going well. I have to admit I’m not missing it at all, not for one minute! Our days on the boat are so busy, there’s always jobs to be done from fixing up mosquito nets to mending the toilet pump, filling the water tanks, fixing hatches, changing halyards AND scrubbing the decks! The list never ends!! One thing that will take some getting used to is the time it takes to get things done. Because of the limited amount of space the lockers are fully packed. In order to reach one thing you need to remove several other things which you take out and put down on a convenient surface, only to find they are in the way of a cupboard which you need to get into. So you put everything back in the locker and then remember you need another gadget which is at the back of the locker . . . and so it goes on! Patience and a sense of humour get you through!
At the moment we are sitting in Boat Lagoon Marina in Phuket having the engine repaired. Hopefully by the time you are reading this we will be cruising around the islands and getting DD provisioned up for the off in December – fingers crossed.
We have just come back from 10 days in Australia. We went over to Perth to put all our stuff from Bangkok into storage in Fremantle and, more importantly, to celebrate Jim’s 80th birthday.
Heather came over from Melbourne and we had a couple of great Carmody get togethers – it was lovely to all be together although we missed Maya and Anthony. We gave Shirley and Jim a laptop to help them keep track of us when we are sailing. The technology was all a bit of a mystery but after a couple of lessons from Neil it was perhaps a little clearer! We also did a lot of shopping for boat gear which we can’t buy in Phuket; charts and books, electrical equipment, fishing gear, food, etc. When we checked in to fly back to Phuket we had 54.4kg of luggage, just 100g below excess baggage charges kicked in! In the evenings we caught up with many old friends and even found time for a days sailing!
It’s been quite an eventful year! Next year we will be sailing to New Zealand, the current plan is to go via Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji. Reviewing it now it may be a little too ambitious(!) and will undoubtedly change along the way . . . “best laid plans” etc. etc.
We plan to be in New Zealand for Christmas 2007 and will spend 2008 in Nelson, New Zealand with Maya. Our email addresses at the top of this letter are the best way of keeping in touch with us over the next year. We’d love to get an email from you and hear all your news. If you’d like to keep track of our wanderings our webpage at carmody-clan.com should be up and running by the time you read this!
Well, I think I’ve exhausted my brain and fingers! The only thing remaining to say is to wish you all the very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. Lots of love from us both!
Suzy and Neil