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Welcome to sailing yacht Alishan

Read more about the adventures and boat-projects on board of Alishan

Rebak 1

We were in Langkawi, Malaysia and Alishan was hauled out at Rebak Marine, a boat yard with a reasonably sized hardstand on a small resort island. The reason for the early haul-out was a problem with the bottom paint. It had started to come off and we had an extensive jungle growing underneath.

The paint that had so easily peeled in the water, would not yield once it was high and dry on land. We worked for 9 days, with the occasional help of Malay boat workers, willing to work overtime scraping and scraping. And then…

We were ready to start painting! Now the fun part could start. Jaap was so much looking forward to this. He was putting the masking tape in place at the waterline, stepping on and off ladders and steel supports. In his eagerness he didn’t watch out where he stepped and suddenly something felt wrong. Crack said the bone in the fore foot.

 The marina manager ordered a boat and taxi to Langkawi hospital where an x-ray showed 3 cracks, but nothing that required surgery, so Jaap’s foot went in plaster and we left the hospital with an appointment for an orthopedic specialist 2 weeks later.

The marina happened to have a couple of crutches that Jaap could use. (He wasn’t the first accident on the yard, there were a number of bone breaking stories going around) A few hours later we were back at Alishan, Jaap planted on a chair, watching other people doing his job.

 Ama, a hired boat worker, and Marijke painted the belly of the boat in 5 days under Jaap’s watchful eyes. The first days it was hard on him, but little by little he became used to his handicap and started moving around, dragging his chair from one shady spot to another, climbing the ladder on his knees. On day 6 he was sitting on the scaffolding, waxing and cleaning away the stubborn yellow stains of paint that had leaked through the left-too-long masking tape.

It was in the beginning of this period that old friends Jack and Sandi on sy Zorana stopped over at the Marina. We had not seen them since 1992, when we shared an anchorage in Palau, diving, snorkeling and exploring the place with a bunch of friends for 6 weeks. 16 Years and we had a lot to talk about! They stayed only one night, but took Jaap’s mind off his foot for 2 days.

After the cleaning and waxing was done Alishan went back in the drink and returned to dock A. The cats, who had not been allowed out all those days on the hard, couldn’t believe there was life beyond the cabin. The chased each other on deck, over the bimini, up the boom, in the mainsail cover, over other decks and down the pontoon, up a tree and in the tall grass, always watched by one of us.

By now Jaap’s trip to Holland came up. Despite his cast, he had decided not to cancel the flight. It was more important for him to be with his mother while sister Hessel and hubby Jacques were on work-holiday in Suriname. He took some precautions, though. The cast was cut open, so it could come off easily in case of swelling and he swallowed some aspirin.

Hiphop in Holland

No Escape.

Even with his foot in plaster Jaap had to and wanted to fly to Holland to meet up with family and friends. After all, the plane ticket had been paid for.

The idea was that Jaap would look after Mum, while sister Hessel was overseas for a couple of days… But the way it turned out was more like they had to look after Hiphop.

Tell you, you hiphop with 2 crutches into an airport and the sky is the limit. At least in Asia. The airline staff and fellow passengers are all eager to help. From carying your bags till offering wheelchairs. There are no waiting lines, you’re first in and out of the plane. Once on Dutch soil it’s different and very much down to earth: You look after your self!

Okay, sister Hessel was there of course to pick me up and to drive me around. And once Hessel and Sjaak were out of town I found out that driving an automatic car with 1 able foot is a piece of “cake”. (as in Dutch appletaart/cake) Most days were spent with Mum. We did hours of talking and the odd game of domino. We went for a few walks, Mum with her rollator and Hiphop with the crutches. Race you! We drove around to see friends and family. So good to meet up again. And of course there were several trips to the supermarket.

Consuming Dutch food (??) was one of the things on the To-Do-List,


Rhubarb, potatoes, stewed pears, sliced green beans and braad-worst.

Patatje Mayo

and Orange Tompouce (traditional Queens birthday cake)

May 2nd: This is Holland, it’s nice to have a sweater and a coat on hand. The weather was generally okay, though.

An Outing with Mum and the Jansen Family.

One day we drove to Den Briel to meet up with high school classmate Marion.

She is like us, a pure live-aboard. And she is the marina manager of Port Brielle Marina. Always handy in case Alishan makes it across to Europe one day.

Thanx for de Koffie met Appeltaart Marion!

Look at this. This is a boatyard (dry-storage) Can you believe it?

It is situated in the middle of a polder (boats are hauled there by trailer) and about 5 meters below sea level.

Holland is a funny place indeed I had more or less forgotten all about it.

Here friends Bram and Vivian are working on sy Duende. ( to get their boat ready for cruising.

After 10 days all the “appeltaart” was eaten, and Hiphop had gained 3 kilo.

Bags were loaded with cheese AND catfood, and we got ready for the return 12 hours of F*&*^#$ Flying.

But then Marijke was there at Langkawi airport. It felt good to be home again.

Rebak 2

While Jaap was gone Marijke stayed on dock A with the cats.

The season was changing and the weather was at its hottest. The safety of a protected, secluded harbor comes with a price. IT IS VERY HOT. Temperatures soared to 37-40 degrees. Needless to say the airco was running 24/7. It was initially a bit disappointing that they wouldn’t let me take my new bicycle on the ferry, but really, it was too hot for long rides anyway. So I cycled and walked around the island, mostly in the early mornings between 6:00 and 8:00 am. In the middle of the day the harbor became dead quiet. Around 4:00 some movement started towards the swimming pool of the resort, where yachties were welcome to towels and fresh fruit and where you could chill out, standing or hanging in the not-really-cool water and chat. I would sometimes join in, but mostly took the bike out again to chase the lizards, monkeys, otters and birds. Shopping was out, there are no shops on Rebak island, except for one small, ill stocked mini store at the resort, that often had ice cream, and sometimes cold coke. But it did sell bread that came from the hotel’s kitchen. The solution for those who did not always want to eat resort meals was the “veggie” run. Every Friday morning a greengrocer from town would drive down to the ferry terminal with a truck full of fruit and veggies, cheese, eggs, some frozen fish and meat.

So I didn’t need to go anywhere those weeks. but when Jaap returned the cats and I were ready for a jump.

Selection of Marijke’s photos.


Racket-tailed Drongo.


Small Heron

and Brahmini Kite




Often played on the beach and the rocks, sometimes even venturing in the harbor.

And others

Sand bubble crabs at work.

A small monitor lizard

Dragonfly on wild Passiflora (the fruit was delicious!)

Leaf monkeys


Not that it had been boring for the two furries. Wakame had never had as much excitement in her life as in Rebak,. She would stare in the water, watching the fish under the pontoons until she got spit square in the face by an Archer fish. She had 2 cat loving boys visiting every day. One day she came eye to eye with a monitor lizard twice her size. And got chased by a monkey that entered “her” playground. Nori now, he never got to see the lizard, but endured the kids. And surprised us all when he chased that monkey away. Or so it seemed: One morning he spotted the long tail and followed it, disappearing under the wooden deck. We stood by, expecting loud squeals and hisses, but heard nothing. A few minutes later both came out. Nori with his nose in the air, slowly walking towards us, the monkey heading in the opposite direction, quickly, towards the trees. It never showed again.

Jack and Mat from Australian catamaran “Good Hope” playing with Wakame.

Jaap’s big day was on May 12th a week after he got back from Holland. The day his plaster came off. He immediately started his own rehabilitation, consisting mainly of walks in the pool. In the beginning moving around was still painful, but soon he could start on his everlasting list of jobs-to-do.

After long debates we had finally made a decision about the fridge that we wanted, air cooled with cold plates and a compressor. The place for the compressor was the point. Where could the thing be installed so it would get enough air, without being openly part of the interior? We landed in the shower cabin. Consequently the parts were ordered and had arrived and were now waiting to be dealt with. Together we strained and sweated, cursed and sighed, but 3 days later we were in business. Now Alishan has a real refrigerator. A little adjustment to the solar panels (thicker wire) and they supply enough power. Cool!


It took a couple of weeks, but by the end of May Jaap seemed well enough to sail again. We started looking forward to another country: Thailand.

Our friends Kari and Aslaug announced that they were happy to come too, so we set a date and got together at Telaga, a port just around the corner from Rebak.

Nori and Wakame were over the top! The anchorage outside the town basin was quite roly, but THEY didn’t mind. They enjoyed being allowed outside all the time and spent their evenings on top of the bimini in a cool breeze.

Playing on deck while at anchor

Telaga yacht harbor

With the oil getting more and more expensive it became quite lucrative for us to buy the heavily subsidized diesel in Malaysia for the price of RM 1.58 per liter. (32 eurocent) We foreigners were only allowed 30 liters at a time and we had to carry jugs to the gas station, but in Telaga that was no problem, the dinghy dock and the gas station nearby, we made several trips. Once we filled up Kari borrowed our jugs to do the same. He was so happy about it! But then… Kari poured his diesel in a WATER tank!

Lady Ann spent a whole day pumping and cleaning. Luckily they have a water maker.

On May 26th we rented a car to go to the supermarkets in Kuah, the following day we checked out and the next day we left.

View from the harbor office of Telaga’s fishing fleet

Marijke doing laundry and Jaap having a cool drink.

(not same moment).

Monkeys on the road in Telaga

Waiting for the pre-school bus.

Goodbye Malaysia, we had a good time and hopefully we’ll be back in a few months.


From Langkawi to Thailand is not very far. As the crow flies maybe 5 or 10 miles to the first islands. We sailed to the one named Tarutao in a national park with the same name and anchored in a pretty bay at the north-east side. However tempting, we didn’t go ashore and admired the scenery from our cockpits. The next day we continued our way through the Andaman Sea towards Phuket, where we would clear customs and immigration.

The dry NE monsoon was over now and the wet monsoon had started, but we’d been lucky with the rain so far. However, that day was a make-up day: Very wet, with heavy rain and thunderstorms from early morning. Motoring under sail, we passed many high rock formations and islands like Ko Phetra, the famous place for bird’s nests harvesting. I recognized it from a documentary. Even in the rain it looked spectacular! We gave it a miss though, not a good time to visit now.

And then, just past Phetra, we nearly ran into a waterspout! It hovered above sea about a mile to our starboard. We could easily see the water spiraling up. Not a place you want to be. We held back and kept our distance till the spout withdrew itself and vanished in the clouds. Wow! That was impressive. We had never seen one so close.

Halfway the afternoon the rain eased and a nice westerly picked up. We switched off the engine and sailed on to a group of small islands further north.

Sunset in the Andaman Sea

Ko Muk is a massive piece of rock, jutting straight out of the sea, seemingly littered with caves. Lush tropical vegetation tops it off and the sight is stunning. There are a large number of birds, mostly swallows, flying in and out. It must have been quite a sight in the old days, when not hundreds, but thousands of them nested in, on and under these rock formations. But the nests of these swallows are taken from the sides and ceilings of the high caves at a tremendous risk of loosing personal life and sold for a very high price to the Chinese. They love them. Is that why they named the new stadium for the Beijing Olympics the Bird Nest?

Who would want to live here but a crazy old man, guarding the entrance of a cave full of birds’ nests?

Before moving on the next day we took the boats over to the west coast in search of the Emerald Cave. We found a sign and tied to some moorings. The only way to get into the cave is to snorkel through a tunnel at low tide. The tunnel is pitch dark and a bit spooky, with bats hanging off the low ceiling, our voices sounding hollow among the echo of dripping water. When you see the end, a round greenish welcoming light, you can’t help but rush to it and then suddenly you’re in the sun, in a circular bay, with a beach of pure white sand, completely surrounded by steep rock walls, 100 meters up, the sides green with tropical vegetation. It’s absolutely gorgeous!

But the way out…

Entrance to the Emerald Cave

We sailed (Yes, again in this area, infamous amongst sailors for it’s lack of wind) to Ko Lanta, anchored in front of Old Town and decided to take a day off. There are many pretty spots worth visiting, but the immigration and customs officials would get upset if we took too much time. We still had not cleared into Thailand, so we were officially illegal and not allowed ashore. On the other hand yachts are discouraged from sailing at night in these tricky waters, so we have to make stops.

And we have to eat, right?

We launched a dinghy and went ashore, to get a feeling of Thailand. We strolled around the village, admiring the gardens, the little shops and the elaborately manufactured bird cages, hanging in front of the houses – it’s a lovely little town. And we had our first Thai meal here.

Scenes of Old Town Ko Lanta

Everywhere, on every corner and stretch of road we saw signs directing people to shelters and higher ground in case of a tsunami. They were a grim reminder of the big tsunami that hit these islands in December 2004. How many people had lost there life here in this pretty town? I bet everybody at least one relative…

The following day we picked up anchors again. From Ko Lanta we sailed the 30 miles to Phi Phi in a little under 7 hours. Including a detour around Phi Phi Lee. Again steep rocks and magnificent scenery. And lots of tourist boats at Maya Bay, the location of 1998 blockbuster cult film “The Beach”

Sailing from one Phi Phi to the other, following Lady Ann.

The south bay of Phi Phi Don was crowded with motorboats, rolling on their moorings. It didn’t look comfortable. On the north side we found a better spot, also with moorings in Ao Yongkasem. Still roly, but not as noisy. The small beach had few people. Rather than joining them I (Marijke) took my snorkel gear out and headed for the rocks. The visibility was not superb, due to low tide, but a bunch of shrimpfish made my day. There was a whole school of them around some spiny sea urchins. I do recall seeing them before, but can’t remember where.

After a short night with several squalls keeping us up and about, we took a dinghy ashore and walked up a hill to look out over this island, that was once called the second most beautiful island in the world.

On top we found a café that sold photos of the disasters caused by the tsunami in Thailand and Indonesia. We were shocked. People BUY this as souvenirs?!

What do you do on a hill top? Take pictures, of course.

After lunch we left for Phuket. The wind was mostly west and on the nose, but we could sail. Again!

Alishan under sail in the Andaman Sea

Photo taken by Kari on sailing yacht Lady Ann


Ao Chalong is the place to check into Phuket. We dropped the anchor in the bay among lots of big charter vessels, a bit on the outside. Lady Ann, more concerned with internet, moved closer ashore. Nowadays a good anchorage is not only determined by bottom conditions and land structure, but also by wi-fi availability.

A rainbow over Ao Chalong, marking the rainy season.

Checking in the next day took only an hour, but lots of copies of passports, crew list and ships registration. We were warned and came prepared. Afterwards we wandered around a bit, looking (as always) for marine stores and pet shops and….. ended up in a massage parlor. Very nice, this Thai way of kneading and bending. loosening up our stiff sailing muscles and joints.

The girls of the massage shop and us.

Together with Kari and Aslaug we explored Phuket town and Patong. Jaap’s foot was a lot better, but still swelling up at night. He decided to treat it with a bout of rigorous exercise. So he hiked up the nearest hilltop, took in the view and the Buddha statue, and stumbled on a real life, tail wagging SCORPION! That made him jump! The exercise surely improved the circulation. That and another Thai massage and Jaap was happy!

Phuket Big Buddha and its little resident

4 days in Ao Chalong was more than enough. We wanted to move on, get the planned woodwork over and done with and go back to the islands. See more of the amazing scenery of Thailand. Which is certainly not on Phuket.

So we said farewell to our friends on Lady Ann and moved to a boatyard in the north of Phuket: Yacht Haven.

A mobile ATM at the port entrance

Wat Chalong

In Yacht Haven we anchored out for the first 3 nights. We talked to Marli, the recommended carpenter and were told we’d have to wait till the end of this month, June. Staying on anchor in the meantime was cheap, but when a berth in the crowded yacht harbor opened up, we took it. We might not get another change.

So, here we are. Back to pontoon life. Nori and Wakame, who had been allowed to wander around on deck, were locked in again at night.

Working on the airco frame

While waiting for Mali another carpenter introduced himself and we asked him to do some work, too. He made a frame for the portable airco, so it didn’t need to sit in the cockpit anymore. (The transformer problem hasn’t been solved yet, so we cannot connect the internal aircos to shore power.) He also replaced the broken prism over the chart table with plexy glass and an enormous downpour proved one leakage was fixed. (Three more to go.) He took out the screws of the teak deck were the cap was missing, filling them with new teak plugs and epoxy. Then on the 23rd of June carpenter nr 2 started on the main jobs: making shelves in a hanging locker (We don’t need 3) and in the bar. Building a case for the fridge compressor and setting up a solid bimini. It looks like this will keep everybody busy for a couple of weeks, so we are trying to settle in.

On a Sunday we rode bicycles and stopped at Phuket Gateway, a super modern building with a kind of tourist information centre and this arty display of concrete turtle shell and eggs.

Across the bridge from Phuket to Phang Nga we had a big meal of local food, (very spicy!) which gave Marijke some trouble on the long ride back.


Where ever we go we meet people and our social life is as important as our work on board.

Here are the people we met again after many years, making for very special occasions.

Jack and Sandy of sy Zorana.

We first met Zorana and crew in 1992 in Dive Paradise Palau. Together we did all the things one should do there….Underwater of course.

Marion with crew. (see hiphop in holland)

High school friend of Jaap… We found each other again via Schoolbank dot nl.

Uli on one of the charter boats

That was quite a surprise. At the marina of Yacht Haven, Phuket, we ran into Uli. Again!

Previous times were when he was skipper on German sy Safari.

1986 Moorea, French Polynesia.

1987 Auckland, NZ

1993 Whangarei, NZ

1995 Fukuoka, Japan

Now here in Phuket he is shore manager for a charter boat company.

So great this cruising and to re-meet our old buddies from the past.

Boat Projects

Well, that’s as clean as we could get Alishan….

Paint inspector’s view. Barrier coat is already on, Marijke and Ama are now applying the first of the 3 coats of antifouling ( Chin Ho Special, local made brand, bland with some “goodies” in it)

We still had a can of our favorite propeller paint on board.

When Alishan came out, the bottom was fullll with barnacles.

The propeller was 99% clean. It works indeed: Liquid Gold

What a nice day for a splash !!

Back in the marina box, we did an oil change of both the Yanmar and Onan engine. Together! That was fun.

Then we installed the compressor for the fridge. The best place we could think of was on top of the seat in the shower. The gas line just had to go through the bulk head forward to enter the fridge in the galley.

The carpenter in Phuket made a nice cover box for it.

The portable (ahum, a bit heavy) aircon is getting a cold-air-funnel-tunnel. It now sits on top of the cabin ( when in port) and pumps the cold stuff through the hatch .


Malay fishing vessel on the border with Thailand.

Thai sardine catcher…so little fish out there, but still chasing that big catch.

Oops, this one could use a bit of color…

One man show.

Fishing vessel heading full speed just in front of Alishan. Only minutes after this picture was taken we had a severe rain storm.

One float is catching the sardines while the other is…cooking them.

Just wonder what sort of cooking oil they use;-))


Tasty and Healthy (???) it says on this sign above a liquor shop in duty free Langkawi.

Hey Nori, aren’t you a little too big for this drawer…

In Thailand old car tires are well re-used. Like for rubbish bins….

And Lazy Boy Chairs!

This yellow sign in Holland says: No need to clean up afterwards!

For doggy business.

Some two leggers apply the same rule.

Embarrassing. (Should not be in the Funny Box).

This is what we spotted at a supermarket in Phuket town.

Colored rice! Green, purple. yellow, brown...

The indoor sparrows’ favorite is orange.