Today Langkawi defeated some of my ambitions. After some morning tinkering, I drove to Kuah with a full-page shopping list. There is one real chandlery in all of Langkawi, and it’s in Kuah; that’s also apparently where all the hardware and other stores are.
As a side note, driving on the left side of the road and sitting in the right seat, with a stick shift in your left hand, in haphazard Malaysian traffic in the only big town around, while frantically trying to find a tiny little shop in the midst of a zillion shops, is really stressful. At least for me, because from my point of view the only way to drive is on the right side of the road.
Anyway, in Langkawi you cannot buy these things:
- Safety flares: only for the military! Cannot sell la!
- Fire extinguishers: also only military can! (Why? Are civilians just supposed to avoid starting fires? In the end I found six fire extinguishers in all of Kuah, none of which were what I need.)
- Air horns
- Non-kitchen knives (guess why!)
- Lanyards for sunglasses (okay, I can see that this one is a bit obscure)
- Emergency rations (also a little obscure)
- Any kind of Nalgene-ish bottle, preferably without toxins
- Non-gigantic life vests
So that was a little disappointing. I’ll have to make do with my long-expired flares and extinguishers for the trip to Singapore, along with a less than complete ditch bag, and minus a couple useful tools. I’ll have to go shopping in Singapore before the trip for a couple things, like a good self-inflating life vest.
On the other hand, after about four hours of wandering around and poking my head into random shops, I came out with:
- Some acetone to remove wax before applying the new graphics, some neoprene gloves, and a plastic squeegee to help in applying the graphics
- 100 ft dacron cord to cut up into pieces and use in tying my remaining two awnings down, because for some reason the previous owner removed all the cords from them.
- A bunch of stuff for the ditch bag: a bailer, a decent waterproof flashlight with lithium batteries, sunscreen, some contact lens stuff, duct tape, and a decent first aid kit.
- A ~50 ft 1/2″ garden hose with quick connect attachments to replace the short/leaky hoses onboard.
- A very traditional looking bright yellow rain suit. Not breathable or all that comfortable but perfectly functional. Mainly I was interested in the pants, since my existing rain coat is just fine. Eventually I’m sure I’ll get some more serious foul weather gear but it’s not that urgent now.
- A Malaysian ensign flag (a little bigger than a courtesy flag).
So I made out with some useful stuff in the end.
Back at the boat:
- Tried out the LPG stove, which works fine although the built in lighter doesn’t seem to work; I just used an external one.
- Checked in with the marina office. Apparently the registration should be done sometime next week. Also, I can do port clearance and checkout procedures right at the marina, which is nice.
- Repacked the ditch bag with the new stuff I bought. Here it is, hanging in the locker closest to the companionway:
By the time I got back from Kuah it was getting late and the sun was a little less oppressive, so I set about the task of removing the old name and port of registry from the boat. The graphics were vinyl; usually people recommend using a hair dryer to help remove them but it’s hot enough in Langkawi that I didn’t need it. Here’s the the first bit of peeling I did, on the port bow:
Immediately I could tell the old name wasn’t going to disappear all that easily. Sun exposure to the topsides has made it so the color underneath the graphics is slightly darker than the rest of the gelcoat. But one way or another I need to remove the name, so:
After peeling the lettering off, I made the mistake of using a brush that was a little too abrasive on the gelcoat, leaving some scratches. Here’s the port side:
Then, I plopped the dinghy in the water to work on the transom. Here’s a last look at the transom with the old name and port:
And here it is after peeling away all the lettering:
Again, there’s some ghosting, but quite as bad as on the bow. After this, since I was in the dinghy, I went for a little row. (Maybe tomorrow I’ll try the outboard.) When I got back, I dug out some polish and a rag and polished all the areas where I’d just removed graphics. This made a big difference:
By the time I finished polishing everywhere it was dark, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get an idea of how visible the old name still is in the daylight. I may do another round of polishing. Then, I’ll work on applying the new graphics. The polishing removed all the wax from the gelcoat, so it doesn’t shed water very well compared to the rest of the topsides. That’s why there still appears to be some discoloration in the above photo: there are water droplets on the polished area but they’ve run off the rest of the gelcoat. Unfortunately I’ll have to let the adhesive on the new graphics cure for a couple weeks before I can apply a new coat of wax.
Later on in the evening I hoisted the new Malaysian ensign flag and packed away the SVG flag. It’s definitely starting to feel like the boat is becoming mine.