It’s been awhile. But it is all good.
We set sail from Phuket on 2 May 2017 and slowly made our way south in the Andaman Sea toward Malaysia, stopping at Ko Ha Yai, Ko Rok Noi, and Ko Lipe along our way.
We motor-sailed incident free, experiencing only a temporary glitch in our dinghy outboard motor due to some bad fuel. After lengthy refits for Amandla and The Captain, it felt great to have some time to relax in beautiful surroundings.
But the time for R&R was brief as we needed to arrive in Penang mid-month to replace the instruments we’d lost in an electromagnetic surge in February. While The Captain worked diligently with William Quah, our Raymarine Dealer in Penang (+60 19 408 2288) to install the new instruments, I was given shore-leave to further explore Penang’s colorful living heritage and enjoy its culinary delights.
At the end of May, it was onward to Pangkor Marina to put Amandla on ‘the hard’ (in dry-dock storage) until November. Once again, we decided to take our time rather than stress ourselves scrambling to close the boat. We worked a bit each day and spent our evenings in the company of good friends.
Given the expertise of the team at Pangkor Marina, the haul out during the last week of June was seamless.
We completed the predominance of close down tasks and headed back to Penang for The Captain’s semi-annual scans. We expected the worst…..
…but once again, our luck held out, our prayers were answered, the scans were clear, 15 months cancer free! Unfortunately, exams uncovered an unrelated issue that required further testing, keeping us in Penang for an additional week. (Spoiler alert …the tests were negative and the symptoms treatable with antibiotics).
Fortunately, Penang with its affordable, quality medical care and endless inspiration for the lens is a great place to be delayed for tests if one must be.
I love when we spend extended periods in the places we visit. When a strange land turns into ‘old stomping ground. When the unusual starts to become usual. When a travel destination turns into a home. Now on our fourth visit, Penang has definitely started to feel like home to us. Not only did we enjoy visits with old friends (the crews of SY Mahiti and SY Mersoliel) while traveling here, we started to befriend some locals.
I photographed Joseph on our second visit to Penang, and we continued to run into him on the streets time and again. On our fourth visit, he suggested we have lunch together. He invited us to one of his favorite restaurants and generously picked up the tab! We had such an enjoyable time in his company that we met again for a dinner …this time The Captain paid the bill before Joseph could make his move.
Obsessed with watching their game of Sepak Takraw, I had photographed Tan Teik Leong and his friends on our multiple visits to Penang. As I was walking past his bicycle/curio shop, Chin Seng Leong, early one morning on this visit, he called out to me and invited me in for a cup of coffee to share stories.
And then there is Pete DeMarco.
Mesmerized by his travel, landscape and cityscape imagery, I started following Pete DeMarco on Instagram in January 2016. But it wasn’t until I wanted to learn more about a photography tour that he is offering at Angkor Wat in October that I found my way to his blog and learned that he is living and teaching in Penang.
My friend Leah and I met up with Pete for a coffee and later joined his ‘Penang Lightstalkers Photography Community for a photo walk at Tanjung Tokong where I learned how to take aerial images with a drone and shoot long-exposures.
I look forward to further leveraging Pete’s knowledge online and again in person as I continue to develop my voice.
In addition to Pete, I’ve also added Eric Kim to my stable of photography mentors.
I’ve enrolled in his free, virtual classroom ‘Street Club’ in July and am really pleased with the way his assignments have stretched me.
Of course, Penang provides an excellent stage for street photography. But we are moving on with plans to travel together by land (trains, buses, riverboats, and tuk-tuks) back to Thailand and onward to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
The Captain will return to Italy in mid-September for a tour to launch his new book ‘AMANDLA LA VITA, LA QUASI MORTE E I MIRACOLI DEL CAPITANO’ and I will continue traveling in SE Asia, possibly with friends and/or family should they decide to make the trip.
We will put Amandla back in the water in November and set sail across the Indian Ocean in early 2018. Life is good!