Welcome to the blog of the sailing yacht Sea Bunny.

Friday, August 30, 2013


This is one big, air conditioned greenhouse
In what we thought was a final farewell to Singapore, a country that we have had a love hate relationship with for many years, we visited the Gardens by the Bay. Construction moves fast here; three years ago the docks were being moved from this site to reclaimed land. Monet once referred to his garden as his most beautiful masterpiece. This 101 hectare attraction with over 250 thousand rare plants in huge domed conservatories is perhaps Singapore's.
Ten days later, in  Nongsa Point Marina Indonesia the decks were scrubbed, the watermaker unpickled, the coms finally sorted & the departure email drafted. We were ready for our farewells on leaving towards South Africa.
Then, instead, we shall as the Australians say, be 'farewelling' Susan's 104 year old mother in the UK next week. The Glory of the Garden, Kipling's poem, will be read.
So it's farewell to the South African passage for this year & hello to the passage in 2014 (3rd time lucky?) - meanwhile we will find people to eat our fresh provisions!

Pitcher plants

Inside the flower dome

The trees

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back in Singapore

In June we returned to from the UK to Sea Bunny, which we had left at Puteri Harbour Marina in the Johor Straits. A good, very sheltered, place to leave a boat but fairly remote, with surrounding facilities still under development.

After a month there, more boat jobs, we checked out of Malaysia and in to Singapore, intending to spend 2 weeks in One15 marina before heading on to Indonesia. The main purpose of the visit was to have a major service on the engine.  However, various issues were found which kept us here for an extra 3 weeks.
The extended stay meant that Richard had to extend his landing pass. On entry into Singapore at least one person must be declared as crew; this person receives a crew landing permit stamp, which is valid for 2 weeks and does not permit leaving Singapore, in the passport. Passengers receive a visitor visa, duration according to nationality, 90 days for the UK. Until a few months ago extending the crew pass was a simple matter of taking the papers to immigration at the ferry terminal at Marina South Pier and getting a new stamp, costing MRT and bus fares. No longer! It is now necessary to hire an agent to do this at a cost of, in our case, SGD 150.

We also needed some engine parts, which could not be found in Singapore. Marking the package "Ships spares in transit" allows, in most countries except Thailand, importation free of duty and VAT/GST, under an international customs agreement. It does apparently also allow this in Singapore. Unfortunately, according to UPS, to benefit from this it is necessary to complete various forms and guarantees and possibly to hire an agent (again!) to carry out the clearance. In the case of our parts the fee was almost equal to the GST.

Sea Bunny dressed overall for National Day
Singapore National Day was on 9 August, just after the end of Ramadan holiday (Hari Raya/Eid-el-Fitr) on 8 August so there was effectively a 5 day holiday from Wednesday to Sunday. This did not affect us much as boat work continued, including fixing the boat central heating, which has not been used since Australia but may be needed as we head further south out of the tropics. Richard managed to flood the system with diesel which resulted in large clouds of dense white smoke when it eventually fired up, causing major concern to the marina staff and a reprimand from the marina manager for not informing them in advance.

Stowage & Play

We are asked lots of questions about how we cater for long passages ie about 3 weeks at a time at sea. The answer is a ridiculous amount of planning, lists & use of every spare space.

Flour stowage for passage
The photo shows enough flour for 50 loaves of bread stored under the salon table and dosed with chloroform to deter weevils
Shelves have been made in spaces behind draws to accommodate spare engine parts!
Even sailing boats are power hungry so parts for engine, generator, wind generator, water turbo & water maker have been procured. When the sea state is ferocious or the currents is strongly against us the iron donkey will be needed but remember that radar, computers & autopilots gobble up energy.

Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword on the iPad
Puteri Habour's new build is vast, the new 5 star hotel allowed us to use the pool FOC which overlooked the marina- here is Richard, the only user, relaxing with a crossword.

UK trip 2013

Highlights of this year's UK trip were

  • Spending time with our children and grandchildren
  • A trip to the highlands of Scotland
  • The wedding of Susan's nephew Simon to Susie
Some photos
With Jane and Josh in the New Forest (new in the 11th century)

Camera-shy Jake
With James & Josh at Bucklers Hard

Ferret racing at Bransgore fair

Skiff racing at Achiltibuie
Max enjoying the cold water

The Newhaven skiff - The Wee Michael. Cox Cath & Steve at no 2

It was cold on the beach!
A warmer day - water temperature 7 C

Cox Susan
All this play is tiring!

The pass to Applecross (reputed to be highest in UK)
Water play in the garden

At the wedding with Susan's sister Sarah and Barrie

The happy couple with the groom's parents