Finding bliss in stagnant cruising

30 Jul

Siobhan in the pool
A month ago we were headed to Borneo. Thanks to continued engine problems, we’ve been sitting in Puteri Harbour instead. Cruising plans torpedoed, Totem is shacked up at the monthly rate. A blog follower and friend wondered what happened to us the last few weeks. He nailed it, too, understanding that being parked makes my inner cruiser feel caged: I kind of lost my mojo, and the blog went quiet. So, what’s been happening in our non-cruising cruising world, besides getting our life raft re-certified?

sundowners on the dock

dock sundowners have also been happening

If you’re following us on Facebook you probably know about the rat saga already. I wish this was a reflection with 20/20 hindsight but it’s three weeks today since I was awakened at night by a rat running up my body, and the rodent is still on board somewhere. We have deployed three live traps, two snap traps, an ultrasonic rodent repellent ipad app, invited neighboring cats on board, and distributed a variety pack of poison to catch the rat and his/her suspected friend (please don’t let them make baby rats!). They mock us making noise at night, streaking through the cabin, leaving gifts of ratty poo, and cleverly stealing bait from traps- even bait that is TIED DOWN. So sadly, I’m not here to share what worked, but to say we’re trying everything we can and just hope to evict them before they do enough damage to wiring or plumbing to drain our savings.

Hari Raya decorations

one of the pictures the kids took, a project to learn about Ramadan

Meanwhile, it’s been Ramadan. This month-long Islamic observance is most apparent to an outsider through daily fasting, which stretches from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in this corner of the world. That’s not just abstaining from food, but also drink, cigarettes, sex, or other behaviors that might be considered sinful. I felt for the mechanics visiting Totem, sweating in the heat down below, who couldn’t have a drink and were clearly missing their regular smoke break. They were still smiling and helpful, but their energy flagged. I had to fast for one measly half day to do some bloodwork, and was completely grumpy about it: I have nothing but respect for people who cheerfully manage this practice for a month in order to remember those who suffer, or are simply less fortunate than they are.

SV Madrona

meeting Madrona after quite a few miles (and emails!)

Although it isolated (transportation required for anything outside the hotel/marina complex) and confining (oh, Borneo!), staying in Puteri Harbour has plenty of upside. It’s been a pleasure to meet several boats we have corresponded with, but not previously had tracks intersect.

Many memorable evenings have passed sharing nibbles on the dock while the sun sinks behind the waterfront hotel and shops. The staff is friendly and helpful, even delivering gifts of a rice dish traditionally eaten as iftar– the light meal to end fasting after sunset- to residents in the marina.

Fountain games

Siobhan with Jana (SV Momo) and onlookers

Three other “kid boats” mean a raft of new friends. The girls play Musical Boats for sleepovers, swing from Momo’s rigging, and race their scooters around the docks.

dance performance

performance by kids from four boats

Dock sundowners have typically been parleyed into an occasion for theater, where the kids command attendance to elaborate their choreographed and costumed dance performances.


Fitness center bliss I’m taking full advantage of the managed access we have to certain hotel facilities. Yoga practice is so much easier when I have a large space, a beautiful view, a pleasant temperature, and no interruptions! When I need a quiet place to write, an air conditioned chart room has cushy chairs and a shaded view of the marina. It’s lovely.

Meanwhile, Jamie’s found more customers for rig checks and sail orders. The Indian Ocean is next for many, and nobody wants to go into that with any doubt about their setup. This is work he genuinely enjoys and a nice boost for our cruising kitty: a win all around.

Followers in flow know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

This article was syndicated from Sailing Totem


  1. Wayne Hodgins

    If you are still providing room and board for those rats let me suggest a relatively fool proof way of getting rid of them. I hit upon this method the one time I had a rat onboard in the Tuamotus and it also worked very well for several other boats I’ve helped rid of these pests.

    In short you put them to sleep or eliminate them with Carbon Monoxide. Simply close off all the ports, hatches etc. for all the interior areas of the boat, place a small gas engine such as a portable generator like the little Honda 2000’s inside the boat, start it up and let it run for an hour or two, filling all the internal areas of the boat with invisible but deadly CO.

    Best of all perhaps, in my experience the rats have been smart enough to come out of their hiding spots and seek out higher and higher areas within the boat in their attempt to find clean air to breath and this usually makes them very visible to you. They are also very groggy by this time and so they are very easy to catch.

    I was worried that there would be residual smells and maybe even stains in upholstery and such but none has ever happened. Seems like a very quick, pretty much fool proof and humane solution and has worked very well for me and hope it does for you if you try it.

    Wayne & Christine
    s/v Learnativity
    currently moored in Majuro, Marshall Islands

  2. judy fravel


    You need a rat trip like the one we had in Mi.
    When they go into the large trap for food it will slam shut.

    If anyone else has had this problem they will know about these large traps.
    We caught ours overnight at PaB. ewwwwww.

    Tips for Behan please.

    Her Mum

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