After Dennis received his diagnosis of multiple myeloma (cancer of the blood and bones), his oncologist allowed him to delay the start of weekly chemo to fly back to Singapore to take care of Lardo. This was such a hard trip, knowing that Dennis faced cancer and needed to quickly sell the boat. Keeping Lardo was simply not an option. The expense of keeping Lardo in Singapore was outrageous, and the maintenance of a boat in the hot humid moldy conditions of SE Asia just didn’t make sense. So we decided to sell Lardo obviously due to pressing health issues. We originally thought that we could quickly unload Lardo in Singapore, but after talking to several yacht brokers, we quickly found out that the rich affluent Singaporean’s preferred luxury power boats where all you had to do was turn on a key. Hence we found out that Singapore along with the onerous shipping channels of the Straits of Malacca was not conducive for sailing. As we looked around the marina, we noticed several sailboats on the market for 5 plus years. This was such disheartening news as keeping our boat in Raffles Marina would have run up to about $3,000/month.
We were under the gun to get Lardo on the market within a week’s timeframe in order to fly back to the bay area for Dennis' treatment. But this was not feasible in Singapore, and after anguishing over this depressing news, we re-booked our airline tickets and threw the dock lines once again to sail the boat to Langkawi, Malaysia, a better sailboat market with several yacht brokers willing to help us. This decision to make the trip up to Langkawi did not come easily as Dennis oncologist said no more being on the water. Dennis condition was such that the multiple myeloma had caused holes and lesions in roughly 70% of his bone structure; on the high seas, his bones could easily break. Well, we ignore our doctor’s concern, and decided to have one last hurrah.
We left on Thursday and arrived in Langkawi on Monday morning. Just the two of us for this last five hundred mile stretch through the Straits of Malacca. The shipping channel, one of the largest in the world with a steady flow of larger tankers coming at poor ole Lardo in both directions, was certainly daunting. Not to mention the electrical problem that we had encountered. But the forces of nature at night were equally as challenging. Day times were sizzling hot with unbearable humidity and water temperatures reaching 87 degrees, but as the nighttime temp’s cooled off, the tropical storms with thunder cracking and lightning bolts sizzling off the boat in every direction were way to close for my comfort zone. These were some of the most powerful electrical tropical storms that we had experienced in our 20,000 nautical mile trip!
We initially thought that we had a problem with the alternator, thus we pulled over and anchored off a small cove of an unknown island. Dennis waited until the next morning for the engine to cool before replacing the alternator. I think every wife marvels at how their mates can get into such tight spots to pull out the old alternator with much grunting, groaning and sheer muscle power and then get the new replacement alternator to fit back in such a tight spot. While Dennis was pushing and shoving, I was feeling rather isolated at this unknown island somewhere in Malaysia and was up on deck keeping an eye out for a local fisherman who might be willing to help out if Dennis needed any – at this point I was cussing myself for neglecting to get Malaysian Ringgit and hoping that a local fisherman would take either Singapore or Aussie dollars in case we had to pay him. Well after several hours, we were on our way again; however, we found out after dark that the alternator was not the problem and it was another electrical issue that had to wait until Langkawi. We had enough solar power during the day to run all of the electronics but at night, in order to conserve energy, we had to turn off the auto pilot and hand steer in the drenching tropical downpours each night. Not to mention that all I could think about was my poor husband who had cancer and really needed his rest. Well we made it to Langkawi, despite the larger tankers, tropical storms and an electrical problem.
Somehow, the rest seemed to go OK, we manage to list the boat with a yacht broker, and ship our belongings back home. We arrived in Langkawi on Monday morning and flew out of the country on Saturday morning. We cleaned the boat in the unrelenting heat and humidity, made minor repairs, did routine boat maintenance work, got rid of a lot of stuff and packed our boxes to ship our personal belongings back home. We did all of this like robots, not wanting to feel the emotions that were beneath.
Now I’m at home finishing up the last posting on our blog. I always wondered if I would ever finish this blog; so hard to imagine that the time has come and our sailing dream has come to an end after a great go. Shortly after Dennis diagnosis, I too was diagnosed with cancer of the uteris, had surgery and my first chemo treatment. We go to chemo together and do the chemo dance hand in hand hooked up to IVs. Thank God, that we threw the dock lines when we did, and had one of the greatest adventures of a lifetime…we sailed for 3 and half years encompassing 20,000 nautical miles from Alameda to Langkawi! This was our dream, Lardo’s dream.
Again, let me remind you...listen my child to the ships bell wail…don’t wait too long to start to sail!