Back in Kudat Back in Kudat « The Joys and Sorrows Of a Life At Sea

Back in Kudat

Hard to believe it’s been more than a month, since we arrived to Kudat, a small port at the north-east tip of Borneo… Time really flies and last month it flew even more so, since we were especially busy. Moreover, unlike our stay in Puerto Princesa, where we literally spent the whole month and a half aboard Janna translating, this time we were more often out of Kudat. While we traveled all around SE Asia, we left Janna in care of our friends Jackie and Dave of s/y Brigadoon safely tied to a pontoon in the local marina (which by the way is free! It hasn’t been officially opened yet and is run jointly by the cruisers in the spirit of a commune – people take turns cleaning the showers, share washing lines and clothes pegs, watch after the boats of those who are currently away plus even water their plants and take care of their dogs…).

Janna in Kudat marina

Janna in Kudat marina

Our travels were once more mainly work-oriented. We (yes, both of us!) were offered an interpreting job in Taiwan for one week in the second half of August, and since we kind of had to overstay our visas last time before we left Taiwan (we had to wait for our new hank-on genoa to be recut and Petr’s stitches to be removed), we now had to apply for a tourist visa in advance as part of the “punishment”. We could either do it in Kuala Lumpur or in Singapore and since we have special emotional ties to Singapore (after all that’s where we bought Janna), we didn’t think twice before deciding to apply for our Taiwanese visas there.

And so not even a week after our arrival to Kudat, we flew for a few days to Singapore and got our visas to Taiwan. We spent the next week translating and then packed our bags once again and after four hours ride on a minibus to Kota Kinabalu and a night spent at the airport, we finally boarded the plane that was to take us back to Taiwan.

Once our work there was over, we traveled to Kaohsiung, where we stayed a week more. Our friend Kevin kindly offered us to stay in his newly opened B&B – basically a big apartment on the ninth floor with a huge, professionally equipped kitchen and stunning view of the Kaohsiung harbor. During the day we worked on our translations and in the evenings met with our friends, both old and new ones.

Welcoming party at Kevin's B&B

Welcoming party at Kevin’s B&B

The two weeks in Taiwan passed so quickly! Before we left Kudat, we were really excited to return to the island, that was basically our home for more than eight years. What would it be like? We honestly didn’t know. Suddenly it felt as if it’s already been ages, since we sailed away. Can we still speak Chinese? However, once we stepped out of the plane, it was as if we left only yesterday, not more than four months ago… We headed infallibly towards the bus stop to the center and once on the bus we counted the well-known landmarks and buildings on our way to town.

We enjoyed Taiwan to the fullest – we traveled both north and south, experienced spells of sunny weather as well as two typhoons (in 2 weeks!); we savored all our favorite Taiwanese delicacies and under Kevin’s guidance even sampled some new ones. And last but not least, we of course filled our backpacks to the brim with special provisions for our future voyages. On our way to airport we stayed overnight with a Czech friend in Taipei, who is now relocating back home after more than ten years in Taiwan…

Back at the Kota Kinabalu airport we first had lunch in already familiar restaurant and then managed to stop a private taxi that took us to town for third of the price of that of the airport taxis. Man, it was a wild ride! Once we got in, the taxi driver swapped the CD with Indian slow dance rhythms for a wild dance music, pumped up the volume and while we stared at him eyes wide open, he started swaying violently to the rhythm behind his steering wheel, occasionally letting it loose in order to clap his hands and give a whoop of joy. Normally we would probably laugh at the sight of such a show, except that the loudspeakers were blasting right next to our ears: “I crashed my car into the bridge, I don’t care, I love it…” We nevertheless survived the ride from the airport unharmed and after another four hours on a minibus the driver kindly dropped us off right next to the marina gate.

Back aboard Janna we once again enjoyed the silence and relative solitude – after all we are still in a marina, albeit half empty nowadays, not in a deserted anchorage! On the other hand, I have to admit, that for the first two days (at least) it felt kind of lonely here – after two very social weeks in Taiwan with every evening spent in the company of our numerous Taiwanese friends, it took several days for us to get used to the fact, that our only companion in the cockpit after dark were swarms of mosquitoes.

Now, however, we are back in the cruising mood and can’t wait to be back at sea! Hopefully within a week or two at the most! We will continue SW (luckily the SW monsoon seems to be getting weaker these days) following the coast of Borneo towards Kuching, then cross over to Singapore (actually to Danga Bay, Malaysia, we probably won’t enter Singapore with the boat, since it’s too expensive) and from there through the Malacca Strait to our previous cruising grounds, including Lumut, Langkawi, etc. The ultimate next destination is Thailand, where we hope be sometime mid-November…

4 comments to Back in Kudat

  • Raynold

    Wow! Interesting .. I’m a teacher in Banggi Island, a small island near Kudat. You guys are awesome. Honestly I’m not really fond of being on the ocean, quite scary when the weather is bad.

    • Hi there! Honestly, a teacher in Banggi Island?! It’s really a small world :) As you probably know from our blog, we are currently still trapped in Kudat, this time because of our engine. Will probably stay here for another 2 weeks before the repairs are done. Stop by for a visit if you have a chance to come to Kudat. Best Jana&Petr
      PS: Bad weather at sea is scary but all the enjoyable moments far outweigh all the discomforts of a lonely squall :)

      • Hi Jana, I just arrived in Banggi a few hours ago. On weekends usually i will travel back to my home town in Tuaran. Then, on Sunday going back to the Island. Weekdays schedule is full of teaching the local kids. That’s my routine. I do hope you guys will enjoy your stay in Sabah :-)

        PS:I’m sorry, my enjoyable moments would not be at the ocean.lol.

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