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Saturday, August 13, 2005

August 2005-Marina Life, Discovery Bay Marina

This is a picture of our marina in better weather, but tonight, outside of our snug boat, there is the onslaught of Typhoon Sanvu, with thunderstorms, lightning, and pouring rain.

Rainy Day in DBMC

Sanvu did not hit Hong Kong, a near miss, but we got some bad weather anyhow.

The staff at the marina were tense for a day or so as we all watched the track of the Typhoon. They took down the tent where special events like birthday parties are held. They closed the swimming pool. There was even a warning notice on the bulletin board: “Typhoon Warning #1, Check your tie-up lines”. We did.

Although the cyclone missed us, tonight we are snugged down, hearing the sounds outside, seeing the flashes of lighting, and listening to music from an internet website while we eat Chinese food; black pepper stir-fry pork and rice. We feel safe, we can ignore the storm outside.

Other than nights like tonight, when there is a storm brewing, the marina is a bit quieter this time of year, not because it is Typhoon Season, but because school’s out and a lot of the families go “back home” during school holiday to England, Europe, Australia, South Africa, wherever home is. Our home is here, and we’ve stayed.

It is also hotter and really humid this time of year. That is another reason people leave.

Just as life doesn’t stop in Seattle when it rains, life doesn’t stop here because of the heat. I went hiking on one of the hottest days, up the mountain. Fred, enjoying the view. Judy was at work and I was tired of the gym so I went up the hill in the 90’s temp and 100% humidity. It was a good work out. The view was also good so I snapped the picture I’ve included with this newsletter. You can see our marina, Victoria Harbor, and Hong Kong Island in the background.

This is an interesting marina, different from any other we’ve been in. Mostly it is a place where people live, not where people park boats that they use once in a while.

The docks here are full of liveaboard boats known locally as “junks”. Out of 125 boats in this marina there are 105 with people living on them. It sort of shoots down the stance taken by many marina’s around the world (in the US in particular) that you can’t have a whole marina full of liveaboards. We do, and it is fine.

In fact, it makes this marina into a true “community”. There are moms and pops and lots of kids around. The swimming pool and clubhouse lounge are full most of the time.

More kids

Being an “expat” community in the Far East where most of the white people have lots of disposable income, there are also lots of servants (maids, nannys & boat boys) in this marina. This is the fact of life here: the rich white folks have paid help from the Philippines and Bangladesh.

But we don’t; we don’t have any kids and we wash our own boat.

Even though it is a bit quieter now, the marina is still a busy place, even during the holiday season when many people are gone. However, it is not busy from a boating point of view. The few sailboats here are used frequently, but there are less than a dozen of us. The junks rarely move, the people living on them don’t take them out much. Actually they don’t take them out at all. These junks aren’t made for cruising. They don’t do well away from the dock and away from their umbilical cords of power and water. When they do leave for their annual maintenance haul out, there is a Chinese captain hired to drive them because most of the owners are not experienced enough to drive a boat as big and cumbersome as these junks. It is a bit strange I have to admit, but in a way they still are “boating people”. This is because the marina is laid out in such a way that most of the people living here have very long walks just to get to and from their boats. So they all have dingys which they use to get from their houseboat junks to the head of the dock. The dingy traffic here is quite heavy, and everyone who lives here quickly gets good at driving a small boat powered by an outboard motor. I like this aspect of the marina life here. I like seeing teenagers, little kids, adults or housemaids driving the dingy around. Boating is a part of life here.

So is the bilge bar, restaurant, pool, and clubhouse. They are the nice hangouts where we know most of the people. The staff is great, and the company is nice too.

We like it – it’s a nice place to call home for awhile.

Click Here for all the Hong Kong photos

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Hong Kong

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