We are safely back on Tahina after our pleasant trip home to the US. The trip back wasn’t without the usual hiccups and, of course, was quite long going half-way around the world. It took us almost 51 hours door to door from Raleigh. But, we are glad to have a safe trip with few real mishaps.
The biggest delay was a 12-hour layover in New York which we had chosen because there were no later direct flights on the airline we had selected. We thought we would just use the airport lounge since we had upgraded tickets on our next flight, but it turns out they wouldn’t let us get boarding passes earlier than 4 hours before take-off. We should have just taken a train into the city and gone to a museum and restaurant or two, but we chose to hang out in the airport. Our route was North Carolina -> NYC -> Istanbul -> Bangkok -> Kuala Lumpur -> Langkawi -> Taxi -> Ferry to the marina.
Our next big challenge was that our luggage was only checked in to Bangkok due to our next flight not being with the same network. They told us when we arrived Malaysia Airlines would be able to pick up the bags and transfer them for us, but they told us our bags weighed 120 kg (not true, that was the maximum weight we were allotted). They said they would weigh them, but after waiting an hour they came back and said 120kg. The problem was they were charging for extra weight by the kg and it would have cost us US$400. So, with only 1 hour left, we had to clear into Thailand, get our bags (which were still on the baggage carousel and obviously never weighed), and check in again. Another part of that was a real adventure as it turned out I accidentally set our baggage claim tickets on the counter where we filled in our immigration paperwork before clearing in to Thailand. I had to go back out (with permission) and come back – and it was about a mile of distance involved. I ran the whole way! We made it just in time to the gate and boarded. Then the plane was delayed by 30 minutes for a mechanical issue.
Despite all that, we arrived to Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur and waited for our next flight. Just as we were expecting the gate to open, Michael on s/v Callisto showed up! We knew he was booked on the same flight, so it wasn’t a complete shock. What was a surprise was he was checked into the seat right next to us on the flight! Another good piece of news was he found out there was a 10:30 PM ferry (we were arriving at 9:30PM) to the marina. We had already booked a hotel on the main island thinking there we no more ferries. But, we opted to go ahead and get back to the boat rather than use the hotel.
Other good news was that all of our baggage made it on the flight. We had a notice in one of our bags that one of the security personnel removed an item. But, we haven’t figured out what is missing yet. Probably something not approved that we weren’t expecting. We had a lot of boat parts in there.
We were met by friends on s/v Kilkea (who had been keeping an eye on Tahina for us while we were gone), and John on s/v Sea Mist greeted us as well. Karen and I crashed soon after our luggage was on board. I slept straight through to 5AM (my normal wake-up time) and felt good upon waking up. I’m sure we will both crash for naps a few times over the next few days. But, that goes with the world travel.