Sayling in Asia

I’m going to take punches for this one!

How can you attract other sailors? Into this untouched, little noticed super area! No, I can’t keep it to myself, I owe it to my page. And since many sailors are resistant to advice anyway, the damage will not be too great for everyone who is searching for „Segelreisen mit Vollpension„.

It slowly dawned on me: numerous experienced cruising sailors, even circumnavigators, simply disappeared from the scene. Silently. Have made no more talk about themselves. And when you asked about their whereabouts, you usually got such a meaningless answer: „Somewhere in Southeast Asia.“

Somewhere in Southeast Asia can mean: Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand. Or Malaysia.

So on the other side of the world. Far away. Uninteresting for European sailors.

Really? „Quite far away“ means six or seven hundred Euros travel expenses, a little more than to Greece, Malta or Mallorca. But also: a travel time of rarely less than 30 hours. But once that’s over, nothing speaks for the Mediterranean any more, and nothing at all – in comparison to Malaysia. Especially not if you think of the various harassments that the southern countries or our EU citizens have come up with. Cruising permits, beacon fee, visitor’s tax, second home tax, entry fee, obligatory radio call certificate, harbour fee, forbidden crew change – everything enforceable despite massive protests of the victim lambs, i.e. yacht owners. Often with the help of the authorities. The latter are often blind anyway. How else can it be explained that in numerous marinas (for example in Italy, Greece, Majorca), the staff of the marinas can discover rather maffiose structures, if „you have to take a marineiro so that the yacht is not broken into during the absence of the yacht owner“?

There is no mention of other private rip-offs in the „special fish restaurants“ here. But there is the adventurous mooring fees in some marinas that make you feel the loop around your neck. But at least you have to limit your passion for sailing if you have to pay 100 Euro for one night in another port, while you have bought your „own“ berth for 50000. What does it mean to buy? The 60 square meters of water were rented for 35 years. I myself belonged to the stupid ones.

Well, you don’t necessarily have to sail in waters where you yourself are asked to pay for anchoring, as in Croatia. At least it is forced to a mooring. But the fact that this is at all possible in the Mediterranean shows how the signs of the times stand for the once so loveable waters.

But the proud yacht owner in Croatia looks most stupidly out of his underwear, who wants to get his new girlfriend on his yacht and an unfriendly harbour captain unloads the lady for him because the contingent of fellow sailors for this year is already exhausted. Maybe the lady isn’t so unhappy when she can retire from the hopelessly overcrowded marina with the stinking toilets and showers to a cosy (at least according to Croatian terms) hotel during the high season. So far it has come.

In short: The Mediterranean Sea, especially Turkey, was a beautiful spot for cruising sailors. And for charter sailors this is still the case today. Because in the vacation I am not annoyed nevertheless about it, if the berth fee reaches the room price of an elevated hotel or if I must attach a note to the gas station attendant, so that I am refuelled preferentially with – expensive – Diesel. Or I have to bribe the Greek water dealer to get water from his rusty barrel. And the sauteure fisherman’s pub, for whose food the board cash is emptied, is simply „rustic“.

But for me it denigrates the joy of my own ship. And more and more often the question arises: Why should I return to the Mediterranean? And suddenly I meet neighbours here who have long since gone beyond this stage. Like the former chief physician of a big clinic in California, who wanted to sail around the world (15 years ago) and got stuck here in Malaysia: „Can you tell me a single reason why I should leave this spot?“ asks the now 82-year-old.

No, I can’t. Not any more. Because the arguments that originally seemed to speak against this precinct are easy to refute. The tsunami disaster on 26 December 2004 was a millennium disaster. To draw consequences from this would be to avoid California, especially San Francisco, or Sicily, not to get into an airplane, let alone a car.

And the rainy season? Sure, it’s a distinct one, but it’s not like it rains for days on end. After a few hours you can usually see the sun again. And it stays warm.