Tuesday, December 5, 2017

New Owners of SV Villa G

I spend three nice days in Langkawi last week with the new owners of SV Villa G, Debbie and Dick Van Hasselt.  There were the usual "boat things" that needed sorting out; however, we got the water, toilets, air cons, genset, engine and sails into normal working order.

Dick and Debbie are from Vancouver and will spend the winter season cruising Malaysia and Thailand this year and then after that, who knows?

Debbie and Dick Van Hasselt

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

SV Villa G is sold but please meet The Spice House Inn

By April we had sold SV Villa G and returned to Bali.  Here we have embarked on several new projects.  One of the most interesting is the purchase and renovation of Jon House, an old four apartment house on the beach in Lovina.  It stands on the site of the first bar (with alcohol) in Lovina and is in the village of Kaliasem.  Jon and the owners of the surrounding properties are directly descended from the last king of north Bali (Buleleng).  The status of the royalty in Bali underwent numerous changes in the 20th Century under the Dutch, the Japanese and then the Independence of Indonesia which was declared in 1945.

Kaliasem village as seen from our home
The grandson and great-grand sons of the last king live adjacent to Jon House in a small cottage resort called Puri Manggala.  They also have the Little Museum there.  It commemorates the founding of Lovina in the 1950s.  Lovina per se is a name created for the purposes of marketing the stretch of small villages along a section of north Bali beach west of Singaraja.  The main villages are Kalibukbuk and Kaliasem (kali is Indonesian for river).  Just to the west of Jon House are the grounds of the last king's residence in Kaliasem (pictured below).  It is a fascinating ruin that is not open to the public.  More on it another time.

Palace gate to the beach
Jon House was a 1970s modern building of four one bedroom apartments with leaking ceilings and eclectic furnishing.  We are currently renovating and creating two 3 bedroom apartments (one up and one down).  Each will be 120 square meters (>1200 square feet).  It is directly on the beach and fronts a paved sidewalk to Lovina's famous Dolphin Statue Square, bars, restaurants and shopping.  Guests will be able to go out for a latte, lounge on the beach and have our Balinese staff serve them snacks and beverages, or sample local international and Indonesian restaurants.

Yesterday's view from the upstairs balcony
The renovation is going to be quite extensive.  The roof is gone.  The floors have been stripped of tile.  Plumbing and electrical is being replaced.  The upstairs flat will have two nice balconies and the downstairs flat will have a patio with a gate onto the beach.  Each flat will have a small service kitchen.  The building will have a kitchen for preparations of meals for our guests.  Breakfasts will feature fresh pastries from Buda Bakery, Kalibukbuk and Bali grown coffees.

Agus, our manager is speaking with a construction worker in front of Spice House Inn
The renovation schedule is for a three month project.  We will miss most of the high season and have a soft opening for a few months before the Christmas/New Year's rush.
The Star Clipper in front of Spice House Inn 19 June 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Great to be back in Bali for Galungan

We flew back to Bali from Langkawi a few days ago.  It is great to be home!  All of Bali is green now as the rains have continued.  Villa Cengkeh's gardens look really nice and the house was so inviting.  Mr. Roland's crew made small repairs while we were gone.

It is now time for the Balinese Holiday of Galungan.  It is a time to celebrate the success of good over bad (dharma versus adharma).  Temples are cleaned up and re-decorated and many prayers are said at various village and family temples.  It is said that the spirits of former inhabitants return to earth for a ten day visit.

Female staff have a day off to prepare for the holiday activities and all staff are free tomorrow for the important day (Hari Raya).
Susan with the staff who did the decorating

Penjors at the main gate

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Villa G is getting a new owner!!!

Susan and I are happy and sad.  We had decided in January that we should put Villa G on the market.  We have moved forward with a number of new projects in Bali that will need our focus and time.  Dick flew out to Langkawi and spent several days with us.  We're in the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club and very impressed with the new facilities since they renovated and enlarged.

Reinhard (Dick) Van Hesselt and his wife Debbie will be the new owners.  They are from the Vancouver region.  They have owned numerous boats before and are downsizing to a beautiful motor-sailor.

Dick with Susan on Villa G in Langkawi

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Royal Langkawi Yacht Club

We are in Langkawi and comfortably berthed in the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club which is right in Kuah near the ferry terminal. Lots of activity around here with ice cream, different cuisines and the Langkawi International Marine and Air show starting today.

Royal Langkawi Yacht Club

Friday, March 17, 2017

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Villa G is in the water at Phuket's Boat Lagoon and we are at home in Bali

We eventually got to lauch SV Villa G back into the marina pond.  All went well and we spend two weeks organizing things and getting a new Victron Energy Inverter/Charger installed.  Along with the new inverter we installed a VC Color Panel and electrical system monitor that allows data to go to the cloud for remote access.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Phuket's Boat Lagoon Marina: Thieves or Incompetent?

Seeking an explanation for how a business operates can be a real challenge.  Take Phuket's Boat Lagoon Marina.  Like most places with a favorable warm climate and lots of nice sea side beaches, Phuket has a larger demand for marina berths than there is supply.  Boat Lagoon Marina was one of the first on Thailand's Andaman Sea coast and filled a need for yacht berths and a large hardstand area for repairs.  Many vendors moved into the rental areas to provide services and some of them are really first rate.

However, as time has passed the Boat Lagoon Marina has become rather shabby, the marina basin is perpetually too shallow due to its design and, unlike newer Phuket Marina's, it is only accessible a few hours on a few days each month.  The rich Thai owners have expanded their resort business that focuses on bus loads of middle class Chinese and weddings for middle class Thais.  The other focus is the Princess Yacht sales business of one of the family members.  They have squeezed the other yacht brokers out.

We first came in the the marina in 2011 when repairs were needed on SV Villa G.  Nai and Toe of Phuket Inter-woodwork did a great job and we returned in 2016 for a refurbish.  As we saw when we returned last week, their work was first rate.

Now for the rub.  We paid for 12 months berthing in advance.  We went out of the water and onto the hardstand 8 months for the work to be done.  We booked our return into the marina berth a month ago, all confirmed by email and again last week in person.  However, today when I went to get our berth number for tomorrow's launch, I was told that there was no space in the water and that we would need to wait until next month.

Now I do know that airlines and hotels overbook; yet they usually try to be accommodating and provide alternatives.  Phuket's Boat Lagoon Marina had no interest in sorting out the problem.  We have a room in their Marina resort, but they did not offer to extend it or do anything to be helpful.  Simply put: its not the marina's problem!  Wait a month and then see if we will launch you sailboat...

Now I ask you, is this over-booking and rude treatment just incompetence or they simply being thieves by not providing a service they have been paid for a whole year in advance?

I feel badly for the hardworking vendors and shop owners in Phuket's Boat Lagoon Marina.  They pay high rents, work hard, train good workers and get the short end of the Marina's stick.  Most of them quietly complain that business has been dropping slowly and continuously over the last five years.  Many have moved out.  The yacht brokers have all moved to Ao Po Marina (a beautiful place with 24/7 access).  Half the stores or workshops are empty now, but the Marina management does not seem to care.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Back at Phuket Boat Lagoon Marina

We're having a survey on Villa G after she's had a new paint job and teak refurbishment.  Nai's team did a great job. 

Unseasonably rainy here, so we're a bit behind schedule.  Villa G will return to the water in two days.