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“The fishing villages are completely destroyed” from Mimi Perk aboard S/V Something Special

Hi Frank,Word travels fast. below is copy of letter written toall. How's the Med? Happy New Yr. Mimi and Henry The flight back to Malaysia was long and restless. Butafter 23 hrs of flying in 5 different airplanes(PDX-SFO-Korea-Singapore-Penang-Langkawi) I finallyarrived in Langkawi. During the taxi ride to Telaga from the airport I was surprised to see the areaunscathed. I had visons of the airport water logged,down palm trees, destroyed buildings but all lookednormal. It wasn't until we drove closer to the beacharea that the damaged appeared. The fishing villagesare completely destroyed and many houses had what fewpossessions out to dry. Road crews are out clearingthe debrie. Coming into the harbor all buildingsaround are fine. There is two small sections of docksthat are intact and partially functional but the restis either gone or flipped over. Some boats are onmooring buoys and a few on the leftover docks. What a sight to see Something Special. There are twobig holes in the stern area, port side just below theteak toe rail. Fortunately they are high enough thatlittle water entered the inside of the boat. What didcome inside was soaked up by the towels and sheets inthe locker on the other side of the hole. Henry hadalready patched and put a fiberglass bandaid on thembefore I arrived. The stern area has the most damage.It looks like a hugh croc munched on the teak rail.The self steering device is completely torn off thestern and in pieces, the 2"round stainless steel archthat holds the solar panels and wind generator ismangled up but surprisingly the solar panels are stillputting out 9 amps during high noon! The stanchionsare bent, one big winch on the starboard side was tornoff, and the hull has many scratches and gouges. Muchof the teak toe rail was torn off exposing thefiberglass. But, the good news is the inside looks like normal.All dry (except for the towel locker), bilge is ok,shaft ok, engine runs, computer and radios run, stoveworks, and nothing broken as we can tell so far. Onthe outside the mast and rigging are fine too. We are fortunate to have wonderful friends here thatlooked after our boat. After they came away from itall unscathed they then came over to Telaga to see ourboat. Since she was between the Petronas fuel dock andthe rock wall with the walkway laying across herstern, Petronas wanted whatever was around the dockremoved. Well, our friends made sure that they did nottouch our boat after the walkway was lifted off herstern. Petronas wanted to salvage the boat but Davekept them away and took charge. Once high tide camethe boat floated and our friends walked her around tothe other side of the dock, where we are now. Daveeven threw the Malaysian Prime Minister a dock rope totie off. Before Henry arrived they cleaned up theinside (a few drawers were emptied) and kept vigiluntil he arrived. Some boats had little damage and others are stillsunk. One couple we know that has a trimaran was outon their morning walk when it happened and saw theirboat flip and sink. Fortunately they were not on theboat but have lost everything including money andpassports. We all feel lucky because their were nodeaths in the yachting community here. Unfortunately the fishing community is much worse andmany yachting people here have donated food, clothingand money to help them out. We will also donateclothes and food before we leave. So what's our plan now? We have an appointment to haulthe boat out in Boat Lagoon in Thailand on the 8thJan. The marina there was not affected at all.Precision Shipwright which just painted our boat lastFeb. has accepted to do the surgery and makeover toget her looking like new again. Scott Bradley doesexcellent fiberglass work, painting, and overall hasresources to handle all repairs needed. He is the onlyperson in this area that we can drop the boat off andnot have to oversee the work. We will live on the boatwhile preparing it for Scott during the month of Jan.In Feb. we'll go to Yangoon (Rangoon) Myanmar (Burma)where Henry will be working. After that we're not surewhat we'll do since the boat will be in surgery for atleast 3-4 months. We estimate between 20K-30K ofrepairs needed, but at least we don't have to buy anew boat which would cost over 100K. So, maybe I'll belooking for a job soon. Well, we feel lucky compared to the thousands ofpeople in the area here that experienced much worse.Also, Henry escaped once again while he was in theMaldives during the tsunami. He was taking off with afloat plane full of Italians when he noticed waterbreaking over the causeway. He realised what washappening right away and altered his takeoff to avoidthe rushing water. Once airborne he saw the waterbreaking over the breakwall around the airport. Heradioed the tower announcing that a tsunami is coming.After a few moments of silence they told him they hadit under control. He then realised that they don'tknow what a tsunami is. He continued on to the resortwhile watching the water below. After the first wavewent across they landed and waited. Since beingairborne is the safest place he needed to conserve onfuel. When the second wave was coming they took to theair again and waited for the wave to pass. After itpassed he landed safely and stayed at the resort untilthe situation at the airport was stablised. It's sad to say but the Maldivian govt. is doinglittle to help their own people. They are helping thegovt. workers and rich but the people on the outerislds are not getting much help. The govt. does notwant non-govt. aide but only monetary aide. Despitethis, countries are sending water and supplies to theMaldives which we know will not be distributed butsold to the people. While we were there on and off inthe past 3 yrs. we saw many donated bags of rice beingsold in the local govt. stores. The govt. did nothingfor the tourists stranded. In fact they told theresorts to get up and running as fast as possible. On the BBC news it was reported that people shouldn'tturn away planned vacations due to this disaster, thatthe countries depend on tourism and local people needthe income. But after hearing how the Maldivian govt.is handling this I would not recommend anyone goingthere. Also, in Phuket the streets are full of peoplesleeping outside and they are working hard just to getthe dead buried. Why encourage more people who requirefood and shelter to go there. It's better to taketheir vacation money and donate it to the area. Well, I've blabbed on enough. Thanks for the calls,emails and concern. We'll be in touch. Take care and Happy New Year. Mimi and Henry

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