Riding High

I stood there perched on the tail-end of the boat, and felt the wind blowing aggresively against my already-dry skin. The wind was wicked, with a menacing black cloud hovering above the 24-footer. We are approaching death, I say to myself – as I whisper a silent prayer. The skipper’s deep panting did not move me one bit, in between the climbing waves and the pendulum swings, I was at one with the elements. Ah bliss, amidst danger. You cannot be more centred than this.

That would be the voice over if I ever have the guts to be on a clipper like that, documenting their round-the-world journey which is ending soon in a few months, with a camera in hand. But alas, I am no gutsy sea-farer, neither am I someone with a steady hand. In real life, Uja will be screaming in a tense situation like that, praying yes, but with my Ayatul Kursi all jumbled up as I repeat it over and over again. I would be panting too, but only because my heart is racing, and my mind tumbling 360 degrees thinking of when the KL studio apt will eventually find a buyer, and if DH will be able to find his missing socks.

I had lunch with KYC, my galpal from secondary school, and 2 other guys who are here to launch the Victoria-Jamaica leg of the round-the-world clipper race. KYC is joining them for only a month, but the other 2 guys – D and C are what STB (who is sponsoring the $1.2 million boat btw) call the round-the-worldlers. They have been on the boat since September last year, slicing the ocean waves from Liverpool to China, from Australia to New York.

The worst wave they have hit so far was apparently 6 metres high, They told of how there are days when their food was running low, and the 18 man crew survived on spaghetti and soy sauce. I don’t know how I would be if I am in that position, I get really grouchy when I am hungry.

They race 24/7. Even at night, the boat is racing. The Singapore boat is currently 7th in the race of 10 boats from various countries, not impressive to the competitive beast, but hey, it could have been worse. With months and months of being on the sea, I can imagine how much they really miss good lip-smacking food.

And so the Thai lunch yesterday was heaven. D, a Brit who has been living in Singapore on and off, even asked for ‘sambal’ from the Canadian waiter, who of course looked puzzled. I had wanted to pack for them sambal ikan bilis for the journey, but alas KYC had packed her own big bottle of sambal belacan for this leg. How heavenly that would be, when the waves are slapping against the boat threatening to capsize it with the next yank, you are trying to breathe in between hot, fiery sambal belacan and roti in your mouth 🙂

For some, it is the ultimate cool thing to be on this boat. KYC has always been one cool galpal, though I am nowhere near her cool factor. I know DH would be on the boat in a heartbeat if he is asked, he has this strange theory that his initials, which happened to be S.E.A means he is meant to be one with the ocean. He dreams of fighting the big wave, boat tilting close to 90 degrees, the same way how George Clooney did it (almost) in that unforgettable scene in The Perfect Storm.

We are lucky that we know the real guys who actually do this with such finesse. Not many people I know get to be so close to their dream like DH did yesterday. Too bad we didnt have time to pose for pictures on the boat.

Me? I would hum and haw if someone ask me to be on the clipper. If someone, anyone, can guarantee me fries and gelato while riding high on the oceans, I may, err, consider.


  1. oi, i knew u were not going to sit idle over there…but i least expect this.

    way to go girl!

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