The crew on-board Gold Coast Australia finally touched land after an amazing 31 days at sea as they competed in the 7th race in the Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race racing from their home port of Gold Coast in Australia to Singapore. The crews pulled into Batam a small Indonesian Island just across the Singapore Strait to re-group for their arrival ceremony into Singapore.
As we arrived the pontoons were lined up with staff from the marina standing by to take our lines, taking in our surroundings we can see a idealic small marina surrounded by the lovely and welcoming Nongsa Point Resort filled with happy staff and an inviting swimming pool. A cheerful war cry of Aussi, Aussi, Aussi, Oi, Oi, Oi was heard echoing down the road as we celebrated our arrival. Not only had we finally made it to land but we had taken our sixth win of the race.
Most of the crews went to discover the local beverages however since I had experienced Tonsillitis during the race I was getting ready for a trip across in the ferry to Singapore to see a doctor. The port arrival laundry needed to be done as well as organising the ferry ticket and checking that I had everything in order. Thinking that there was a small chance that I might need to stay overnight I packed a change of clothes and a tooth brush. I was due to leave for the ferry at 5 in the morning.
With sleep filled eyes I cleared immigration out of Indonesia and entered Singapore. I ended up having to take two busses and two trains to find the hospital that I was getting checked at but I eventually arrived with time to spare. This was lucky because it was the Chinese New Year so most of the hospital was closed. I ended up spending half an hour walking the corridors looking for someone to ask for directions. Finally I found the emergency department and the doctor I was meant to see. Upon a consultation we both agreed that getting rid of my tonsils would be the best course of action. With a big smile on his face my doctor said that he would be able to perform the surgery at 5pm tonight, a few short hours away. This was to become my very first visit to hospital as well as the first time I was knocked out and my first surgery. Lots of firsts there… I have to say that the staff at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital were fantastic as well as the surgery performed.
The following day after lots of ice cream I was released to go to my hotel room for recovery. The hotel room is completely paid for by our insurance and is a very fine 5 star making a lovely change for a sailor. A few restful days later on the 28th was the fleets official arrival ceremony into Singapore and our prize giving. Arriving in the morning to a well organised event with long tables laden with food and waiters constantly walking around with drinks we await the fleets arrival. One by one the impressive looking boats arrive, there theme songs playing as they arrive with the pontoons lined with local dancers waving a colourful array of flags to the beat. I join my team as the symbolic light house is raised and we begin the prize giving. After some kind words from Sir Robin Knox-Johnston we were presented with a mounted crystal bowl complete with inscriptions to represent our first place position. After a load of photographs it was time to celebrate and eat so that is exactly what we did. I highly recommend the banana crumble with its melt in your mouth goodness. Mummmmm.
With only one more week left on land our thought begin to turn to the challenges that we may face in the next race sailing from Singapore to China where I have been told the temperature is currently -15 degrees Celsius. Burrrr.