Sunday, February 21, 2010

WEEK 2: 13 February - 19 February -Kuah Malaysia to Koh Lanta Thailand

DAY 8 - Saturday 13 February - Kuah
06°18.717N 99°50.874E
Were told that Sunday and Monday are holidays for Chinese New Year so got up early and walked to the wet market to buy fresh fruit and vegetables and then to the warehouse to buy a few cartons of wine. We caught a taxi back with all our shopping, washed and stowed all the fruit and veges then walked to the post office and then to the Chinese supermarket at the opposite end of town. Went to the night market and bought lots of yummy food from the stalls and returned to the boat to eat it. Must have walked 20ks today!!!

DAY 9 - Sunday 14 February - Kuah
VALE Cousin Noel Nielsen - found out today that Noel passed away sometime in January. Sincere sympathy to Judy and her family. A wonderful man.

All the Chinese shops are closed today. Bought ten cartons of beer (A$10 a carton) then went to dinner at a lovely restaurant with Single Malt, Cilantro and Kristie. A lovely night out.

DAY 10 - Monday 15 February - Kuah to Telaga
06°21.738N 99°40.776E
Went to the Harbour Master at 9.30am, then customs and immigration and officially checked out of Malaysia. Bought Peter a cheap guitar and Dell a bucket!! And upanchored at 12 noon. Motor sailed and anchored at 4pm in 3m. Were going to go in to Faizel's bar but the tide was way out so decided to have drinks on Kristie and discuss where to go tomorrow.
Miles: 16 Total: 5,498

DAY 11 - Tuesday 16 February - Telaga, Malaysia to Ao Sone, Tarutao, THAILAND
06°38.525N 99°36.949E
Upanchored at 9am. We now have a week to get to Phuket to check into Thailand. We have put up the Thai courtesy flag and taken down the Malaysian one which was much the worse for wear! As we were leaving we were deciding whether or not to put the main sail up when Single Malt went past and said it was gusting 28 knots so we just put the headsail out. It was so windy and lots of tipping so reefed into a half a headsail and were still flying along at 6 knots. It was scarily windy and after a while we took the sail down completely. Cilantro told us later it gusted up to 36 knots!! Anyway we crossed the 5 mile gap between Malaysia and Thailand and are unofficially in Thailand. We made our way up the island of Tarutao and at one point the wind completely died. We were making our way to E in the Sail Thailand book but went to the north of the bay as it was still a bit windy. Dropped anchor in 6.9m at 2pm. Cilantro had a problem with an oil leak which turned out to be the dipstick wasn't put back properly. Once they got over that fright they collected us and Kristie in their dinghy and we went ashore. There was a nice new ranger station but uninhabited and some old buildings in various state of disrepair (tsunami damage?). We sat in a dilapidated rotunda and discussed where to go tomorrow. We are just trying to do short day hops. Then we had a beer and a swim in that order. The water was lovely and clear and we had a lovely lazy afternoon. Single Malt went on a bit further and when they went ashore were charged 200 baht (~$7) for the privilege!! The wind howled all night but we were pretty steady.
Miles: 20 Total: 5,518

DAY 12 - Wednesday 17 February - Ao Sone, Tarutao to Koh TaliBong
06714.925N 99°22.037E
We upanchored at 8am after adjusting our clocks one hour back (I think!!) and there were hundreds of fishtrap flags in front of us. We weren't sure if they were nets or traps so we nudged slowly forward into their midst and they did in fact turn out to be traps. There are heaps of them everywhere. The wind calmed - nice breeze motor sailed under headsail. Around lunchtime the wind came up so we put the main up and had quite a good sail for a couple of hours. It was overcast and we could see rain over the mainland. The islands are very interesting being limestone rock which just rise up out of the water and they have caves in them. We were heading to Koh Phetra but when we got there it was blowing SE instead of NE and it was much too rocky and rolly so we kept on for another 12 miles and went to a little bay in the NW side of Koh TaliBong. Single Malt is also here. Anchored at 4pm and watched a video - The Quiet American.
Miles: 42 Total: 5,560

DAY 13 - Thursday 18 February - Koh TaliBong to Ko Muk
07°21.540 99°17.453E
Upanchored at 8am and had a slow leisurely motor sail across to Ko Muk. Went past the anchorage and round to where the cave to the hong is hoping to anchor just north of there but there was already a yacht in there and not much room between two high rock walls and a small beach at the end. One more yacht may have squeezed in but not three so we came back around to the first anchorage. Arrived at 11.30am. Anchored off a busy beach with resorts, boats, tourists etc. Took us three gos at dropping the anchor to get it to hold - rocky bottom. As Dell looked up to see the wind direction she saw a little swallow perched on the arrow right at the top of the mast. We then watched tiny little fish all leaping out of the water as they went along - sometimes they would split and go in opposite directions and it was like watching a water fountain. At 3pm we got in our dinghys and motored around to the Emerald cave which is called a hong (Tham Morakot). An 80m long limestone tunnel (pitch black) leads to an inland beach totally surrounded by vegetation clad cliffs. The entrance is quite small and can only be accessed by sea on a low tide. We dinghied in with our torches. Next time I think I would like to swim in. Apparently in times past pirates used to hide their loot in the cave. We rowed in and when you get past the entrance the tunnel opens out. The noise in the tunnel was pretty spooky - different noises going in and out. Probably water banging into other caves but when we came out it was more like a roar. When we came out of the tunnel it was the most amazing sight. The little beach is totally enclosed by huge cliffs. We timed it so there were only a couple of people in there but when we went to leave, a big tour boat had come along and we could hear heaps of people yelling in the tunnel and then emerged two tour guides towing a conga line of tourists all hanging on to the person in front - life jackets on. There must have been 90 of them!! When we left the water at the mouth of the tunnel with the sun shining in it was the most exquisite emerald colour. Still had to duck our heads to get out even though it was low tide. After that we headed for shore and walked down past a couple of resorts checking out the menus and prices and ended up at the other end of the beach at a run down looking establishment which sat on a cliff overlooking the bay and had a few beers and the most amazing Thai meal ever!!
Miles: 12 Total: 5,572

DAY 14 - Friday 19 February - Ko Muk - Koh Lanta
07°37.985N 99°01.547E
We upanchored at 8.30am and motor sailed under full sail past some lovely dramatic limestone cliffs. Had a slow motor sail over lovely green water arriving at 2.30pm. Anchored in 4.5m next to Bach & Byte and Single Malt. Have started doing my long stitch embroidery and am quite enjoying it. Beach is strewn with resorts and backpackers. Went in at 6.30pm with all the gang and had dinner.
Miles: 25 Total: 5,597

Special love and hugs to Rosie and Jessie

Love and Cheers
Fair winds and calm seas

Dell and Peter

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Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 - WEEK 1: 6 February - 12 February - Rebak to Kuah Malaysia

DAY 1- Saturday 6 February - Rebak to Telaga
Spent the morning doing chores and finally at 1pm left Rebak marina and headed out. The prop jarred and grinded as it threw off some junk but we were on our way. James had dived on his prop the day before and took him ages to get it clean. Peter had suggested he run a rope round so he could get up and down easily instead of diving every time and it worked well but when he finished and started the motor he forgot to take the rope in and it wrapped around his prop!!!
We got to Talaga around 2.30 - motored and went to the fuel dock to fuel up and anchored around 4pm. We went to Faizel's bar at 5.30 with Kristie, Cilantro and Single Malt but it was Faizel's day off. Had a nice time and agreed on a programme for tomorrow. We all put flashing blue lights on our boats now as just after Christmas one of the dinghys was hit by an illegal Thai fishing boat and Giles ended up in the water. He put his arms up to protect himself and ended up with 2 broken arms (3 in each arm) and a prop gash top left and bottom right. He couldn't swim but his mate somehow got him back on board (the fishing boat kept going). He lost 5 litres of blood and luckily a Canadian doctor was on the dock and gave him initial first aid. He is staying at Rebak in a room at the resort and has two titanium plates in his arms and is working hard on his rehabilitation.
Miles: 4 Total 5,438

DAY 2 - Sunday 7 February - Telaga to Tanjong Rhu
06°27.714N 99°49.340E
We left Telaga at 9am with Kristie and Cilantro and had a bit of a sail heading round Langkawi Island. We can see Thailand a few short miles away. We anchored in a lovely little spot at 1.45pm, had some lunch and then went for a swim. The water is quite murky - lovely green but more like pea soup - not clear. Had sundowners on Kristie.
Miles: 20 Total: 5,458

DAY 3 - Monday 8 February - Tanjong Rhu to Hole In The Wall
06°25.280N 99°52.040E
James and Sandra collected us in their dinghy and we went over to a rocky island and saw some monkeys and lots of sea lice in the water, then all of a sudden the sea lice were all over the back of the dinghy! Peter was trying to wash them off but it was almost a losing battle. Got out of there and went to check out the inlet and floating restaurants and headed up the river aways. We upanchored at 1.30pm and sailed for a bit then motor sailed around the top NW corner of Langkawi to the Hole in the Wall. We followed a waypoint in and the water was quite deep all the way. Anchored at 3.15pm.
Jumped into our dinghys and went past the floating restaurant and round to the crocodile cave which we could go through. It was really beautiful. Came back and had dinner at the floating restaurant. We had sundowners on Cilanto and then all of a sudden there was Whistle Down the Wind coming into the anchorage so we called them up and invited them over too. It was really great to have the whole gang together again!
Miles: 7 Total: 5,465

DAY 4 - Tuesday 9 February -Hole In The Wall
Met at 10am and all went in our dinghys to see the Eagle feeding and then continued up mangrove tributaries following a 2002 mud map. The tributaries started getting smaller - it was really beautiful - looks like real crocodile country but it isn't - so they tell us! Brian was having trouble with his outboard so Kristie and Cilantro turned back. We continued on with Whistle and ended up rowing but the tributary got too narrow so we had to turn back, tried another one which ran round a rock wall but it also got too narrow and so we had to turn back. On the way back there were lots of eagles feeding so it was lovely. Peter dived on our prop and cleaned all the crap off it - really did look like croc country so he was working fast!!!

We all went to the restaurant for dinner and they showed us through the fish farm and fed all the fish for us. The stingrays were particularly interesting to feed. They would kind of flap up onto the edge of the pen and the keeper would turn them on to their backs so their mouths/faces were exposed and feed them. With the baby ones he just put his hand under them and fed them. They had some giant grouper - 50kg - heaps of big barramundi who all waited to be fed like a herd of cattle and made such a noise grabbing the food. There were archer fish which spat at a hunk of fish about 2ft above them and hit it so it fell into the water. They had giant trevally and reef fish and small grouper. Choose your fish - it is fresh. We passed on the fish!

DAY 5 - Wednesday 10 February - Hole In the Wall
Met at 10am again but Kristie elected not to come so we set off with Whistle and Cilantro and went through the cave and were supposed to keep going but Peter misread the mud map and took us a different direction - it was lovely but the wrong way. Sandra figured out which way to go so we gave her the mud map. Went back through the cave and to a very narrow pass which had been blasted out to connect the bays of Hole in the Wall and Danjong Rhu. Saw some monkeys on the other side and Whistle decided to turn back. We continued with Cilantro and saw a tourist boat putting pieces of fish into the water to feed the eagles so had a magnificent display of eagle feeding! Continued down past some old charcoal works with a couple of old kilns. I had my parasol and Sandra a big umbrella - the sun is rather fierce and it is so hot. Got through to Tanjong Rhu where we had previously been anchored and went to the floating restaurant there for lunch. Dell had a mango salad and asked for spicy. It was VERY spicy (hot!!!) so Peter had to finish it but all the meals were delicious. We then made our way back only taking a wrong turn once (a total of 10 miles). There were a heap of very curious monkeys just before the pass. Arrived back at 3pm having had a wonderful day out. We had sundowners on our boat. We put a cover we bought in Indonesia on the seat and wished we had bought 2 instead of one as it looked so nice, put the cushions out and lowered the dodger to allow the breeze in and had a lovely night. Soooooo hot now!

DAY 6 - Thursday 11 February -Hole In The Wall to Pulua Timun
06°18.592N 99°55.665E
Whistle left at 8.30 to head towards Penang to get their Thai visas and the rest of us left at 10.30 heading out of the Hole In the Wall around and between some lovely islands arriving at 12.30. After lunch we trolled around a rocky island with no luck and then went for a swim. Had a quiet night on board watching "The man with the golden gun" (what a silly movie!!!).
Miles: 9 Total: 5,474

DAY 7 - Friday 12 February - Pulua Timun to Kuah
06°18.716N 99°50.87E
We all upanchored at 9am and headed across the shallows to Kuah town and anchored at 11.05. We went to the harbour master to check in as apparently we should have done this when we first arrived in December and he gets very upset if you don't check in. Went to the supermarket and then to a nice restaurant for a couple of very cold beers. Went out to dinner in Kuah with Kristie and Cilantro in a pretty dingy looking restaurant but the food was ok.
Miles: 8 Total: 5,482

Love and Cheers
Fair winds and calm seas

Dell and Peter

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Back at the boat

Well today is Wednesday the third of February and as mentioned earlier we are trying to be more organised and have spent the week trying to find a place for everything and everything in its place!!!! No more having to move things from here to there as everything is finally put away (after all this time!!). It has taken us all this week plus some to do it and we can fit nothing else on this boat!

On Tuesday 26th we caught a taxi to Kuah town and had lunch with Brian and Margaret from Kristie and it was good to catch up. They were in the marina there trying to get their fridge fixed. We then jumped on the 2.30 ferry to Penang and arrived at 5.30 in the midst of a torrential thunderstorm so had to catch a taxi to our digs (called Banana) and gave them our passports to get our visas. Everyone had paid 5 ringetts each for this service but as of yesterday it had gone up to 30 ringetts each!! Anyway we had a lovely two nights stay and just sat at a little bar the second night and watched the world go by. They were playing 42 golden oldies on the cd and we realised that we must be golden oldies too as we knew all the words!!! Love the food in Penang – so nice and so cheap. Caught the 8.30am ferry back to Kuah and were back at the boat in the afternoon of Thursday 28th.

We hired an old car on Monday and went to do our resupply – mainly meat, fruit and vegies as we still have so much in the way of canned stuff. It was a good day and we went everywhere (got lost only a couple of times!) and managed to catch the 4.30 ferry totally loaded down with goodies. When we got back Cilantro were back from Aus so it was great to catch up. Have eaten at the yachtie’s restaurant most nights and walked around the island every morning – sightings include hornbills, monkeys, otters and a 4ft water monitor lizard (huge). We had dinner one night with Val and Frank on their catamaran Play On and the hospitality was wonderful. Anyone wants a really nice cat it goes on the market shortly!!!

Happy birthday Brett on the 2nd of Feb. Brett’s heading off to uni this year and we visited the Macquarie uni with him when we were in Sydney and it looks pretty good so hope you have a magic year Brett. Pam and Carol – hope you found that wretched snake!!!!!

Anyway we are preparing to leave shortly (maybe tomorrow) to circumnavigate Langkawi island with Kristie while Cilantro resupplies and Whistle Down the Wind is heading back from Thailand to renew their visas and Wave Sweeper is due back tomorrow. We hope to rendezvous in a week or so at Kuah to check out and all head towards Thailand together. So as soon as we get back on the water again we will keep you posted. Many thanks to all those that said they actually read this thing!!!! For any yachties heading to these parts I will add on to the blog (one day soon) all the anchorages we stopped at on the way through Indonesia to here.

Until then calm seas and fair winds
Dell and Peter