Saturday, April 30, 2011

WEEK 2 – 23 – 29 April – Penang to Bernham River

Saturday 23 April – Penang to Pulau Rimau
05°14.805N / 100°16.687E
We found out they couldn’t get the prop speed till Tuesday so we caught the bus into town and collected the deposit we had paid – had lunch then back to the shopping centre for final supplies. Saturday seems to be shopping day as all the specials were on and the centre was very busy. Got back at 4.30, told Kristy what we were doing then upanchored and headed 5 miles down the channel. We had to avoid fish nets strung between flags and then negotiate all the pylons and machinery involved in building a new bridge – it will certainly be very long when it is finished. We anchored off Rinau Island with Cilantro, Braveheart and Spirit of Rio. A pleasant night and it will give us a head start for our long journey tomorrow.
Miles 5 Total This Trip 108 NM

Sunday 24 April – Pulau Rimau to Pulau Talang
04°25.267N / 100°34.709E
We left at daybreak around 6.45am. It was calm all morning and we counted around 100 fishing boats. Later in the morning we encountered slightly bigger fishing boats who operated in pairs towing a net between them so we were very careful not to go between them! Around lunch time the wind came up so we were able to have the main and headsail up but also motored as well. We anchored at 6pm on the eastern side of Pulau Talang
Miles 58 TTT 166 NM

Monday 25 April – Pulau Talang to Pangkor Island Marina
04°12.7N / 100°35.96E
We left at 7.30am and motored towards Pangkor Island marina. As we came opposite Pangkor Island we could see a large navy ship which had obviously come to grief. The front part was sticking up in the air and the back was under water with the middle of the infrastructure all broken. It looked as though therecould have been a fire – it had obviously been there for some time. We called up James from the marina and he told us the point to wait for him. As we were waiting we saw Braveheart come around from behind Pangkor Island so we waited for them too then marina James led us all in through the shallows to the marina – us, Cilantro and Braveheart all in a line behind James’ runabout boat. The marina staff took our lines and we were soon all tied up to our respective fingers. This is a brand new marina and the facilities etc are still under construction but there is a bar and a restaurant and marina office and karaoke rooms! Braveheart and Cilantro joined us on our finger for sundowners then we went to the restaurant for dinner.
Miles 13 TTT 179 NM

Tuesday 26 April – Pangkor Island Marina
We had to wait for high tide then Sandra and I released Pacific Express’ lines and James and Peter motored over to the boat ramp where marina James has an ingenious contraption called a Sea Lift. It is almost like a huge boat trailer which is remote controlled. Marina James uses the remote to lift the boat up and adjust it and tilt it then drive up the boat ramp with Pacific Express perched on top!! I had some exhilarating moments as it seemed to tilt a bit much when James was adjusting it!! He took it to the top of the boat ramp and the boys washed the boat down and Peter put on some primer and then hard antifoul on to the prop. Sandra and I meanwhile, along with the couple from Nimbus, were driven to Tesco in marina James’ car by one of his lovely staff. Sandra and James came around for a drink then we went to the bar for dinner. Peter and I spent a pleasant evening on Pacific Express perched high in the air overlooking the marina.

Wednesday 27 April – Pangkor Island Marina
We were put back into the water then Peter and James brought Cilantro around and they went through the same process and were also hauled out so James could do his prop as well. Marina James had taken a couple of yachties shopping and to the Harbour Master and when he came back he brought every boat a couple of cookies- such a lovely thought. At 7pm we went to the bar for the rally dinner. There were crews from about 15 boats and the other marina guests were also invited. The food was fabulous – salad, spaghetti bol, chicken, fish, prawns, beef dishes and chicken sates and chips. So much food. It was a lovely night and they all seem to be a pretty good bunch of people so it bodes well for the rally.

Thursday 28 April – Pangkor Island Marina to Pangkor Island
Happy Birthday Sandra
04°12.621 / 100°32.970E
Peter topped up our water and had recharged the batteries and we had packed the washing away and paid the marina fees and quite a few boats had already left. Peter went to help James get Cilantro back into the water and bring her back to tie her up. We had a birthday drink with Sandra and went over to say farewell and thank marina James for his wonderful hospitality. Such a lovely lovely man and we hope he does really well with his marina. The haulout contraption (which he told us was invented by an American farmer) is a work of genious. They also lifted out a catamaran which was around 8.5m wide – quite a feat. Anyway we departed the marina on a high tide at 1.30pm and motored to the south side of Pulau Pangkor where we anchored in 5.5m at 2.50pm. Braveheart was already there as was Ches Noux and Full Flight came in after Cilantro and us. Chris from Braveheart collected us in his dinghy at 5.30 and we all went to Cilantro to have birthday drinks with Sandra and a very nice evening was had by all.
Miles : 7 TTT: 186 NM

Friday 29 April – Pulau Pangkor to Bernham River
03°50.85 / 100°49.605
Well what can one say – what an interesting day!!!!! We departed Pulau Pangkor with Cilantro at 8am. Braveheart left at 7 and texted to say get out of bed they were doing 7 knots! Ches Noux had also disappeared. We watched a little fish desperately jumping out of the water followed closer by a bigger fish jumping out of the water. It was always going to end in tears for the little guy but he put up a brave fight! It was overcast and light rain so I cooked us some breakfast and washed up and when I came up I was surprised to see that there was thunder and lightning everywhere. The wind had been behind us but all of a sudden it went to the front and we were hit with a huge storm – thunder, lightning, big seas, lots of water over the bow. Peter put on his harness and went forward to drop the main sail as it was in danger of being blown out and the rain was horizontal. It was a messy drop of the sail but under the circumstances we were just glad to have it down. The wind was so strong it was blowing spray up off the waves. Peter had trouble holding us into the waves and was only doing 1.6 knots into the wind and the rain so he had to put more revs on. Visibility was restricted to around 25 metres or less so we put all our lights on – running, navigation and masthead. We could see a boat off to the left of us on our AIS on the chartplotter so were able to stay away from him. Apparently it was a yacht which had turned back. Our depth sounder also stopped working for some time in the middle of the storm. We put our jackets on over our swimmers. We were soaked and it was quite chilly and the whole cockpit was soaked. This was the biggest storm we have ever been in. We could see it on the radar and it was huge. The storm lasted one and a half to two hours – seemed like forever and then the wind dropped a bit and the rain eased. There was also a lot of debris in the water, even a whole tree. It was only the eagle eyes of the crew (minus glasses!!!) and the quick action of the skipper which averted us hitting a large wooden pallet in the water!!! We decided to check out the river for the evening anchorage as it would have been very rough anchoring out. The depths were deeper than the chart plotter indicated and we anchored in 5 metres with two other cats which were already there and Cilantro came in after us then Braveheart. Braveheart (not the yacht that passed near us) had to turn back and run with the storm for a while. They had a lightning strike 100m away from them. Chris was hand steering with a metal steering wheel!!! I feel there will be some stories to tell when we all get together again!!!! The river is well used by fishing trawlers so we copped a bit of wash but we were just happy to be in there!!!
Miles: 32 TTT: 218

Fair winds and calm seas!
Dell and Peter

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

WEEK 1 – Sat 16 – Fri 22 April – Kuah to Penang

I am calling this week 1 even though the rally hasn’t started yet, it is our preparation to head south to join the rally. Our time in Kuah was spent in preparing the boat and bringing on supplies.

Sat 16 April – Kuah to Fiords Langkawi
06°11.139N 99°47.204E
When we pulled the anchor up after such a long time it was entirely encrusted with barnacles so it took quite a while to chip and wash those off and then Peter had to cut away some fishing net which had wrapped around the chain. We finally got away around 10am and motored/sailed to Telaga where we took on 350 litres of diesel in the tank and 100 litres in the jerries on the deck. We then motor sailed to the fiords where Cilantro was anchored. We did about 25 miles and didn’t get in till around 5.30 so it turned out to be quite a long day.
Miles 25 Total 12,460

Sun 17 April – Langkawi to Palau Bunting
05°52.321N 100°19.405E
We left at 7.30am and motor sailed with periods of sailing till we arrived at Pulua Bunting at 3.30pm. This is where there is a big fancy causeway which goes across to the island but has never been finished.
Miles 39 Total 12,499

Mon 18 April – Palau Bunting to Penang
05°19.346N 100°18.350
Upanchored at 8am which felt like a very civilised time to leave and motored with flat seas and what little wind there was was on the nose. Went under the big bridge. Had to stand watch at the bow as there was so much rubbish in the water. We came around the island to Jerrejack and could see Helly anchored. We went right down the channel but came back and anchored near the main road and not too far from a shopping centre.
Miles 39 Total 12,538

Tuesday 19 April – Penang
Sandra and James collected us in their dinghy and we went to town on the bus. We were chasing some prop speed but Pen Marine didn’t have any. We went to the marina and saw Braveheart. The marina has lost a few berths since we were last there and some boats are sitting in mud. Not the best place to be. We walked around looking for some addresses Sandra had but didn’t really find any. Found the hardware store and our little bar. As we were walking past a little shop I saw out of the corner of my eye a man making a chair out of rattan. Peter went back to see and as he was taking some time we went to our little bar to wait. He came back with 6 metres of the rattan we have been looking everywhere for to make our cupboards. We were very pleased with ourselves! Went to James and Sandra’s little bar on the water and then went to the Red Lantern food hall for dinner. They had music with a couple singing and we were entertained watching people dance and an old man miming all the songs. As it was late we caught a taxi back to the boats only to discover that the tide was way out – springs!!! – and the beach was an incredible bog of mud! We waited half an hour and pulled the dinghy along the beach to where there was some hard sand and finally were able to get back to the boats!

Wednesday 20 April – Penang
Went to town again by bus and found the shop James had been looking for. We had actually passed it the day before. We ordered some prop speed which should be in on Saturday. We bought some toy walkie talkies to see if we could communicate with each other from the bow of the boat to the cockpit. We made sure we were back in plenty of time to catch the tide.

Thursday 21 April – Penang
Peter took James and Sandra in early in their dinghy and dropped them at the jetty and brought their dinghy to our boat. We had a boat day while James went to the Adventist hospital to see about his very painful shoulder. He saw a specialist three times through the course of the day, had an x-ray and MRI and received medication and four cortisone injections all for the princely sum of $420. Where else could one see a specialist without a wait of weeks!! Peter collected James and Sandra from the shore just in time for sundowners. It was a long day for them. Kristy 1 anchored near us.

Friday 22 April – Penang
Happy Easter all
Went ashore in the afternoon to the supermarket and got a few things. Sundowners on Cilantro.

As I type this I am sitting high in the air on our boat on the hard at Lumut. It is very hot. Tomorrow night is the rally dinner. More of that later. Meanwhile hope you have all had a happy Easter and lovely holiday.
Take care
May you always have a foot of water under your keel.
Dell and Peter