Sunday, May 29, 2011

WEEK 6: Teluk Tekek to Juara Village, Tioman Island

Saturday 21 May – Teluk Tekek
We wanted to catch the tide just after slack on a rising tide to snorkel the little island. We got down there just after 9am but already the current was starting to run. We motored around the island then jumped in and did a drift snorkel hanging on to Bob. We didn’t have to kick as the current took us along. The coral was ok – some colourful bits but Peter was surrounded by hundreds of little fish who all swam along with us. We got in Bob and started back when we noticed two girls trying to swim against the (increasing) current. They indicated they needed help so we went over and picked them up and got them aboard. They had snorkels but no flippers and said it was impossible to swim with their life jackets. Gave them some clues of what to do next time they get caught in a current and dropped them back to the swimming platform to their friend. They were pretty happy to get back. The boat that dropped them there had just bought out a few more people to the platform and was going to come back for them in an hour. We reckoned they would have all floated out to sea by then!!! Perhaps with the exception of our two girls who would now swim with the current for the shore!!! We headed back to our boats and had a snorkel but the water was a bit murky. At 5pm we all went to the marina for a rally catchup with byo drinks then at 7pm we all went to the chinese restaurant and had a great meal. Chatelaine had booked for 40 people but four more boats had come in so there were a few more people – a really good night.

Sunday 22 May – Teluk Tekek
Headed to shore and had a lovely lunch then walked to the other end of town where they had set up shade tents with chairs for us in front of an open air stage and we were entertained by a bunch of male musicians and singers and were welcomed to the island. There was food which we couldn’t eat as we were still stuffed from lunch. Then the games started and we had a great afternoon playing with and against the locals. The yachties won the tug of war hands down. With the rest of the games we had to cheat or we would have lost everything!! An interesting game was an empty waterbottle and a stick with a string and a straight nail tied across the middle (fishing rod). The idea was to get the nail in the bottle and then pick the bottle up by the nail and run to the other end – it was a relay. Then Jeff and May off Wavesweeper brought out their bag of Wombats which Jeff shook like there was a bunch of wild animals in there and the children were very apprehensive. Of course they wouldn’t know what a wombat is. Then they laid the 6 “wombats” (May had made them and put eyes on them) on the ground with strings attached. The other end of the string was attached to a 12” piece of plastic pipe and the idea is to wind the “wombat” in till it reaches the pipe. Well this was a huge hit with the local kids and the women too and they all wanted to have a go. The afternoon ended with the rally people all being presented with a small gift. A really great afternoon. We then adjourned to the Chinese restaurant on the beach and quite a few people turned up. The beers are cheap but the food not so good so we slipped out and went to the chinese down the road for dinner.

Monday 23 May – Teluk Tekek
There was a two hour rally trek on this morning but it was on a path where we had already been and the skipper and crew were quite keen to do the trek across the island so the two of us set off at 9am and headed up the street to the start of the 7km jungle trek. It was a wonderful walk through the jungle putting all thoughts of snakes out of our heads. Very steep going up and steps had been built at some of the very steep sections. We saw monkeys in the trees and a small bat which flew straight at me which was a bit disconcerting to say the least and a bird (I think) made a noise right beside me which was quite startling! About two thirds of the way there we came to the road and we had to follow that to the village. It was so steep going down! We came to the village of Juara and walked out along the jetty. There were thousands of fish about 8” long all sheltering in the shade of the jetty – very strange. We had a beer and walked a little ways down the street then started back. It was such a hard slog walking back up that road. A lady stopped and offered us a lift but foolishly we said no. We found a little waterfall where some people were swimming so stopped and soaked the feet for a while. Then it was back up the road. A taxi stopped and offered us a cheap ride back. Alas, foolishly again we said no as we were quite keen to do the return jungle walk. We had however underestimated exactly how far back it was and we arrived back feeling we would need two knee replacements and a hip replacement!! We had walked about 17 km over the range. We were glad we did it but were pretty exhausted. Picked up a few supplies then back to the boat and then dinner at the chinese.

Tuesday 24 May – Teluk Kekek to Juara Village, Tioman Island
02°47.624N / 104°12.351E
The skipper took the jerries into the marina and filled them with water then we upanchored at 10am heading round to the other side of the island where we had walked yesterday. We arrived at 1.45 and dropped anchor in 5.8m of the clearest water exactly where we had planned yesterday. Well it took us three goes (second didn’t take) but eventually got where we wanted. This side o f the island is beautiful – tall jungle covered mountain with lower jungle clad hills then lots of palm trees and a pretty much unspoiled beach. The village of Juara is one long road running behind the beach. It was a bit rolly but acceptable. Cilantro had originally anchored over the other side with Harmonica but came over to join us, Wavesweeper and Braveheart. The skipper and crew went to shore and walked up and down the beach which is lovely though the northern side of the jetty the sandflies start to bite – ah almost paradise!!!! The others came in and we all had a lovely meal at a restaurant on the beach.
Miles: 13 TTT: 665

Wednesday 25 May – Juara Village
We went for a snorkel on the small reef – there was some colour but not many fish. In the afternoon the others went to the turtle sanctuary to learn about turtles and see the turtle being fed (apparently it was blind). The skipper and I went for a walk up the village road. Saw a really unusual pineapple growing – it was red with five smaller pineapples growing out of its base. We found the others at the same restaurant so ate there again.

Thursday 26 May – Juara Village
Crew starting to feel unwell! Sat and read all day. Have started reading The Great War by Les Carlyon. Its the history of our part in the First World War and OMG I had no idea. It is very well written and though I haven’t finished it I think some certain British hierarchy should have faced the war crimes tribunal. It is a very well written book. Went in for dinner with the others at the Chinese restaurant on the beach.

Friday 27 May – Juara Village
A rest reading day. Unwell so ate on board. Cilantro and Braveheart left to go back to Teluk Tekek. Nine other yachts came in here.

Not to worry crew is now feeling better but skipper is looking a bit off (in the nicest possible way!!!!) Think he is getting it too.

Hope everyone else is well


Dell and Peter

Saturday, May 21, 2011

WEEK 5: Pulau Sibu – Telek Tekek, Tioman Islands

Saturday 14 May – Pulau Sibu to Pulau Tinggi
02°16.669N / 104°06.938E
We left at 9.15 and motored to Pulau Tinggi arriving at 10.20. We had seen Whisper HR go in on the AIS so the skipper tracked him on the chart plotter so we just followed his track in. It was between Pulua Tinggi and some smaller islands with reef around them. We anchored in around 6 metres of lovely clear water and then headed to the little island for a snorkel. It was lovely to be in the water again. The reef was pretty good – best we have seen in a long time and we saw three small stingrays hiding shyly under the coral – brown with lovely aqua blue spots. And a couple of slug things that float along with graceful wing like cloaks. The weather was looking threatening so we returned to our boats, battened down and put out more chain. Then there was the biggest clap of thunder and we could smell ozone so it must have been very close. The raindrops were huge and it was very windy and the beautiful calm water became very choppy. By 5.30 it was starting to settle so Investigator II put a call out that everyone was invited to their (rather large) catamaran for sundowners. There were 15 boats in with about 11 dinghies tied off the back. At 7pm we all got in our dinghies and went through a gap in the reef and went ashore for dinner where the restaurant had a big table set up for us courtesy of Rubicon Star booking for us all earlier in the day. It was a very nice meal of chicken soup, rice, fish, omelette and vegetables and slices of orange and orange cordial (a dry island). We had a lovely evening and the locals came down to take photos of the mass exodus of dinghies.
Miles: 6 TTT: 634

Sunday 15 May – Pulau Tinggi
A restful day. We headed over to another lovely little island in Bob and the water was so clear you could see the starfish on the bottom. We walked about the island and Braveheart came in then we went back to the first island and snorkelled the western side where there were a lot of staghorns and heaps of fish and then did the eastern side again but it wasn’t as clear today. Had a quiet afternoon on the boat reading hearing the odd turtle pop his head up and take a breath before diving again. Chris from Braveheart popped over to borrow a carton of beer – they have guests and had under estimated what they would need!!! A quiet night.

Monday 16 May – Pulau Tinggi to Pulau Seri Buat / Sembilang
02°41.850N / 103°53.858E
Left at 8.30 with Cilantro and motored north towards the Tiomans. The water totally flat and a beautiful day. The boat is really dirty – think it must be all the crap in the air and water coming around Singapore. The air should get clearer from here on. Not so many fishermen out here – only saw two boats today. Puluas Tinggi and Sibu are all jungle and Tinggi has a mountain on it. We arrived and went around Pulaus Seri Buat and Sembalang and came back around to the northern side between the two islands These islands don’t have the jungle that the others had. There is a reef exposed between them at low tide so we couldn’t go too far in. We jumped in Bob and had a look around. The water was so clear you couldn’t tell how shallow/deep it was. There looks as though there might be some reef worth snorkelling on. We just got back to the boats at 5pm and it bucketed down rain. Had a quiet night on board.
Miles: 28 TTT: 662

Tuesday 17 May – Pulau Seri Buat / Sembilang to the Tioman Islands
02°49.086N / 104°09.063E
We were going to snorkel but it was high tide and the water clarity wasn’t good and we couldnt actually find the good reef we saw yesterday and the water was pretty murky and then a big cloud covered the sun so we went back to the boat and upanchored at 11.10 and headed for the Tioman Islands. It was another motor day although we did have the headsail out for a while. We arrived and had a good look around for somewhere to anchor. The marina was full but we didn’t want to go in anyway. We went over to where Braveheart were but they were in behind the reef and quite close to shore and they advised the holding wasn’t the best. So we came back to where two other yachts were anchored. We could see the reef so at 2.50 we anchored in 12.5 metres and went back to 9m and the anchor dug in well to sand. We jumped off the back of the boat and swam towing Bob to the reef and had a good snorkel. Really interesting reef – lots of nemos and soft coral with some quite good hard stuff too with more colour than we have seen in a while. Saw a huge coral trout – red with yellow spots and then I saw my first black tipped reef shark which took off in alarm at our approach. I was yelling under water and pointing but the skipper thought I was pointing and getting excited about the coral trout (as if!!). Stayed in for a little while but decided that was enough snorkelling and excitement for one day!! We went ashore with Cilantro and Wavesweeper and walked the length of the road in the town of Telek Tekek. We watched the police playing volleyball but instead of using their hands they use their feet – would take your head off if they kicked you!!! Then came back to the pirate bar on the beach for sundowners and then went to the Chinese restaurant for dinner and had an excellent meal including a bottle of wine purchased at the duty free next door. Tioman Island is where they made the musical South Pacific. It is mountainous and covered in jungle – extremely picturesque. It is fascinating to watch the planes come in to land as they bank very sharply to miss the mountain (and Braveheart!) and look as though they are going to fly into the hill and then land at the shortish runway. The town is a long road with mini marts, a few duty free shops (not as cheap as Langkawi) and souvenir shops. Out of town there are a couple of resorts and a golf course
Miles: 18 TTT: 652

Wednesday 18 May – Telek Tekek Tiomans
Congratulations to Amber and Josh on their engagement!
We have a few big boats come past from the mainland which gives us a bit of a rockup but otherwise we are quite comfy here. Took the dinghies into the marina and checked out the airport duty free. Ran into Braveheart who have their daughter and son in law and granddaughter Amber and her new fiance Josh on board. Amber and Josh are only here for a few days. Amber did the Indonesian rally with Chris and Judy. Anyway it was big congratulations to Amber and Josh on their engagement. They went off on a 4WD trip over the island which they later reported was quite scary. Sandra, May and I left the boys and checked all the shops/stores out along the road then met up with the boys for lunch. We went to the Chinese seafood restaurant on the beach. The beers were the cheapest we had found but the meals were expensive so we just ate local food which was more economic. We came back to the boats and Peter and I snorkelled the reef off the back of our boat for about ¾ hr. We saw a stingray with the blue dots and three of the biggest coral trout ever and it was a really great snorkel. We all ended up at the Chinese again for dinner.

Thursday 19 May – Telek Tekek, Tiomans
It blew up quit windy and as we had been sitting in 18.5m of water last night we stayed (it is spring tides) aboard for the morning and I had a cleanup. Cilantro were finally able to get their gas tank filled. Had a snorkel off the back of the boat and found that I have worn out my first pair of flippers!!! Late in the afternoon we went for a walk up over the hill past the beautiful golf course to a pretty ritzy resort so walked though and had a look. We saw a huge monitor lizard walking in a shallow creek and there were a few monkey hanging around the resort. As we walked back up the hill there were a couple of families of monkeys on the side of the road. They can be a bit daunting as they come towards you expecting to be fed. So we crossed the road and there were more. Anyway they were friendly enough. Most of the eateries werec losed except the chinese so we came back to the boat and ate on board. As we were coming out just on dusk the water was crystal clear and you could really see the coral.

Friday 20 May – Telek Tekek, Tiomans
Went ashore and did some shopping. It is very hot in the little town and also in the marina (one of the boats has reported rats!). When we came back we could see dolphins leaping out of the water – lovely to see. Had a swim off the back of the boat and watched a heap of rally boats come in. At 5 we went ashore with Cilantro and met up with Braveheart and walked towards the other end of the island. This appeared to be the backpacker end. We had a happy hour drink at a bar then found a restaurant for dinner. It was up the side of the hill with a lovely outlook but the food was ordinary. As we walked back the place was just coming to life and the atmosphere was very laid back and really friendly with a totally different feel to the other end of town. It was a really enjoyable walk back under the street lights.

Feeling more relaxed and enjoying this beautiful island.
Week 5
Miss you all (hugs and kisses to Jessie, Charlie and Rosie)


Dell and Peter

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WEEK 4 – Harbour Marina to Tanjung Leman

Friday 6 May – Peturi Harbour Marina
We had a rally briefing and then all sorts of cultural shows and music with samples of games the Malaysians play and some martial arts displays – it was lovely to see the girls being a part of the martial arts and music. It finished around 6 so we adjourned to C arm of the marina where our boat is and had an impromptu get together and most of the rally participants turned up and it turned out to be a really good night.

Saturday 7 May – Peturi Harbour Marina
Sandra had booked us a water taxi to Danga Bay. Seven of us were going to visit Whistle Down The Wind and Single Malt who were at Danga and three others came along for the ride. We hopped into one boat and started going out then we had to go back and change boats. But finally we did the 20 minute fast trip (1 hr by yacht!) to Danga Bay and we all went aboard Single Malt including Dave and Jean from WDTW and we had a wonderful few hours catching up on everyone’s news. It was great to see them again. We left at 2pm and Sandra, May and the crew aught a taxi to the shopping centre. May needed some last minute stores and we needed to top up the phone and internet. We got back around 5.30 and the cocktail party started at 6. The marina put on free beer for us down at the waterfront then at 7.30 we went up to where they had set up a huge marquee with large tables and the most magnificent buffet. They had a few decorated ice carvings and the place looked great. It is also the only place where you followed a red carpet to the loo!!! The dignitaries turned up and then we had cultural dancing – wonderful costumes interspersed with a great band and a bloke who could play the clarinet just like Kenny G. When the meal was finished Gary off Neptune II joined the band playing his saxophone and everyone got up dancing. When the dignitaries left the remaining beer was brought up – the dinner had been no alcohol. It was a really great night.

Sunday 8 May – Singapore trip – almost arrested!!!
We caught the shuttle at 9.30 to the bus station where we caught the bus to the border with Singapore. When you get there you have to dive off the bus race through, get checked out and get back on the bus before it goes – it doesn’t wait. Then the bus takes you over the border and repeat the sequence. We all went racing in and filled in our entry cards – all only carrying a small overnight backpack and were in such a hurry none of us read the signs. Peter put his cigarette lighters through the xray machine and then the bloke searched our backpack. He searched another yacht’s bag and he had a half bottle of scotch in and a water bottle but they only found the water bottle. We all went through but the bloke asked Peter if he smoked and of course he pulls out his open pouch of tobacco. Turns out that the signs said it is zero tobacco and alcohol and they must be declared. The next thing Peter is marched off and disappeared into an office. After about 15 minutes he was taken through to another office and I had no idea what was going on. He was given a lecture and was told if he had come in last week with tobacco it would have constituted trafficking and he would have been arrested but they gave him the benefit of the doubt and charged him $19 duty. Not a good start to the visit. Of course then we had to wait half an hour for another bus which took us to the train station where we caught the train to Little India where Cilantro had booked us rooms in a hotel. We checked in then had Indian for lunch then caught the train to Santosa Island which is basically a big theme park. We went through to the beach and had a ride on the little train which drives to the attractions but only in the beach area. So we walked along the rainforest walk and found the casino which I as keen to see but they have a very strict dress code and we weren’t!!! So we didn’t go in. We took the travelator back across the river and then the train to China Town. This was a great place. All the streets were decorated with lanterns and heaps of little stalls. So we parked the boys at a bar with cheap beer and Sandra and I went shopping. When we came back we went to a restaurant where they set up a big table for 7 in the street – Wavesweeper joined us – the 7th person didn’t – the atmosphere was wonderful and we had a lovely evening.

Monday 9 May – Singapore to Peturi Harbour Marina
We breakfasted on Indian then visited a couple of chandleries and then hurried back so we could attend the 5pm technical briefing and the 6pm barbeque. We got back at 3 and our diesel was delivered so we sorted ourselves out and went to check out and pay. Cilantro didn’t get their gas and Wavesweeper didn’t get his fuel and then we found out that the briefing had been at 9am and the barbie3 didnt start till 8 so we could have had another few hours in Singapore to shop which would have been nice. Wavesweeper finally got his fuel and Peturi will bring Cilantro’s gas to the next stop. We went for the barbie and free beer and had a great night. We met young Ena, one of the staff and she was a very entertaining and astute young lady who kept us very entertained. We were surprised to learn that she is Muslim – no veil or anything – just a lovely normal person. Fantastic night and the staff were great – right down to the lovely little security guy on the gate.
From 2011-05-18
Tuesday 10 May – Peturi Harbour – Teluk Punggai
01°23.179N / 104°17.665E
We left the marina around 7am followed by about five other boats and five minutes into the river we got hit by a squall!! Thunder, lightning, wind, visibility was about 500m but we couldnt see the bridge. A bolt of lightning hit the water just ahead of us so the crew decided to stand in the companionway. It lasted about half an hour. We headed out into the straits of Singapore dodging and weaving big ships, barges, cargoes etc. A Singaporean police boat went past us all at speed sending out a huge wake and sending us all rolling heavily from side to side. Cilantro went over at least 45° - looked very scary – and all our apples went all over the floor, so bruised apples courtesy of the Singapore police! After that if we saw a huge wake we just turned into it where we just went up and down. There was some rubbish in the water – we hit one bit of wood and the crew had to go forward to find the best way through the debris in the current line. We all made it around Singapore and anchored in an inlet on the SE coast of Malaysia at 5.20pm. There were 12 boats in all. It was a bit rolly when we got there but it settled down and we had a good night. It was a tiring day.
Miles: 63 TTT: 574

Wednesday 11 May – Teluk Punggai – Tanjung Leman
02°08.845N / 104°00.885E
Boats started leaving at 6.30. We got away around 6.50 and motor sailed with hardly any wind. We put the spinnaker up but it flopped after about 15 minutes but we tried again later and it flew. We were able to slow the motor considerably and went along comfortably for an hour or two but then we noticed a big cloud above us and lightning in the distance so we pulled the spinnaker down just to be safe. Cilantro was ahead of us and they left theirs up all the way to the anchorage. We anchored off a beach with 14 other boats and had a quiet night. There was a slight swell but nothing bothersome. There are heaps of brown jellyfish in the water with very long tentacles – some 2 metres long. They are about the size of a small dinner plate and look really mean!

Miles: 49 TTT: 623
Thursday 12 May – Tanjung Leman
Well it was a dull old day and Peter wasn’t feeling well so he decided not to go on the tour. We found out the breakfast wasn’t on so ate first. The Peturi Harbour boat came round to collect everyone but it is a big boat and a bit of a swell was running. They picked Cilantro up without trouble then I hopped in Bob (dinghy) and Peter let the line out so they collected me from Bob which was easy. They had a bit of trouble at the next boat and gave him a knock fore and aft. They were trying to pick him up from the swelly side. That bloke elected to take his own dinghy in. Anyway we were all finally deposited at the dock. The only things there are a big KFC and a small shop! There were two huge buses awaiting us and there were only about 15 people in each. Off we went with the tour guide giving a running commentary about the oil palms which stretched as far as the eye could see and the Malaysian way of life in general. We took a wrong turn and backed up and then came to a road block so Bond (from Peturi) just jumped out and moved it. He moved the next one too and we went to a beautiful fruit farm where we were taken through the magnificent orchard and shown all the different herbs and fruit growing. At the end we were give a banquet of different fruits to try. This seemed to appease those who hadn’t had breakfast before they left! Then we were taken to a fishing village on a huge river to Bob’s Homestay where they had arranged a mock wedding for us. Some ladies beat the drums following the bride and groom and then the children did some dancing. Then we had a wonderful meal and more dancing which we joined in. We were shown how to bless the bride and groom which constituted flicking water on them and then throwing rose petals on them. Bob’s real name was extremely long so he called himself Bob and as he is retired and stays at home he calls his place a homestay – he does have four cabins/chalets to rent. Back on the bus and I sat with Bond for some interesting conversation on the big bird buildings (built to get the birds nests) and expensive lizards among other things. We got back to a ‘high tea’ which I think was the breakfast we were supposed to have this morning!! Then the big boat took us back to our boats. It seemed such a lot of bother. Peter waited in Bob to help me out and it was easy. It had rained most of the day on our boats and there had been a huge thunderstorm with lightning hitting the water around the boats and zero visibility! Peter had been working and wired in two fans in our bedroom and the inverter. He was feeling better. At 7.30 we collected Cilantro in Bob (seemed easier than getting collected) and went ashore for the barbeque. We had a really good feed and a lovely evening all courtesy of the Puteri Harbour marina.

Friday 13 May – Tanjung Leman to Sibu Island
02°13.573N / 104°02.991E
A lovely day today, the sea is so calm and he horizon blending in with the sea. Most of the boats have left. Today we are going over to the islands opposite here. It is supposed to be crystal clear water and lovely. It is only five miles away so there is no hurry to leave. And our next rally stop is only about 40 miles and we have a week to get there so some time for a rest!! We upanchored at 11.30 and motored to the island of Sibu. We were going to anchor in a lovely bay but it got too shallow so came further north to the NW corner of the island at 1pm. Peter serviced the outboard then we went across to Cilantro for sundowners. There were 5 boats in.
Miles: 5 TTT: 628

Hoping you are all well. Thank you Tammy for your kind thoughts.
Miss you all
Dell and Peter

Sunday, May 8, 2011

WEEK 3 - Bernham River to Puteri Harbour Marina

Saturday 30 April – Bernham River to Port Klang
03°02.461N / 101°20.331E
We left at 7am. Braveheart called us up to say that they had been up since 1am as a big tree had lodged itself on their bridle (to their anchor) (Braveheart is a catamaran). They had to cut the bridle and put out a stern anchor so when the current changed at 3am and the boat turned the tree would drift out. Meanwhile they don’t know how much scratching they got on their lovely new paintwork. We followed our track out of the channel followed by four other boats. It was a still day and we motored till about 3pm when a fair wind came up and we were all finally able to sail – we were doing 6.5 knots. When we came out we could see a storm further out to sea so we tracked it on the radar and kept an eye on it and were able to clear it – just caught the edge with about 20 mins of light rain. As we were coming in to the channel towards Port Klang we were going to go between two big ships when one of them started its engine, pulled up anchor and went in front of us! It was late when we came into the river at Port Klang which is the biggest port in Malaysia with heaps of huge ships and infrastructure and wharves all along the bank on the other side of the river. We dropped anchor but it didn’t hold so pulled up to retry and found we had anchored on a plastic bag! We finally anchored at 6.30pm – it was a long day.
Miles: 64 TTT: 282

Sunday 1 May – Port Klang to Port Dixon
02°31.089N / 101°48.267E
We upanchored at 7am and motored for two hours up the river – there are wharves all the way along loading and unloading huge ships. Each ship has hundreds of containers and each container is brought in by truck. We were on the opposite side of the river but were in danger of being run down by an Indonesian boat – they don’t like to deviate from their course – so we shot across in front of three huge incoming ships and went out the opposite side changing course to avoid a net. Then the crew had to stand at the bow to guide us through a heap of floating rubbish. We motored with the sea like glass with no wind and the horizon blended in with the sea. We have seen some pretty nasty looking jellyfish with very long tentacles. We could see the ships in the shipping lane of the Malacca Strait. They go up the starboard side and down the port side and we can hear them talking on the radio discussing which side they are going to overtake on. The wind came up in the afternoon and we motored with all sails up against the current. We arrived at our anchorage at 5.20pm which was up a channel between an island and the mainland with some large barges and fishing boats on buoys. We passed two oil platforms on the way in and there was a large block of units – either unfinished or abandoned close on shore and huge resorts a lot further in on the beach. It is always stressful coming in to new places especially when the skipper says ‘cant turn left where is the spanner’. The crew doesn’t know where the spanner is and does circles to the right while the skipper locates the spanner and tightens the screw to the tiller. We had replaced the screw but over time with the self steerer it works loose and we had forgotten to check it since Thailand!!! We anchored beside a dirty great barge but the crew wasn’t happy so when Cilantro and Braveheart came in we moved further back. The skipper warned Sandra of a rope in the water and she thought he said rock and they did an impressive about turn! Through the night we heard someone calling Pacific Express on the radio so Peter answered and it was a cargo boat wanting to know our intentions. Peter said we are at anchor –He said you are at anchor?? Peter explained we are a yacht at anchor – he said sorry must have the wrong boat! We think there must be a cargo boat out there called Pacific Express – we think we must have confused them!! The water settled down and it was really calm until about 3am when the crew awoke the skipper to tie Bob (dinghy) down on the deck. Then the wind came up and the waves got big and we were rolling from side to side (shades of Hummocky!!!!) The radar showed a big storm just to the south of us – in fact exactly over the area where we had considered anchoring. It was very scary for a while and plates flew on the floor though they didn’t break. In fact it was terrifying until we realised it was not going to hit us and then we downgraded it to scary. The skipper sat anchor watch while the crew tried to stay in one place in bed. We then downgraded it to just really rolly about 4.30 and the skipper came back to bed but didn’t really sleep!
Miles: 57 TTT: 339

Monday 2 May – Port Dixon – Pulau Besar
02°07.254N / 102°19.902E
We got up at 7am after a fairly sleepless morning still rocking and rolling. We checked the radar for storms and upanchored at 7.15 accompanied by Cilantro. Braveheart are to go into the marina as they are having guests arrive tonight. It was a little bit rocky as we went along but it soon settled and we were able to get breakfast and clean up. There is lots of wood and debris in the water. We just avoided a big log which gave us a bump on the side. We can try to avoid what we can see but sometimes we miss it or there is something just under the surface so I guess there is a certain amount of luck to it too. Also avoiding fishing nets. Seeing oil refineries yesterday and today. We finally passed Malacca. We cant go in there as the marina has pretty much been blown away by the Sumatras (huge storms) experienced on this coast. We went to our previous anchorage on the Water Islands but the wind mysteriously had decided to come from the South which wasn’t good and Cilantro reported the northern anchorage was ok. As we came in we could see a yacht (who was the first yacht in) having discussions with a large catamaran who had anchored close to him. The yacht decided to move as the cat refused to. We anchored in the middle had dinner and I am now writing this by torchlight as we wait for the storm to hit. All the computers and radios have been put in the oven. Lightning and thunder and we think the cat is dragging. All in darkness. Peter thinks we are seeing a Sumatra form – sound of wind scary! The lightning was spectacular, the boat bucked we had all our chain out and we all held except for the cat who dragged towards Full Flight behind him. They not only had to contend with the storm but a huge cat bearing down on them who was not answering his radio. I guess this is what is called a Sumatra and Malacca is renowned for them. The crew stayed below looking out the companionway – there is such a thing as too much stress!!!! Anyway thunder, lightning moving off, just raining, seas calming. Will be glad to get off this coast – there are not too may bolt holes. A peaceful night anyway.
Miles: 63 TTT: 402

Tuesday 3 May – Pulau Besar – Pulau Pisang
01°27.930N / 103°16.455E
Happy Birthday May
We read an interesting fact today that the months of April and May have around 21 thunderstorms a month! We left at 6.30am in calm conditions for a very long day. We motored with the headsail out – we usually run the motor at 1800 revs but today we ran at 2000 revs to get as far as we can before the current turns against us. Seas were calm and we were quite close to the shipping lane. At one point we had to take a sharp turn to the left and motor about a mile to get around a very long net which had white floats all the way along it. The crew made muffins (remembered to get the instruments out of the oven first!) and knitted. During the afternoon we were able to get the main and the headsail out and pull back a bit on the revs. Once again we did the float around the island thing looking for a good anchorage. The sky was threatening and the wind was building but we couldn’t see anything on the radar. Harmonica was in the middle but was rolling quite badly. No one wanted to anchor near the cat which seemed to have pride of place. We came through a channel between two islands in 25 metres and when we turned in it went sharply to 17, 13, 10, 8, 5, 2.9m which is when we turned away!! The crew is having panic attacks in shallow depths! Horrible. Anyway we went around the cat but came back and anchored beside Full Flight at 6.15pm We dropped in 9m and went back to 17 which wasn’t ideal. When Cilantro came in we both went back through the channel around the little island which was so calm but in a storm it would have been a lee shore. So we came back around and the skipper brought us through the shallows – 2.9 – 4m while the crew didn’t look. In the end we went back to a spot which appeared to be between two currents between the islands – the currents ran either side and we were quite comfortable. We finally anchored at 7.15 on dark after an incredibly long and tiring day. We had an instant meal for dinner!! We could hear the cargo ships calling each other up. Then we heard one captain in a state of panic wanting to know the intentions of the other ship. After a bit of a conversation the second ship said tell him f.... him. I don’t think the panicked captain would have found it amusing but it sure made us laugh!!!!
Miles: 74 TTT: 476

Wednesday 4 May – Pulau Pisang to Peturi Harbour Marina
01°25.097N / 103°39.438E
At about 3am we were awoken by the alarm – only it wasn’t – it was the mobile phone going flat!! Anyway had a good night with no storms and left at 7.30am. Today is be kind to ourselves day so we are motoring very slowly beside Cilantro who actually looks a little sad at the moment with streaks of dirt all down her sides – looks like she is crying. We are getting the swell from the big ships and there are airforce jets flying overhead. We were going to stop at an island near Singapore just 12 miles away but then we read how busy and shallow it is and decided to go through to the marina so we put on the revs and headed around towards Singapore weaving our way through anchored ships. We went up to one which was huge – 22m draft – unladen its water line was towering way above us and you could even see part of its prop sticking out of the water. The skipper had tried to minimise the AIS by having it only recognise immediate danger targets but there are so many ships around it just couldn’t cope so the chart plotter was continually shutting down and restarting – it did this last time we were here too. So we turned it off and followed Cilantro then the skipper remembered the AIS goes through the VHF radio so we turned that off and used our handheld and then were able to turn the chartplotter back on. We went under the bridge and up the channel with Malaysia on the left and Singapore on the right. Singapore has police boats at intervals and the land is military and reputed to be a live firing range. Just as we got to the entrance to the marina it started pouring rain and windy from the back. Our cockpit was soaked before we realised if we turned up into it we wouldn’t get so wet! Cilantro went in and we followed about 5 minutes later. Staff were waiting to take our lines and we were tied up in the marina by 3pm. We are next to Present – a lovely Swiss couple we have met a few times. Kristie 1 is also on our arm. We had dinner at the restaurant with Cilantro and fell into bed.
Miles: 35 TTT: 511

Thursday 5 May – Peturi Harbour Marina
Had some mosquitoes through the night so put up the mosquito nets. Judy off Braveheart ingeniously suggested threading chain round the bottom to hold them down and it works a treat. Caught the marina bus at 11am to the shopping centre. Had a look around and KFC burgers for lunch! And then did the shopping and the bus collected us at 2pm. Spent the afternoon stowing supplies. Wave Sweeper came in so we all sat and had a chat then all went to the restaurant for dinner. Its interesting talking to other boats. Seems that those that left the day before us got slammed, we had a bit of a rough trip and those that left the day after us had a good trip. Luck of the draw!! Glad the Malacca Strait is behind us. It stood up to its reputation of strong currents and raging storms with long distances between anchorages with lots of rubbish, logs and nets on the way.

Friday 6 May – Peturi Harbour Marina
Put the jerry diesel into the tank and sent the jerries off to get refilled. It is very hot so have the big fan going and the cover up shading the boat. Peter has just been looking at our charts and it seems we still have some very long days in front of us. We are just having a quiet boat day and there is a welcome reception later for the official start of the rally.

Hope you are all well – missing you
Much love
Dell and Peter
By the way if you want to see where we are try the link at the side which says where we really are - you can also check on other boats.