Friday, January 27, 2012

WEEK 3 -Kota Kinabulu to Ambong

Saturday 21 January - Kota Kinabulu
Peter took Brett and Delphine into the resort for a good shower and left their packs on Braveheart in the marina. The water was quite calm at that time. Back at the boat we had beer and xmas cake even though it was only 1030. We all went ashore at 11 and put Brett and Delphine into a taxi to the airport and we were going to go to town but were a bit concerned about the weather so I stayed on board and Peter went to town to the market. As it turned out the weather was fine. We went ashore for a shower and had drinks on Braveheart before heading back out to the boat.

Sunday 22 January - Kota Kinabulu
Peter did the washing and I had a computer day then headed in for a shower. Peter had done several trips with the jerries to fill our water tank. We had a quiet evening on board and woke up at midnight when all the fireworks went off for Chinese New Year.

Monday 23 January - Kota Kinabulu to Pulau Gaya
06°00.102N / 116°02.191E
Went to town to get phone and internet cards for when we return and tracked down some vegemite. A lot of the shops were closed for Chinese New Year. Swapped a couple of books at the marina but they didn't have much. Still have heaps to read on board. Back to the boat and upanchored - we were really well dug in - and headed a couple of miles over to Pulau Gaya and chose a nice little bay and went in between what we thought was reef but turned out to be weed. We watched the monkeys on the beach and a bit later saw a pig so we took Bob in close to shore. The monkeys left but there were at least four big water monitors and the strangest looking pig - light brown with a really long snout and his ears quite a way back from his snout and with tusks. Its a lovely bay but it collects a lot of rubbish on the beach which seems to be what the animals are scavenging. Watched two men tie a couple of small logs together and then walk around the bay dragging them staying close to the shore and then they went around the point to a village. We figured it must be easier to go by water than to walk through the jungle.
Miles: 3 TTT: 185

Tuesday 24 January - Pulau Gaya
Spent another day here watching the monkeys and enjoying being away from the marina.

Wednesday 25 January - Pulau Gaya to Ambong
06°19.153N / 116°18.977E
We left at about 7.15 and motored out around the point into quite a swell and turned up heading north along the Borneo coast. The swell was a little uncomfortable and then the sea just got sloppy but as we got closer to Ambong it was improving. Ambong is a lovely sheltered bay and we went to the opposite side to where we normally go as it was really sheltered at this time of year and also very pretty. Cilantro also came across to join us. There are a few houses ashore and the people seem really friendly. A couple of blokes came out and wanted to swap a beer for a coconut but they settled for a cigarette each - the skipper rolled them one each and we didn't see them again. The skipper's cigarettes seem to have that affect on people!
Miles: 32 TTT: 217

Thursday 26 January - Ambong
Happy Australia Day
It rained all day and we really enjoyed just chilling out and reading. Braveheart came in around 5 so we three boats are all together again ready to head for the Philippines.

Friday 27 January - Ambong
Still a bit damp and more of the same. Did a bit of maintenance on the motor , winches and radios and a general clean up. We can get phone coverage here but no internet. Hoping to leave tomorrow - weather permitting!

Dell and Peter

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

WEEK 2 – Miri to Kota Kinabulu

Saturday 14 January – Miri – Kuala Belait Brunei
04°34.835N 114°11.337E
We had decided to leave at daybreak but when the skipper put the engine into gear there was a terrible grinding noise and he thought he musnt have aligned the prop correctly but after putting it into forward and reverse gears (while still tied to the jetty!) we decided it was probably just growth on the prop so we dropped the lines and off we went on a half tide and had half a metre under the keel. The seas were pretty sloppy but our two new crew members handled it really well. We arrived at Kuala Belait at 1.30 and anchored in the river opposite the town. As this was Brunei and we hadn’t checked in we stayed on board.
Miles: 35

Sunday 15 January – Kuala Belai – Jeffries Wall, Brunei
04°56.999N 114°a48.779E
We left at 6.50 am and had a good day of intermittent sailing and motor sailing and the seas had settled and it was a good trip. We caught a mackerel along the way which the skipper cooked up for a very tasty dinner. Anchored at Jeffries wall at 3.45
Miles: 43 Total This Trip: 78

Monday 16 January – Jeffries wall – Labuan
05°16.444N 115°14.318E
We left Jeffries at 7am and motored on a flat sea heading towards Labuan. We stopped off at Pulau Kereman – a lovely island for a swim. Brett copped a sting from something which appeared to be quite painful so we continued on to Labuan and anchored at 3.25 after two attempts.
Miles: 34 TTT: 112

Tuesday 17 January – Labuan
We checked into Labuan and out of Sarawak and then managed to find a minibus to take us on a tour of the island. We went to the War Memorial where the POWs from Sandakan are interred. As always, this cemetery was beautifully kept. We then went to a very interesting marine museum and then out to the chimney. This chimney is a bit of a mystery as no one knows who built it, when it was built or what it was for. No fire has ever been lit in it. It is however, where the coal mining used to be carried out on this island. We returned to town and did our duty free shopping and loaded the boat up and then caught another water taxi to town for dinner. Had Indian again and it was really very good.

Wednesday 18 January – Labuan – Pulau Tiga
05°43.243N 115°38.880E
We left at 6.45 and anchored in 4m of sand off the resort. This island was where the very first episode of Survivor was made. We went for a snorkel but it turned out to be huge seaweed plants so went back to the beach for a swim. The water was so clear. When the sandflies started swarming the skipper’s head we made a retreat to the boat and the skipper cooked up another great meal. Watched the monkeys on the beach.
Miles: 40`TTT: 152

Thursday 19 January – Pulau Tiga
In the morning we watched the monkeys and water monitors on the beach and then went ashore to walk to the mud volcanoes. We decided not to jump in the mud as it really didn’t look that appealing but it was extremely muddy and was bubbling up in places. We walked to Rocky Beach along the jungle track and then walked back again. There were monkeys playing both sides of the track and the skipper surprised a water monitor which made a hasty and noisy exit – not sure who got the bigger fright! We had a swim and went back to the boat and watched the monkeys and water monitors on the beach and the sun set over the sea. Such a beautiful spot.

Friday 20 January – Pulau Tiga – Kota Kinabulu
05°58.044N 116°03.219E
We left at 7.30 and motor sailed on flat seas to Kota Kinabulu and anchored off the marina at 2.15. It appears that once again there is no room at this marina for us. We caught a plastic bag on our first attempt at anchoring so reanchored. The skipper cooked up a slap up meal and we had a nice bottle of red to celebrate Brett and Delphine’s last night on board. We have really enjoyed their company.
Miles: 30 TTT: 182

WEEK 1 – back to the boat

Hullo all
We arrived back at the boat on Friday 6 January in the evening in the rain. Pacific Express was in excellent condition with just a touch of mould on the deck. We unpacked and fell into bed – it was a long trip back. Brett and Delphine flew into Kuching from their holiday in Cambodia. Kuching was even wetter than Miri was. Over the next couple of days we shopped and Peter did the engine mounts which turned out to be an all day job. We put the sails back up and the next day Peter changed the oil pressure sender unit on the motor and the fuel filters.

At 10am on Tuesday the 10th we flew to Mulu National Park and Brett and Delphine flew in at 12. Mulu is central Borneo and all jungle and caves. The caves were discovered around 1977 although of course the local tribes have always known about them. They have built extensive board walks through the jungle to the caves. It has an extensive cave system and boasts the largest and longest in the world. We did the 2pm tour of Lang and Deer Caves which were truly amazing. We were just about to go in to Lang Cave when we heard this almighty bang and the ground shook. We thought it was a huge tree hitting the ground but the guide thought it was a huge rock so we were quite pleased we hadn’t gone to the other cave first – gave us all quite a start!! We waited for the bat exodus towards evening but unfortunately it rained heavily so we didn’t get to see them. Wednesday we were taken up river in a long thin canoe boat with an outboard up the back which was rather exciting. We stopped at a village and then continued on to some more caves – one had no lights as they were out so it was torches only. Would have been fabulous with the lights on but was still pretty good. After seeing two more caves we had a swim in the rather “fresh” river. Then we went on our own jungle walk through a muddy path to a small waterfall at the river and saw giant beehives hanging off the cliff. That evening we went on a night walk but it poured rain just before we went so didn’t see much.

We got up early Thursday morning and went on the canopy treetop walk. This was about 500m long done in sections right up the top of the rainforest and boy some of those trees are hugely tall!!! It was two shoulder high ropes with netting down to two planks and only two people were allowed on each section at a time. It was great and so peaceful though I must say we did start out in trepidation. Delphine pointed out a green viper sitting on a tree. We packed up our gear and checked out the information centre and saw an interesting film on bats and have since become a fan! We arrived back at Miri at 4ish and introduced Delphine to Pacific Express and then went to town for dinner. We had been quite worried about the state of the sea as it had been pretty unsettled.

Friday the 13th (bad luck on two counts!!!) we were going nowhere so went to the market and did our final shop and then to the Banana Leaf restaurant for a fabulous Indian dinner.