Monday, July 2, 2012

Down The Straits of Malacca

We're now at Admiralty Marina, Port Dickson, Malaysia, a lovely place.  It's tropically  hot and humid. There are morning thunderstorms daily but it cools down enough at night to sleep comfortably on the boat.
Calm in the straits
In Rebak we found Airstream in pretty good condition considering it had been out of the water in the tropics for several months. No big trauma suffered. We used a nice night in the hotel at Rebak as a re-entry vehicle and launched the boat next afternoon.  Three days later we had completed enough prep to head south with reasonable confidence so we said a sad good bye to Peter and Misty of 'Tamoure' and a few other friends and slipped out early for Penang. Rebak has always been a very nice place and Noel of Yacht Services is  great.
Typical Malay trawler
Everything worked pretty much as advertised on the seventy mile motor down to Straits Quay Marina in Penang. No wind of course. Didn't tangle any trash or discarded fishing gear in the prop and had no problems getting into the shallow marina entrance at high tide.
Airstream at Straits Quay Marina
Straits Quay is a new marina in Penang and surrounded by a very posh housing and retail development. This isn't what comes to mind when I think of SE Asia. Think 'Singapore' and you'll be a lot closer. The Tanjong City Marina where we stayed a couple years ago has pretty much fallen apart from neglect. Now that seems familiar.

Tim & Ruth, Happy Anniversary!
We spent several nights socializing with Tim and Ruthie of 'Victory Cat' who are living aboard at the marina while Tim works for Honeywell as a little break from his second retirement. We even helped celebrate their 31st anniversary at a very nice restaurant. Ken and Audrey of 'Fast Forward' were there to enjoy as well. I got the new AIS transponder installed with only the usual cussing and deleted expletives.
Favorite Buddhist temple, George Town
  We spent a day tramping around George Town which is what Singapore's Little India and China Town were like 25 years ago. So after three days it was goodbye to friends again, definitely the saddest part of this life, and we shoved off for an overnight passage down to Port Dickson.
Ken & Audrey, Fast Forward is for sale folks!
You just can't expect any wind in the straits during the SW monsoon and what you do get will be out of the south. So, as expected, it was a motor boat job again all the way to Port Dickson. At least it was pretty much flat calm most of the trip. We dodged fishing boats and a few freighters, many, many freighters anchored off Port Klang, and got back into a little of the swing of night watches and being at sea. The AIS works great and is a really nice adjunct to radar. Now if there were  some way to detect prop fouling trash on the course ahead life would be just super ducky.

Motoring out of Penang
As it was we had no problems getting into Admiralty Marina which is even nicer than before with new docks and accessories. Barry and Maggs of 'JJ Moon' came in next day and we'll be circling in the same circles for the next few months, maybe all the way to South Africa, which will be fun. Janet and I took a day trip into the historic old city of Melaka which was the originally colonized outpost in the straits. First the Chinese forced their way in to trade, then the Portuguese in 1511, then the Dutch drove out the Portuguese, then the Brits drove out the Dutch, etc, etc. Melaka sits on a small river on an essentially featureless stretch of jungle coastline. It's a boggling to think of western Europeans sailing half way around the world in crummy ships with almost no charts or nav aids to come to this tiny disease ridden spot willing fight to the death to trade for spices.
The oldest Mosque in Malaysia. Melaka.
 The old town of Melaka is worth a visit for the architecture and cross cultural history. The new city is booming and modern. Another Penang in the making.
"You will live to be 94 years old, you have only one wife..."
So my boat jobs list is pretty short and is best finished off in Singapore. We're in pleasant surroundings here at Admiralty. Janet says she's " coming to grips" with being back on the boat. Whatta girl! Tomorrow we'll go into town and do the check out formalities to leave Malaysia. The 4th we'll depart on an overnighter bound for Raffles Marina in Singapore. To coin a phrase, "the good lord willing and the creek don't rise",  we'll be there the afternoon of the 5th.

Love to all,
Bill & Janet


Marcus said...

Glad to see you guys are back at it. We bought our 1991 Centurion 42 couple months ago. Getting her ready for Mexico 2013.
What size Rocna do you carry?
Marcus and Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Hello from Japan!
We are doing good in Yokohama!
Where will you be from the 6th to 12th of August? We might be able to stop by and say hello! I look forward to your message to my PC!
Love, Shinsuke ,Yukiko and Kaoru