Straits Quay and its marina

While I wait for some legal and financial stuff to clear relating to the boat, I popped over to the Straits Quay Marina complex, as it is recommended by many. It looks to me like its main purpose is to provide a focus for a huge property/mall development. Exactly the kind of thing I hate. But to be fair, it was exactly what a visiting yachtie might want, a safe marina, good washrooms, laundry services etc. Plus plenty of eateries in a very flashy mall. No riff raff here thank you. John the manager seems like a very helpful person, and we may well move Wanderlust here later in the year, as it will be a lot more convenient than Batu Uban

Straits Quay Marina


Looking back towards Georgetown, shows how much high rise development there is here

Georgetown in the distance

And outside the marina development, the building continues as if 2008 never happened here.


My biggest shock was checking out the Tesco, I had expected an express small version in the mall, not a mega super hyper plus store, this was at least, if not bigger, than any I had seen in the UK.


Funny how the fish are all lined up, as if in a race

The thing I’m loving about this trip is how Malaysia is reminding me of how fast Asia is/has moved. Things like Tesco seem so British to me, but possibly one day soon, their UK operation might just be a small outpost for them. And this is just what I get from a relatively small Asian country. Goodness know what it must be like in Shanghai. When I get home I must checkout if the OU are still running the course on cities, Im beginning to realise just how victorian ours are.

On a final note for the day, here are some spices you can buy at the shop next to the marina office

Easy on the paprika Kathy

Tomorrow I move hotel to be nearer the boat, I’m going to a more remote part of the island,  but will be spending long days on the boat now getting to understand how she is configured, and also preparing her for storage and the work that will be done on her


I will write a bit more about Penang before I leave in ten days from now. I haven’t done the touristy thing yet, I’ve been too focussed on making this deal happen. I believe Penang has a lot of great features I haven’t experienced yet, apparently there’s a cable car up a hill with great views, beaches, street markets etc. I’ve been walking down back streets looking for Tarporlin suppliers, debating with taxi drivers how to get to remote jeties they don’t think exist etc etc, I quite prefer it this way actually, I feel like I get a better idea of the place.
My first impressions of Penang are, on the down side, it’s too hot, humid, often very smelly. It’s very dangerous on the streets if you don’t keep a close eye on the traffic, the pavements are full of obstacles, so walking in the road is safer, assuming you can hear the scooters that come at you from every direction, and jump out of the way quick enough. Motorists have no time for pedestrians;  however the people here seem to be very happy, and they often just stop to chat with you, ask where you are from and offer any help needed. I feel very safe here. I have been told if I stagger back to my hotel, drunk at 2 am (no jokes from people who knew me when I was a drinker), I might get mugged, and I would expect that in any big city. The place is a food lovers paradise, they say the Penganese (if that’s a word) are the fattest people in Asia, but that’s not true, so far I would give that award to the visiting Germans, especially the guy sitting next to me at breakfast this morning, I felt guilty getting three little sausages, but eight, really!. He filled his large plate from the buffet table, then also ordered a cooked breakfast, reminds me of  how Americans used to be, and has me wondering if global economic power is directly related to the size of the breakfast your citizens eat.

anyone for frog
anyone for frog porridge

Penang seems to have a happy mix of many cultures, Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai and more, and everyone seems to get on, there are religious festivals and holidays on every other weekend apparently.
However, as you might expect, there are underlying tensions. My taxi driver the other day was very proudly telling me how everyone respected each other here, and everyone gets on great, yet within a few minutes he had everyone stereotyped into the hard workers, the lazy ones, the professionals, the stuck up and the prejudiced. It could have been a comedy sketch, if it wasn’t for the fact that it does seem to play out in the countries social policies.

Right now we are fast approaching Chinese New Year, and the town is literally turning red, this being the Chinese colour for luck. Lanterns are going up everywhere.

Typical porch display
shopping mall (dig that carpet)

With all these religions, there comes a wealth of temples/shrines & mosques. I’m hoping to get some time next week to visit the oldest, but will probably wait until Kathy comes out with me in the summer to explore them fully

A Temple in Little India
Not sure what this guy is up to, but I suspect it’s to do with food.

And finally I couldn’t resist snapping this picture

Looks like I was expected
Looks like I was expected


Almost mine

Yes, everything is agreed, and I have transferred the payments for the boat, these should clear within a few days and I will have the ownership documents for Wanderlust.

Yesterday, I couldn’t update the blog as Penang didn’t seem to have internet access, also I was exhausted. Buying a boat is a lot more work than you might think.

The boat is in the boatyard, racking up costs while it sits there doing nothing, at the same time I’m paying for a marina berth, so as not to lose it. I have a lot of work to schedule for the boat, including a survey for insurance. The main jobs I have identified that I want doing before a re-launch are:

  1. Solve the blister problem, not with a quick fix either (up to 3 months for the boat to dry out first)
  2. Fit a bow thruster, seems logical now the hull is being worked on
  3. Replace all of the standing rigging (possibly using Norseman/STA-LOK, so I don’t need to go through this again.)
  4. Fit davits for the dinghy
  5. Repair the damaged cap rail and polish up the entry scratches we made on the way here

I need to find the place to do the work, the current yard we hauled in is by way the most convenient, but will it be the best price and highest quality of workmanship.  I need to organise some oversight of the work as I won’t be here, and I can’t easily pop over if there’s a problem. This is where the internet is invaluable, for seeking out advice and others experiences. On the plus side, labour costs are about half of what I would expect to pay if I was in Europe or America.

I didn’t visit the boat yesterday, instead I researched boatyards and surveyors all day, then spent an hour trying to find a shop that sold a pencil sharpener, there are whole shopping malls here dedicated to the God of Android (see pic below), it’s unbelievable, phones and tablets, accessories, cables, cases, chargers, attachments. Also the mall under the big landmark tower here, Komtar, has two floors just selling PC components. It all looks quite ancient to me having become an apple evangelist some years ago.

Android rules
Android rules

Later I had a great dinner with Erik the agent in little India in Georgetown.