Langkawi at last

So we left the marina in Batu Uban on Penang at about midday on Saturday and headed south around Jerajak Island, then north and through the centre of the old bridge to the mainland. We had several options for the route, it wasn’t possible to complete the trip in one 12  hour stint of daylight passage, firstly because we didn’t think we could rely on any more than 5 knots for planning purposes, and also because we couldn’t time a 7:30 departure with slack water and not low water, which would put us aground. As it turned out we averaged over 6.5 knots for most of the journey, she is quite a fast boat, however I’m not sure I understand if the prop/gearing is right, as she wont go past 2200RPM in gear, but will happily rev past 3500 in neutral, this doesn’t seem right, but I need to read up on the engine and prop to understand better.
The first option was to motor to Georgetown, just 2 hours away, anchor overnight and pick up fuel there and dinghy ashore for dinner on the old Chinese jetties, the other option which we took was to plough on and do a 7 hour passage to Songsong island, anchor, have a swim and dinner there, overnight, then head of after breakfast. Pulau (Island) Songsong is forbidden for visitors, I think it might be a military place, but just looked like a lovely little forested island with a small beach. I think day trippers go out there, but it’s pretty much deserted overnight.

Pulau Songsong

We don’t have a proper ladder
Somethings got my leg
better try and outswim it đŸ˜‰

We had a swim, then Tim cooked up some dinner with the scraps of food we had on board, and had a relaxing evening. It was hot, no aircon, so I lay in bed sweating, but was so tired I passed out about midnight, woken about 3AM by someone screaming out on channel 16, nothing to do with us, but I think I turned the radio off, and went back to bed, did I say it was hot! While we had dinner, a couple of fishermen turned up and lay a net a few hundred meters long around the coast, quite close to us, just before I went to bed they returned, and I watched them haul in quite a few fish, they used headlights strapped to there heads, Im that has a proper name, the result was weird in the darkness, sometimes when the both looked in my direction it was like car headlights coming my way, other times there were two flashing cyclops doing a strange dance with occasional glimpses of a net with fish in it. Once they had hauled the net they then relaid it, even closer to our boat, I was a bit worried they may lay it over our anchor, but all turned out well.


Leaving Songsong

The next morning we headed north west towards our destination of the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club,  where we will have a base for a few days. We chose to go through a group of islands on the way as it was quite direct. The main island is called Pulau Paya and is a nature reserve where anchoring is forbidden, but day tripper boats take people out. There’s lots of snorkelling there due to the very lear waters and lots of Coral.

Pulau Paya



Lots of fishing boats around all the time, much bigger ones as we got further north.

fishing boat

We arrived at the marina around 15:00, but the tidal flow was meant to be at it’s worst at that time, so we motored around the harbour taking in the views for an hour while we leisurely rigged the boat for the marina and tried to see how fast the tide was flowing. being in a marina being dragged one way by a 4 knot current can be quite trying. As it stands we are on Neap tides which are quite gentle, so we decided to pop our bow into the marina and see how it was. We were given a berth with lots of turning room and the whole operation went off very well, didn’t even get to use the bow thruster. The biggest problem was a lack of cleats on the pontoon.

All in all it was a good trip, however the winds were too light to do much sailing, we got the main up for a bit, but realised we dont have a kicking strap. I looked at our documentation for the dutchman gybe preventer, which shows it acting as a kicking strap, and assumed that needed to be set up, but it turns out we have a different model. So the kicking strap is missing, and whats worse I can’t see any attachment points on mast or boom.
The engine performed very well, very quite and quite fuel efficient. Much as I’m grateful to be here in the marina with the Aircon keeping us cool, I hate traveling with one on the coach roof strapped down, make me feel like I’m in an old RV, not a glorious yacht.
Radar and SSB worked well, as did the navtex, the Autopilot did most of the steering, and besides it overcompensating slighty, i.e, it was driving like it had a g&t too many, it was very simple to setup and use.
Realised we don’t have a ball and cone, legal requirements for motor sailing and being at anchor, I’m sure I can pick them up here.

More to follow, need to sleep now in the lovely cool bunk.


Paul C.