Bangla in Pangkor

All safely anchored in Pangkor, although a bit rolly, hopefully that should reduce as the wind shifts overnight, but I’m so tired it won’t matter, neither will the Bangla blasting across the bay affect me. Hopefully it will stop around midnight.
I was up just before the sun rose, making a coffee and checking everything was ready to go. It took a while to get the anchor up, 40 meters of chain, totally caked in thick mud, making the chain look like it was about 2 inches (50cm) thick. Need to standardise on a measurement system. Difficult on an American 40ft boat to use metric. I had to clean the chain with the deck wash, and every 10 metres in, pop below and flake the chain in the locker. I was away at 7:30, and set the controls for due south.Because I was starting from offshore, there weren’t too many fishing boats around, however I passed over several banks, 4-6 mtrs where the fishing boats gather. I came across a lot of pairs of boats like these two – 

I was a bit confused at first, but I quickly worked out they had a net strung between them, I could see the rope, however both boats often seemed to be struggling, black smoke galore, and lots of wash from the prop, as if they had a very heavy load. I wondered if the net could be very full.
A little later I scooted round the back of one of these pairs, not totally sure how far back the net extended, and was rather shocked to see the water a different colour where they had been fishing and where I was heading. Usually when the water changes colour quickly, and in this case it was very brown and muddy, it means a change in depth, we were in about 8 mtrs, and I wondered if there was a bank I was about to hit, and they were fishing there, as fish often like shallows. I slowed down and as I passed through the muddy water the depth didn’t change. Then I realised that these nets were dragging the sea bed, a particularly bad way of fishing in my mind, they kill everything in their path, and trash the sea bed. Besides that, they may be trashing my future home, where I will while away the hours with Davy Jones. I must look into this method more, a lot of fishing techniques used in Asia, especially Thailand have been made illegal.

So ten hours after leaving, I could clearly make out the island of Pangkor, very wooded, and full of holiday resorts apparently. Enclosing the anchorage I’m in is a small island called Pangkor Laut, which is home to a 5 star luxury resort, and a marina. I was going to haul out here  originally, but they couldn’t fit me in.

I looked in the first bay I met on the island, my problem is that the northerly wind last night, didn’t come from the north, but from the west, and although there was little wind today, the wind from last night was sending a big swell into all the exposed bays on the west of Pangkor, This bay was fine, but for the swell. It looked like it once had, or nearly had a resort there, but it all looks abandoned now.

I have tucked in behind a very small islet/rock but the swell is still making its way in, but it did make for a nice sunset picture

The engine/prop worked great on the way here, I was able to run the engine at a much higher revs, less smoke and I think the fuel consumption is looking ok. I was able to manage 7-7.5 knots through the water with no problem at about 3/4 throttle, more was available if needed. A lot of that is down to a smooth bottom and a shiny prop. Stop sniggering at the back please!
Tomorrow I’m going about 35 miles south to an anchorage just off the coast with no shelter at all from the sea, so I’m hoping for a calm night, otherwise I might have to backtrack to here. This stretch of coast is quite difficult to do in day passages. With each day I get a little closer to the equator. I’m just about 4deg North now, and about 100 deg East. Also the Malacca straights are narrowing as I proceed south. Shipping is going to increase a lot, after tomorrows anchorage, I will proceed to an anchorage near Port Dickson, that’s very close now to Kaula Lumpar and the main shipping port of Malaysia.
I read yesterday that the advice I got in Langkawi about checking out was wrong. I was told that I don’t need to check out until I leave Malaysia for Hong Kong, however, Langkawi is different it seems and I should have checked out of there. I may have to go back to check out, which will be a major pain. I will throw myself on the mercy of the harbour master in Port Dickson, and see if something can be worked out.

Paul Collister.