Up at nine today, we had to leave Rebak Marina, nice as it is, we had done Rebak and Chenang so off to pastures new. First though I went to the marina here in search of micro-balloons, which I got, these are clever little things, when together they look like flour, but are great for thickening epoxy, without the need to drill through your finger.
After the chandlers we had a quick stroll around the yard where Tim found his next boat. 😉
So a quick exit from Rebak, and round the corner and up North to Telaga harbour where we could get fuel. Telaga harbour has a marina and a fuel jetty, the only marina with fuel in the whole of Malaysia apparently, anyway we bought about 300 Litres of diesel for £90, pretty good really.
It has been a very overcast day, and consequently the temperature is most pleasant. This image is of Telaga harbour/marina as seen from the far western side where Tim and I went to have lunch, of Tapas. I almost walked out in disgust at the outrageous prices they were charging. I’m not surprised the restaurant was empty. In the picture you can just make out Sister Midnight on the fuel dock to the right.
They have a yacht preserved here on display, much like the Gypsy Moth used to be in Greenwich, I believe the yacht was used by the first Malaysian to sail solo around the world.
After lunch we hit the waves, lumpy ones too, as we are exposed to the Malacca straits here and travelled back to Kuah and the Langkawi yacht club, I phoned up and asked for our old berth, which they were very happy to give us. This is the track of our trip back which took about 4 hours.
When we arrived back, we had a leisurely cruise amongst all the boats at anchor in the bay here, something I expect to be doing myself at some point as it’s free and an easy dinghy ride to the shore.
You can see the eagle in this picture, Langkawi means eagle, and I guess that’s why they made this one, however you just need to look upwards and there’s always eagles above you, big things too.
Heres one on top of the Grimsby boat
Once in our berth, which once again I messed up, thought I was too close to the finger, but was actually a metre away, and while trying to throw ropes ashore, didn’t realise I had left her in reverse. It was all done very slowly, so nothing hit anything, just looked bad, will get there in the end. Perhaps I need to practise patting my head while rubbing my tummy more.
My AIS has arrived at the post office, and the Parcel Isaac sent is also waiting at the yacht club, so tomorrow will be like christmas here.
Today I had my longest lie in yet, the temperature has dropped a little over the last few days so I think that helps. Also we had no deadlines to worry about today, there’s nothing here on the Island to do other than holiday stuff, so when I eventually rose, Tim and I had some toast and cheese for breakfast, then I got stuck into some maintenance jobs. First off was to plug the holes I had made in the cap rail for the brass rubbing streak. I made up some epoxy and drilled some teak to get some sawdust to thicken the epoxy. All went well except for the drill slipping into my finger. At this rate there wont be much of me left to sail around the world. Anyway, this time I managed to plug the holes without the epoxy going off.
The next job was to sand the bowsprit down. I only did the bit in front of the cranse Iron, thats the metal band at the front, I really just wanted to see how the teak would come up before getting stuck into the rest. Also I don’t have a power sander, so it was all done by hand, in a very hot sun. I got the teak looking ok, and applied a thinned out coat of varnish, which hadn’t dried many hours later. I am hoping this is to do with the humidity. With these sort of temperatures in Spain the varnish would be dry in a couple of hours.
So at 3 o’clock we got the fast boat over to the Chenang jeti. Chenang is a bit of a touristy destination, full of bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. Not my kind of place at all
We had a walk along the beach, then dinner at a fish restaurant, Tim had scallops and I had sea bass steamed in ginger, very tasty, and very fresh.
Then we jumped into a cab to get back to the jeti for the 7pm boat back to the island, it’s a very fast motor launch that screams along, too fast for me, like being on a jet ski. Before we boarded I took this picture of some local boats that moor near the jeti. I say jeti, but I mean jetty, of course.
As we arrived back at the island resort I snapped this picture of the boat from the launch, It’s great to finally not be the smallest boat in town, or to have an inferiority complex about the size of my mast. (Stop sniggering you people with warped minds)
Tomorrow we should be leaving, but we have no dinghy as I sent it away for repairs and we don’t know what is happening with it yet. Without the dinghy, we can only go to one of the two marinas we have already done in Langkawi as we have no way to get ashore. We will probably go to Telaga harbour and get fuel if nothing else.
Up early today to head off for Rebak, this is a luxury holiday resort set on a small island off the western side of the island of Langkawi, it’s all about islands around here. The island resort has a hotel, and lots of stand alone apartments in tasteful buildings around the island. It has a lovely pool, beach, bar and restaurant. The main thing is, it has a good Marina, I suspect it was added to give the resort some glitz, i.e. perhaps Roman Abromavitch might pop in on one of his yachts, instead it ends up being full of yachty hobos.
So at 11:00 Tim expertly reversed us out of our berth, well at least on the second attempt after I had removed the hidden bow line 🙁 and we made the short 3 hour trip around the corner of the island.
On the way I took this picture,
you can see a small mark, a buoy with flag. This is a fishing mark, it will have a rope and net attached to it, it might go vertically down to a lobster pot or some other kind of device, or it might go horizontally, holding a net to the boat in the distance. The net might be weighted down so it reaches the bottom of the sea, if its shallow enough, or it might be floating and drifting with the boat in the currents. It might also go off in any direction to another buoy we cant see, this is the norm. generally this is not a problem as the shape of our hull allows us to coast over the nets and ropes, but it’s always a worry we will get something wrapped around our prop, then we are in trouble.
Pushing on we arrived at the marina, we did a bit of practice manoeuvering before entering the winding river up to the pontoons.
Next after checking in we had a look around and Tim went off to watch the Rugby while I had a go at doing some repairs to the rubbing strake.
Unfortunately the epoxy resin I mixed up Exothermed, if that’s a word, i.e. it over reacted and went from liquid to red hot solid in about 3 seconds, I didn’t even get a chance to pull my mixing stick (actually Magnum ice cream stick) out of the mix before it set. This was most disappointing as I had just spent ages filing some old teak to get a handful of sawdust to mix in to the epoxy to use as a filler for some screw holes in the teak cap rail. I’m not sure why this happened, but I suspect the combination of a small mixing container and the very high temperatures here could have something to do with it. I might try again tomorrow.
So off to see how Wales or England are doing in the rugby, Seems England won, which was good. I watched a bit of archery on the way to the bar, not something I would have expected to see in Malaysia.
I also had a wander around the boatyard, it was pleasing to see most of the boats that were here in January had gone and new ones moved in. Nothing worse than boats rotting away, or just not getting attention in a yard.
This yard is so clean, I think we may haul here at some point when the antifould needs re-doing.
I left Tim to watch the end of the match and went down to the pool for a swim, It’s a tough life, but somebody’s got to do it.
Later I mentioned to Tim that people reading this might have to go to work every day
Had a very large buffet dinner, I checked that there was a good selection of veggie food for Kathy when she comes out here in August, I’m sure she will love it here.
Tomorrow is a rest day, none of this rushing around.
I had logistics to sort out yesterday (Thursday), so I spent a few hours writing emails, and researching costs. Tim took on the task of fixing the deck wash, this is a hose on the deck that can be used for various things when we are at sea, such as cleaning the mud off the deck and anchor, as well as getting a shower. It can run from the fresh water tanks or from sea water so there’s lots of valves and plumbing involved. Turning the first valve on caused it to break, so a shopping list was started. Tim dismantled all the plumbing and we checked the rest of the system and all looked good
Off down town to search for the bits, which we found in a great shop that sells lots of marine parts, very reasonably priced, but with bronze/brass/steel plumbing fittings, it’s always difficult to know what quality you are buying, so I went for the most expensive and fingers crossed it might last.
Off for a lovely Indian buffet then back to the boat to fit all the bits.
Tim finished off the work and now we have a deck wash.
A swim in the pool here finished the day, some Camembert on Tim’s home made bread, then a drink at Charlie’s bar while we watched poor Wales get beat by England.
Back at the boat, around midnight an almighty lightning storm kicked off, at times the lightening was so bright and sustained it was like daylight all around. All night it rained hard, yet the boat remained dry, except for the portlight in the head, which has a crack in the glass, and dripped a little.
This morning we woke up to rain and it has stayed wet and overcast all day, quite refreshing in a way.
We worked on the fuel and tank gauges, I am trying to understand how big the tanks are, how much fuel we use , and how that relates to the meters. We decided not to go to Rebak today, as they shut for Friday prayers at 3pm, and we would have had to rush to make it in the pouring rain.
Popped up to the marina office first thing today to extend our stay by another day, so much to do. I haven’t had a chance to relax and think about how to get all the tasks co-ordinated. The focus has been on getting the boat seaworthy, having Tim arriving on a set date, helped me get the work prioritised, then the trip to Langkawi ,so we would have a pleasant base to cruise from. Also one of the reasons for being in Langkawi is that it’s a duty free island, I suppose a bit like the channel islands. I can buy equipment in the UK, have it shipped here without paying VAT at home, and paying no tax here. That means a 20% saving or more in some cases on boat equipment I need. I have a few ‘big ticket’ items to buy, like a liferaft, and quite a bit of electronic kit, plus lots of chandlery, that can add up, ropes, fenders, anchors, chain etc. It’s expensive shipping stuff here, so that has to be added into the calculation, also some states in the USA have problems with removing the sales tax for exports, I can also get good deals in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Australia, with lower shipping costs. If I am smart and get the best deal, I might save myself a few hundred pounds, so it’s worth the effort, but the research required is so boring.
Anyway, I have the survey done, and tomorrow I can post that off to my insurers and see what they will offer me in cover. I’m going to need to get the standing rigging replaced, it’s cheaper to do this in Thailand than here, but more hassle.
I contacted a local dinghy company called Swift, they manufacture dinghy’s and also repair them. They only work with hypalon, a tough kind of material, that looks like normal PVC, but is made quite differently. I don’t know much about it, but I’m pretty sure our leaking dinghy is PVC, and they thought so too, so will repair it, but without warranty. They are collecting the dinghy from the marina in the morning. They told me PVC just cant survive the weather here, makes me wonder if I need to be more thorough with the suncream, Im sure my skin isn’t as tough as PVC 😉
So while Tim popped off to get the laundry and some shopping, I got the boat ready for a day trip along the coast. Tim expertly reversed us out of the berth, and took us out of the marina, we travelled West / south west until we reached the sea, then south, circumnavigating Pulua Dayang Bunting. This large island south of the main island of Langkawi, feels like it’s part of the main island, but it’s surrounded by lots of smaller islands, all densely covered in vegetation. We saw lots of eagles gracefully sweeping in large circles over them.
Our Route Today, about 5 hours, with a stop for a swim at point 5
Not far into this journey we diverted course to look at this old fashioned ship, I thought it looked interesting, however as we went round the stern I saw it was registered in Grimsby, which took some of the romance out of it. I tried to imagine there must be a grimsby in the Caribbean somewhere.
We saw lots of fish jumping out of the water in a frenzy trying to escape their attacker, so I felt I had to join in and got the fishing rod out, I didn’t see any reason to leave Langkawi off my long list of places I have fished in and caught nowt! So that went well, nothing caught and as we were approaching the end of our trip I hauled the line in. Now not having used a fishing rod on a boat before, I tried to look like the guys on the telly when they’re landing a giant tuna and I had the rod high in the air as I wound the line in, unfortunately high in the air meant right by the wind generator. Before I knew anything the wind generator had decided it could haul my line in quicker than me and the nylon line was rapidly wrapping itself around the shaft of the wind generator, so my rod was unravelling into the generator and the fish hook was rapidly approaching the boat heading to the same place. The line snapped off the rod, and the rest of the line jammed the rotor shaft on the the generator and it ground to a halt. this was all very similar to getting a floating bit of rope wrapped around the prop shaft. Bugger.
So I climbed up over the pushpit up to the generator and started to unravel the rope, I had to use some rope to tie the generator away from the wind, as its wind vane was pushing it towards me and at the wrong angle to unwind the line from its rotor axle.
Eventually with Tim tailing, I got all the line removed and recovered the fishing hook and spinner. all that was left to do now was untie the rope and let the windmill get back to making electricity. As I undid the rope, the windmill picked up the wind, start spinning and spun around, it could have been very dangerous, but fortunately, my head was handy to fit in between the rotor blades and stop the rotation dead. Bloody hell did that hurt, it “could have had my eye out”, luckily it just missed my eye and whacked me on the cheekbone, I was sure there was going to be a lot of damage and blood involved, but no, it will only be a bruise I expect. I won’t be doing that again. That incident has pushed the bag snatch incident down to number two in my chart of bad happenings in Malaysia.
I took her back into the marina a few minutes later, as I’m still getting the feel for her, and did a great job berthing, but messed up at the last minute by jumping ashore to help Tim tie up just when a gust blew the bow down and out of reach before we had a bow line ashore. It was only a minor glitch, just disappointed that I didn’t think it through properly in advance.
Tonight we had rice and chicken in a very local Malaysian restaurant and with a few drinks the whole meal was less than £4 each.
Tomorrow we plan to head over to Rebak Island Marina if we can get everything sorted here.
It’s a great spot here in the marina, no passing traffic, and furtherst from the shore. The only ugly bit is the concrete breakwater to our stern, but there’s loads of room to turn.
Today was survey day, John the surveyor actually had a job on the boat next to us, so he did us in the afternoon. Tim and I spent the morning cleaning up and making the boat a bit tidier. The survey went well, a few small items were marked as needing attention, but they will take me an hour to sort out or two to fix. John also provided a lot of useful tips I hadn’t known about, such as a possible way to get double the water out of our watermaker.
Later we had a lazy time around the swimming pool; well it is hard work watching a surveyor all afternoon. I was able to record four monkeys on the balcony above the pool.
Later we went to dinner at wonderland food store, which is well known in these parts as one of the best Chinese restaurants. The food was great, but my sea bass just didn’t seem at all pleased with the setup.
Tomorrow we are supposed to leave this marina and head off somewhere, but I have so much to organise, that we might stay another day.
I started this entry last night, but all that swimming and eating had me exhausted, so didn’t get around to it until now. Will start todays blogs later.
Nice lazy day today, slept in till 9:30, Tim cooked eggs and toast for breakfast, then we went shopping at the chandlers and had a bit of a walk around. Chandelry isn’t great here, they only stock fast moving items, and stuff for local working boats. Still I got some signal halyard (small rope) which we needed after the courtesy flag halyard fell apart. We ended up in a supermarket / shopping mall and stocked up, diet coke for me, and tiger beer for Tim.
Always good fun looking at the local wares
After shopping, back to the boat for a salad lunch while we let the sun push west, then once it was cool enough I scooted up the mast and replaced the halyard. I took a few pictures while I was up there.
After a swim in the club pool, we headed into town for diner.
more pictures tomorrow
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.
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.
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.
Lots of fishing boats around all the time, much bigger ones as we got further north.
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.
We put the mainsail up today, I wanted to check it was ok, water seems to collect in it, in the bag, but it was all ok.
We also lost the ugly tarp and put a sun bleached, weakened canopy up, looks better but may shred in the first gust.
Next we headed off into town for a lovely Indian lunch and a walk around some sights.
We had a look at the jetties, trying to spot the fuel barge and a spot to anchor tomorrow night.
Lots of cats around the jetties.
Taxi back to the boat, and a shower on the pontoon, we have water restored to the marina now, then off to supertanker for some lovely Chinese food.
In the morning we will check the tides, if I have things right, I think we can leave soon after low water and either anchor off georgetown, in the Junk anchorage, or motor direct to some islands a few hours further on. We will then anchor overnight and on Sunday push onto Langkawi
Got a taxi into town to collect Tim this morning and we came back to the boat, I also picked up some sikaflex, in particular a tube of 290 for the decks, I hate this stuff, but there are a few bits of planking in the cockpit need touching up.
Tim seemed suitably impressed with the boat. We walked down the coast to the Queensbay mall for some provisions, came back and started to make some plans, Tim had a nap while I investigated the self deflating dinghy, I think it may be a lost cause, air hissing out of several seams.
Later we popped out to the local Malaysian restaurant had a nice dinner.