So Tuesday morning had me up early to get down to the post office for 8, to get a ‘money order’ to pay the marina. All post offices in Malaysia open at 8, or so I was told by the marina manager. So off I popped at 7:45 sprinting along the coast walk to the post office POS in the mall. It was nice seeing lots of Chinese out doing their Tai Chi routines before work. Arriving at the mall I was disappointed to see it all shut up, the security guard told me the mall and post office don’t open till 10. so after a bit of research with my trusty friend Mr Google, I worked out the University USM had a post office and that might be open now. I asked the guard for his opinion and he replied, of course it will be open, all post offices open at 8! so into a taxi and off I went.
Not long later with the bill paid, and the air-con dispatched to a locker we set off for Langkawi. I think Kathy was pleased to leave, judging by her massive smile and the fact she was dancing and skipping along the pontoon singing , “were leaving, were off,hurrah, hurrah”, I might have exaggerated a little, but Batu Uban is a bit basic / back end of nowhere, but I liked it. I will also miss the interesting group of sailors there too. Touch from ‘MV Memory’ snapped this picture of us leaving, Kathy at the helm, and me bringing fenders in. That’s the Malaysian mainland coast ahead, but we have to turn 90 deg to starboard here as the water is only 3ft deep ahead, and we have to go around Palau Jerajak to get out.
Shortly after our departure at 10:00 AM we are around the island and passing under the old bridge to the mainland, this is my third time under the bridge and I felt very confident we would fit this time 😉
We were fortunate to have a dry day, with the wind at a nice steady 10 knots from the North West, which allowed us to sail 90% of the time, making 5 knots to the north. I had all the sails up and she handled well. I messed around with the Dutchman, but will need much stronger winds to see how well it works really, but the setup I have seems ok for now, and will control the boom making it safe.
The waters were very quiet, no fishing boats to worry us, just one small course change to miss these fish sticks you can see behind Kathy.
We had a choice of three islands to rest at overnight, the passage is just a little to long to do in one day if you want to stay in light, and sailing at night this close inshore is hazardous in the dark because of all the unlit fishing boats that appear, or rather don’t appear until too late. The previous two trips along this route we stayed at Palau Sonsong, but this time Palau Bidan took Kathy’s fancy so we dropped anchor there. The Spade didn’t set again, but in a way I was happy because it was very calm, we were not in a rush and I fancied the practice, mostly I wanted to play with the windlass and watch my fluorescent cable ties going up and down. Kathy also needs practice and we are still working out how to communicate effectively from me at the bow to Kathy at the wheel. We agreed that me shouting “More” would be more effective if I added a noun like “More Revs”. Of course more Revs means more engine noise by Kathy so “Less Revs” doesn’t get heard so well. Some couple use hand signals, others have walkie talkies, some end up divorcing!
However we very effectively recovered the anchor and re-set it quickly. I’m very pleased with how the cleaned up clutch works, I can easily control the speed of chain descent, and also set the clutch so it slips when the anchor is fully up, something it didn’t do before, possibly explaining why the anchor platform had been so mangled. Once set we could put the boat fully astern and I could see the chain taught and rigid, the boat stationary, and a lot of water being churned up by the prop. That’s a nice feeling when you have to sleep soon and you’re quite close to a rocky shore. We anchored just beyond the palm trees on the right hand end of the beach below. I think Kathy will post better pictures as she was fascinated by the people living on the island. It’s a place you can go to be part of an ecology project, living in a tent with no amenities.
At some point I checked the Navtext to see if there were any weather warnings and the first line said “Typhoon” when I scrolled down it said Force 17, which seems a lot, I thought it only went to 12!. Anyway, this was for much further north and of no concern to us. The weather here is very predictable, other than for powerful squalls that pass through, it’s generally very safe.
We left P.Bidan early, 08:20, on Wednesday as it’s quite a way to Langkawi still, some 9 hours and we wanted to be there before dark. I also wanted to sail as much as possible. The sea was very calm and the wind was light and from the NE which is all wrong, it’s meant to be from the other way, which would have been lovely, but from the NE meant we had to sail close hauled, which isn’t that fast, but the boat performed very well. We managed 5 knots in about 8-10 knots of wind, I would be very happy to sail around the world under these conditions. We sailed between the two islands at Pulau Payar, a renowned scuba resort where the water is very clear and there is an abundance of fish of many varieties. They say if you can’t catch a fish in these waters you may as well give up, however I think my problem with the two lines I had out was that all the fish were over by the scuba divers. Perhaps next time I will be lucky.
Not long after we left the engine temperature gauge stopped working, this is a pain as we had been running the engine on and off and I like to keep an eye on the temp. If it overheats, and they often do on boats as they are cooled by seawater, and that system can get blocked, or the pump stops working, then when the engine overheats it can do serious damage.
The gauge didn’t work when I bought the boat, but after cleaning all the connections to the panel, it started, so I assumed it was a bad connection and I needed to find the exact one. What better time than now, so off I went with my multimeter. Sadly after a little probing my meter probe slipped and shorted the supply out. I could have predicted that would happen. The panel went crazy, showing revs of 4000RPM, no oil pressure, and no battery charging. Bother.
I brought up the laptop and checked the circuit diagram and it looked like I have probably blown the fuse, but where is the fuse. I have no idea, probably behind the engine, or under the very hot exhaust system. Anyway it will have to wait. After a little bit of fretting I thought that I could run a new supply to the panel from the cigar lighter in the cockpit. This was duly setup and Voila, meters reading again, except for the temp. So now we decided to keep a close watch on the water coming out the exhaust for the rest of the passage and the rest can wait.
I think I have posted a picture of this boat before, the Lili Marleen, but we sailed very close this time and she looked wonderful in the sunlight with the blue sky behind. She seems to be parked up here like several other big ships.
This boat, the one I scoffed at for being registered in Grimsby, was how she looked when I sailed past with Tim on board a few weeks back,
However on the way in the Kuah, the main port of Langkawi we spotted this ship, on the rocks along the coast, on closer inspection I’m pretty sure it’s the same ship. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but she was directly downwind from where I remember her being moored. I suspect she broke her mooring, probably at night. I will try to find out the story, I hope she can be salvaged, the coast there is rocks, then a stretch of beach, then more rocks, she missed the beach and is firmly on the rocks!
So into the marina at 17:00, I managed to get a clear view of the pontoon finger as we came in, and put the boat alongside so Kathy could step ashore and cleat the bow, walk back to me and take the stern line. Job done, and the smoothest berthing yet. We’re getting there.
A quick tidy up, then off to the bar for drinks and a nice dinner for Kathy, well it is her birthday, and the postman didn’t seem to be able to find us on Palau Bidan.