Why the Malaysians snigger at “Sister Midnight”

Yes I was talking with chappy earlier at the fuel dock who spoke Malay and he enquired about the name, he was an Iggy Pop fan and liked the name, I think? Anyway, I pointed out that it often caused amusement with the Malaysians when I had to give them the name, and he explained that it would, given sister means gay here. The Malaysian government have banned gays, and officially these aren’t any, except, it seems, for my boat,”Gay Midnight” and she is quite brazen about it !!

I was up early and got the boat ready for the trip, fuelled up and left at ten, after giving some boat handling lessons to a lovely couple from Estonia who are just starting their sailing adventures, having bought their first boat here, from a guy I became friendly with when Tim was over last year, and now they want to head off into the blue yonder, just once he has worked out how to leave the dock.

The wind was strongish from the east, 10 knots at Langkawi, building to 20 by the time I arrived near Penang. It was a great sail down, with thunderstorms threatening all the time and plenty of things to dodge. I will write more tomorrow, as right now I’m at anchor in a rather uncomfortable spot just north of Penang. I couldn’t get to the shelter of the main island before dark, so I pushed on to the last island before Penang, much further than I had hoped, but then I was making between 6 and 7.5 knots most of the time, under full sail.  All of the islands en route are long thin affairs and generally lie North/South so great if the wind is from the east or west, but by the time I got here the wind had changed to the NNW, So I sheltered on the SSE corner of the island,  not much shelter as the waves, which had risen to 1.5m were getting round the whole island and the wind, a steady 20knots was everywhere. Anyway I dropped the anchor and it’s holding very well, I just have to pretend I’m crossing the Atlantic and it’s a bit choppy an the boat is bouncing around a lot, in order to get some sleep. As I write this the wind has dropped to 15 knots and the sea calmed a little, so that’s good.

Things I need to put in tomorrows blog, once I work out how to get the pictures off my iPad are, birds on the sheets, Caught a fish, but it got away, and nearly took me with it, Almost drove through the biggest fishing net I have ever seen, self steering hassles, and fish sticks up close.


Paul Collister

Heading south towards KL

Tomorrow morning I’m going to slip my mooring here in Langkawi and head south. In theory this should be a simple operation. The plan is to get some fuel at the dock here, then I can do a 3-4 hour trip to an island called Pulau Paya (2 on the map), if all is going well I might continue onto another island 3-4 hours ahead called Pulau Songsong (3), I have stopped here before a few times doing the sail from Penang (4/5) to Langkawi. It all depends how quickly I can get away, the fuel dock doesn’t open till 9am.
The plan so far is to get as far as Pangkor Island (8/9), which is not far from Kuala Lumpur by Friday. There I can haul out the boat and check how much damage I did on the rock. I  can also see if the osmosis has re-appeared and I may try to adjust the Max-Prop propellor to see if I can’t get some better efficiency from it.Since Kathy went home I have been busy doing chores on the boat. I have fitted the new Throttle and gear cables, Changed the oil and filter, cleaned out the raw water filter and changed both the fuel filters. On my last Volvo engine on the baba 30, I only had to look at the fuel system to induce an air leak into the system. These were always annoying, often they would hide while the revs where high, but as soon as I throttled back entering the marina the engine would stop and not want to start, good game. So after changing these filters I bled the system and it has started perfectly, high revs, low revs, it works great. I haven’t tested the new cables away from the dock, but they seem fine now. What could possibly go wrong 😉

What could go wrong is the weather!Above is typical of the weather here now. It’s forecast for thunderstorms for the next 7 days. A met office warning to shipping for the Malacca straits for today warned small ships to stay home, the forecast said in areas of multiple thunderstorms, waves could reach 12ft high with 30 knt winds. However that was for today, no warnings for tomorrow. I have a variety of sources for weather information, The national weather services for maritime service, the equivalent of the uk shipping forecast is a main one. I make a lot of use of grib files. These are weather data files you download over the net. They are a very compact form of data, so ideal for loading over HF radios, or expensive satellite links. With a viewer on your PC you can see the data as wind and wave patterns as shown belowThis covers the area I will be in tomorrow. It is animated on our iPad, showing the changes every hour over a 96 hour period. Here is the legend/key expanded

So the worst weather tomorrow will be at 17:00 and you can see inshore the wind is about 5 knots, calm, and further offshore, at the extent of where I might be, the wind increases to 15 knots, very healthy for sailing, plus it’s from behind me, so that’s even better. Also the waves go from <1m inshore to 2 mtrs offshore, This might make it a bit more lively, but as they are in the same direction as the wind, and behind me, I’m not too concerned. The only problem is that at some point there will be a strong current flowing north, on the ebb tide, this will slow my progress down and make it less fun, but at the same time, well actually 6 hours later or earlier, the tide will be pushing me along adding a couple of knots to my speed. I think High tide is about 5pm, so the southbound current will be strongest between 3 and 6 pm, roughly. and the current against me between 9-12pm.

I bought a stack of squid from the street market last night, and had them for dinner just now, I’m very pleased at how quick I can prepare them, ripping the body out, removing the plastic spine thing, and skinning them, all in seconds now. Just need to work out how to catch them myself. I don’t eat the tentacles, seems like to much effort, which I know some will think a crime.
I read an article today about how Trump was turning off GPS Accuracy for non military use, and would allow Americans and certain others to buy a license to use it. This would not be great news for sailors, even worse for satnav users, I was concerned. He was quoted as saying it was a great way to raise money for ‘the wall’, he might even make so much money from it he would build a second wall on the Canadian border. At that point I checked the date on the article to see it was the 1st April, I’m just hoping it was a hoax. It did make me think though, just how dependent we are on GPS these days. However I think the European system should be online soon, oh, just realised, as a Brit, we might not be allowed to use it, damm 😉 !!

Paul Collister