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December 11th 2010
Published: December 10th 2010
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The Taj Resort and Marina, on Rebak Island, was home for Marnie during the month of October. Early December arrived and with it our departure for Penang, Malaysia, a 70 mile passage south to apply for Thai visas. 2010 ends with our arrival in Phuket with 22,000 miles under the keel since leaving Virginia Beach.

Once the docklines were released at Rebak we headed for Telaga Harbour; a shot hop for fuelling and good quality food at the restaurants. As wind is an unusual occurrence in this area, we were delighted when three hours into what we'd anticipated as a motoring passage, a 15+ knot wind on the beam enabled us to raise the flags and sail for 4.5 hours. Strong currents on leaving Langkawi and on the final approach slowed us down, and it took 11 hours to complete the 70 miles, despite making good time under sail.

On arrival in Penang, we anchored off Georgetown, which was settled by the Brits in around 1786 by Francis Light. The colonnial part of the city has the usual charms and is said to be as Singapore was a decade ago. After clearing customs etc we went to lodge our Thai application at Banana's - the best way of processing the application and a 24 hour service.

A day of exploring Georgetown on foot and eating local street food, which is so cheap and so delicious. No wonder the spices from this region were so sought after and prized by the Europeans in the late 1700's. This is the busiest of places with a nice blend of different cultures and ethnicity to enjoy.

An island exploration by scooter proved to be a particularly wet affair. We saw just beyond the windscreen but enjoyed the dragon boat races on the dam. Passed some very cool looking temples but had only one thing in mind - getting off that scooter and into the dry! Sadly our last day in Penang and clearing customs later in the day for the return passage to Langkawi enroute to Phuket. Fingers crossed we get some more wind.

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