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Published: December 2nd 2014
From Port Dickson we had some easy going sailing (mostly motor-sailing), short days to take advantage of the current when it was going our way, time was not a constraint and with the idea that you can anchor nearly anywhere, there was no pressure. In fact that first evening a fishing boat approached and I think was asking “why” we were stopped there, 2 miles out from the coast, concerned we had an engine problem perhaps.
Day 2 had us taking the channels up toward Klang with about 3-4 knots pushing us along passed the busy loading docks, and we stopped at the NE end of Pulau (Island) Klang, enjoying the flat protected water opposite the anchored ships as masses of litter drifted by.
Day 3 we tacked out of the northern channel and then had some stormy fronts passing nearby bringing 15 knots with it for a few hours. This gave us a chance to keep the motor off but when we anchored in the afternoon the current kept us side on to the waves and this gave us a terrible roll. We attempted to lay a stern anchor but with only a 1:2 scope with mostly rode,
not surprisingly we didn’t hold - so pulled it back up getting mud all over the boat. Fortunately the roll subsided by late evening.
Day 4 we started with a real struggle to pull up the anchor, followed by a lazy peaceful half sailing half drifting on flat water. The light winds died out and my main incentive for putting the engine on was to get some breeze out of the boat moving forward as it was getting stiflingly hot. Mid- afternoon we fought against the current to make it inshore without getting swept backwards. We dropped the anchor about 500 m south of a fishing boat that I thought was at anchor. Once we were settled it appeared they we getting closer and then we realised their anchor rode was actually a rope to their drift net, and it was heading our way! Some buoys became visible but they did not have the usual flag to mark the end of the net. They started waving their arms for us to move, and we got the engine started but we were not quick enough - the net made contact with our anchor chain and soon wrapped around us. The
fishing boat drifted passed us still pulling in net while we wandered what to do. We decided to try pulling the anchor up without the engine on and when we tested whether we could lift the net over the anchor it became obvious the net was broken, so we dropped it into the water and let it drift away, fortunately not snagging on the hull. The fishermen, an old chinese guy with 4 young boys, returned and was in surprisingly good spirits - I threw him a cold beer by way of an apology.
The last day we were able to sail again, dodging numerous fishing boats again - they have an alarming habit of steering straight for you until the last minute - I think so they can take a closer look. Apparently some come close under the belief bad luck can jump ship, so we could have accumulated a lot of bad luck by now. By the late morning, after seeing only 2 foreign boats since Port Dickson, the rest of the rally fleet was apon us. We sailed up the channel between Pangkor Island and the mainland and turned right toward the marina -passing SV Giggles
picking up Tanja
fuel wharf at Pangkor Marina Island
who had run aground in the shallow water. James, the marina owner, soon pulled them off with his motorboat.
We followed one of the marina staff who led us to the fuel wharf to find it has no pump, but they were able to bring 100 lts diesel in jerry cans within the hour. While we were making the usual mess filling the tanks, my friend Tanja arrived. We walked around the marina to the ferry terminal to get some lunch and then pushed off the dock and headed out to Pangkor Island, through the turbulent water at the southern end. We joined several other boats at anchor east of Monkey Rock and had a rolly night as the wettest storm we’ve experienced so far in Asia came through. Not a great start for Tanja’s first night aboard!
We had a pleasant couple of days on the west side of the island, exploring some of the bays, swimming (getting covered in some brown slimy algae), trying some local cuisine at a waterfront restaurant and even gave one side of the hull a scrub on the waterline, and scrape below it (including chipping off quite a few
barnacles off the prop) (though I was left with some blisters from a jelly fish sting on my leg that evening). We came across a deserted resort in the most northerly bay stretched along the beach. I ventured into the dilapidated main building and crept up to the second floor. An eerie atmosphere surrounded the piled up furniture as a solitary squeaky ceiling fan span, and then a male peacock sauntered through the main lobby… it was a little surreal. Back by the empty pool I told Tanja my plans to turn it into a backpackers, but then two security guards asked us politely to leave - telling us the resort would be torn down to make private villas.
From here we motored around the north of the island closely following the bouldered shoreline with jungle towering above it. We drove into the marina, pushed in by a northerly wind that had the boats near the entrance dancing - quite severely when a storm blew over that evening. We said our goodbyes to Tanja and checked into the marina, pleasantly surprised to find the first 3 days berthing were complimentary for the rally.
The following day
The Dutch Fort, Pangkor
was a tour back to Pangkor Island, so started with catching the ferry at 9am. We jumped into the collection of pink minibuses and got taken around to the Dutch Fort, the chinese temple with the mini-Great Wall of China, a seafood factory/shop, traditional boatbuilding and then around to a bay we had visited ourselves for lunch. This first appeared to be just fried rice but 7 courses later and we were busting stuffed. The marina owner James’s generosity continued with ice-creams for all at the Dutch Fort and plenty of beer with lunch. The afternoon was just free time so we had a swim and drank the rest of the beer, before taking the pink minibus back to the town ferry jetty.
That night was the rally dinner. More lovely food, with more free booze, and karaoke. It was a struggle to get up early the next day for the tour of the state of Perak, so especially annoying to hear the bus would be delayed by a couple of hours. When the buses finally appeared around 11 we drove 90 minutes to Ipoh (the state capital) and we were shown some of the important historical
buildings through the bus windows, and then on foot. The guide was Indian again and hilarious - he had a habit of grand wafting gesticulations, giving us the information as he read it straight off the plaques in front of each monument, and being evasive with any questions asked.
We were taken to a chinese/muslim fusion restaurant for another filling meal and back out of town to the states most exclusive spa retreat. It was a beautiful place set amongst towering limestone cliffs but there was a feeling of being shown around a time-share resort.
Back in Ipoh we had a high tea reception with the states tourism official- a jovial round man who really enjoyed his own jokes. Still full from lunch we crammed down cakes and coffee and took a look at the small gallery of pictures from local artists.
There was no need for dinner when we got back to the marina after 8 o’clock.
The next day was “supply day” and James’s popularity rose higher still as he had organised two buses to takes us to an assortment of hardware/chandlery shops and supermarkets. I found a waterproof shockproof camera at
rally photo at Ipoh
Naomi is in front of the banner
a good price so there should be more action shots in the future. We had planned to leave that afternoon but Naomi had left lots of packing until the last minute so we left the next day (today).
Today, we waited for the current to turn northwards after lunch and motored out of the marina into calm water. As we came around the first headland there were heaps of flagged nets to avoid and then we had a lovely sail following the sandy coastline with about 12 knots on a broad reach. A total of 15 miles brought us to the island of Talang where we shared a BBQ on the beach with a few other rally boats. A lovely end to a fantastic week.
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