Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Xmas Langkawi Style

Laughter is brightest in the place where food is - Irish Proverb
We had earlier caught up with old friends from Kimberley cruising, Ray and Brenda from 'Sunchaser II', and Geoff from 'Pussyfoot'. So it was arranged for us all to meet at Echo Beach for the festive season. We were fully provisioned with all the fresh produce, lots of alcohol beverages courtesy of the duty-free port, and I had made the Xmas Pudding (yes I still make this from scratch) and the Xmas Pine Cone cheese spread (my recipe featured in Cruising Helmsman).
Tientos decorated

The Xmas Pudding
Xmas Pine Cones
Tientos was decorated and Sunchaser also joined in. As we headed for shore to start the BBQ, along came a MacGregor 26 full to the bulwarks with expats and locals also with the same idea in mind.
Santa and Frosty line the deck
Tientos dressed for the occasion
Sunchaser and Tientos together again
The McGregor arrives with Pussyfoot in the background
As the champers flowed so did the ideas; Geoff kidnapped Santa from Tientos to join in the festivities.
Santa by dinghy
Santa supervising festivities
Santa with the local Tiger Beer
Local fishermen also joined us and loved my pudding.  I really hope the alcohol was burnt off! What a fantastic time to renew old friendships and make new ones.
Xmas Photo Shoot
Keith the firie lighting the Brandy
Yachties, Expats and Locals for Xmas 2006
Merry Xmas from Keith and Lea 2006

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

Tuesday, 19 December 2006


For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go - Robert Louis Stevenson
With Trish aboard we departed Penang on 9th December for a circumnavigation of Langkawi
Trish never stopped smiling
We picked up a mooring at Palau Payar at 1530 which thankfully held for the overnight storm in excess of 35knots. Payar is a small island between Penang and Langkawi, frequented by many tourists on the ferry between the two main islands. It is the nearest place for snorkelling, diving and feeding baby sharks. 
Tourist diving mecca
The following day after a slow meander around the southern islands of Langkawi, we anchored at Echo Beach. This was to be our favourite chill out spot for the next decade. 
Not another yacht in sight
Quiet swim

We decided to head East about and anchored at Palua Timmen before heading to the famous 'Hole in the Wall'. Apart from the only floating restaurants in Langkawi, they also offer 'yacht-sitting' on the moorings. 
Floating restaurants and moorings

Arrive by dinghy

The food is fresh and tasty

Being shot by Archer fish through the floorboards of the floating restaurant is a hazard. but arriving by dinghy is a bonus. 
We ran into an old friend Terry from 'Drifter' and installed Total Tide for him, without expecting the chocolates and wine in return. Terry really knows the way to a woman's heart. 
Australian yacht Drifter

Tourists pay to see the eagles; we take the dinghy

More swims and dinghy tours at Tanjung Rhu, Paula Singa Besar (Great Lion Island) and Palau Singa Kechit and another yacht catchup.  We had lent a DVD to 'Giddyup' months earlier in Indonesia and finally got it back over sun-downers. 
Stunning sunset with the storms
Palua Dayang Bunting (The Island of the Pregnant Maiden) is an open anchorage but a must do to see the lake. After climbing up the jetty and a 10 minute climb on the hillside steps, there are another set of steps down to a deep blue fresh water lake. 
Trish and Lea hit the Banana Boat
Back to Kuah, the main harbour for Langkawi and tours of the island itself. Langkawi is steeped in legends woven into its history; the beautiful Mahsuri, the Mermaids Gold Ball and the Battle of the Giants. 
The Islands of Langkawi with Legends

The Lang is accepted as an eagle to the peoples of Langkawi
Kuah anchorage
Despite the perception of tourism, particularly with being a duty-free port, many of the islanders are actually farmers and fishermen, who are always willing to sell or trade.
Mandatory pancake making for the crew
Trish left us on the 19th December; she always had a smile and we loved having her aboard, particularly for pancakes. However, the Monsoon was coming in and it was time to think about Xmas.
The storms can be ferocious

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

Saturday, 9 December 2006


Plunge boldly into the thick of life... Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Another two nights of anchoring in the Malacca Straits saw us entering the Penang Strait. The first morning we awoke to a fleet around us! We were to get used to this over time. A large anchor light over our bow gives the fishing boats an opportunity to see us and generally keep clear.
The fleets get bigger
Motoring towards the Penang Bridge can be disconcerting; logic (and the chart) tells you the mast will fit but your eyes are sceptical.
Questioning the fit
A British yacht ahead was caught up in the nets according to the radio so a close eye needed to be kept in the narrow channel.
No worries

Tanjung City Marina (no longer in existence) was conveniently located right on the doorstep of George Town, the capital of Penang. George Town is accorded a listing as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
Tanjung City Marina street side
Tientos is obviously the pot of gold
The island state of Penang, with a population of 1.648 million, is a fascinating fusion of East and West. Penang embraces modernity while still retaining its traditions and old world charm. 
The modern
And the old which included the picture framer on the right

Long regarded as the food capital of Malaysia, its beautiful coasts and medical centres attract visitors from around the world. It is an excitingly diverse city, crammed with a juxtaposition of locals, expats and tourists.
A Star Clipper anchored off the Marina
Stunning coastlines

We spent 10 days on this trip catching up on maintenance, eating, sightseeing, eating, shopping, eating and more eating. Another foodies gourmet paradise.
Foodies choices
Street food
A local picture framing shop saw us have our boat pictures and Zheng He beautifully framed for a fraction of what we would have paid in Australia. We also had t-shirts and caps printed with 'Tientos'. The Toy Museum (now sadly closed) and the Penang Hill Funicular are must dos. 
The view from the top is spectacular
The Gents at the Toy Museum

It also teemed with rain as Typhoon Durian crossed the Malaysian Peninsula. 
Keith, as an ex-firefighter for both local and Airservices, always enjoys finding other firie spots. Bomba Dan Panyelamat means Fire and Rescue.
Fire and Rescue
At one of our favourite eateries we were approached by Trish, an Australian who recognised our accents. This meeting resulted in Trish joining 'Tientos' as crew for a circumnavigation of Langkawi. 
Penang skyline heading to Langkawi

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

Tuesday, 28 November 2006


There cannot be a crisis next week.My schedule is already full - Henry A. Kissinger
Lumut is one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Malaysia. The Royal Malaysian Navy base is here; said to be one of the most modern anywhere, and as we motored along the Dinging River, we kept a keen eye out for a submarine. The Lumut Waterfront Promenade is a spectacular parade of sculptures, shell-encrusted arches and maritime relics.

As we headed for the Lumut International Yacht Club, we passed the striking sail training tall ship, Puteri Mahsuri
Puteri Mahsuri
We were the only yacht at the 'yacht club' and for a very minimal fee also used the pool. Paying in advance probably allowed our rapid departure later.
Lumut International Yacht Club
The only yacht, international or otherwise, 'Tientos'
Power boat at the end got the rat!
We took the dinghy upriver to see the old 70s yacht club and the biggest naval shipbuilder in Malaysia (Boustead Naval Shipyard).
Think this yacht was here in the 70s too
Boustead Naval Shipyard
Lumut has night markets (Pasar Malam) regularly and was a foodies paradise.  We discovered the ABC Dessert of Malaysia which fast became Keith's favourite. Despite ingredients such as red beans and creamed corn, it is a divine concoction.
A cacophony of tastes but divine
There were also lots of hardware stores. This was important as we had discovered both the source of the smell and the stowaway. We had a RAT aboard! We keep our cartons of long-life milk in a specific locker in the saloon and this rat had chewed the tops of all the cartons; needless to say the milk had gone off. Luckily our pantry is sealed and he was limited in his foraging.  (I am using the generic 'he' for the rat). After trying mats, and normal traps to no avail, a lovely Chinese proprietor stated we needed a 'kill-em' trap. The trap being the same dimensions as a possum trap, we were beginning to wonder about the size of rats in Malaysia, as we had not yet seen it. Still didn't as the bugger kept setting off the trap in the middle of the night and absconding with another treat! 
On the 28th as I sat watching the sunrise, a very large shadow popped over the bulwark and ran along the dock to a power boat. It was the size of a small dog! 
Keith's last peaceful evening in Lumut
As Keith woke to the sound of the motor asking what was happening, I explained we were outta there - the rat had gone and so were we.

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!