Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Lumut

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! 

Friday, 24 November 2006

Pangkor

I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list - Susan Sontag
Malaysia, like Northern Australia, has a 'wet' and 'dry' season corresponding to the southwest and northeast monsoons. Having said that, even the 'dry' can deliver massive storms. We found the Malaysian Met Bureau was fairly accurate, but if we saw the larger fishing boats heading close to shore so did we. Isolated thunderstorms is translated to virtually every day around sundowner time just after anchoring.
Another storm brewing
Our anchorage at Pulau Lalang (Sembilan Islands) came just before a storm in excess of 40knts. Following our 'what-if' philosophy, our 170m of 13mm chain does not stay in the anchor locker, so we rode out the storms quite well. 
The following morning we arrived at the western side of Pangkor. Pangkor is a mountainous island with its highest peak at 1216 metres. The roads circle the island which offers exclusive resort accommodation, backpacker dorms, beautiful beaches, scenic nature and foodie's dreams.
So many options for the tourist
Tientos at Pangkor
This was the first time our dinghy had been in the water since Indonesia and it was delightful to motor around the bay and enjoy a swim. 
Tourists taking dive lessons
Still a quiet beach to be visited
Some resorts did not recover from the Tsunami of 2004
Apart from sampling the local cuisine, it was time for some repairs and maintenance once more in an exotic location. The rudder gland was tightened; stern gland and engine checked; 12v socket for the anchor light installed in the anchor locker; plug on the anchor light replaced and the nylon disc on the anchor roller replaced. The fuel leak from the injector pump had increased but tightening the injectors solved the problem and a motor oil leak was caused by a soon rectified loose filter. The water system was also integrated; both tanks in the saloon feeding the galley now operating through one set of valves. Always a sense of achievement when jobs are finished.
We woke the next morning to 6 fishing boats dredging the bay and scores of tourists and locals venting their anger from the beach. Whilst a protected area, this transgression made the Malaysian media as concerned citizens voiced their strong disapproval.  
Fishing for Anchovies
Nothing left


A smell was emanating from somewhere in the saloon so we elected to head for Lumut, which offered lots of shopping options, and track the source.


May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Port Klang

Adventure is worthwhile in itself - Amelia Earhart
After fueling up at the very convenient Marina bowser dock, we were once again off to meander the Malacca Straits, in company with solo sailor Michael on 'Renaitre'. After another pleasant overnight anchorage (still in the middle of nowhere), we entered the Klang River to anchor near the Royal Selangor Yacht Club. This is the host club for the 'Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta', and we were keen to visit and watch the frantic activities of the participating yachts. 
Riverside views
A forgotten competitor?

Having Pewter goblets aboard for rough weather (we normally use glass as we do not 'camp') a visit to Selangor for more Royal Selangor Pewter was in vain. They had moved to Kuala Lumpur. Oh well, another missed opportunity to spend money.
The participating yachts from all over the world

Royal Selangor Yacht Club

Australian Maid was to go on to win the Race!
This was the time a strike was held by the keepers of the rubbish gate upriver and down it came! 
A sea of rubbish

Tactical Directions

After looking for heads inside motorbike helmets, watching 'Tactical Directions' drag frequently, including at 4 in the morning, we decided 2 nights was enough. Little did we know we had a stowaway!
We left the busy port of Klang to anchor at Pulau Angsa to watch the start of the race. The overnight storms were quite spectacular and we enjoyed being at anchor as they raged around us.
Port Klang is the main port for Kuala Lumpur
The original lighthouse on Angsa was built in 1887 and it was interesting to see the differences. There is now a resort on the island, but as we motored past it looked quite empty.
Resort on Angsa with lighthouse on other side of island
The anchorage is always comfortable
Old and new Pulau Angsa Lighthouse
Another storm rolling in
Our next overnight anchorage was a great find - behind this house about 8m off the Malaysian Coast. Although we anchored here many times on our Malacca wanderings we never did find out what it was for. On this night, a local fisherman stopped us as we were dropping the pick and moved us along about a a mile. No payment necessary and no nets. A win-win situation.
Title for another movie?
May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Admiral Marina Meanderings


Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind - Seneca

We had time to give Tientos a thorough clean before the Rally fleet arrived two days later. Major Han, the Marina Manager, had asked us to help out so with Lea on the radio, Omar on berth allocation and Keith and Chandra assisting in the tie up, it was an exhausting day for all.

Although we were not part of Sail Malaysia, we were invited along anyway to all the festivities (helps to have friends in high places).

With everyone crammed into large tourist buses, we visited the Armed Forces Museum, the King’s Palace (now a museum) for lunch, an Ostrich Farm for Ostrich races, (and rides for the adventurous, although I declined to have the flea-ridden feathers between my legs), and a Village Chief’s house for ‘Deepa Valli’, a Hindu festival, for another traditional meal.  So much food!
Interesting history at the Military Museum
Lunch Entertainment
King's Palace
More food and generous hospitality
 
Lorraine from Katani II taming the ostrich

Remember the friends in high places? Well an official dinner was held for the Rally with various dignitaries and officials and we were invited to join the hosts at the main table. That was fun as we didn’t have to fight for the buffet as we enjoyed first class service and a prime view for the festivities.
Harrier and Tientos at the Official Table
For a bird's eye view

Another tour was arranged to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, whose modern skyline is crowned by Petronas Towers, the world’s tallest building. A visit to Aquaria was a little disappointing as it did not seem as vibrant as the Aquarium in Melbourne. 
Smog over Petronas Towers
A visit to Putrajaya, the federal capital of Malaysia, was a picture of stunning architecture and sculptured gardens. The Putra Mosque was magnificent.The pink-domed Mosque is constructed with rose-tinted granite.
The pink-domed Mosque
View from the Convention Centre at Putrajaya
But after another long day, we were over bus tours, so with Dennis and Patsy from ‘Harrier’ we opted for a 3 day stay in Melaka in the opulent Puri Hotel.
Welcome to Melaka
Deceiving from the outside
Opulent inside

Keith checking into the Puri


Melaka is a blaze of colour
Even the Church
The Malacca River
View with lunch
  
Melaka is home to the 1421 Imperial Pavilion (same owners as the Puri) and the details of Zheng He's voyage displayed throughout. The puppet show showing his life (and castration) is quite hilarious and worth seeing.
The Pavilion
Zheng He's fleet




Port Dickson has open-air markets and a large ‘wet’ market, selling poultry, fish and meat still on the hoof.  Keith picked up a new machete for the coconuts whilst I selected a kitchen cleaver with an embossed copper handle, for the chickens. 

The rest of our 11 day stay was taken up with boat work, sorting out the washing which had gone ashore but didn’t come back in the same bag, getting a new awning for over the cockpit and finding lots of interesting local Indian restaurants. 
Zheng He's map of the World adorned our aft cabine
‘Australian Maid’, crewed by Darwin friends arrived at the Marina, enroute to Selangor for the Raja Muda Regatta. I gave Morgan, the skipper, a copy of my Total Tide program and said we would see them there.

It was time to head north for more exploring and to check out the race.  

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!