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

Langkawi

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

Penang

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!