Better late than never.

11th October 2015.

Happy Birthday Muzza.

 The Ockwell’s are gone, the trail of destruction is still thick in my memory, all rounded off with an extremely erratic blood pressure and a couple of days not drinking or eating in Royal Langkawi Hospital. Impossible to eat their food. Sort of all good now but stuffed if I am riding motorbikes again, everyone, except me, in the ward had there legs up in plaster, bandages applied to most appendages and bark missing everywhere, stuff that. One poor bugger was losing his feet.

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We met the Ockwells at the Langkawi airport and had a feast at Shin Mi, duck and omlette of course and a few Tigers as well. This years gift fest was just like Christmas, the Fuel Doctor made it all the way this year, half a cow and a good whack of a sheep, set of carving sticks for Jen, a dockers flag and jumper, the flag only had one day of flying above the bloody eagles one they also bought, a dockers shirt which got instant attention, a new hard disk packed with all the latest shows including Rebus, Banshee and Justified and some hairline crack fixer. Unreal.

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We hung out in Langkawi for the Dockers and Eagles preliminary finals, Muzz was happy, then we went on a small voyage around the local islands for a few days which ended up pretty good value, got Kazza snorkeling again and this time in crystal clear water, fish and other things all over the show. It was a bit whirlwind but we got to sit around on a pretty unpopulated beach drinking anything you could think of from the bar.

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On this night Jen and I went back to the boat for some cash, it was low tide and it was horror low, by the time we got to the boat the wind had picked up and poor old Boomerang, which was hanging off a mooring, was perilously close to the reef. Still had about a metre but the waves were at times halving that so it was do or die, pitch black now also just to put a bit more pressure on. With the dinghy, I took our new flashing Indo light and tied it to a mooring that was about fifty metres further out, then I had to go for a swim and get the extra rope tied up out the way, also get the shackle three quarters undone, Jen is in the Captains seat with her instructions, just give it shit when I say so. I then went back up the bow and using another rope set it up so once the bridle was free I could pull the mooring outside the starboard bow and clear of our props as we went by. By this stage we are both a bit techy but the shackle came undone easily with my fingers and the mooring buoy and all its rope did as it was meant to and Jen gave it shit, it was a beautiful thing, we motored out to the underwater flashing light, picked up the mooring and rejoiced. Checked the phone, WTF, was the message from our two missing Gilligans, they missed all the action but at least they got a feed in. By the time we got back in to shore Muzz had a newly acquired slur, Kazza was dumbfounded once she heard our tale of woe and after a couple more we hit the sack, big day all round that one.

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Grand final was a bit one sided, the wrong side as well so not much joy happened that day, poor old Muzz really hit the wall, could have been the twenty beers but not sure. We met up with a couple from Melbourne, honeymooners again, that’s two in two years, these guys were great except they were going for the wrong team. They joined us for drinks aboard then we hit the streets of Chenang where I introduced them to Theo at the good old Champor Champor.Last seen tacking down the street heading for their hotel. A biggy.

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Another sporting event that has been on was the rugby world cup, we could watch it live from England either at 2100, 2330 or 0300. The guys at the pub had a bed set up on the floor. It was a great world cup, the South Africans got done by the Japs, that was pretty funny, if you are an Aussie or a Kiwi, The Aussies just played each game to win, some good hard games then we had  good fortune with our draw after we beat Wales and ended up in the final against the Kiwi’s, who were looking like champions all the way through. The final started out like a kiwi fizzer but just into the second half we scored and converted and you could see us lift, the kiwis I had to put up with suddenly weren’t as chirpy for that fifteen minutes but it was to no avail as they beat us in the end. It was great to watch every game we played and I even know a few of the rules now, some I just can’t work out but if the umps arm is pointed at you it is all good. They use the TMO way too much, nothing gets past it, slows it down to much.

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I said seeya to G2 and G3 from my hospital bed, sorry about that guys but I am getting old, G1 was in charge of the car, she didn’t lose it this year which is always a good thing. It was another great Ockwell vacation, albeit a bit smokey at times, bloody Indo’s, it is always good to see you guys and thanks for Xmas in September.

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Had a few good Shin Mi’s with Gary, Andrew and Fiona and Tim, also had a couple of meals at Soprano’s, curry night and a Spanish one too with Gary, the Persians and Hubert. There is always something going on although Fish and chips Friday is now cut a bit short with no Raffi’s after any more, guess I am not the only one getting old. I still make it down to Theo’s though, getting home is a struggle.

Got pulled over the other day for a license check, mine was in my wallet on the boat, the cars rego sticker was faded and couldn’t be read and I was in a rush to get some bread, the poor guy just said, “just go, go away”.

We spent a bit of time getting the boat cleaned up and ready for a few weeks at The Butangs, give it the big wash and wax, fuelled her up and started restocking our cellar and beer box, not much would fit in the freezer after the Ockwells so that is a bonus, roast lamb and lamb chops here we come.

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Been at Lipe for a couple of weeks, easy to forget about the real world when you are anchored up in some bay around here with no contact with that great big world out there. We did have Radio Australia on the HF radio on weekends but trying to work out what day it was then an issue. Went on two dives with the Arials, formerly the Breezies, shit hot fun, I can’t believe the fish don’t seem to bugger off, with the speargun it wouldn’t be really fair, we have got enough meat anyway. I always thought the diving thing was a hassle but you don’t need to be that organized to have a ball. I only went to ten metres, Brian, with his ipad underwater computer strapped to his wrist looked like inspector gadget, Lyn also has all the matching gear, when they do something they do it right. I almost fell into the dinghy backwards with the gear on, horror, just about shit meself.

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The Persians rolled up for a few days, Pete cleaned his hulls, two days of slog, I checked ours when we got here and they weren’t that bad but thank christ I had another look, the antifoul must be just about finished because there were little barnacles everywhere. That is the longest any have lasted so Hempel Olympic + seems to be pretty good, cheap to.

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We got hammered for a few days with 20 to 25kn NW, a lumpy couple of foot swell and we had our anchor in with all the chain, pretty hard to get it all up so we stayed put, ended up quite a few boats did the same. First opportunity I got though, we were up and out of there and headed for Koh Rawi, a spot the Tiggers have gone to. It is hooting, the storms just go straight over the top of you, the water is pretty clean and there is a filthy little bay just west of where we have anchored, it is so nice, crystal clear water, creeks and a few critters as well and bugger all crap.

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The Persians had talked of climbing the mountain on Rawi, not sure how far up they went but I gave it a shot yesterday, horror, it is steep, my legs were like jelly after about ten minutes, they came good with a rest and a drink of water. From the ground I reckoned I would just cruise up the North side of the first set of rocky terrain, follow a ridge over the top and then make for the next rocky section. Dream on, by the time I had reached as high as the rocks went on the first bit that was enough, I still had to get down, my water was all gone so got a few photos and slowly descended. Coming down was easier but the last bit was a stretch both physically and mentally, but finally got around it, tell you what, it is bloody steep and if you do stuff up well I reckon you are rooted.

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Took a while to stop sweating back at the boat, few bits of bark missing, my dacks have got the arse ripped out of them, all in all great fun, not.

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We all went for a dinghy patrol and snorkeled a couple of good spots yesterday with a stop off at the Rangers HQ, you can get freezing cold Singha and Chang beers here for 60baht, pretty good value, the place is really tidy as well, they are doing a good job keeping the place presentable, you just have to go to the beach in front of us and the amount of shit on the beach is horror.

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Well we were meant to leave yesterday but didn’t get out of bed till 1100 so now we have to leave today, a Friday and even worse it’s the 13th, horror. Woke up and headed over to Koh Lipe to clear out, got there and a ferry had just arrived, load of people at Immigration and asked to come back later, we went and had a feed at Papaya Mom and then some shopping, it seems to be cooling down so head back to the Immigration office, gone to lunch and not back for two hours, spew, then notice a bit of weather coming in, well way more than a bit, a SW blow so back to Boomerang to sit it out. Starting to wonder about not leaving but I really want to go to the Langkawi Ironman and cheer on Jeynelle Lee again this year.

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We went for a mercy dash to the shore, a wave half filled the dinghy at the beach, dragged it as far up as possible for the two of us, next clear out while Jen bailed the dinghy with a stubby holder, only tool available, then back to the Ranga and out of there. It was pretty rough but with the sails up we made good time and got into Telaga just as it turned dark, the marina boys were onto it and we were moored up in no time.

Got up 0700 and made my way over to the pond, heaps of people there, the swimmers are already at it so just stood there on one of the most excellent mornings and took it all in. There are world champions, male and female, competing in this race so the swim leg was over pretty quick, good to see a good contingent of Australians up the front end, I just stood and clapped and they all said thanks, pretty cool, Then out the corner of my eye I saw 688 and only got to yell go Jan to which I received a thumbs up, I ran from the beach over to where I had seen her bike and waited for her to get to it but after a while out she came limping badly, I reckon I was as gutted as she was, poor thing, but she waved the medics away and grabbed her bike and pressed on, visibly shaken and upset.

I next moved up to the bike turn around spot, good view to be had here, met a Jap woman whose husband was racing, we gave him a hooting giddy up as he went past, Jeynelle came past, gave her heaps of encouragement but she pulled out after the bike leg, it would probably be a bit crap running a marathon on a bung foot. I don’t know what happened to her but I felt for her.

Have had a couple of good breakfasts at the Breakfast Club, John Spiders new venture, the advertising goes: Slow WIFI, Cold coffee and crap service, Give us a go. I don’t think there is any WIFI, didn’t drink any coffee but the service and food were unreal, best bacon and eggs I have enjoyed for quite some time, oh yeah, leave your tip under the ash tray. Some Pommy thing, oh so sorry, British thing. Very lahdy dah.

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At the moment we are aboard flight 6317 to KL then on our way to Perth, look out.

 

 

Langkawi, got to get out of here.

28th November 2013.

Up up and away we are on AAX the friendly friendly way, headed for the big Kl.

Only one hour late but it’s still in the air so shouldn’t winge to much. Had our final fish and chips Friday today with the mob we have met in Langkawi. Captain Mike invited us there when we were anchored up next to him in Tanjung Rhu. We have met the whole crew and geez you can have some fun with them, Keith and Joe our marina mates always keen for anything, Jonno and Michael, the Scottish father and son team who are always up to something, Terry and Jeff and George all make it up to Scarborough Fish and chip restaurant. Good fish and dingen beer. After the feed it’s off to Raffis in Chenang which is like Kuta was 30 years ago. Cheap drinks and good. It is pretty amazing how well you get to know the place when you spend a bit of time here, we know Langkawi like you wouldn’t believe, where to get bacon, Hendricks gin, diesel by the 100 litres for mr2 per litre, gout pills, good roti canni or really good roti canni, hire car for rm50, crabs and fish fresh from the sea, drill bits and taps you name it. We have made lots more mates, Keith and Jo, little Keith and Kath, the fish and chips crew, the marina dwellers and the girls at Telaga Harbour, are all great, so nice and friendly we bought them a cake and they loved it.

P1020785Ray and Bev joined us although their luggage didnt as it went somewhere else. It had 8 porterhouse steaks and snaggers in it so we went back and forth to the airport a few times trying to suss it out. The next day it arrived in the arvo so we went and picked it up and as soon as we got back headed north to Datai Bay and parked up for a couple of days there. Had steak on the BBQ, unreal, we had brekkie one morning at the Andaman and scrubbed the hull. Ray reckoned his hull was so shiny we would be doing circles. We then headed up to Tanjung Rhu for a few days, got some crabs and had a feast, Ray and Bev went for a walk and got escorted off a private beach then the heavens opened up while Jen and I watched a DVD. We went to Thailand for a BBQ on Ko Kai Tai Island one afternoon, a deserted place with a dunny in a shed, heaps of thongs and the usual crap you see floating around.

Took the guys to Jens Hong and we spent a bit of time having a beer and cooling off.

Showed them up the river and through the cave and then out hole in the wall and back to the boat via the open sea. It was a great day and pretty buggered by the end of it.

Ray and I tried our luck crabbing but got nothing so we packed up and headed back to Telaga to get ready for heading south. We almost had a mutiny but it was averted.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


We went back down to Penang for the Raja Muda yacht racing, it was soon apparent that Boomerang is not a racing machine but we came second in the rickshaw races which get a bit rough and ready but we quickly adapted to the rules and ran one team into the fence, it was a pitty that it was them as Alfie ended up being one of the best people we came across. The crowd hated us and started booing us during and after all our races, I was only trying to get in front they could have gone around us although we provoked it a bit more by giving them the fingers, spun them out when I started neighing to Jen in the crowd it was quite an experience.

We got protested out of the first yacht race for going around the wrong mark, the real mark had been dragged way out the way by some mono and we didn’t know, the Breezies rung us up and told us race control were trying to call us on the radio, ours was turned down, so we had to speak with them and they gave us the option of coming back and racing the second race or retiring, we cracked a beer and retired an easy decision especially on the up down course we had to sail. Told everyone that Jen was cooking a roast and watching DVD’s once we were back at the dock.

The prize giving night was a pearler with a 2 person dragon jumping from platforms, no bigger than a foot square that were close to 10 feet in the air, then picking up speed before lunging through the air and landing on another platform and coming to an instant stop. It was the best thing we saw in Penang. The two young fellas, who were the dragon, had looks of sheer joy once they finished the routine and high fived each other, I clapped for ages.

Got on it with the neighboring table who come from a boat called Lady Bubbly, they were mixing Captain Morgan rum into coconut milk, bloody good drink. There were heaps of coconuts.

The food was excellent, hot and well cooked by local people, there was so much that they fed all the security guards, I grabbed two huge plates of chicken sate and some other chicken that looked like KFC and took it out to the taxi drivers who bogged in big time. We had used these guys heaps so they all new me and I reckon taxi fares could be quite cheap next visit to Penang.

We also hit the hawkers market just up the road from the marina where I found my new food group, frog. Dry chilli frog will always be a favourite, bit like chicken without the bird flu. Finally got Jen to try oyster omelette, which she loved, Ray and Bev went the pizza and fish spagbog, an unusual choice. There were some great dishes to be had and we would recommend this place to anyone, a few km’s  past the marina on the right.

Next day we had to head 7 nm out to the shipping channel where the start boat was, it was blowing NW at about 8 kns, not real flash for us, but we were in amongst it for the start and would have featured in the photos as we all crossed the line, but once they sorted themselves out the other 3 light boats moved away from us. We held our height but not boat speed even though we clocked 8.7kns in 15kns of breeze pointing at 50 degrees. If only it had have been the 15knt NNE that was predicted.

P1020624                                                                                                                We sailed for nine and a half hours on the same tack, steadily improving our height but all of a sudden the breeze dropped to bugger all and we just bobbed around for a while. It was decided by all on board that lets get out of here so on with the yanmahs and off we went for Langkawi. At about 0200 we were passing the finish boat and let them know we had retired and the next radio call was steel de breeze telling them they had finished, good timing by someone, probably them. They did okay but we’re pretty glad to be finished, I was pretty glad to be back at Telaga harbour in our pen drinking beers reflecting on how we had performed and really it was lucky we came second in the rickshaw races.

We couldn’t be bothered sailing any of the inshore races as there was hardly any wind, Ray and Bev moved out to their hotel, I got my bed back, ripper, and I set about scrubbing the boat while Jen washed sheets and sorted out cupboards. We had one interlude with a BBQ out on an island with the marina mob. It was a great night with a fire on the beach and briars to cook on. One other excellent thing here is no bugs night or day so hanging out on a beach is a pleasure.

It took all day to clean the tops of the boat, then loading the fuel took half another, at 100 litres at a time. By Wednesday morning we were ready for our move to Rebak Island and haul out on the next day. Every thing went well, they even had a diver to check the straps, we gave the boat a polish and a big clean up inside which was 2 days of hard slog but when we finally shut her up it was a job well done. We stayed in the Taj resort for 2 nights which made a total of 4 nights in 7 months we had not slept aboard. It felt weird, the bed was to hard, but it was nice too.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We moved out and caught a ferry back to the mainland, Keith picked us up and we picked up Jo and said goodbye to Little Keith and Kath then headed for Friday fish and chips at Scarborough’s, drinks at Raffii’s with the crew, then to the airport and home we went.

Well that was a great holiday, 7 months of fun in the sun. I love the Asian people and here are a few tips when in Asia, always smile, shake everyone’s hand and most of all be nice.

There is no point arguing with Indonesians and Malaysians, they just don’t get it and good on them.

Seeya,

Captain Rod and Missus’s Jenny.

 

 

Langkawi, settling in.

15th November 2013.

We caught a mudcrab in Malaysia.

So what you may say but this guy is rare, the ones at the market are tiny and even the ones at restaurants here are pretty small. Took a couple of days to get him but well worth the effort. The creek is a beauty, good slalom course, so a fair bit of fun just getting there each time. He was a feisty bugger even the next day, but it was all to no avail as he got steamed and eaten.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The river system here is superb, mangrove lined with eagles feeding, monkeys going off, if they think you have some food they let you know, Jen was shitting herself. Once you are past them the river narrows to a gorge that can fit just one boat at a time for about a 100 metres, if I was a monkey this is where I would sit you would have the humans by the balls. After the gorge you wind around a bit then come to crocodile cave which you drive through and pop out the other end, pretty snazzy, then you can once again hit full power to where the floating restaurants are, have a new coconut and do it all again.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As a tourist destination this is a really good place to see and do they flock here. Heaps of Saudi Arabians and they pay rm400 for a two hour trip which is still good value. The boat boys just go flat out and stop then flat out again. They are really lucky to have this place.

We took to the high seas in the dinghy quite a bit as well, we found a hong that you can only drive your boat in through the cave on high tide, found a cove full of monkeys and flotsam and jetsam and we also found our favorite spot, now named Jens Hong. You can get in here at the top of the tide, boundies out the front make it a get some speed up and put it in neutral as you bounce across them then squeeze through a gap into a beautiful blue swimming hole. There is a white beach, stuff all rubbish and an excellent rock garden feature, shade and sunlight, we have knocked off some beers and wines in there. Took our neighbour Mike the Tassie in and he reckons Jens Hong is what it is now called.

Mike came with us on another trip out to a couple of islands a bit further out, half way to Thailand not really, they had a good beach and you could see the drop off clear as, even had coral. The beach was chocker full of crap, even the remains of an old fish farm. Someone has built a little shack, another really nice place.P1020597

Fridays is fish and chips at the Scarborough Fish and Chip shop with mates of Mike, good food, dingen beer and wine and some really good characters. A very enjoyable day, got home and went to bed and didn’t get up till 2200, big afternoon that one can’t wait for next Friday.

I have been getting to know the local fishermen, they are excellent and always like to see me, can buy fresh as a 2kg Red Snapper, which is like a finger mark in Australia, get crab bait usually a small barracuda, some fresh squid still alive in his fish well for rm50 off of Azimee and his wife.

Then you have Azrim and his wife Rockie, these guys are net fishermen, they catch crabs, whiting and Besar, rm50 gets you a dozen flower crabs, almost the same as a bluey, they are still alive and they don’t mind me going through their stash and taking all the biggys.

It is funny with both lots of fisherman you think that you are probably ripping them off then all of a sudden they chuck in another couple of crabs or another fish. They are very generous people if you get to know them. If we see them I know they like 7UP and Coke, Mike says he gives them hot coffees when it is pelting down, they like him around here. He left his boat at anchor in the river for 7 months and they looked after it for him the whole time, nothing pinched don’t think you could do that in even Australia.

We left Tanjung Rhu and headed to the north west tip of Lankawi, got blasted by a fishing boat, no real reason, just thought we were to close, at least he had a horn and you would have to be blind to not see the net. They are catching the tiny fish that they dry out and sell in the markets, they stink and so did the boat.

We have anchored up in Datai Bay, there is one other cat called “gone surfing” here, met the bloke his name is Todd, comes from Geraldton. Had a few beers with Captain Todd this afternoon and not a bad bloke, for a kiwi, there you go.

Went in to the resort for brekkie, huge fang, most food I have eaten in a day for about a month or so. They ended up giving it to us complimentary so saved ourselves rm160 which is about the most expensive meal we have had since Danga Bay Marina seafood restaurant and it was breakfast. This place is nice, no rubbish, nice beaches, the water is clear, can see the anchor in 5 metres, not many places you can do that up here. Went for a dive and they have coral, nemos, heaps of fish, some good size coral trout and cods.

Back at the boat I have now cleaned three quarters of the hulls, finish it off later or tomorrow, having a bloody Mary at the moment so it probably will be tomorrow. Pretty hard to stop at one don’t you reckon?

Well the boat didn’t get done, a bit of a forgone conclusion really. Hopefully we pulled off our first international money transfer for some more engine mounts from Singapore, why I didnt just buy 2 sets to start with, tightarse Rod.

We ended up back at the resort for tea, great food, wine and service, Sadhia, the main man gave us 25% discount and a couple of free wines, he calls me Sir Rod, I had to swim out to the dinghy, lucky I wore my best boardies and a shirt with buttons and had a shave.

Off to Talaga Harbour in the morning and then at some stage  Rebak Island Marina so our tour of Lankawi continues.

Seeya,

Sir Rod and Lady Jenny.

Langkawi, in the beginning.


4th November 2013.

Just sitting in a bay around the corner from RLYC waiting for the sun to come up and we will head north around the island. A bit of a sticky night, no breeze and rained a bit so sitting out the back in the cool. The best time for being in bed is around 0700 to 1000, nice and cool.

The guys off Cest La Vent, they reckon it means, with the wind, my translation was, close the hatch, marked all the good anchorages on a tourist map for us so we are going to spend a couple of days at each one and check the place out.

It is bloody hot here and when the clouds disappear you have got to find shade, the AC has been going flat out while we were in the marina.

We spent 11 days in the marina waiting for a set of new engine mounts, went to service the motor and it didn’t look right, a bit of further investigation proved me right, the bolts had both sheared off and the motor was wedged in between the mounts, lucky I guess.

Got hold of Patrick Cheng again, he is a ripper, at CLLS in Singapore and got them happening. Up here they won’t take a credit card payment over the phone which is a major pain in the arse, you have to go to the bank, get a number and wait your turn, then they will do a telegraphic Transfer. It takes a couple of days for that to show up in their account, then they will dispatch the parts to you. One good thing about the whole process is that in Malaysia, Friday is Sunday, so it is quite normal to receive parts on the weekend which is what happened.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Spent 10 hours in the engine room, Jen up on the winch, in the blazing sun, raising and lowering the boom which was our crane, worked a treat, the lifting lugs were right below the hatch, Brian Perry is onto it. Snapped a mounting bolt so had to go buy a tap then drill a new hole, tap it out and all ok. Then you have to set up the footings and ended up setting the other motor up as well as it was not right, thank god for the Yanmah manual. In the end it all worked and we did it ourselves so a few beers and wines were consumed at knock off time. I have never drunk so much water, pissing on the hour.P1020340

We have been to a few restaurants and have had good and bad results, one was good but the squat dunny was in the kitchen and the cook was smoking a ciggy while he was at it with his wok. Went to another place and the food was pretty good but by the time our fish came out we had finished the rice so we ordered some more, about half way through it I hooked into another rotten prawn, horror, that combined with a little kid spewing up a bucket full of white stuff on the ground in front of our table ended our culinary desires. A place we won’t be going back to.

Over on the tourist side of the island there are hundreds of restaurants, it is amazing they all survive. There is also a go cart track where Duncan and I had a ball thrashing the bags out of the carts. They are pretty fast and we were flying, we thought so anyway.

We all went on a cable car to the top of the mountain, had to que for an hour and it was the same at the top so up we went and down we came, all over in 15 minutes. Pretty cheap and you are a long way from the tree tops below.

We hired a car for the time we were there, rm50/day, and it got a fair bit of use, carting jerry cans of diesel from the service station, alcohol and shopping from the duty free shops  and touring around. There are happy hours all over the place, lucky they don’t have booze buses. I like their happy hours, they usually go for 4 hours. I also think my driving is becoming more free flowing, I don’t know why they even bother putting indicators on the cars, no one uses them or the lines on the road.

Lankawi is duty free so diesel is rm2/litre from the servo and to buy it from the marina was rm3.1 so payed for the car for a few days by getting 200 litres from the servo and using a trolley to get it to the boat. Drove the car right to the ramp, although you only get away with that once, I thought the poor girl was going to cry.

At the duty free shops you can get alcohol, cheese, endami beans all for unbelievable prices. We found a bottle of Hendricks gin that the Pamplemooses used to drink, cost rm100, a bottle of Gordons is rm18, jack Daniels is rm50, absolute is rm32 then you have the blue cheeses, even got blue castello and for the first time in a while big blocks of good cheddar although it comes from New Zealand. Same with the butter.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Going to the wet market is a eye opener. There are 5 parts to it, fish is the largest and you can get fresh fish daily. If you get there early, 0700, you have an excellent choice, we have bought garouper, red schnapper and prawns. They fillet it up for you, the guy filletted a 3kg schnapper for me butterfly style with a cleaver, impressive to see. You need to have good thongs on as you are slip sliding your way down the aisles in a quarter of an inch of water mixed with other stuff. My new pair are about an inch high so floating on fluid for me, don’t even get my toes wet anymore.

The next section is meat, they cut the chickens up so quick it is pretty cool, but I wouldn’t go near them, the meat is hanging off hooks and they just slice a chunk off weigh it and slap it into a plastic bag, didn’t look like they cleaned the dish on top of the scales much, bugger that.  Then you have veges, excellent fresh coriander, spring onions, limes, Kai lan, we even bought a cauliflower, which was tea a couple of nights ago, cauliflower cheese that Jen cooked to perfection. They have papaya, apples and oranges but they don’t have durian which is a bonus. I remember looking at Tommos face when he tried it at Pulau Aur, Jen was the same so they can stick that. By the time you reach the dry herbs the floor is not slippery anymore but it stinks of dried fish and other things, then you have the food hall, not for the faint hearted eating in there. There are hundreds of cats cruising around eating scraps that get chucked their way, like I said it is an eye opener.

Anything we buy from there gets washed on the boat, be it fish or fruit.P1020390

We had a lucky score the other day at the yellow duty free, that is how you tell the difference by the colour of the shop, we were going through her frozen foods and on top was 2 containers of not frozen shuimai, so we grabbed them and went to pay, the lady laughed and said we can’t have them as they were for her family so I grabbed them off her and pretended not to give them back, she ended up selling them to us and they are superb. We had a little feast of shuimai and Kai lan with oyster sauce for brunch yesterday. All the dimsum here is chicken not pork so when we came across proper shuimai she wasn’t getting them back. She has promised to take us to get some when we get back to Kuah Town.

Well we left our anchorage at around midday, slept like a log from 0700 to 1000, as usual and
upped anchor, we are now in a bay on Pulau Langgun which is unreal. Bit of breeze, had a good go at cleaning the hull, first proper swim since Tioman, geez that is a long time ago, heaps of little barnacles on the prop but the hull just has a covering of slime that is easy to rub off, wish I could remember the name of the anti foul we used as it works a treat. Jen even came in for a swim, Hempel is the anti foul it is good shit.

Went over to a fisherman to see what he was catching, squid and prawn, he had a little compartment in his boat with holes in the bottom for his live bait. His name was either Me Me or me is Me. Shot back to the boat and Jen made him up a bag of stuff, biscuits, peanuts, can of coke and a plastic cup full of ice and to top it off an old squid jig. He was stoked but I only got 3 squid for the effort, he offered me 4 without giving him anything, well we made a friend who now thinks Australians are alright.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Headed up to Hole In The Wall, very Kimberleyish in looks but lots of boats anchored up, some look like they have been there a long time. One was green all over and it wasn’t paint. There are a couple of floating restaurants and fish farms. It can be quite tranquill but come 0900 it is horror. Speed boats flying around full of tourists. They come so close I was going to get a bucket and empty it over as they shot past as if it was an accident. It is pretty amazing but I think they think it is good and that we enjoy it. Just smile and wave.

We are now in a river on the northern coast, had a spin out yesterday with tide and wind but the anchor held and once the storm passed we could get the anchor up and move into this anchorage. Only one other boat in here, Captain Mike another Tassie, reckons no one comes in due to the really dodgy bar crossing, otherwise the place would be chockers, he is right about the bar crossing.

P1020734Seeya,

Mister Rod and Missus’s Jenny.

Penang, it is still the same after 32 years, excellent.

September 2013.

We find ourselves in a bay on the bottom end of Pulau Danyung Bunting, in the Lankawi group. It is pretty nice, you can swim again and not much rubbish here even though there are fishermen everywhere. Jen and I set the crab pots up a creek this morning, there were traces of other previous crabbing so it is probably fished out but we have to give it a go.

Every time we have been there we have seen a beautiful kingfisher so it is a winner already. On the beach to the north of us we have small monkeys coming down to the waters edge splashing about, took the dinghy in and stirred them up, there are also some pretty big mothers there as well, not that keen on hanging out on the beach anymore, there is a resort somewhere as their boat arrives just about every day and drops some lovers on the beach with a shade thingy, I bet they don’t know about the gorillas in the trees checking their every move.

There are islands everywhere here, but no fish, that we can catch anyway, and it is a very picturesque joint with currents pouring through the many channels all over the place. It is not unlike the Kimberley but has different trees and no crocs.

We left Port Dickson after almost a week, good place, another one of those places you would never go to if you weren’t on a boat. Hired a car for the time we were there and pretty much saw every thing there was to see. The lighthouse was excellent, the city itself is all over the show with really wide streets so you can go anyway you want on any side, suited my driving style down to a tee, the wet market was great with fish, crabs, prawns, meat and veges of all sorts, fresh as and cheap. You are meant to haggle but it is so cheap I can’t be bothered, usually get something chucked in for free or to try.

We went down to Melaka and had a good look around, bit hard at first as we had no map or anything but eventually found the old part of town, lots of food, clothing and hardware shops that have been there for ever. This place was Portugese for a while back in the spice trade years so there is a mix of cultures and styles, the place needs a good coat of paint though. On our way back we went the coast road and soon found a sate stall and a outdoor Chinese restaurant. We had one of the best meals so far, sate followed by a local marpoo tofu meal, superb.P1010973 

On our travels around PD we met a group of old blokes who go prawning out the front of the power house drain, we went back twice to get a couple of kilos but missed them both times. Bit of a bummer as they don’t get fresher than that.

We were pretty much ready to leave PD but realized it was Friday so had to hang out for another day, ended up quite good met a couple who were looking after a big cat and they had a few electrical problems, sorted 2 out of 3 jobs and sent Mike off for a new alternator for the third, collected rm300 for the trouble, they were stoked but recommended to me not to tell to many people that I can fix electrical stuff otherwise you can end up flat out in engine rooms of boats, they have got a point. Pretty hot and sweaty occupation up here.

We left PD and headed for Penang, you have a couple of choices to get there but we chose not to  overnight and pulled in to Port Klang just before sunset, this is a port of huge proportions with so many cranes, they go for miles, the ships leaving are hitting 15 knots and the bow waves are huge, more crap fell over in one ship than the whole trip so far.

We found our way up to the Klang River and the Royal Selangor yacht Club where we were met on the jetty by Honey and a couple of boat boys. We hadn’t intended to stay but next thing we were in the bar drinking beers and wines to a point of not leaving, managed to cook a grouper fried Malay style, Jen got some fried rice from the restaurant and it turned into a feast. Listened to the Freo Dockers win on the HF radio and the sleep was excellent.

We woke and got our act into gear, just next to the RSYC is a loading facility for Indo freighters, huge old wooden ones and the way the skippers can maneuver them is amazing, they spin them around and reverse them into the tiniest gaps using tyres as fenders. Got to see it to believe it. We followed one of these boats out, a bloke had to stand on the cargo up forward and direct the skipper out of the river as he could see nothing in front of him for a good 200 metres.P1020077

We set our sails at the mouth and reached all the way out of the port, another array of cranes then back out to sea with the fishermen. We stayed just inside the 20 metre contour and pretty much had a free run. With the spinnacker up doing 8 to 10 knots we decided to keep going and not stop at Pankor, will go back there for the Raja Muda. Around 2000 we dropped the kite, set the jib and Jen took over until 0100 the next morning, had a few close calls and a boat come right up to us but no problems but still had to put up with a few fishermen and their antics. It seems that if they see a yacht they have to pass in front of you, the smoke billows out their chimneys as they give it the juice, they then just beat you but you have to change course as they are dragging a 200 metre net behind them. I have given up smiling at them now. 

We had been in touch with the Sutamonsters and they had teed us up a berth at the Straits Quay Marina so we headed up the strait under the bridges, apparently these are 30 metres above low water, massive things, the new one is almost finished. 

Spoke to Gary and Bev from Muscat who had been rushing to get to Penang and told them we were staying at the marina, spun them out as they were having to wait for some one to leave which ended up being us. There you go should have said goodbye to us and not left on a Friday. What more can you say.We rolled up to the marina and parked up right alongside a Perry 57, I want one, Jen reckons they are to big, I reckon she has got no idea. The Sutamonsters met us at the jetty and beers all round. The marina crew were great and once again we were welcomed to their pride and joy. It costs rm3/metre, plus electricity and water.
At SQM you are surrounded by restaurants and bars, probably not the ideal location for us, but it is good to know you can grab a beer at 1000 to 0100 just about every day. 0200 on a Saturday. There is an excellent Yumcha restaurant near the marina office. The marina crew are great and John even checks every boat every day himself.

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We rolled up to the marina and parked up right alongside a Perry 57, I want one, Jen reckons they are to big, I reckon she has got no idea. The Sutamonsters met us at the jetty and beers all round. The marina crew were great and once again we were welcomed to their pride and joy. It costs rm3/metre, plus electricity and water. 

At SQM you are surrounded by restaurants and bars, probably not the ideal location for us, but it is good to know you can grab a beer at 1000 to 0100 just about every day. 0200 on a Saturday.  There is an excellent Yumcha restaurant near the marina office. The marina crew are great and John even checks every boat every day himself.

                  

Duncan and I hired a couple of scooters, I think 135cc, brand new and we had a ball. Riding through the traffic was great fun, racing through the mountains was a hoot, Johnno, Cala, Brownie, Rod, Gunna, by the way Luke it is not to hard to answer once in a while, you would love it. I reckon a family holiday at Batu Ferringuy could be the go. The Penang GP and pub crawl would be a highlight. It is unbelievably cheap, we have breakfast at the local Roti shop for rm6 all up for both of us and you can make it to mid afternoon before you are hungry again,  then a curry and rice with a couple of Big tigers will get you  fed, plus another few tigers and bobs your uncle.

The old Penang and little India are still there, still had a bung ankle, so wasn’t keen on walking, buses are easy and you can get just about anything in Penang.

We went to the street markets in Batu Ferringhi and had a feed of Lebo then went to a reflexology place, I got the master and I may as well pull up stumps and go and die. Since then I have drunk so much water and actually chew my food to a paste, got to say it works my crook ankle is better, probably gout, he reckons I had high uric acid levels, I was running low on minerals etc. cut back to a few beers and a wine see how that goes, Jen is doing it too. Her bloke was a Chinese who couldn’t speak English so we never got to hear what was wrong with her, or Duncan or Jaine.

We extended our stay at SQM as the weather turned to shit, northerlies and storms and left on Tuesday morning at 0700. Motored most of the way but got some wind towards Langkawi. The ocean was normal, full of rubbish and crap, we caught a bag fish but chucked it in the bin. We made it to our latest anchorage about 1600, and here we are.

Just checked the crab pots, heaps of little ones which is pretty amazing, so left them in for the night might get a biggy but I am not holding my breathe.

Bugger all crabs, didn’t expect much more, we have now made our way up to the Royal Lankawi Yacht Club, not to bad they have got a pool and a nice bar on the water, oh dear here we go again.

Seeya,

Captain Rod and Mrs Jenny.

Another Email on PD.

 We are at a place called Port Dickson, meant to only overnight but reckon its worth hanging around for a bit. Plus can’t leave port on Friday so most likely Saturday morning.
Drove down to Melaka yesterday, got lost and dropped in on a copper, not good, but just kept going, snuck in front of a bus at some lights then shot down an alley and hid. He drove straight past us, I don’t really think he was that bothered. Melaka is nice but PD is really nice, met some old Chinese guys down the beach, they were prawning and got yacking to them, so got to go down tomorrow to buy a kilo of them for the equivalent of $10. Can’t get fresher and they are catching them out the front of the Shell bunkering jetty so they should be safe, what you reckon dad? We went to two markets this morning, fresh fish, veges, blokes chopping up cow meat with axes that sort of thing, got me bewildered how everyone isn’t sick. Met an old bloke who was telling us stories about the war and the Australians who came here to fight the Japs, bit hard to understand but they like Aussies.
Had the good old roti canni at some little stall, met a high up politician who thought I was an admiral, we are staying at the Admiral Marina, so now I am Admiral Rod. Just kind of rolls off your tongue don’t you think? His body guard was taking photos of us, don’t know why. Hope they weren’t mug shots.
Just spent 10 minutes totally confusing the hire car bloke, in the end I couldn’t rip him off which even confused him more, he needs to go and do some Maths, at primary school. There is never a dull moment. We are trying to find some mint to grow on the boat as it is hard to get, Jens on the mission although she was talking about buying a bird today and when we are sick of it letting it go, sounds like rats to me. So that isn’t going to happen
Time for lunch, 30 okra, cost rm4, which is about $1.25, probably won’t bother growing them again, I reckon they probably cost us $1.25 each.
Seeya
Admiral Rod and First Mate Jenny.

Danga Bay Marina.

October 2013.

“Got a beer?” The fisherman asks, thought you guys don’t drink, “yeah but real thirsty”. I gave them a can of 7UP each and off they go in their boat opening the cans with their teeth.

 

We are parked up at Pisang Island in the the Malacca Strait. 

We have just spent 2 relaxing weeks in Danga Bay marina. Believe me the place grows on you, at first we were spun out about the rubbish in the water but it just disappeared, where to who knows. There are 3 sea otters living at the marina, Jen saw one of them, I didn’t, which was a bummer or as Acok says Obama.

We made it to Nongsa Point, with engine trouble, so Clement, the boss, and Acok, the legend, let us come in and suss out the motor to at least be able to use it. In the end had to get hold of the Power Equipment in Fremantle to get any help and info, they are good value, couldn’t understand a word the mob in Singapore were saying. P1010821

Acok took us up the mangroves where we saw a bloody big tree snake and the most awesome kingfisher, on you Acok.

When we left we left the radiator cap only turned to the first knotch and made it. Once again we crossed the eastern and western shipping channels this time with 3 knots of current up the arse, doing 9 kns at 2000 RPM, kept up with a huge gas ship and in the end passed just behind after talking to the Captain, who I must say was pretty stoked to be talking to an Australian on a yacht, we had a good old yack.

We cut through the Singapore strait islands then through the anchorage full of tankers, passing so close you could yell out gidday, the last guy got the shits and took our name but haven’t heard anything since. Once you come round the corner into the Johor Strait you can see the causeway bridge and old fishing farms, houses on sticks on the Malaysian side and on the Singapore side there is dry docks, huge buildings and chimenys, we watched a continuous line of rubbish trucks going into the building with 3 huge chimenys, so no wonder why the place is clean. Poor buggers on the other side if the wind is from the south.

Going under the bridge was classic, we were going to clear it by metres but had to play the game with Jen, she was spinning out especially the last 10 metres but once under she relaxed. We were followed by the Singapore sea police all the way up the river, they were like a relay team. We passed Puteri harbour which looked pretty flash but headed on to Danga Bay, which is right in the city of Johor Bahru, and the closer we got the more fish farms and boats we encountered. We arrived on a Saturday arvo and the boys from the marina had us tied up and powered up in no time, Herman was a ripper and showed us the ropes. That night there was a MMA, mixed martial arts, competition at the marina and as we were paying customers it was free. I had to go and geez it was good, they were in a cage and beat the crap out of each other, one bloke took about 5 minutes to come too, they even had chicks going at it, what more could you ask on the first night

P1010853

Around the marina is a few restaurants, pizza was good, seafood was superb but expensive, they have got fish tanks and fish tanks and fish tanks, muddies, Australian deep sea crabs, American spikey crabs, Canadian crabs, blueys, then all the lobsters from around the world, then all the fish you can think of, it is pretty cool. We had a chilli crab, clams and a couple of grouper out of the tanks during our stay, but it was expensive, for JB that is.P1010888

You can go to 7 Spices Restaurant and sit in a air conditioning and have roti channi for a couple of ringotts and that will keep you going till tea time. In the end though we were pigging out, not sure why but it might have something to do with quitting smoking, got a guts on me like a sumo, so will have to work on that. Great yumcha in JB too.

We went to Singapore for a couple of days, how’s this for arse, picked a hotel by price, not cheap arse but not cappo e
ither, we caught the bus from JB did the customs bit in JB then Singapore, I didn’t realize the Johor Strait is blocked in the middle by a causeway, no bridge, you get to Singapore, get off the bus then head for the immigration and customs then back down the stairs and onto a bus and off you go. Our bus was heading to Queen Street which turned out to be about half a k from the hotel, sim lim tower, Bugis st, the chandellery and Fatty’s Restaurant.

P1010912

We ate like kings and on the first arvo i sat in Chinatown drinking tigers while Jen went shopping, I watched the world pass by, you name it they were represented and with the sun shining and the tiger girl keeping the beers going, it was hooting.

Follow that up with sweet and sour fish, tofu and fried rice for tea a Fatty’s and there is a day worth living.

We got all the stuff bought and collected and headed back over the border next day and back to the marina in a couple of hours. Got stuck in to the new water pump and had it done by tea time. More food. See what I mean.

By now we were having a bit of fun with the waiters at the seafood restaurant every time we went, they reckon,”we good customer come back lots”. When I said it was expensive it never cost more than $30 each and that included wine, beer and food. Old Lawrence, one of the marina mob reckons he could live for a month on what we spent in one night, bugger that.

Now we get to the marina mob, well this is not your average marina mob, there are comparisons with the Geographe Bay Captains, these guys are unreal.

Lizzie and Wally, a couple of yanks that they must have broken the mould to, the most friendly and helpful guys, always offering beers, the use of their motorbike and a yack anytime, there should be more of them.

Captain Bruce, been up there a while and ready to head home to Queensland in his 45 foot yacht. A great place to stop for a beer, loves twisting you arm for another, left there pissed a few times only to go back to Boomerang and find Jen ready to go and have tea.

We would take him out for yumcha, he would drive, so we didn’t need a cab, then pick up fuel, do the shopping whatever, great bloke and probably the only person I know who would go swimming at Danga Bay, besides the otters.

Gary, don’t call me Gaz, a bloody kiwi and I didn’t pick it, just whiling away the days, his wife works in Singapore and he hangs on the boat, funny that, Kiwi’s. Not a bad bloke though, I rewired his cabin lights, a job that started out with changing switches then turned into a mission.

Our neighbours rolled up from France, oldies, and also good crew.                                                                                                                                                                     Don’t know there names.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Terrence, Angie and the crew from the marina are excellent dudes, always helpful and you can see they are happy when you are, same as the Nongsa Point and Keppel mob.

On our last night they had a Potluck at the marina, oh what a night, it was for a young fellow by the name of Luke whose 30th birthday it was, everyone turned up and it went off in true yachtie style. There were Malaysians, Australians, Americans, Germans, Thai, Philpino, Dutch, Spanish, French, you get the idea I am sure. Angie was doing the karaoke with a few takers, everyone was up dancing and then the finale was pass the parcel yacht fashion, what a crack up, each layer had a question like whose got the biggest belly, I tried but came second, baldest head, I got a show at that as well but a kiwi beat me, biggest nose went to John, Luke’s dad, if they had have had biggest hand, foot or probably any part he would have won, he is a big bugger and a Tassie to boot.  His wife Kate was a ripper as well. Luke got up and danced with May, a good looker and his hand was creeping lower but he was the true gentleman. They had all types of food, my favorites were the gooey roast pumpkin and cauliflower cheese and the pasta bog, which I scoffed, 3 serves. Weighed myself on the scales at the library before, 84kg, and at the end 89kg. Need to get out on the water again I reckon. 

Met a couple of Queenslanders who were good value, I think I spun Bev out by eating so much, shit happens and it did regularly. They left without saying goodbye so probably in the bad books there, you get that.

I went to a little market on our last morning, 0600, on Waly’s motorbike, not sure if it is legal, bought some more pig from the Chinese bloke. He has a whole pig cut up in the back of his van, you just ask for the bits you want, 17 ringotts a kilo. We now have a freezer full, Jen cooked a curry the other day and it was great. The pig didnt taste piggy at all. 

We had a send off at the jetty at 0730, Herman came, Bruce, the neighbours and a Dutchie. Headed out the Johor Strait dodging nets and pots all the way. Dropped in to Puteri, checked on Steel de breeze and looked for the Sutamonsters but they were gone.

Something to look forward to catching up with them again, last time we saw them was Bawean Island in Indo.

Made it to Pisang Island and anchored up, then woke up to a north west storm, bugger, pulled anchor and shifted to the lee of a small island and anchored up again then no sooner had it calmed down that another storm hit from the south. Shifted back to our overnight possie and had a vege cook up. Okra, mushy’s and some strange beans that tasted great but left a funny taste in your mouth, sort of tastes like stink bombs smell.P1010927

On our way so it looks like net dodging tonight and with a bit of luck we should be in Port Dickson  in the morning.

It just never ends. Cheers to Acok, Clement, Bruce, Lizzie and Wally, Terrence, Angie, Herman and the rest of the Danga Bay mob and birthday boy, Luke.

Seeya,

The Ranga’s.

 

Tioman, The Surprise Islands.

25th September 2013.

Holy crap Johnno battern down the hatches, get the washing off the line and hang on. It’s 0330 and we are being hit by another Sumatera, this one is a beauty. When we went to bed it was just lightning way away to the north but now it is bearing down on us big time. We watched it approach on the radar as well as visual, the radar had us just copping the edge of it which was bad enough, 30 to 40kns, Windy the wind generator is going off, thunder, pouring rain it’s all going off but then it starts to peter out or so we think. As the main storm passes to the west of us the swell suddenly increases and we are now being dragged through waves by our mooring. It’s brand new and very secure so we just have to sit it out. Up comes Moe not looking real flash, where’s the bucket, then she’s driving it, poor bugger, her last morning and she gets crook for the first time. Try to lighten the atmosphere with a bit of mucking about, doesn’t go down to good. I reckon Moe is looking at the ever increasing waves and wishing she was already at the airport. By 0800 the wind has gone, the swell is dropping and things are looking up. That’s how it goes living on a boat.

We have just spent a month sailing and motoring around Tioman Island and it’s surrounding islands, have only set the anchor once, moorings everywhere, and have seen our share of beautiful locations with beaches, coral, fish and towns and caught heaps of squid. Most of it great but then some places like Salang, I would struggle to return to. This place from out at sea looks idillic, lovely bay, colorful buildings sitting out over the water, resorts tucked away into the jungle, dive boats everywhere and the usual big long jetty but try eating there. I ordered a Tomyum goong and as the menu was a bit Thai I waited expectantly, Jens noodles turned up and looked like spaghetti bog in soup, my soup rolled up looked great tasted ok but then as I went for the prawns they were black, so I fished them out and just as a thought I picked one up and sniffed it, it was rotten, they all were rotten, I held back the vomit and Jen and Moe commented on my strange look. I took them back and told the miserable woman who runs the show they were rotten, she smiled and said thank you. She still wanted me to pay, never ever go to Salang and if you are physically forced to by pirates or spacemen do not eat there. We shifted to another place where the soup was OK, but the simple old hamburger was rawish and tasted like crap.

The diving is excellent, you can moor up and swim to most spots and usually the best coral and fish are in less than 4 metres. Reef sharks swim past, it’s funny as when you see one, you come up to the surface and say did you see the shark, the Japs, who have a set of goggles and snorkel, a life jacket but no flippers turn round eyed as they sort of thrash their way back to the dive boat they came from. We had a favorite mooring about 50 metres from a small island that has the second best coral. Moe and I would swim across with bread rolls and feed the fish, they went into a frenzy all around you so thick you could touch them. We got Jen over there and would crumble the bread around her, funny.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another spot is Monkey Bay where we tried to stay overnight twice, both times having to pull up stumps and head back in the dark to the safety of the moorings at Tekek, the main town. One afternoon after the tourists left we were alone in the bay and all the monkeys came out to sniff around, they climbed out of the jungle in single file and moved across the beach. Heaps of them. 

On the east side you have Juara Beach, bit rocknrolly but good mooring and if the swell is low you have protection from S to NE. You can buy a beer and have WIFI, pretty hard to get a meal before 2000 as they cater for large groups, but we found some other good restaurants there.

Our new staple breakfast diet is now roti and curry. For 2 ringot Malaysia you get 2 pieces of freshly made hot roti and a small dish of runny curry to dip it into, superb, the only other breakfast option is fried chicken and rice rm3, wierd for brekkie but they all love it.  

We explored the southern island of Pulau Aur, pronounced owl, and anchored up in a bay that a charted boat captain in Batam recommended. We drove right up to the reef and backed out letting the chain out as we went. Jumped in and made a torturous path for the chain through the boondies and came to one that had a vee in it and would not let the boat go very far in any direction, worked a treat and on the last night saved our arses as a swell come from nowhere and with 30 knots on the nose and a metre swell from aft it turned ugly quick. The whole time we were there it had been blowing its guts out but that just held us comfortably and with the breeze made for good sleeps but the swell was shocking. We shifted around the corner and moored up for a night, cost us rm50 but it was safe. We passed another cat and I asked if he was moored or anchored, anchored he yells back, I replied pretty deep for anchoring isn’t it, our depth was showing 28 metres, he said is it. Charter boat say no more. We went ashore and walked the boardwalk, scored a coconut and kicked back. Another charter boat started heading out to our first anchorage, we warned him of the swell, he looked at us like we were dickheads and off he went, then he came back, bloody French.

Moe has been and gone now after a month back on board Boomerang. She rolled up to Singapore white and just getting over pneumonia so the weather would hopefully do her good. Once we got to Tioman she found her straps, diving most days, bike riding and we got her paddle boarding which came pretty easy to her. We dragged the hookah out, diving one that is, and she was off to the bottom and loved it, it was a pity when the battery went flat, she looked like she was having a ball. We still have a coconut that has a couple of faces, happy and sad, on it that her and Johnno drew. It has become another crew member. Moe had a good injury, broke her toe, black and blue, but didn’t whinge to much about it and was soon back diving so all was good. She flew out of Tioman, something I want to do, to Singapore then home looking tanned and fit and healthy. It was great seeing her and its a pity the month flew by.

Johnno had an unusual trip to Tioman, he caught a plane to Singapore, a bus to Mersing, a ferry to Tekek but didn’t get off so ended up at ABC and walked a few Ks back to Tekek then we made him swim to the boat, although I think he was pretty happy to cool down. In true Johnno form he took a dive off the dinghy head first onto the sand, Brufen 400 to the rescue, but he didn’t complain once even though he was visibly hurting. I was keen on getting the Pethidene out but doctor Rod was not called for.

We hired motorbikes twice and rode from Juara to Tekek and back again twice and we rode every track, path, road you name it. One of these tracks, a rutted dirt one ended up at a Moesque, as they are now called due to Moe wanting to live in one. We would leave the concrete on our 110cc honda road bikes then tear down this track enduro style and pop up at the entry to the Moesque, turn a few heads and be gone. We rode through back yards,  front yards, anywhere and I can pretty safely say we toured all that were available. The best was up in the jungle, the road is concrete and sections of it were like the Isle of White GP. Not one get off and we did it over and over again, getting quicker all the time. It is supposedly a 45 minute ride but 15 is more like it.

We hit the resort one night to see the band, good fun, Philipinoes singing country and western. Walking through the resort made me think of all the stuff we do, not only for free but different things because we can, compared to the other type of tourist. Down by the river most of the resort people get dropped off to a boat then all day bouncing around in it, windy or not, then back to the hotel for cocktails at the pool. The cocktails at the pool is the one thing they have over us, oh yeah and the AC and the TV and the WIFI.

Then you have the marina mob. These guys just love being tied up to a safe jetty, washing their own clothes in buckets and then hanging them out all over the boat, pulling something apart, leaving it on the jetty. The marina here is way different to any others I have come across as it costs rm280 a month, about $85, and a lot of them have been there a long time. Quick trip to Singapore and the 3 months starts again and again and again. Too bloody hot in there for me plus there was a dodgy character who we called Jock, as he was always in them, he just comes out with the most suss comments, always going on about the nudist beach, does your wife go topless, crap like that.

We did meet some good marina people, Martin, a long time resident and Julie who was always happy. Old Martin doesn’t have much time left so is happy to pass on any helpful knowledge he has picked up. Has got us headed for Johor Bahru instead of Singapore, a third of the cost for anything, only rm100 per week which is better than $100S a day. Not sure what the marina is like but he reckons its flash, I will let you know.

Well all in all Tioman is a great place, the people are nice, had to hire a motorbike to go and say goodbye to all our new mates in Tekek before we left, they cook fish to perfection, not much chop at Tomyum and since the place is duty free it is possible to live here cheaply. At first we were splashing money left right and centre but by the end a rm100 would last a few days and for me that’s pretty bloody good.

I was going to end it there but today is a worthy inclusion.

We woke early to a thunderstorm, 0400, I typed this as I kept an eye on the storm. At about 0800 I started up the engines to head out but could hear a noice that I don’t normally hear. It was coming from the starboard engine, so I thought I had better check. Stripped the bed and stuff, opened up the engine room hatch and checked it out, oils cool, the water  was low so topped it up, almost a litre, not normal. We got going, swell and wind against us and I could hear a noise like the prop was cavitating so once again stripped the bed and had a look, this time the bilge is full of oil, horror. Checked the oil all good, checked the water, all gone. It had mixed with the oil in the well under the engine, reckon limp wristed Len was a bit lazy and just used to dump it in there.

We then put up the sails and headed as high as we could, 12 kn SSE and sitting on 45 to 60 degrees alls good. I am down stairs trying to fix the engine and Jen is driving, we come across a fishing net so we tacked and headed out to sea. All of a sudden out of the blue it got cold, Jen thought it was great until she saw the clouds, so off we went trying to outrun it but then we had a wind change, all of a sudden we were pointing in exactly the same direction as on the other tack. The wind picked up to 25kns and then we are flying along heading where we wanted all be it into a storm. It passed pretty quick but was followed by another this time hitting 28kns, we reefed down in between and much easier to control. About an hour later we were passing where we were meant to get to for the night so we kept going. We finally came out the back of the storm but there was another one coming, this one had lightning and thunder and as black as, I was going to put another reef in but thought better of it and dropped the main completely. Just in time although I kicked my tequila over, spewing. We got fairly flogged for about an hour then it slowed down a bit and  rained, we  were near 2 fishing boats when the rain hit but you couldn’t see them. Once the rain stopped we looked for a place to park up for the night and found a bay with muddy bottom but pretty open to the elements, by then we were a bit frazzled so good enough.

Set to work on the motor, found a leak through a perfectly round hole on the water pump housing, but on the drawings there is no hole, plugged it up with some jizz and refilled the system, no leaks. Left it to set and had a few beers then bed. Woke up at 0300 and gave it a run, seemed good but after a bit checked the level and it had dropped,so back on the hunt for another leak and you beauty found it. Fixed it and off we go but it made a funny noice then the lights went dim so shut it down again.

So now we find ourselves heading west through the Singapore Strait with one motor and the jib up with a 1 knot tide doing its bit to help. Ships are coming and going but at least the suns just come up. 

I don’t believe it, a change of fortune, our old mate Acok from Nongsa Point has given us permission to go there to suss out the motor. Back to Indo again, bargain as the tide was about to change and that would have stuffed everything, there is a god, plus I have not had mie goring done properly for a month.

Seeya,

The Ranga’s.