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Gong Xi Fa Cai

February 3, 2013

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The Year of the Snake

Yes, it’s getting close to the New Year and the decorations are out in full force.  And I always thought the west overdid Christmas decorations but it’s nothing like the decorations here in preparation for the new year.

We left Singapore with a lovely easterly wind that shot us up past all the anchored ships and around the corner into the Malacca Straits.  Singapore to Penang routing

It is always daunting when navigating the Singapore Straits. Departing was no exception. We remembered well the first time to enter the Straits on the trip over from Borneo. Arriving at sunset 25nm north of the straits was not the best strategy but we decided to enter anyway. It was the lights from the anchored ships that gave us confidence we could make the approach as the lighted ships at anchor provided enough light and made it easy to determine if another ship was actually moving or at anchor.Our first destination was Port Dickson but we did manage to get a night at anchor in the Water Islands just south of Melaka.

The challenge came on entering the straits when we had to get to the right side of the channel to place ourselves between the ships and the shoreline. Timing our moves carefully we cut across the outgoing ships, sailed mid-channel for a while to asses the incoming ships and then made a dash for the other side of the channel. I likened it to standing in the middle of the 17 lane 401 freeway north of Toronto and then making a dash to the other side of the highway and occasionally standing on the white line as a transport trailer rushes by then making it to the next lane!

We did finally make it to the other side and travelling inbound followed behemoth ocean tankers travelling only slightly faster than ourselves until we made it by dawn to the spot to check in (see photos on previous post) and from there only 2 nm to One 15 Marina.

So on leaving we planned to leave in full daylight and hope we could make it north of the Straits of Johor before night fell.  We were successful, the wind remained and we sailed on up the Straits of Malacca towards Port Dickson anchoring at night along the shoreline eventually reaching Port Dickson after a few days.

Port Dickson Marina

Port Dickson Marina

Port Dickson was a wonderfully quiet and peaceful marina a little ways from town with a few foreign boats and a few tourist boats plying the beaches that line this part of the Malaysian coastline.  Quite a difference from the Borneo coastline where we were dodging oil rigs and small fishing boats.  A few days later we were off to Penang. Leaving Port Dickson we had about 250 miles to go to Penang.  Winds were light to moderate and mostly from the west or southwest with numerous calm periods and lots of fish boats to avoid at night-time. All a little stressful and tiring and in fact we find offshore one week trips sometimes less stressful and tiring as one gets used to a routine.  However, there really isn’t enough time to get into a routine on a 200 mile trip. We were headed to Penang  to meet up with our friend flying in from Italy.  Luisa was flying directly in to Penang and will be with us for a month while we slowly weave our way through the islands of northern Malaysia, into Southern Thailand to Phuket and perhaps up the west side of Thailand to the Myanmar border.

Luisa and Connie

Luisa and Connie

2 Comments leave one →
  1. John Middleton permalink
    February 3, 2013 06:23

    Love your self-steering vane! If you get to the west side of Thailand check out Ko Lanta. We stayed at a little place called the Blue Andaman Lanta in 2007 for $15/nite and it was great. 90cc new Honda Motorbike rental for $10/day. Great diving/snorkeling off the islands of Ko Ha which is a national park. Keep on adventuring!

  2. Anne Boldt permalink
    February 10, 2013 05:19

    We just got back from a 6 day van tour to Morelia to see the Monarch butterflies and much more… all we had to do was sit on our butts and watch the countryside slide by and pay the tour guide.. how easy can it get?.. no mid strait near collisions to worry about! Lazy eh?
    Annie B.

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