2009-04-15 Malaysia and Thailand (English)

Hello everyone,

After three weeks of Sebana Cove we decide to go with the Langkawi Rally. Sebana Cove is beautiful and it has a fantastic swimming pool but it is too far away from everything. Together with Hans and Fien (sv Pelikaan) we’ve been to Singapore, by bus, and we had a great time there. We bought heaps of cheese, we’ve seen a lot of the city and of course we tasted the good food that this area has to offer. In earlier days when Hans still showed some activities he was a project leader and built the 26 underground  metro stations of Singapore. Of course he shows us everything. Singapore is busy and pretty full but we find it too clean and rigid and when we take the bus back and drive through Malaysia we feel much more at home. The rally started at Johor Bahru, Danga Bay, just at the other side of Singapore. We had to motor all day because as usual there is no wind. We went straight through the anchorages of the big ships and passed hundreds of these giants. The welcome ceremony is nice and we meet many friends. Next day we are invited at a Muslim wedding and we are welcomed as guests of honor.  A huge meal is prepared for us and an endless stream of lemonade comes at us. Would you invite a foreign  armada of gipsy’s and other peasants to your wedding? However, our presence appeared to be a great honor for the family. We go on to Melacca. We park our boat in Port Dickson, Admiral Marina, rent a car to go to Melacca. We find a cute little town with many old Dutch influences. Down town is the Stadhuys built in the Dutch period (built from 1641 to 1660)and it’s the oldest building in this style in the far east. We made reservations in a very low budget pension and we’re glad we only have to use it for sleeping. The Chinese restaurant where we have diner is a nice experience. We are with 8 people and we order random food what is placed on a big rotating plateau and everybody picks something from what comes around. We visit the Cheng Ho museum, see several temples and end up with a blacksmith who shows us a Dutch anvil. In the early morning we have a Dim Sim breakfast. Many little pots with steamed and deep fried food comes at us and as usual we try as much as we can. We love it and as we are full with round bellies we pay about 1 Euro, per couple!! When we’re back in the marina we take a day off and enjoy the swimming pool. The next stop in the rally is Lumut. We leave early in the morning and we have to do an overnighter. The day starts with a little wind so we can sail. But that didn’t last very long. In the afternoon big thunder storms come our direction and the wind is exactly on the nose. In the evening when we think it’s over it goes from bad to worse. The thunder storms come from everywhere, it rains hefty and lightning is everywhere. The Admiral is NOT amused at all and that’s why especially I am very happy when it quiets down at four in the morning and we can have a little nap in shifts. At about 12 o’clock we arrive in Lumut. The quiet little town fills up with cruisers. We join the typical rally things like a tour with the bus, we visit a inshore snorkel centre! (Haha), mangroves, turtle farm, a resort and we have a nice dinner. We take the next day the ferry to the nearby Pangkor Island. The next stop will be dynamic Penang. In the middle of Georgetown is the Tanjung City Marina, cheap but rolly and a bit stinky and on Friday nights the marina appears to be in the middle of a disco. We rent a motorbike for a week and we criss-cross the city and the island. Georgetown is a vivid and busy city and many different cultures live together. There are many Chinese and Indians and although there are many little stores and restaurants progress is in full swing and the major promised free internet for every Penang citizen this year. Our knowledge of Asian food grows steadily and we visit as many different food places as possible. We also visit the Kek Lok Si temple what is one of the biggest Buddha temples in Asia. The weather improves the more we go north and there are no thunderstorms any more. The last stop in the rally is Langkawi. This beautiful island is less crowded, there are not so many tourists and last but not least it’s tax-free. First we top up the M-E with beer and booze and we have an excellent farewell party at Mutiara Bay resort. We say goodbye to most sailors. Some go on to the Red Sea and others go to Thailand or Africa and many Aussies fly back for Christmas. This is also the point that about 98.5% of the NZ and OZ sailors with the intension for a circumnavigation decide to go back. Some are way too far out of their comfort zone, the Indian Ocean lays ahead and all that strange food makes you a bit homesick. We go to Rebak marina. This is a beautiful resort with a marina on a small island and we can use all facilities. That’s where we meet Irene and Duncan, sv Moose, again and we make great events of Christmas and New Year with them and we had many happy hours. Unfortunately Moose heads for Africa and probably it will take quite a while before we can do it again.  We meet many more old friends here like Marge and Vic of Ice Maiden and Jurgen and Ingrid of Antares. They all crossed the Pacific.  After three weeks we move the whole 5 miles to the anchorage of Telaga and we get clearance to go to Thailand. We have to be back mid February because Jacky’s sister Rita and her son Rob will visit us. We see wonderful sceneries and drop our anchor at idyllic spots. Uninhabited islands like Ko Pethra and the very touristic Phi Phi are very much worth a visit and the 80 meter tunnel to a cave at Ko Mook is an attraction on itself. In a good week we are in Phuket.  We are for 2.5 weeks at the big anchorage at Ao Chalong and we rent a motorbike for two weeks. We’ve seen a lot of the island and we like Phuket and the Thai atmosphere. There are many more tourists than in Langkawi but everything is better organized and we are fond of the Thai food. We meet Judy and Dave of Freebird again in the Royal Phuket marina and Hans and Fien caught up so we can play cards in the Dutch way again. You’ve read a lot of good stuff above but sometimes disaster hits us too. In Ao Chalong many boats are moored and many of them use floating lines. In the evening, when it is dark, these lines are hardly visible and on a bad day we hit a very long one at full speed. Within a second Jacqueline and I are airborne and instantly after that under water. We’re lucky not to be physically harmed but the camera, mobile phone and the brand new torch are soaked. I was able to repair the torch and the mobile but the camera was just beyond saving. Bugger! The first week of February we head back for Langkawi. We’ve got plenty of time and we can take it easy. The wind is gone again and the weather changes. Slowly the rainy season is coming and we feel the atmosphere is more damp.

When we’re back in Langkawi  we stay 3 days in Rebak marina first to clean the boat, store some extra beer for our guests and make everything spick and span. We meet Ian and Valerie of Monashee again and the Mexican train rolls as usual. Than the tension raises if we anchor the boat at Telaga, rent a bike and go to the airport. It is always very special to see your sister back after such a long time (2 Years). Mum and sun made reservations at Mutiara Bay Resort and it’s wonderful to catch up and chat. We rented a scooter for two days and go to about everything Langkawi has to offer, the eagle, cable cab, waterfalls, seven wells, croc-farm etc.etc. We eat and drink at all restaurants at Telaga harbor and make “Steamboat” our favorite. We take the ferry to Penang and visit the big Buddha temple. It is absolutely impossible to get Rita back on a scooter again so we take the bus. Rob and Rob go sailing for two days and the sisters have in the mean time big fun in the resort. Unfortunately the two weeks are over before you know. Family is gone and we’re back to normal. We stay a couple of days at the anchorage and go for a week or so back to Rebak to store and prepare to go South again. We plan to go to Borneo and perhaps Kalimantan and when we’re lucky we’ll see the orangutans we missed last year. But as usual we keep you posted.

Cheers,

Jacqueline en Rob

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