Saturday, November 26, 2016

Leaving Malaysia - 06° 18’ 11” N 99° 51’ 00” E

The 2016 Royal Malaysia Selangor International Race is now finished.  Popeye finished a very respectable 2nd in her division and the owner was very pleased.  We only had one casualty (Richard dislocated his shoulder but is on the mend now) but the boat, its sails, rigging and equipment are all intact and accounted for.

Delivery crew (Julie as the special guest) arrives in
Port Klang with no new scratches on Popeye
Port Klang is cleaner, but still not pristine.  Should we be
worried about that Biohazard bag in the water?

It was good to see the crew from last year.  There were a few things that needed to be collected (provisions, anchor chain, beer, etc.) before we started the first passage race, but we had arrived early enough to do all this.

A picture is much easier to take than 48 metres of chain when you go shopping.

The teksis (taxis) in Malaysia are loosely regulated (like everything else) and I got into one to do my errands that I thought was going to be the end of me.  Red lights, other traffic and road furniture meant nothing to my jolly driver as he chuckled his way around Port Klang, with me white-knuckled beside him.  The only thing worse than his English was the maintenance of his vehicle ... no, wait.  The air conditioning was worse.  I fully understand the "mad dogs and Englishmen" quip now, too.


My deathtrap teksi
Popeye represented at the Raja Muda Opening Gala

Safely at anchor
Tracy, the new foredeck crew member.

Matt gets very enthusiastic about making pancakes.

This is the happiest we've ever seen Martin.

Team lunch at the hawker's stalls

Pankor.
Roadside fish stand.

Pangkor's teksi fleet are all pink busses.

the centre of activity in the evenings.
Richard on his way to get diesel.
Modern bedside controls at the hotel.
Some of the room items were so popular (retro-chic
collectors or archivists, I'm guessing) they've posted prices
you'll be charged when you steal things.
I think that 16 ringgat for a spoon is a bit steep.
Coming into Penang after a passage race.  You don't get much sleep on two hour watches.

Under the first  Penang bridge.
motoring by the big tankers
near Georgetown
Steve found us a great hotel - Noordin Mews
Funky, 1930's decor in the rooms.
Kate and I scored the poolside room!
Hadn't even considered it.
Roadside restaurants.  You pick it, they cook it. You know its fresh.
Dinner.
The Last Tree.  More cool street art in Georgetown.
Drummers at the Penang dinner.

Some of the crew.
Walking home, post-dinner, through Georgetown.
Skipper Craig gets some hardware.
New hats for the foredeck crew.
Propane tank choices were limited but eye-catching.
Tracy looks hungry.
Good mates.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Port Klang - 03° 00' 25" N 101° 26' 25" E

Bobbing around the bay in Pangkor, we planned our next port of call - the Royal Selangor Yacht Club.  With a 12 - 15 hour sail ahead of us, we decided to depart at midnight and take advantage of the supermoon.  

Super Moon
Heading on down the coast...
Super moon at dawn

With a name like Royal Selangor Yacht Club (located in Port Klang), you'd expect something quite grand but according to the sailing website Noonsite
'Port Klang sits in a soup of sludge, sewage, debris and other detritus, stirred by fierce currents and the wash of a myriad of tramp steamers.  It lies at the antithesis of the crystalline waters which await just around the corner of Peninsula Malaysia, however its one redeeming feature is the oasis of the Royal Selangor Yacht Club.'
  Just makes you want to head on down, doesn't it? 

89 nm later, we made out way south down the channel into the infamous channel.  It was a bright and sunny day by the time we entered the north channel which assisted greatly as we tiptoed through ships, floating detritus, fishing boats and their nets, birds on 'stand-up paddleboards', through the port, up the river and into the yacht club.  Sean displayed great skill and composure as he backed Popeye into her berth against the fierce currents.

Fishing boat laying its nets across the channel

Bird Stand-up Paddleboarding!

North Port, Port Klang

Also according to Noonsite, millions of Ringgit have been spent on cleaning up the river with barriers installed at strategic locations leading to a marked improvement to the condition of the water around the yacht club.  This is true, however swimming is still definitely not something we would consider!

What is going on here?
We had a little excitement when one of the yachts (Pasaya, pictured above) tried to leave its berth and was caught in the current.  A neighbouring yacht (Fujin) had its navigation lights snapped off as Pasaya drifted into Fujin, then pivoted around her.  Happily, Popeye was left unscathed.

Phew - imagine getting her here without a scratch only to have her T-boned by an errant yacht in her berth.
Fierce currents, Mark II
Sitting, happily sipping on our beers on the deck and our friend decided to move his boat again.  Despite the belly full of beer, Sean and Lucky (one of the crew off Starlight) broke land speed records leaping from the bar to Popeye as our friend broke personal space boundaries.

Phew (Mark II) - the only boat damaged in any way was our friends!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Penang - 05° 27’ 40” N 100° 19’ 09” E


On dead calm seas, we headed south to Penang.   

Happy at the helm
 The sky started to turn a little dark and soon we were enjoying 35kns and driving rain.  Once the wind died to below 20kns, we unfurled the heady, picked up a knot and bounced our way across the Bay of Bengal. 

Storm clouds
Just look at that horizon!
We could see the high rises of Penang for a couple of hours before we arrived.  Ships began popping out of the channel, cruise liners, cargo ships, tugs towing barges, as we tiptoed in through relatively shallow water and anchored off the Straits Quay Marina (SQM as it is known).  Sadly for us and our 2.85m draft, SQM is far too shallow and even anchoring in a depth of 5m means we are a good 300m from the entrance. 

Penang skyline
Penang is a very busy port, made busier by the construction of two islands just to the south of SQM.  Penang is in need of a new marina so they are creating a 700 acre island to house it! Barges full of fill line up and rush in at high tide to offload.  Our serenity disturbed by the background noise of construction equipment running 24 hours a day.

Need a bit more land?  Let's build an island!

Last year, we had a stop in Penang as part of the Raja Muda yacht race.  We stayed at a northern part of the island and didn't stray too far from the hotel.  This visit, we decided to explore Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the southern end of the island and we were blown away.  The colours and sounds ... the street vendors ... the street art ... it kept us entertained all day and we just saw a small bit of what there was.


Colours, grittiness, heat and noise.  Very cool.


Great street art at the marina.
In Georgetown.
These bits of ironwork were everywhere.

Trikeshaws are still available for the tourists.
Little India.

Porticos for foot traffic.  Watch your step, though.
Blacksmith shop.
Each garage-sized shopfront could contain an industrial
workshop, merchant, someone's home, storage or a
combination of all of these.
Along a street with bike rentals
Narrow porticos
colorful flowers near Little India
Yep.
A two-stroke pasta making machine.

Sean and Rowan Atkinson