Saturday, March 18, 2017

Singapore - 01° 15' 52" N 103° 48' 50" E

Sailing into Singapore, the busiest port on the earth, is quite the experience.  Thanks to Mark Board, we had a route - motor through the anchorages,  watch for ships into and out of Tanjong Pelepas,
then proceed across Sinki fairway and behind Pualu Bukom straight to Sisters island.

Crossing the border (so our cell phones told us)

We followed his instructions, motored through the anchorages and around the scores of ships there.  We knew we were in Singapore when our cell phones beep that familiar message "Welcome to Singapore.  Enjoy data roaming for a mere...."

Dodging ships
There be tankers...

Craig was following our movements, nervously hoping we didn't collide with any of the green or red dots he could see on the Marine Traffic app.

Big Brother is watching!

The Immigration boat met us at The Western Immigration Anchorage, used a net to collect our paperwork and passports, checked, stamped and we were cleared into Singapore.  We then motored into the Marina at Keppel Bay and into our berth that will be home for the next two weeks.

Yay, we made it!

That was cool!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dolphins Playing - 02° 34' 25" N 101° 49' 22" E

Routine tasks on a boat can suddenly turn thrilling in a hurry.  Today I had my first experience watching dolphins ride the bow wave of Popeye.

Not my picture, but exactly what it looked like
I was taking a bag of trash forward to the front locker when Kate shouted from the helm, "Dolphins!" and pointed forward, past the bow.  I looked and saw (300-400m away) three fins at the surface, just to the right of our course.  They remained there for a few seconds as we approached them, then submerged.  I quickly tucked the trashbag away and moved all the way forward to the very front of the bow to try and spot them again.  In a few seconds, they (all EIGHT of them now) appeared just metres from our bow, all swimming the same direction as we were travelling.

I wanted to shout with amazement and happiness as I watched then weave amoungst each other and the boat ... so I did shout - a hearty "Yahooo!" and waved at them with my free arm.

I marveled at how they could easily match our 6.5 knots of speed through the water.  Each of the dolphins swam up to the surface and seemed to be turn an eye up to me (who was still waving and yahooing) before rolling to get their blowhole up to take a full-speed gulp of airbefore carrying on.  My heart was filled with joy and awe as I watched them swimming along with us.  I wished I could somehow send them the goodwill I was feeling and thank them for coming to interact with me and make their presence known.  Yahooing and waving was the only safe way I could think of communicating, so I carried on until, one by one, the quit their display of skill.  They left me standing wide-eyed and amazed, as far forward on the bow as I dared to go, shoulder against the furling headsail.

I think we humans all try to reach out to other beings and make their lives a bit more joyous. I wonder if their playing in the boat's bow wave was meant to reach out to me (or the boat), or was just coincidental as part of their game.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Eastern and Oriental Hotel – 05° 25’ 25” N 100° 20’ 11” E

Thanks to Susan and Simon, we have spent the last two days at the stunning E&O Hotel.  A throw-back to the colonial days with the doorman in a pith helmet and the safari-suited waiter topping up our iced water by the pool.  Grand, elegant and deliciously cool.

Checking on Popeye -
a wee small dot
As glorious as all this may be, the very best was the steaming hot showers with fabulous water pressure and fancy toiletries, that didn’t rock and the absence of a water pump in the background, whirring the guilt “You are using all the water. The water! The water!”

Suds-free, salt-free, clean blow-dried hair – now that is true luxury!

Loving the pool


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park – 06° 10’ 18” N 99° 46’ 20” E

…or The Lake of the Pregnant Maiden.

A truly tragic legend involving love at first sight, mermaid tears and a dead infant leads to the belief that water from this lake has magical fertility powers.  Lordy!  Susan and I were very careful.

Geologically, it is very cool.  The lake is fresh water but separated from the sea by a small band of rocks.  It would be very beautiful with the towering limestone cliffs and hanging jungles if it were not for the tourist pontoons, swimming areas and paddle boats in the shape of swans and cartoon ducks!  Fortunately for our fertility, we were not enticed to swim in the greenish looking water, donned in the mandatory lifejacket within the pontooned swimming area.

As the next wave of tourist boats arrived to disgorge their passengers, we putted off in the dinghy to explore the small beaches and the rock wall separating the lake from the sea.  We clamboured up and over the rocks to the lake and risked life and limb on the crumbling platform and staircase that had been closed for maintenance.  An explore around a small island then back to Popeye for a swim and a chardonnay.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Pantai Kok, Langkawi - 06° 21' 47" N 99° 39' 47" E

Who knew a trip to the Langkawi SkyCab would be so entertaining?

Our ticket to the SkyCab (cable car) included access to the SkyDome, SkyRex, 3D Art Langkawi and the SkyBoutique (exit through the gift shop!). So we did it all!

Timing things perfectly, we arrived before the crowds and headed up the world’s steepest cable car. Photographs were taken at every turn against the green background for purchase later. The process significantly slowed the queue – so smug we were early! We had a clear day and the views from the top were certainly spectacular.

SkyRex was the next on the agenda. This was a 3D ride which bumped and turned to the action, through a dinosaur themed park.

Between the marauding dinosaurs and a volcano eruption, it was rather twee but very well done. This set a high expectation for the SkyDome, the world’s only outdoor 360° theatre!

Well, we rocked out of there feeling slightly nauseous. The signs of "no vomiting" now made sense. It was an early IMAX film where we enjoyed a ride on a roller coaster on Mars. It is the closest I have been to being seasick on this whole trip – I actually had to shut my eyes…

Through the Sky Boutique to the 3D ArtLangkawi. With absolutely no expectations except air-conditioning, we were in for a treat. The walls were painted with works that had a 3D effect from a certain angle, just take the photo from the mark on the floor. And photograph we did. Huge amounts of fun! Who knew?

Holding a Fish.

Ocean Pearl?

Great experiences at the 3D art Gallery

Simon should be good at that by now

Who needs A/C to cool down?

Top of the World

What an Angel!

New Bellybutton Piercing!

They've spotted the pub

Camel Trekking


When there is a current, we
hang onto the line!

Sometimes, there's no escaping the tourist photos

Fantastic view of the bay

Much cooler way up here!

Sky Bridge

Too much time in the water and look what happens!

Looks like a painful landing in bare feet!

Sean, Susan and Simon.  Ssssss.