Saturday November 28

A bit of a restless night with wind and swell opposing each other. We left the anchorage with tha majority of the flotilla fleet and got in a brief period of sailing before the wind died out again. A strong favourable current was at least some compensation for the first 5 hours.

Then it was a sweltering motor through a glassy sea for the afternoon. We finally arrived at the anchorage on the northern side of Palau Rimau around 1700, just as the afternoon deluge and thunderstorm hit. Parlay and Pedro 3 had already arrived but we found a good spot tucked into the shallow bay in 4m at half tide. A lovely spot with thick jungle coming all the way down to the beach from the steep slopes.

After the rainstorm and dinner we took a glass of wine up on the tramps and enjoyed the cooler temperature.

Sunday November 29

Lea did a few salutes to the sun to loosen her stiff back up. Only 6Nm today up to the western side of Palau Jerejak after passing under the new Second Bridge from the Mainland to Penang.

Not a place for swimming with huge amounts of rubbish in the water including a dead dog. Great spot for plane spotters being right under the flight path of jets taking off.

We left the dinghy at the pontoon and walked to Queenstown Shopping Mall and a welcome respite form the heat in its air conditioned comfort. This is one very luxurious Mall and it was full of people. A brilliant huge Christmas Tree made of white Led lights and a European White Christmas Theme including Carols filled the central floor to ceiling (4 stories) atrium.

Every upmarket brand had its own shop front here and it was all a bit overwhelming. As we walked out Graeme and Julie were flagging down a cab so we joined them for a ride back to the dinghies. New Views had a mild lightning strike the other night off Pangkor Island and lost their Autopilot, AIS and Stereo.

The tide was at full run with opposing wind as usual so the boats were moving everywhere. We dropped by Reverie to borrow some more cups for tomorrow as we had been asked to host the CEO of Malaysian Tourism and his entourage of 8 for the sail past under the main Penang Bridge.

On que, we copped another storm and deluge which cooled everything down for the night. Called Graham to ask for his assistance transferring the dignitaries if I couldn't get on the jetty on the morning.

Monday November 30

Lea was stressing about hosting all the dignitaries tomorrow especially if it was still raining. Not being able to sleep she was up at 0400 to cut up the fruit for the fruit platter. Up a 0515 use slack water to tie up to the jetty ready to receive our guests. Anchor was caught on an old fishing net. This caused a lot of grief and worry as we had to use the motors to compensate for the current while not fouling the props on the net. Lea drove while I wrestled with the filthy net and finally cut it free.

We motored across to the jetty only to find no free space, we anchored again close by and I called up Graham to assist with the transfers.

As daylight increased the rain eased and finally cleared. Lea handed out towels for everyone to sit on. 8 guests in total, Malaysia's top civil servant in the Tourism Ministry with his 2 PA's, 3 members of the Tourism Ministry's team specialising in boating, diving and marketing, Sazli (the Sail Malaysia co ordinater) and his uncle.

Sazli and Misre, CEO Malaysian Tourism


They all enjoyed themselves on the front deck while we motored around to the rendezvous point at the bottom of Jerejak Island. Here 26 boats all frocked up with flags, formed a convoy to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Sail Malaysia. Then in tight formation we motored up to and under the bridge. Unfortunately, the seaplane that had been organised to photograph us from the air was grounded but Air Traffic Control due to the backlog of flights coming in that had been diverted away during the nights thunderstorm.

We anchored off Straits Quay Marina and enjoyed our combined breakfast. Sazli had bought us a traditional Indian breakfast of Roti with Curry and Dahl. Lea had prepared pikelet's with jam and cream, lemon slice and a fruit platter.

We had a session of photo taking and we were presented with a beautiful book of Malaysian Architecture and significant buildings all beautifully scent he'd and water coloured.

Peggy West was little miffed as they believed we had anchored too close to them. We were and planned to move when our guests departed. However, they up anchored and moved well away. A good move in the light of subsequent events.

We took our guests ashore and were invited up for coffee. This turned into a full blown press conference with TV, Radio and the tabloid press all asking us questions. I believe we featured in 3 newspapers and the Tv news. We were given another gift of a scale model Penang Ferry. Not the prettiest of boats but iconic in the area. Again we were overwhelmed by the generosity of the people here.

Drinks onshore hosted by Penn Marine with delicious local finger food. Buses picked us up to take us to a local food court. We joined Andy and Sue and the food and the service were great and so cheap. Sazli and Joseph joined us a bit later. Totally full after all the finger foods as well as dinner, Andy, Sue, Lea and I elected to walk back to the marina in a token effort to burn some calories.

Tuesday December 1

Off to Georgetown by the 101 bus from the front of nearby Tesco's. Only 2Rm each for the whole trip. We were wanting to find some fold up bikes. In town we got talking to a Trishaw Driver. We struck a deal for 40Rm where our driver/rider would show us all the street art in Georgetown then drop us off at the best bike shop in town. Lea was not in the mood for walking and it just sort of happened but it turned out to be fantastic. We just managed to get our now much wider bums into the seat and off we went.

Our driver was a wealth of information and enthusiasm. His English wasn't perfect but quite understandable and we thoroughly enjoyed it. He was very considerate and always rode in the shade, often on the wrong side of the road but hey, road rules are only guidelines over here anyway. I think he enjoyed us as well because he gave us 90 minutes instead of the quoted hour so we have him a big tip.

We loved the street art and our guide showed also us lots of temples as well.

At the bike shop we checked out some Dahon and Tern folding bikes.

For lunch I mutinied on more Asian food and headed for KFC.

Headed back early to get ready for our formal reception dinner at Fort Cornwallace. The first bus left on time at 1700 and we sat at the Irish Pub enjoying a drink while waiting for the second bus. The bus returning for us got caught in traffic and it was 1900 by the time we arrived at the venue. The Penang Minister of Tourism had made his speech, eaten and left by the time we arrived. A lot of the food was gone but we did get to sample most of what was on offer. Coconut milkshake with ice cream was a highlight. Each dish was served in individual small dishes, beautifully presented and very tasty. The quality was excellent although the quantity for the late group was limited. As quickly as we arrived we were pressed to leave. We braved the rain and went back to the boat for an early night.