Wednesday July 20

Happy Birthday to my beautiful daughter Annelise. Hard to believe she is 27 today.

Only 30 Nm to do today so no rush to get off. Left at 0930. Had a few quiet hours under spinnaker to arrive at Palau Kaduka before the afternoon thunderstorm and squall caught us. Nice 4m sand anchorage in close, in company with Anthem (AUS) and Esoterica.

 

Thursday July 21

An early start with barely any wind. Mt Kinabalu was looking great in the distance.

Turned off the engine after a couple of hours for a lazy beam reach. We thought we might go all the way through to Kudat but by early afternoon we were sick of the engine and decided to pull into Palau Kulambok. Anthem USA was already there and it looked and was another beautiful anchorage.
A refreshing swim them sundowners aboard Anthem USA with Jack and Jan. Also joined by Phil and Leslie off Sagata and Xavier and Brook off Windkist. Too much cheese and biscuits so no dinner for us.
Friday July 22
Lazy start with Pancakes for breakfast but then got restless by 0830 so headed off. A light headwind all the way to Kudat. Saw quite a bit of logging and Palm Oil plantations around the tip of Borneo but there seemed to be more fish and bird life.
The marina was full but we were invited to moor up against the sea wall in the duckpond Med Style. Dinghies from the boats already moored were soon over to take our stern lines and tie them to the wall for us. Snubbed up the anchor and we were held nice and firm. Lea was a bit worried about mooring this way and the duckpond was a bit hot and smelly. However, it was safer than being anchored outside in my opinion.
We missed the 0900 meeting but Sue and Jon off Ocelot filled us in on the activities for the next few days. Our visit coincided with the Kudat Festival. Sail Malaysia had been offerred a place in the final of the mixed team Dragonboat Races. There was also a Fun Run and a Tug of War competition.
First practice for the Dragonboat was at 1500 and Lea and I both secured a place in the boat. 12 men and 8 women paddlers with a sweep and drummer.

We messed around a bit and swapped people around and finally got the hang of it. None of our crew had ever set foot in a dragonboat before. After the practice we discussed and made a few more changes to balance the power and weight on each side and end. Jason off Allure and I took the front seats to set the timing and stroke rate. Another practice run was organised for tomorrow.

Party night at the Marina with our Rally muso's in fine form. Lea and I retired early as we were going to do the fun run first thing tomorrow morning.

Saturday July 23
Up at 0530 for the fun run. A few more rally participants had decided to join us. Walked the 2 km into town as a warm up and picked up our Mustapha Marine Park T- Shirts. Part of the celebrations here are the opening of Malaysia's biggest Marine Park.
Seemed a bit disorganised at first but they soon got it all together. A profesional warm up from female Aerobic Instructors with their Adidas Hajabs was well done but as it was now getting a bit late the temperature was climbing. Lea was pumped and determined to do a PB. I just wanted to finish the distance.
Lea did good first Km in under 5 min, clearing well out of the pack but still behind the leading male runners. At the first checkpoint the film crew and other rally participants were waiting to film us and cheer us on. It was a nice flat course around and back through the town. A few smelly spots were a bit off putting but Lea got her PB and cracked the elusive 25min mark for 5km. She finished first female in 24:56. The first male came in under 20 minutes.
I did finish but the heat got to me at the 4 km point and I needed a little walk.
Simon off Kiwi Coyote and Marie and George off Allure also did well. Marie got third in the womens.
We got our plastic medals and certificates of participation but Lea had to wait for hers at the podium presentation. Her prizemoney was 650MYR ($220.00AUD).
 
On the way back to the marina we walked through the festival displays.
This display of models of dental pathology caught my eye. We started chatting to the people at the stand and once they knew I was a dentist they invited us to check out their new mobile dental surgery.
It was a great setup and brand new. They were very proud of it. Its a new government initiative and they have 2 of these buses in Sabah. Fully equiped with everything except X Ray equipment. At this stage Treatment is limited to scaling and extractions due to funding constraints but its a great start. Flouride is also being promoted. However, its going to take a massive public health campaign to get Malaysians to deal with their sugar addiction. Everything has added sugar over here.
 
We dropped into the Tug of War competition on the way back to the marina. Our male team and our female teams both all got slaughtered. Its a big sport over here and we were defeated by the National Champions.

Back at Gemini Lady for a long shower with the grinning winner and her booty.

I spent the rest of the morning helping John and Kerryn haul out Esoterica and replace the saildrive propshaft oil seals. The job went very smoothly and we had it all done in 90 minutes, well inside our 3 hour time allocation on the Travel Lift.
Walked back into town for another Dragonboat training session. Much better today with a rearranged crew.
Sunday July 24
We were all invited to attend the official welcome ceromony and declaration of the new massive marine park. We were entertained by Singers, Dancers and Comedians before the arrival of the Chief Minister of Sabah who arrived by helicoptor with his security force of soldiers and plains clothes bodyguards as well as an entourage of other VIP's
Lots of photos were taken as the minister pressed the flesh. Speeches followed and it was great to hear about the new Marine Park. Not quite the same rules as Marine Parks in Australia but its a good start raising the issue of preserving something for the future.
These ladies looked after us and the VIP's with coffee, tea and cake.
Of course there were the pretty girls as ambassadors.
Everybody then lined up along the shore for the final of the Dragonboat racing. We had been given a token place in the final without having to come through the heats.
We added Aussie and NZ flags to our boat and the camera crew rigged up a couple of GoPro cameras.
Lots of captains aboard and one false start (not our fault) and we were off. We surprised everybody including ourselves by coming third. Second place was within reach but we couldnt quite get there.

It was a great effort and we received a lovely trophy and certificate which we gave to Sazli our Sail Malaysia organiser. The 750MYR prizemoney we donated to local charity.

Next was our briefing with ESSCOM. The meeting went well and it was noted that ESSCOM seems much better organised this year than last. The only surprise is that the boats returning back to Kudat will not have an escort. We will be monitored closely and have direct communication access to ESSCOM but no dedicated ship. However, we were reassured by friends that did the return trip last year that we will be watched and shadowed all the time provided we stick to routes and anchorages communicated to ESSCOM in advance.

2 boats pulled out of the rally due to the perceived security risk.

Monday July 25

Off to the market early then a quiet day. Esoterica has been voted XO for the fleet and they organised the roster for night watches. Party night ashore.

 

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