Off to Sumatra

Thursday February 8 2018

I will leave the Vietnam Trip for now and move onto our current trip. Even though we are supposed to be “cruising”, life is so full it is proving hard to keep up with the record of our travels.

Back to Pangkor with backpacks full of goodies  as we maxed out our weight allowance.  Our hand luggage was so tightly packed that  Melbourne Airport Security wanted everything pulled out. Other than that it was a good flight. The bus to Pangkor was full so we had to wait for the later one, arriving back at the boat at 1.30am. Bloody hot compared to our recent trip up to Mt Hotham and Mt Feathertop.

Gemini Lady was in good condition with not much mould and all systems ok. First job next morning was to clean the cockpit area and move the dinghy back to its cradle. Pangkor is close to a coal fired power station so lots of black dust on the boat. Shade cloth covers over the front windows worked well to keep temperatures down inside. We borrowed Psycho Puss’s car and went off to Mr Teh’s sail loft to check out our repairs. All ok and a reasonable price. Food shopping next at. Aeon and its big western supermarket.

BBQ dinner at Jook’s in Lumut with the current crowd of yachties and caught up with a few familiar faces.

Saturday Feb 10

Early start off to the wet market with John and Kerryn off Esoterica. Great fresh pork and chicken but no beef. Local Roti Cheni for breakfast before heading back to the boat for more prep work. Mainsail delivered back and rear clear fixed with a new zip. All good we thought.

Evening walk with Kerryn and John over to the Marina Island Light Show, all part of the celebrations for Chinese New Year.

The magic and side shows were closed and it was fairly quiet but made for a lovely evening stroll.

Sunday Feb 11

Off for an early morning run. Lea wanted to regain her Strava Crown for her run. Got it with 8 seconds to spare. Next job was our favourite, not: putting on the mainsail. We already had had help to get it up on the coach house roof so the heavy lifting was done. I think we are getting better at it as it all went smoothly. Still a big job and took all morning in the tropical sun.

Removed the shade cloth covers and cleaned the rest of the boat of the black coal dust.

Impromptu drinks on Gemini Lady with Heather and Rod off PP, Kerryn and John off Esoterica and we met new friends Liz and Jamie off Esper an Oyster 43.

Monday Feb 12

We dropped Heather off at the laundry and took the car to clear out with Jabatan Laut and Customs. Quick stop at Aeon for some new bedsheets as Malaysian sized sheets fit our Queen Size mattresses perfectly. A few more food goodies then back to pick up Heather.

I dove on the props with the Hookah and cleaned off all the barnacle growth. Big mistake not to bag them before we left. Again,  despite our good prep the primer did not bond well to the props so we had lost most of our antifoul. The rest of the hull and legs looked good with only a bit of slime. Note to self, “Propspeed” seems to be the best of a poor selection of options for the props.

Said our goodbyes and pulled out of Pangkor with Esoterica at 1400. Nice sailing breeze to the little island of Talang 13Nm to the north for a quiet night at anchor.

Woken by 3 gunshots very close by on our uninhabited island. A bit unnerving but we assumed some locals were hunting on the island, possibly shooting monkeys.

We were up and away before daylight, dodging fishing nets that fortunately had lights on their floats. A nice land breeze soon had us sailing for an hour. Back to motorsailing before the afternoon sea breeze came in and we enjoyed a great sail into Penang. Had a problem with the starboard motor. A blocked water intake caused the impeller to shred. First part of fix was to find the blockage. This turned out to be what looked like an octopus beak. Took a bit of clearing out (another reminder that I should have bagged the legs) but eventually water was flooding in nicely again. Then I had to clean out the raw water pump and the lines to the heat exchanger of bits of broken impeller. I also back flushed the heat exchanger core to make sure it was clear. All good, so reassembled with a new impeller. Primed and tested ok.

Sailed under the Penang Causeway and into the Jerejuk Anchorage in time for sundowners aboard Esoterica.

Wednesday Feb 14

Tried to take the shortcut just north of Jerejuk Island but the tide was too low, so after stirring up a lot of mud we retreated south of the Island to get north up to Straits Quay Marina. We advised Esoterica that their AIS was not showing up. John investigated his end and found no problem. So then I started checking our end and discovered the link cable from our AIS into the network was not working. Fortunately I had a spare lead and this fixed the problem. John and I have now both had the same problem with Raymarine Seatalk NG leads failing. Very pleased that John of Straits Quay Marina could fit us in over the busy Chinese New Year Celebrations.

After an afternoon checking out the Straits Quay Marina and a request from PP for some lamb roasts we fired up the big freezer only to find that the fan was not working. Emptied the pantry and checked the wiring. Discovered more “Rat” damage but that was not the problem. Fan was buggered. Had two in spares but the one that fit didn’t seem powerful enough. Decided to swap the vent fan from the Inverter/Charger to the freezer and fit the other spare new fan which was too thick for the freezer to the Inverter Charger. If that seemed like a mouthfull, so was the job. However, eventually all was done and everything working fine.

Revisited our favourite Food Court with John and Kerryn

Thursday Feb 15

Morning run along the foreshore path also popular with the locals for their morning exercise routines. Stocked up the freezer with 4 big Australia lamb roasts from Sam’s Gourmet Supermarket in the Mall then caught the bus into Georgetown.  Fabulous Tandoori Lunch at Kapitan then off to wander the streets. Lea and I were keen to visit the Penang Peranakan Mansion Museum which we missed last time. Our guide was great and we enjoyed our tour of this traditional home of a wealthy Peranakan or Baba Nyonya (Chinese Malay marriage) home. The home is extremely ornate with exquisite carvings, lavish furnishings, imported tiles and wrought iron.

The new second owner of the house has also purchased the adjoining 2 houses and added displays of beautiful Chinese artefacts and jewellery. There is also a large collection of Nyonya embroidery, beaded shoes and traditional wedding attire.

It is a fabulous collection and well displayed, giving an insight into the lives of affluent Chinese in times gone by.

Georgetown is very quiet today as being the eve of the first day of Chinese New Year; it is traditionally a family day. Many businesses were closed and finding a restaurant for dinner was a bit of a challenge. After an average meal at a bar we took an Uber up to the Temple of Kek Lok Sei to see the light display. Again this is an annual event at the 127 year old Temple.

I like the one in front best.

Fabulous Displays

Friday Feb 16.

Off to the Chief Ministers Reception at Spice Arena. The girls frocked up and we took an Uber down to Spice Arena, South of Georgetown. The arena was full of tables for VIP guests which included kids from orphanages and with handicaps. We caught up with Elizabeth and Patrick off La Baroque and the Perarduans some old friends from the 2015 Rally through Indonesia. Long queue’s for food but they were feeding about 5000 people we estimated. While waiting we were entertained by a vibrant young dance troupe, Acrobatic Chinese Dogs and popular local singer.

While eating there was more entertainment after the customary speeches. An excellent magician and a comedian juggler as finale.

Relaxing afternoon at a The Mansion waterfront Hotel Bar catching up with John and Cec off Delphian. Our favourite food court was closed so we settled for expensive burgers and fries at an Aussie Bar back at the Quay.

Saturday Feb 17

Morning run and final load of washing. Last marina for us for about 10 weeks we thought. Waited for the tide to come in before we could leave the marina. Silting is a big problem here due to massive land reclamation works nearby. THe afternoon breeze gave us a brilliant sail to Palau Paya. We arrived just on nightfall and found 1 free mooring. Esoterica was an hour behind and we prepared for her to raft up in the calm conditions.

Sunday Feb 18.

A few hours sleep before the building NE breeze made the raft up untenable so at midnight we set off for Kuah, Langkawi 20NM away. A beam on breeze and sea made for a bumpy passage. No main to keep the speed down as it was a pitch black night and fishing nets always a worry. Nice to drop the anchor in Kuah around 4.00am and get some more sleep after the local Mosques finished their early morning call to prayer.

Mid morning we emerged to find Reverie and Ocelot close by. Reverie had seen us as they up anchored bound for Penang but dropped it again to catch up with us. Moved Gemini Lady closer inshore and then visited Ocelot for a catch up and coffee. Lots to discuss re our Nepal Trekking Adventure coming up in May with them. Jon also had my 2 replacement Alternator Regulators.

Then out to Reverie to catch up with Peter and Denise. We organised a potluck dinner aboard Gemini Lady. Kerryn and John declined as they were on a mission to get up to Thailand. They went off to clear into Langkawi then out of Malaysia. Once the formalities were complete they headed off. They had delayed their trip to do part of Chinese New Year with us at Penang. We will miss their company.

Our potluck dinner was a great night, enjoyed by all.

Monday Feb 19

Cleared in then went up to the new chandlery at Langkawi Yacht Club to pick up the Spectra Watermaker Pickling Compound we had ordered. Looked at a new Fischer Panda NEO 5000i genset. Very impressive little unit. Then off to restock the booze cupboard for the next 4 months.

5 slabs Skol beer

4 slabs Carlsberg

1 slab Anchor beer

2 litres Blue Sapphire Gin

1 litre Spiced Dark Rum

18 1 litre bottles white wine

12 bottles Chardonnay

12 bottles Cab Sav

All for less than $500.00AUD

Took a taxi back to the dinghy dock and got a few looks as we loaded our haul into the dinghy.

Tuesday Feb 20

A 7.30 am meet up with Jon and Sue to climb the hill behind Kuah. A steep 8km round trip as part of our Nepal Training. Dinghy was stranded by the tide when we returned so enjoyed an iced coffee while we waited. Met Christine from Galacsea, an Amel 54, and were invited aboard for sundowners. Also discovered an Inerphase Forward Lookig Sonar Head Unit for sale on the noticeboard. Ours had died following the Lightning Strike back in 2015 and couldnt be replaced. Assuming our transducer is still ok this would be a great find.

Other jobs for the day included re commissioning the watermaker and readjusting the generator governor back to the old settings as now it was revving too low. Another trip to town to change some money. We also visited another supermarket just out of town and managed to get a good supply of frozen beef cubes. The fruit and veggies were awful so will need another trip to Billion Supermarket in the morning.

Spent a very enjoyable evening onboard Galacsea with Christine and JP, Sue and Jon. Great conversation and hospitality. We may sail with them out to Koh Lipe tomorrow as we set sail for Sumatra.

Wednesday Feb 21

Another hill climb this morning followed by laundry and last minute stock up with fresh food. Cleared out for depature tomorrow. Psycho Puss had arrived from Pangkor so we caught up with them to discuss our trip to Sumatra. We handed over the kayak we had picked up from Penang for them together with 1 of the lamb roasts. Prominent in our discussions was the recent big erruption of Mt Sinabung. PP was waiting to pick up friends on Sunday. We thought we would spend a day or 2 at Koh Lipe before we met up at Sabang. That was the plan anyway.

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