Tuesday 30th April 2019
Here we are sitting in the rain with thunderstorms all around us back at Sebana Cove Marina. Waiting for the weather to give us a good run up the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia as far as Tioman Island.
Its been a very busy time since we arrived back in Pangkor on the 5th March. After a Gold Class Movie Session in Geelong watching the brilliant Bohemian Rhapsody we enjoyed a great last evening with Kerryn and John off Esoterica at their home. They dropped us at Avalon Airport that morning for our flight to KL. Our friend, rigger and No 1 Sailmaker, Au Wei happened to be in KL so picked us up from the Airport for the drive back to Pangkor.
A great Seafood meal along the way and lots of catching up on the gossip after 4 months back in Australia.
Au Wei had flown to China for a family holiday and the direct supervision of the construction of our new sails. At the marina we had a quick catch up with Rod & Heather before grabbing our hire car and apartment keys and hitting the sack.
First job was to get some supplies then check out Gemini Lady. She was fine just very dirty outside from the coal dust and the shade cloth burka had left black scuffs everywhere. A bird had nested up front and 2 little chicks were still in the nest. We delicately moved the nest to the boat next door hoping mum would still be able to find them. After removing the Burka we spent a few hours with the pressure washer.
Jimmy’s boys from Prestige Marine had done a good job sanding back what was left of the failed antifoul from last year. I noted the starboard saildrive leg was leaking oil. Called in Mr Bulat the engineer for that job as he is very good and reasonably priced.
We spent the next week running up the local mountain every second day and polishing the decks.
Mr Bulat got the saildrive fixed and I got the prop back on, then Jimmy’s boys started applying a coat of International Primacon. We were taking no chances with adhesion this time.
The decks were coming up well when sandblasting started on the Steel Yacht Carrie 2 boat up from us. We had already expressed our concerns about this to the Marina Owner James Khoo and sure enough the dust gathered thick on our newly polished and cleaned decks.
Our main concern was fragments of steel rusting and staining our decks. We asked James to be moved and he agreed arranging to move us first thing the next morning. He also didn’t charge us for the move which we appreciated.
The pressure washer got a good workout that’s for sure. The sudden return to hard physical work in tropical heat knocked us around and we both came down with the flu. Took a few days to shake it off. I got some less demanding jobs done like reconnecting all the mast wiring.
Jimmy did a little paint repair where I had had to reglass the catwalk to hull corner last year. Up the mast to reinstall the wind instruments. Antifoul applied. Then we started polishing the hulls. The black marks proved very difficult to get off but by trying samples of products from the Marina Shop we found one that worked. We bought the last 2 bottles.
Au Wei asked us to the loft to check out the new sails. They looked great and so much lighter in weight than the Quantum Membrane sails.
We were very happy with the attention to detail.
Polishing continued. Jimmy applied Propspeed and then we could regrease the props and fit the anodes
It was all coming together and Gemini Lady was starting to look herself again.
Even the dinghy got some TLC before the chaps were refitted. Still looks like new under the protective covers.
Before we knew it splash day was nearly here. One last job we wanted done was a full out of water survey done. We were not happy with our current insurance provider and wanted the option to change if we could get a better deal. Plus when you maintain a boat yourselves it’s a good idea to get and independent review and it was 8 years since the last survey. John Champion from Langkawi flew down for us and it was interesting to go over the boat with him. Nothing untoward was found, in fact he found the hull overall particularly dry for foam GRP. Weird the way in hull moisture levels varied for no apparent reason. John noted a couple of hoses getting toward the end of their life. I was already aware of them but now it was time to order in some spares. All systems and engines fired up perfectly.
Next morning we were loaded up onto the Sea Lift and given a few hours to sand and antifoul the bits under the support blocks. Looking good Gemini Lady!
Au Bear did another great job on the controls of the Sea Lift making it a gentle voyage.
Splashed at 4.30pm. No problem! Props on the correct sides this time.
Then it was on to fitting the new sails and on water tuning the new rigging.
Psycho Puss got her new mainsail fitted the same day.
Big money day for Au Wei. His shout for the beer.
Not much wind the day we went out with Au Wei but we had a trip planned to Penang and Langkawi as a shakedown cruise.
Lea went through the inside of boat cleaning and stocktaking before we moved back aboard. We packed up the apartment ready for John and Kerryn to take it over. We had been very comfortable there with Aircon, washing machine and a great view over the waterpark.
The new Saloon upholstery was finally clean after sending it to professional cleaners. This was the only disappointment we have had. The material was high quality and beautiful but the upholsterer, a local car upholsterer who came highly recommended) was crap. The job was very poorly done and delivered back to us very grubby. However, the inside still looks pretty good.
A quick road trip to Penang to drop off the life raft for servicing. We took Esoterica’s too. Booked them into Ocean Success and watched as they were unpacked. We were very pleased to see that both were in excellent condition even though it was 5 years since their last service.
The technicians went over everything thoroughly and we authorised the replacement of expired components. John and Kerryn had bought over new Epirbs for the rafts and these were exchanged.
Then it was time for a bit of shopping at the upmarket Queensbay Mall before heading for the Tailor to get me measured up for new clothes for James and Danni’s wedding in November.
This completed the fairly major refit undertaken. A few days R & R with plenty of exercise and socialising. We had been here over a month. Time to go sailing!
Sunday April 7
Headed out early and caught the ebb tide assist express. We had a great sail averaging over 7.5knots and enjoyed tweaking the new sails which were performing beautifully.
All was going well as a fishing boat towing a net passed ahead of us. A crew member was waving so we waved back. However, he kept waving so we took a closer look at his net and bore away to get further behind him. We felt relieved when we saw a horse shoe shaped line of floats go past nearly half a km behind the fishing boat. Thinking we were finally clear we came up to cross behind him. It wasn’t until too late that we saw the single rope still trailing just under the water. I felt it hit the bows or minikeels then we were swung around and towed. I am not clear which way we spun as we raced to furl in the headsail and drop the main to relieve pressure. We think the fishing boat must have stopped and with one more thump we were left dead in the water and the fishing boat continued on its way. I was tempted to dive and check everything underwater but close to Penang one doesn’t chose to get in the water lightly especially with a strong tide running as well as good breeze. Tentatively I started the engines and put them in gear. All seemed ok and steering was fine. We re hoisted the sails and continued on weaving between a myriad of fishing nets including illegal surface nets. Spent a quiet night behind Jerajuk Island.
Next morning we checked into Straits Quay Marina and I was straight over the side with the goggles to check for underwater damage. Unbelievably there was none, just a few strands of rope near the starboard rudder bearing. Not even any antifoul lost. We were very lucky.
After getting a fitting at the tailors, picking up the life raft and another shopping day we picked up Rod off Psycho Puss for a quick run up to Langkawi to restock the cellar. Lea crook again with a gastro infection. Rod and Heather off Psycho Puss had exchanged their boat for our mutual friends, Martin and Ivy’s, apartment overlooking the marina for 10 days.
Motor sailed to Langkawi with some annoying hobby horsing caused by the small, short northerly swell. Made good time and fitted in a trip to Billion Duty free in Kuah in the late afternoon. Grub screws from the furler were found on deck the next morning. The threads in the Aluminium Extension tube were stripped so we cleaned the damaged threads out and epoxied the grub screws in. We finally got our order from Surin’s Yacht supplies. Sadly Surin had had to rush off to KL as her brother had passed away suddenly. Final shopping then out to Gilligans on Tuba Island to our favourite little restaurant. We had booked in with Koy and she fed us a 3 course feast after we had all enjoyed a refreshing swim.
Early start back to Penang. Only the last few hours were good sailing as the westerly sea breeze kicked in. Loped along at 9 knots plus arriving in time for a swim and BBQ party with Rod, Heather, Martin, Ivy and their friends. Another good night was had.
Waiting now for our tailor to finish my clothes we enjoyed a great few days of tennis and swimming with Martin, Ivy and their Canadian Friends Rod and Judy. A highlight was an evening at the Penang Food Festival as well as fabulous breakfasts after early tennis and swimming.
On the 16th April my new clothes were done so we picked them up and caught the afternoon flood tide south down to Palua Rimau. A nasty thunderstorm had us shut down and dark ship for an hour but after that it was a peaceful night.
Unbeknownst to us Kenobi had anchored just around the corner from us. They too had enjoyed the electrical storm last evening. We had a quick chat to Steve and Donna, who are only just beginning their Asian adventure before we headed off back to Pangkor. The breeze gave us a good sail all afternoon before fading out and leaving us pushing current for the last few miles.
Back at Pangkor, apart from lots more socialising we had Au Wei back to adjust and tighten the rigging.
We had a great BBQ night at Au Wei’s place as a final goodbye. We are going to miss our “Chinglish” friends.
Then it was a matter of waiting for the weather to head South. Naturally there were strong Southerly’s forecast all week. John and Kerryn off Esoterica were more impatient than us and headed off 2 days before us. They enjoyed a good run, better than the forecast indicated.
We got off early on April 24 and had a good light sail early but then a motor sail with the current for the rest of way into Port Klang. We kept going into the evening as the current was still with us.
Next morning we were up and going by 5.00am to catch the tide . In the morning dawn we saw a large Navy ship at the cruise liner dock. There were helicopters visible on her aft deck and the letters “L02” on her stack. I joked that it was probably Annelise’s ship. Lea Googled “L02” and sure enough it was HMAS Canberra. Sent a message to Annelise and when she responded she had just arrived aboard that morning for the ANZAC Service. She had the afternoon off so we arranged to meet at Port Dickson Marina.
Turned painful out of Port Klang and into Melaka Strait as we ran into a squall line complete with rain, Willy Willy’s and winds boxing the compass, all combining to stir up a nasty washing machine slop. Things eventually settled after numerous sail changes and we part motored, part sailed down to PD.
We arrived PD at 2.30pm and Annelise showed up 15minutes later. Perfect! She had caught a Grab ride, easy as that.
She had to leave at 5.30pm to get back to the ship before 8.00pm. Short but sweet, we enjoyed catching up over a few beers and a meal before she had to head back.
We enjoyed another day at PD, exploring Port Dickson itself and a bit more shopping, as bad weather passed us by. We checked out the actual PD town anchorage and it looks good with excellent dinghy access.
Then it was back to heading south. Mainly motor sailing with a quiet night at Palau Besar, Palau Pisang then around Singapore yesterday via Raffles Lighthouse.
And all manner of floating entities.
Singapore Police were very anal about their borders and pushed us out every time we even slightly encroached inside the harbour limit line. After a long day we anchored at Tanjung Pengileh before moving up to Sebana cove this morning.