SATURDAY, 18 AUGUST 2007
Coming up the Singapore Straits the engine begins to make a terrible racket so we are very relieved to be coming into a marina.
We have to wait off a small island – Sister’s Island – to clear customs. This all takes some time by the time the customs boat comes out, we pass over our papers and passports (in a plastic bag), they process them on their boat, we complete four crew list forms and hand them back to be processed.
The Oneº 15 Marina is most impressive. It is not officially opened as yet so everything is very new and lavish with marble surrounds, restaurants, gym and coffee/drinks bar. The large infinity pool is a great asset.
The marina is well set up for tending to our yachting problems. The engine problem is quite significant – the main pulley (that drives the alternator belt and the 12V and freezer fridge) sheared off the front of the engine.
We are relieved this can be solved while we are here. The depth sounder is also fixed – the setting had to be reset to 0 (it was 384 metres!).
Ross, with Phil’s aid, fixed the invertor (had to reset the power-sharing dip switch) and the dinghy.
A new extension mouse fixes the computer and a new battery solves the DVD issue. It’s great to have some easy solutions to problems! It can be very wearing to have things going wrong but we feel happy to know all should be well as we leave Singapore.
Most mornings we have a long run/walk and swim to keep up our fitness.
The marina is on the south coast of Sentosa Island so we quickly become acquainted with the efficient public transport system and taxis when necessary.
SUNDAY, 19 AUGUST 2007
Sunday brunch at Raffles is a highlight.
We say good-bye to the Bartrams over dinner in Chinatown after several weeks of sharing many experiences. This is great fun as it is set up as a food hawkers’ area and you can choose different dishes from the many stalls.
We have a trip to a chandlery in Little India and enjoy a local lunch there – a fascinating area. After dinner at the old Hawker Food Stand at Newton Circus we venture to the night Safari Zoo.
WEDNESDAY, 22 AUGUST 2007
Wednesday is a day of domestics. Also, Robbie spends time with me to make sure the computer, photos, discs and emails etc. are up-to-date now we can use the computer again. It is wonderful to have everything organized before we head off tonight to Copenhagen. On the way to the airport we meet Phil and Robbie for dinner at the lively Boat Quay at Brewerz (a large beer hall with tables outside and capable of feeding many hundred people).
We have enjoyed our time in Singapore – it’s a buzzing city and the people seem happy and are very friendly. The restrictions on freedoms that are notorious in Singapore were not evident to us. It seems a shame they feel it necessary to build two large casinos to encourage tourism, and agree to prostitution to encourage conventions.
It is so exciting to be flying to Copenhagen, to see Scott, Gry and the girls. Augusta is 4 and Lily 2.
THURSDAY, 23 AUGUST 2007
Scott and Augusta meet us at the airport, Augusta waving the Danish and Australian flags (as she does when we visit). The two little girls are just delightful and over the next six days we have a wonderful time with them. Scott has taken this time off work, so as we are staying with them we spend all this time together.
Ross and Scott have a run each morning which they always enjoy doing together.
We always enjoy being in Copenhagen. It is a beautiful city. Highlights are:
• early morning cuddles in bed with the girls;
• visiting Augusta and Lily’s kindergarten;
• walking around their local playground and harbour at Hellerup;
• outings to the local swimming pool complex (which is most impressive);
• lunch at a yacht club up the coast;
• going to the woods for a picnic and a horse ride for Augusta and Lily;
• sailing from Tuborg Harbour to Newhaven Harbour (in the centre of Copenhagen) on a 130 foot schooner called “Emma Wood”. Prince Frederick came by on his yacht and, when asked by our skipper, indicated they came 6th in the race and were very pleased. All their crew looked immaculate in their smart white uniforms. Once tied up we are given clam chowder soup and smoked salmon sandwiches for an early dinner. We hope to catch up with the skipper and his wife in the Caribbean;
• some quiet times at home;
• eating ice creams (Danish ice creams are delicious!); and
• Tivoli (all great fun, except when the girls 2 large balloons blew away).
TUESDAY, 28 AUGUST 2007
It is always sad to leave our family in Copenhagen. It never seems long enough but we are taking with us wonderful memories.
WEDNESDAY, 29 AUGUST 2007
Arrive Singapore late afternoon. The following morning after final boat preparations, provisioning, a visit to Port Authority clearance and a ride back to Sentosa on the cable car, we cleared customs out of Sister’s Island and then set off for an overnight sail north to Port Dickson. We are pleased to leave in time to be past the Singaporean Harbour traffic before dark. This is up through the Straits of Malacca, which is notorious for pirate attacks, so I never wanted to venture through these waters. However, it seems this usually involves commercial vessels and fishing vessels. It is now heavily policed so there is a much lower incidence of this. It is a magnificent night with calm waters and a glorious full moon; and no problems except for a fishing boat we don’t see until it passes us close by going in the opposite direction with only a stern light on. We are advised to travel just outside the shipping channel, as the commercial traffic is very heavy all night. It is comforting to have these other large, well-lit ships about through the night.
We were also fortunate to have two strong currents with us during the trip which boosted our motoring with the foresail up to almost 10 knots.
FRIDAY, 31 AUGUST 2007
Arrived Port Dickson about midday. We are both really tired and I admit I need a rest (a bit touchy!) after a busy time in Denmark, jet lag and an overnight sail. So an afternoon by the pool, dozing and reading is a wonderful solution. We catch up with Robbie and Phil, who arrived ahead of us, and have a lovely, relaxed dinner on Free Spirit. It is Freedom Day in Malaysia.
SATURDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2007
We leave for Port Klang. Fortunately, we were able to clear the port and customs yesterday, even though it was a holiday. (We had to pay $15 extra to do it!) Again, we motor-sail with the head sail up and have some help with the current (up to 10.3 knots).
Port Klang is the main cargo terminal for Malaysia so the area has many large ships anchored offshore and huge wharves and cranes line the river’s edge. We go into the Royal Selangor Yacht Club, which is relatively modern having been rebuilt after being destroyed by fire. This is a very elegant building.
We are on a floating dock and the area doesn’t look very promising – filthy water and definitely an off scent about the air. Many of the small buildings are wooden shanties on stilts in the water.
However, we have a wonderful dinner at the yacht club on the deck, accompanied by a DJ with a superb voice, and enjoyed dancing to many of our old favourites. By night, with the night lights about, the whole place takes on a more favourable demeanour.
SUNDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER 2007
We leave before dawn to continue up the west coast of Malaysia and plan to stop at the small island of Rumbi for a snorkel. It is a beautiful, calm morning. Unfortunately, a “Sumatra storm” prevents this plan. These are unforecastable storms that predictably last about four hours. We can see it coming on the radar and a very dark, heavy sky lies ahead. It throws up very choppy seas and we are bashing into the wind, so our speed and visibility is reduced. There are no problems; it is just uncomfortable. It is daunting to be abeam a large wreck which has run aground on a huge sand bank.
This is a heavier storm than usual apparently, and after we think it has subsided (having put off lunch for several hours) it starts up again. It starts to subside again at the last place we can go to for shelter (just a break in the coast line) but we all decide to go on to Pangkor Laut Island for the night, our original destination. This is our first rough weather since we left Australia so we have been very lucky.
We drop anchor at 22 hours in the pitch dark but can see many lights ashore. We wake up to a really delightful anchorage in this group of islands. After our tiring day yesterday we decide a day of rest is the best call for the day. A pleasant morning is spent taking our time sorting out the boat, emails etc, a scrumptious Malay lunch, a car trip around the island and swimming. The lunch is so good we have take-away from the same little local café for dinner!
Like many places we are seeing in Asia, tourism is being developed here – but slowly.
TUESDAY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2007
We up anchor before sunrise for a predicted 10 hour motor-sail following the coastline up to Penang. The sunrise this morning is beautiful watching it creep up over the islands. Wrecks are charted all the way up the west Malaysian coast because of the large number of sandbanks. Thank goodness for good charts and electronic equipment. We arrive in time to check into the marina, clean down the boats and have a delicious dinner at the marina.