Tuesday, 20 February 2018

January Newsletter, 2018

News from the Crew of Matilda
January 2018

Ships log ~ Matilda continues to be on the hard stand at Pangkor Marina in Malaysia. There has been a lot of torrential rain in Pangkor during December last year which continued into the New Year hampering efforts for our paid workmen. Islam and his team have been working very hard removing all the old antifoul off her hull. We are certain work on Matilda will be complete upon our return February 1. We are looking forward to splashing back in February after we repaint her underbelly, fix her broken bits so we can sail up to Thailand to join friends.

Captain Bruce, inspecting Matilda as she sits on the Sea Lift machine. 
Crew log ~ the end of January see’s our time home come to an end. We came home to lick our wounds mid-November. The time has been well spent and we have thoroughly enjoyed being home. We have caught up with land based friends, sailing friends and soaked up loads of family time. Even enjoying some house maintenance. The dominoes game: Mexican Train Dominoes certainly had everyone enthralled. 

Lisa and Bruce sprucing up the out door setting.

Deb with Catherine off CatchCry. It was so good to catch up with our mates.
We had a sensational day thanks to an old work mate of Debs. We went to the local hot rod meet. Bruce loved every bit of it and a few of the kids came as well. A great morning.

Our bikie family at the Hot Rod meet.

Victoria Point, Hot Rods. 

Captain reminiscing of days spent in his youth. 
Great memories of spending long days with Doug & Britt. A highlight was touring around old favorite haunts of Mt. Tamborine and enjoying some new ones. Chatting for hours and eating American style beef ribs & burgers at one of their local favourite restaurants and catching up with their two hounds: Charger & Hemi. And not to mention the enormous lamington ‘pie’. It was massive!

Doug & Britt at O'Reilly's winery at Canungra. One our favourite places to go.

On the way home we stopped at The Bearded Dragon Hotel for a cuppa and one huge lamington.
One little man we will miss is Lisa & Reece’s fur baby: Romeo. He is the most adorable little dog. Romeo turned 1 while we were home and his playfulness kept us entertained daily, we especially loved psycho hour! Due to the mild heat and humidity we decided to walk as much as we could in the mornings with him.  Romeo certainly loved this time of the day. Although we don’t think he was too sure about his home grooming experience. Talk about laugh – he is such a good little pup.       

This was part of the walking path we enjoyed each morning.

Romeo's first home grooming experience with Lisa, Tamara and Tom.

Every morning Romeo would sit and wait ever so patiently for us to take him on his walk.
Maisy, the cat took some time to warm up to us at first then we couldn’t get her out of our room. She loved sitting on our window sill soaking up the afternoon sun or laying between our pillows. Then as we were leaving she loved sitting in our bags as we packed.

Miss Maisy in one of our bags.
During our time home we did loads of running around for Matilda gathering things we just can’t find/buy in Asia, so our bags back were full to the brim and right on our weight limit. We did bring a heap of clothing and items back home that we just don’t use to lighten Matilda, but it seems we are taking equal weight back!

One item we are excited to use was the Hookah. Its a dive unit without air tanks. You dive with air hoses connected to a compressor which is connected to a battery. Back in June 2017 we used a friends Hookah while in Tioman and Bruce was very impressed. With the help of Reece we bought a unit for our self, back in December. The great thing was we got to test our unit, thanks to Helen & Lester. They very kindly let us load it all on board their lovely boat Joule. We had a lovely sail down to Peel Island and loads of fun testing out the unit. 

Bruce and Lester off the stern of Joule testing the dive Hookah.
It was marvelous being home for the Christmas vacation period and seeing family & friends. Christmas Day was a special day spent with lots of visitors coming and going through the day. Bruce certainly was surprised to see Santa had bought him a drone – now there’s something for him to master! Little Romeo certainly made us laugh running around in his Santa suit.

Poor Romeo in his Santa Suit - he hated it and chewed it every chance he could.

Miss Maisy enjoying Christmas.
Australia Day was spent swimming and eating a wonderful BBQ spread with Tim & Jo, friends of Lisa and Reece’s and it was great to have Doug and Britt with us. The pool was fantastic.

Doug draped in the Australian Flag

Tim & Jo's pool.
We got to enjoy quite a few swims this time home while visiting family and friends. It was certainly hot a lot of the time so the swims were a great way to cool down and have loads of fun.

Enjoyed a day with Aunty Nee in her pool.

This time in Reece's parents pool. We had a great day with Jan, Kevin and Alana.
It was good timing for a Facebook gathering as I belong to the group: Women Who Sail Australia – WWSA. A lunch had been organized as a Christmas get together and we were in time to attend. It’s always fantastic to put faces to names you have been chatting with for some time online. I find these women inspirational and comforting at the same time. Many great friendships have been formed due to this group of women.

WWSA's gathered for lunch at Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club. 
Bruce’s 60th birthday was a very special evening spent with family and friends. Lunch was was a lovely treat, cooked by Reece. The birthday weekend was made even more special by having Tamara and Tom come up from Melbourne to join us. Tamara’s speech certainly left most of us with watery eyes, it was a lovely heart felt speech. And the birthday cake was very impressive thanks to the efforts of Alana – Reece’s twin. The two tiered chocolate cake was sensational. Good food was in abundance and kept us in left overs for next 3 days! 

Just for Bruce, Reece served him this lovely meal of BBQ'd lamb chops on a bed of salad with strawberries!

Look at that cake. Epic effort from Alana.

Bruce and Tamara.
It certainly was a fantastic month and we will miss everyone back home until we return. But the good times on Matilda must continue!

Wish we could have stowed Romeo in our luggage - we will miss him.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Langkawi vegi run update.

This is a blog update regarding the Vegi Run, for Telaga Harbour and Rebak marina.

The van no longer will turn up prepacked full of goodies, you have to now order them.

Details are as follows: 
  • Delivery locations at jetty marina rebak and jetty marina telaga harbour.
  • Marina rebak is at the jetty, you have to come over the jetty to pickup the order.And at telaga harbour is at the jetty to "koh lipe" and also you hv to come over.
  • Friday delivery/pickup only
  • *Marina Rebak about 9:30am to 10:00am. Marina rebak is at the jetty, you have go to the jetty to pickup the order. 
  • *Marina Telaga harbour 10:15am to 10:30am. Pick up at Telaga is at the jetty to "koh lipe" 
  • You can place your order either via email or WhatsApp
Contact person : Ms Hin
Contact no. : 012 313 2540
  • Deadline for emails orders is before Wednesday 5:00pm
  • Email address : vegierun@yahoo.com 
  • Cash only on pick up. 
  • Minimum order is RM120 per order
All goods placed will be the choicest produce, CLEAN-WEIGHT-PACK 

This is an excellent service with very good quality produce.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Pangkor Business card sheet

While in Pangkor these services maybe useful.

It seems most businesses like using WhatsApp for communications.

Friday, 22 September 2017

An evening in Batu Pahat - Malaysia

Morning sunrise over Pahat

Sungai Batu Pahat, Malaysia  – September 22, 2017

Translation: sungai = river, batu = stone and pahat = carving/chiseling.

Tidal data as per our chart plotter ‘T’ for Batu Pahat for September 22 & 23 2017.

Sept 22
Sept 23
0547           0.3
1114           2.8
1804           0.1
2338           2.7
0614            0.4
1146            2.8
1836            0.2

Waypoints for entry Batu Pahat (with many thanks to friends for supplying via HF Sailmail).

WP1       01 47.06N, 102 52.658E
WP2       01 47.66N, 102 53.15  E
WP3       01 47.84N, 102 53.36  E
WP4       01 48.19N, 102 53.61  E
WP5       01 48.60N, 102 53.62  E
WP6       01 49.12N, 102 53.49  E

Anchorage WP1: 01 49.335N, 102 54.031E. This waypoint puts you just around a bend in the river with very good protection from a Sumatra if one hits. However you will be approximately 2.4 nautical miles from town.

Anchorage WP2: 01 51.165N, 102 55.447E. Note this way-point is close to the township. Friends who used this way-point dragged several times and had copious amounts of floating debris on their anchor chain. It does however put your right at the township.

The sunset as we waited for more tide.
After being smashed by a squall or more commonly known here as a Sumatra (no doubt due to the westerly winds blowing over from Sumatra) two nights previous at Pulau Pisang we decided to enter the river known as Batu Pahat for a good sleep within the protection of the river and out of harm’s way.

Our eta to the entry waypoint was 1530 (yes quite late due to no wind and a damaged/missing cutlass bearing slowing our revs to 1200 maximum) however this meant that at the shallowest section we could not enter. With no engine power to assist once we saw 2.2 on the depth sounder we turned about and dropped anchor in 3 meters of water to let the tide come in enough for our 2 meter keel to slip over the sand bank. We had no idea how far the sand bank extended as nothing we had showed depth data for this river.

Luck had it a fast ferry entered the river so we dropped markers as he approached. At one point he slowed right down so now we knew where the sand bar was and the extent of it. After he was in we moved out a bit further to deeper water as we had lost another .5 meter over the hour as the tide was still dropping. By 2000hrs we finally had enough tide to bring Matilda in for the night.

Entering anywhere in the dark is a little nerve wracking but we had to make a decision. It was either sit outside worrying all night about a Sumatra slamming us which was a strong possibility as it was mid-September – SW monsoon season or spend an hour, enter the river and putter up to the anchorage. After much discussion about our poor engine with no grunt to push through a 25-35 knot westerly with a swell from Sumatra all with a very high probability of being pushed back to the shallows and grounding or enter the river which we knew would only take about 1 hour – the decision was made to be brave. So by 2015 hrs we had our anchor up and made our way into the river.

This data was recorded as we entered. Note we have a 2 meter draft and the depth shown below is total depth (not plus our draft):

WP1       2026       3.2 meters
WP2       2045       3.3 meters
WP3       2050       3.8 meters ** between WP3 & WP4 the depth sounder showed 2.5 meters for a while
WP4       2055       3.6 meters
WP5       2105       3.3 meters
WP6       2114       5.0 meters
Anchorage WP1                : 2120    5.0 meters

Note: upon approach to WP2 there is a very shallow patch, we recorded 2.4 at:
01 47.2126N, 102 52.7856E.

Entry took us just over 1 hour but we did enter very slowly. We had our spot light out on the banks and we both were keeping a keen lookout. Once in the river and anchored we had a few drinks, something to eat and then just as we headed to bed a local fisherman came by our starboard side in quite a large vessel – the captain was hanging out his door yelling ‘Hello Mister, good evening to you’ as Bruce was looking out. They certainly put a smile our face. Then as we were in bed we heard a strange noise, got up to investigate only to stare in awe at a massive tug and tow passing on our port side this time.

In the morning we woke and I always enjoy seeing a new to us place for the first time. It was just before sunrise and I managed a few nice photos. As the sun did rise I could see large gouges in the hill sides, assuming they are mining rock or tin here.

After doing a bit of research Google and Wiki informed me that Batu Pahat is the name given for chiseling stone. One thought is back in c1456 the Siamese army camped in the river before attacking Malacca. They chiseled the rock in the hope of finding fresh water. Another thought is the name is given regarding the fortress made of granite rock, built by the Portuguese after capturing Melaka.

Here we were thinking that we could see a bit of the place and its only small jungle speck on the planet but there is a massive township just up and around the next bend. Almost worth going back to explore. The river opens up to a massive population of 417,458 local residents and has 525 villages. The images on wiki are impressive. The Sungai Batu Pahat (the river) runs for 12 km’s!

Thanks to Google Earth images, this is the town of Pahat.
We certainly enjoyed sitting and watching the local birds including several eagles hunting on the mud banks at low tide, we even saw a monkey but never saw a crocodile or an otter but maybe the croc’s ate all the otters?

Just as we wanted to leave the sky turned black with Sumatra. So we made a cuppa and waited for it to blow over. At this stage we were glad to be in the river, giving us fantastic protection as it blew pretty hard and dumped loads of rain.

Finally the storm passed and were ready to haul anchor and potter out. However after removing a bit of floating debris off the anchor chain, the anchor didn’t want to come up. Bruce had me moving Matilda forward, back and to the side but it wouldn’t come up. After much moving about and watching coconuts pop to the surface, finally the anchor chain groaned upwards only to reveal a massive tree trunk on the anchor. The anchor was actually wedged into the ‘V’ of the trunk. The limbs were at least 12’ long. Luckily for us a local fisherman was coming in and he assisted. It took us nearly 1 hour to remove the tree limb.

Once all cleared we took off. A small blessing meant we had good water under our keel and the depth only went below 3mtrs once to 2.6 mtrs.

Once clear of the headland, we were bound for Muar Town river 38 nautical miles.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Bruce's No Need Bread

Bruce's No Need Bread

We have found a lot of recipes for bread being passed around that make a loaf big enough to feed a family of six.  When there is only two of you then it’s time to trim it back and make a loaf that is good for a day or two. The recipe for this loaf will still be fresh (soft) for sandwiches the next day, if kept in a zip lock bag once it has cooled.  We found a small loaf tin in one of the big supermarkets, not sure which one but have a look as you’re passing the cooking section. We only use volume measurements, I am not sure if some boating recipes have ever been made while out of the marina. Why do I say this?? Try using weighing scales once you’re underway and making way. Good luck on the loaf this will make by using weight rather than a volume measurement. 

Being in Asia for the last year has taught a thing or two about different flours and bread mixes. We could use bread mixes and flours up to and some times past the use by date when coastal cruising in Australia. However we found this wasn't the case in the heat and humidity of Asia, and we began to have failed loaves. To keep it simple and use the local produce I have gone back to basics and are producing nice crusty fresh bread every couple of days. 

This loaf is easy to make and tastes great.   If you haven’t made any breads previously then to stop the dough sticking to your hands lightly flour them like you do the surface you are going to work the dough on. The next thing you’re going to need is patience, be prepared to wait for it to rise then be prepared to let it cool once its cooked and the smell is driving you crazy, of course you could cut into it, but it won’t slice easily and it may turn in to a misshapen mess.

No Need Bread

2 Cups of plain '00' or bread making flour
180 ml of luke warm water
3/4 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 Teaspoon of salt
1 Teaspoon of dry yeast
1 Teaspoon of raw sugar (or white or honey)

Cook's notes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml.

To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in the water add the sugar and a teaspoon of flour then mix well, stand for 10-15 minutes, it’s good to go when its bubbling up in the cup / glass /container you have it in.

Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, pour in the yeast liquid, add the oil and salt, and start mixing with a bread and butter knife, then use your fingers to bring it into a dough ball. Tip the dough onto a floured cooking bench and knead for 8–10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and shiny. If you have a mixer fitted with dough hooks, leave it in the bowl and you can let your appliance do the work for you in half the time, I like this option the best. But just because you’re using dough hooks you will still need to mix / knead the dough for 5 minutes, don’t stop once it’s all come together, keep going. Once you have made a loaf or two you should be able to spot the change from a combined dough to a elastic dough ball.

Whichever method you use, the dough should feel slightly sticky. If it seems way too wet, add one tablespoon  of flour at a time and mix. Likewise, if it’s too dry, add a (little oil once) or water one table spoon at a time. All flours tend to vary slightly, even within the same brand, and you have to let your instinct guide you. The dough ball needs to be elastic without a large amount sticking to the bottom of the bowl.

With floured /oiled hands shape the dough into a ball, then put it back into the mixing bowl cover with a plastic film (glad/cling wrap) or a moist tea towel and rest for 20 minutes. After this time, you will notice the dough has become soft, shiny and elastic. Stretch it with your hands to form a rectangle, then fold it into three and shape it into a ball. Place the ball in an oiled bowl, cover with a plastic film (glad/cling wrap) or a moist tea towel and leave to prove for 1 ½–2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on floured cooking bench and knead for 1 - 2 minutes to knock the air out of the dough. Now Stretch it with your hands to form a rectangle the width slightly shorter than the length of your loaf tin, now roll the dough along the length and place into the greased loaf pan.

Place oiled plastic film as used previously or a new sheet over the pan as the dough rises. Once the dough has doubled in size heat your oven to 210°C (190°C fan-forced). Remove the plastic gently and place the loaf tin into the center of the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden and puffy.

The loaf should fall easily from the pan when cooked and will sound hollow when tapped with the back of a finger. Let the loaf cool on a wire rack for half an hour if you can before cutting.

Why have I called this no need bread? Its “No Need Bread” because there is no need to go the shop to get a great loaf. You can’t make a nice elastic chewy loaf of bread that melts on your tongue without doing a bit of work and knead it. If you don’t want to put in the work you may as well just make damper.

About to become egg and lettuce sandwiches

Hints and Tips
Plain flour off the shelf of the supermarket will not work very well because the good stuff (gluten) has been taken out of it. Look for bread making or fortified flour.  In Australia Wallaby flour or a bread making flour by Defiance both work well, there are other brands but I haven’t used them. Another reason I haven’t used them is they are not available off the shelf at the local supermarket.

Flours like white wings or defiance plain flour won’t work, and the large supermarket store brands do an even poorer job. Of course you could buy bread mix but I have found it does not have the same life span that the plain flour has in the heat and humidity. The other thing about bread mixes is you won’t (we haven’t) see it on the shelf in Asia.The bread making flours pictured have been used with success on board. As you can see bread is pictured in the products made on the front.

Indonesia Bread Making Flour

Malaysia Bread Making Flour

Thailand Bread Making Flour
Salt, don’t leave this out because you’re thinking we don’t eat salt. Believe it or not, salt is an important ingredient and will help the flour / dough become elastic, and you want elastic.

Which brings me to the next subject; failures: a loaf that rises and then collapses may be caused by the flour being too old. I have had flour and bread mixes that are too active and I think this is caused by wild yeast starting to ferment the flour. You may notice the dough does not hold shape when proving, cooking or starts to get a very very slight brown colour or tastes slightly different. These could all be the signs of wild yeast infection or the flour is too old.

How do you know if the dough is too wet? If using a dough hook(s) it won’t leave the bottom of the mixing bowl, once the mix is good at least 95 % or more of the dough will be off the bottom of the bowl while you’re mixing and you can hold it in your floured /oiled hand quite easily. The same goes for hand kneading the dough will be controllable and not a sticky mess.

Bread improver, I have found this can improve a loaf if the packet of improver is fresh. Unfortunately it appears to have a shorter life span in the heat and humidity than flour has. Even unopen packets don’t appear to like the heat. The symptoms are over active dough or collapsing loaf while being cooked or won’t hold shape when proving.

Yeast; we buy a big cans of dry yeast or large vacuum packets and once open keep them in the fridge.

In Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand the good bread making flour is available you just have to do a bit of detective work to get the right one. I have found the pictures on the front most times let you know what it’s good for.  Make sure there are no holes in the plastic packs (give them a good squeeze) a sure sign something has got in or bored their way out. 

A couple of knife cuts on the top before proving produces a patterned top