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Friday, 31 May 2019

May Newsletter

News from the Crew of Matilda
May 2019

Warship 1504 at the navy dock in Langkawi. It must have been a time of celebration as all her flags where flying.
Ships log 
Here is a catch up for April 2019.
  • April 2: 14.7nm's to Panwa Bali, Chalong. Anchored in 6.3mtrs at low tide at 0749.01N, 99 23.93E
  • April 7: 8.1nm's to Nai Harn. Anchored in 14.5mtrs at high tide at 07 46.29N, 98 18.08E
  • April 11: 35.2nm's to Phi Phi Don - Southern end. Anchored in 16.5mtrs at 07 43. 67N, 98 46.23E  
  • April 14: 20.6nm's to Rai Lei. Anchored in 5.4mtrs at 08 00.71N, 98 49.79E
  • April 15: 11.1nm's to Koh Hong (Krabi) and picked up a mooring at 08 04.95, 98 40.73 in 20mtrs.
  • April 15: 8.7nm's to Ko Roi. Anchored in 9.7mtrs at 08 11.54N, 98 36.62E
  • April 16: 7.6nm's to Koh Phanak. Anchored in 5.4mtrs at high tide at 08 11.45N, 98 29.83E
  • April 16: 14.6nm's to Phuket Yacht Haven. Anchored in 8.4mtrs at 08 10.57N, 98 20.37E
  • April 22: 31.4nm's to Panwa Bali. Anchored in 5.2mtrs at low tide at 07 49.00N, 98 22.95E
  • April 24: 26.7nm's to Phi Phi Don. Anchored in 17.6mtrs at 07 43.68N, 98 48.30E
  • April 25: 46.2nm's to Koh Talibong. Anchored in 7.7mtrs at 07 14.55N, 99 21.51E
  • April 26: 44.4nm's to Ko Tarutao. Anchored in 9.4mtrs at 06 37.20E, 99 41.17E
  • April 27: 20.7nm's to Telaga basin. Anchored in 3.6 at low tide at 06 21.72N, 99 40.71E
  • April 28: 9.7nm's to Singa Besar. Anchored in 5.4mtrs at high tide at 06 13.74N, 99 44.73E
And May's anchorages.........
  • May 1: 8.3nm's to Kuah, Bass Harbour. Anchored in 5.4mtrs at 06 18.98N, 99 50.51E
  • May 4: 8.1nm's to Singa Besar. Anchored in 7.7mtrs at high tide at 06 13.69N, 99 44.81E
  • May 5: 3.4nm's to Singas Besar (we looked at the next bay, but it was unsuitable). Anchored in 5.4mtrs at 06 13.60N, 99 44.84E
  • May 6: 10.7nm's to Kuah, Bass Harbour. Anchored in 4mtrs at low tide at 06 19.12N, 99 50.46E
  • May 9: 4.6nm's to Pulau Tuba. Anchored in 5.8mtrs at 06 16.66N, 99 51.50E
  • May 10: 44.3nm's to Pulau Bidang. Anchored in 9.6mtrs at high tide at 05 44.79N, 100 17.46E
  • May 11: 32.7nm's to Penang, Batu Uban. Anchored in 6.9mtrs at 05 21.32N, 100 19.05E
  • May 12: Moved into pen #24 at Batu Uban. At low tide, we were on the bottom.
  • May 24: 3.1nm's to the southern end of Jerejak. Anchored in 8.7mtrs at 05 18.47N, 100 18.09E
  • May 25: 60.7nm's to Pulau Talang. Anchored in 10.2mtrs at high tide at 04 25.24N, 100 34.68E
  • May 26: 13.9nm's to Pangkor Marina. Anchoring outside in 7.2mtrs at high tide at 04 12.69N, 100 35.77E
  • May 30: 14.1nm's to Pulau Lalang. Anchored in 16.1mtrs at 04 00.53N, 100 32.81E
  • May 31: 22.5nm's to Bernham River. Anchored in 5.7mtrs at high tide at 03 50.79N, 100 49.49E 
We often see these pretty little birds and they are so quick, so we were lucky to get this shot.
Crew log:
This month we moved a lot, covering 226.4 nautical miles. We didn't end up going over to Sabang, Indonesia as planned for the end of April. We had a few repairs to manage and the weather for our days of departure where blowing the opposite direction and we didn't fancy on motoring all the way over into the wind. So we decided to make our way down to Penang to obtain our Indonesian visa's and go visit the Cameron Highlands. 


Exceptional sunsets at Penang.
As it turned out we didn't obtain our Indonesian visa's at Penang either, as we felt the time frame to activate them (60 days) was too tight and we still needed to pull into Pangkor Marina for more repairs, so we put it off. 


A very well used pool this one. This pool is in the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club which is conveniently located near the bar.
It was interesting exiting Langkawi Malaysia this time as the ladies at the Harbour Master counter wanted to see our insurance, which is not uncommon but they wanted to see specific coverage for things we are not covered for. Turned out they are being scammed by a local insurance agent who was seeking business. Loads of yachters expressed their disgust as well when we mentioned this on Facebook. Especially because the 'directive' was in the form of a brochure and not on the official Malaysia letter head we are all use to.




After we had finished checking out, we passed this burnt out ferry and wondered if it's insurance was in order???
May is a transition month where the winds change direction from the north east and start to blow from the south west, signalling the start of the wet season. We certainly noticed the storms and change in wind direction on our travels this month. Our trip from Langkawi right down to Pangkor was plagued with storms and squalls from the south west. 


On our way to Penang the weather was getting nasty. We had a shocker of a day and knew we had picked a good spot for the night as the local fisherman where also anchored there.


You know your boats fairly substantial when you can fit one of your tenders on the port side in its own cavity.
Under the northern bridge we passed what looks like the beginnings of a rig structure - surely not, that's Penang right there in the back ground. But each day we watched many men head out to the structure so something is going on. Note that Batu Uban Marina is in the background - that's where we are heading.
One of many workers heading out. We saw this guy most mornings heading out on a taxi - why he never removed his helmet is any ones guess.
While we were away we decided to leave Matilda at the Batu Uban Marina. This is a small government run marina. The prices are exceptionally cheap: RM2 per metre (that's AU$0.69c), which is very good as every other marina we have been to charges per foot. The only downside is the water is charged at some astronomical rate which is RM2 for 10 litres. Our tanks take 400 litres so that would have been RM80 (AU$27.55) which is outrageous. Bruce asked if this was a misprint and the answer was 'It was a regulation charge which was handed down from the 1950's and it is currently under consideration for review with the government as the charge is law. As a foot note, you have to go to the post office to get a Money Order to pay your bill for which we used a grab and went down to the Queensbay Mall. The post office is open 7 days a week.


The work building.
We emailed Rosziyana Binti Zain on rosziyana@marine.gov.my a few weeks prior to our arrival to confirm they had a vacancy for Matilda which they did. Once we arrived we anchored out the front of the marina and took the tender in. Walked up to the office which is open every day 0830 to 1700, to finalise our berth.


The office at the marina.
Matilda all snug in her pen. Funny coincidence that her pen number was 24 and her hull is build number 24.
The government has recently been doing some upgrades to the marina which we felt made it quite attractive. All the fingers & cleats have either been repaired or replaced. Every pen has its own water tap which is locked and each tap has its own meter. The water meter was reset to zero on our entry, which eliminates any over charge. All pens have their own individual power meter, also reset to zero to eliminate over charges. A very good set up. The fingers are also protected by a very nice new gate which self locks. Entry into the compound itself has a 24/7 guard on duty who even opens the large gate to the complex. We saw him question quite a few people wanting entry which was positive.


Their new stainless steel self locking gate offered very good security.

One of the fingers showing the water and power boxes. Note the individual water meters on the lower section of each tower.


The main finger (there is only one) is very neat and tidy, but more importantly it is a very safe structure with all the deck boards securely positioned.
Seeing as we went into a marina at Penang we had to go do all the officialdom of checking in as each marina requires a port clearance. This was a good experience and all the officials where very easy to deal with. 


This is the Swettenham Pier building where you go to check in with immigration.
The Queensbay Mall underground car park has a Help button on every 2nd pillar.
After checking in we went down to one of our favourite Hawker Centres. This is a favourite as we just love Dim Sum!!

And you must wash down the Dim Sum with the most delicious sweet of all time: the famed Portuguese Egg Tarts - Sensational!!!!!
While in Penang we decided to take ourselves on a few day tours. Thanks to Jennifer Rouse, a local expat we secured a car hire for 10 days at a very reasonable price. To contact Jen, go to her Ahoy Penang Facebook page and flick her a message. Her FB page is an excellent source of current information show casing all the goings on in Penang! 




Sunrise over the northern bridge was a lovely sight as we sipped our coffee each morning from Matilda's cockpit.
Bruce snapped this bird hunting. We saw loads of these birds in the marina.
First up was an interesting visit to the Penang War Museum - a very sobering experience indeed, but glad we saw it as it was informative. If you go remember the bug spray as the mosquitoes are very bad. 


Our tickets on entry.

A very long gun replica.

Ammunition room for the large guns.

Bruce in an escape tunnel.

Along one of the walk ways where these replica houses. These home were built for the officers to live in.

This is the quaters for the officer on duty at the gun implacement.

Shells at the gun implacement.

One of the many photos on display.

An old BSA motor cycle more than likely used for errands.

These posters where dotted around the walkways. Happy to let you know we didn't come across any of these critters.

This was one of the views of the waterway that was protected.

This is a storeroom which has been taken over by a strangler fig tree. This small building was also used as an isolation cell.

All the buildings where a very similar build and positioned as per rank. The officers building was the highest, with the prisoners building the lowest. They all had these yellow signs on them which explained what each building was used for.

Stolen bicycles were used by the Japanese to sneak down the Malay peninsula to capture towns.

All the buildings where this width, not very wide at all.

The jungle is slowly reclaiming its grounds.

Even though the war was back in 1930's, this section of Penang was abandoned at the end of the war and only in the late 1990's was it rediscovered. It was then restored as a museum and  was opened to the public 2002.
You can drive the entire island of Penang in a day. The day we went it poured torrential rain all day long. So this day we were glad to get back to Matilda as there are many land slides on Penang, but the drive show cased the beautiful jungle which was lovely and cool. The next day we drove off over the northern bridge (a first for us) and went up to see Jerai Mountain. This decision turned out to be a fizzer. The mountain is nothing special. It did have a good road, a bit tight in places but still OK. The view was nice, but you can only see it from the side of the road as the top of the mountain is shut off to the public with armed guards.


The northern bridge was a spectacular sight as we sat at anchor out the front of Batu Uban Marina.


Jerai Mountain is quite high giving a great view of the rice fields below. 

This guy wondered if we had anything to eat.....

We didn't see any monkeys on the way up, but on the way down they where everywhere and would take their sweet time moving out the way, our car didn't faze them at all.
The next day Bruce woke up feeling quite unwell but wanted to push on. We drove up to the mind boggling Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple. It was obvious this temple required a lot of walking as it has some pretty steep steps. This proved too much for Bruce so we looked on from the comfort of the car. The temple is the largest in Malaysia and was constructed between 1890 - 1930. Then we drove home yet another way to see more of Penang stopping off for lunch near the famed Malay/Chinese Anti War memorial.


Image courtesy of Google is of the Anti War memorial for the Chinese & Malays.

Thanks to Google for this image of Kuan Yin which stands 120 feet tall.

From the car we could see loads of walkways - enough to bring on yet another coughing fit for Bruce.
On the trip south Bruce spotted a tear or a rip in our head sail as we approached Pangkor. So the first chance we got, we dropped the sail on the deck to find it was indeed a rub hole. The hole was caused by rubbing on one of the spreader ends as the boot is split. This also needs repair but that means going up the mast which will have to wait until we are in very calm waters. This meant some hand stitching by Bruce, which is never easy on the hands.


Our head sail spilled on deck - its so much cloth.

A very upsetting sight, but so glad Bruce spotted it before it got a lot worse.

And maybe it was fate, as we lowered the halyard line for the head sail we saw it had been rubbing. Bruce cut the section off and shortened the line.
Hand stitching the patch on. 
Then it was off to the Cameron Highlands for two nights. We decided a while ago we would love to see the place, and we are so glad we did as it is a very interesting region. It was such a great experience we did a blog on it. Please click here to enjoy reading about our adventure. Our highlands trip was a wonderful way to end our time in Penang.