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 : 
  • 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.

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Marvelous Melaka - October 2017

Marvelous Melaka – October 2017.

We stepped off Matilda Saturday, September 30th, 2017 around midday, walked up to the foyer in Admiral Marina and Leisure Centre here at Port Dickson. Ordered our Uber to Melaka. Due to it being a Saturday the ride in took around 3 hours. Melaka is a very popular weekend destination for Singaporean’s. Malacca (English spelling) or Melaka which is the official name is an amazing place, especially if you’re interested in history.

Originally we had planned to only stop for 2 nights giving us 1 full day to catch up on a few places we missed the last time we were in Melaka which was back in November 2016 with the Sail Malaysia Rally, but the one day allocated for a look around was just not enough. And it seemed 2 nights this time was also not enough so we booked another hotel for 2 more nights.

A tri-shaw. These are everywhere in Melaka. At night they play very, very loud music and have amazing flashing lights - loads of fun.
Day One – September 30, 2017
Left the marina around 11am and the Uber ride to Malacca took just under 3 hours to get to our hotel, Hotel Balik Pulau. The room was nice enough but small. The bathroom was cramped and we both couldn’t walk around the end of the bed at the same time. We live every day in cramped conditions, so we weren’t that thrilled about our choice. The bed was also lumpy, but by the time we had checked and gone out and about we thought well one more night will be ok.

Our iPhone had finally died the day prior so we left our room and walked up to the shopping mall. Had a lovely lunch in the mall at Tony Romas. Pottered about enjoying the air conditioning and then went off and bought a new phone, always a bit exciting. Came back to the room, messed about on the phone and then headed off to enjoy dinner.

This is the shopping complex. An easy walk from the hotel's we stayed in.
We ended up at a bar type place enjoying pizza and beers, and enjoying all the tri-shaws going past with their colorful lights on. Then seeing as we where both feeling tired we shouted ourselves a ride home to the hotel.

Day Two – October 1, 2017
Bit of a later start today, must have needed a bit of sleep but boy what a day we had. After showers we walked back up towards the mall and had breakfast. Then went for a walk to get our bearings and find Jonka Street. Wasn’t that hard.

Stopped to admire more of the Portuguese Fort buildings still standing which were built in 1511. Incredible history here. Then went over to the Melaka Sultanate Palace, but we didn’t go in. It was built 1456 completed 1477!

We stopped a very cute little café and enjoy iced raspberry teas with homemade cakes, very nice indeed.

I was keen to see The Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum so we went in search of that. Found it after we saw a man who still makes Lotus Shoes. Thank heavens they are now only used as display items. Lotus Shoes were worn by the Chinese women whose feet were bound in the name of beauty and served as a status symbol to marry into wealth. The practice was banned from 1912 but apparently some till persisted.  

So onto the Museum and it was fantastic. Very interesting with a lovely host. We got to see inside a house and learn about a lifestyle not often seen by many, so we felt quite special.

Ended up landing at Sid’s for some much needed cold beers and proceeded to order a few bits off the menu. 

After Sid's on the walk back to the hotel we decided to have a river cruise. We had no idea all this was this was going on. This place is amazing.

Once back from the river cruise, our bellies still full from lunch we decided we needed a snooze so back to the hotel we went. Snoozed and then headed back out for dinner, enjoying the cool of the evening.

While out today we decided that we needed a few more days off. We kept walking past the Moty Hotel and it looked lovely. We checked into it online and found it was only 4 months old and a nonsmoking hotel, so we booked in for the next two nights from tomorrow.

Day Three – October 2, 2017
We went in search of our favorite breakfast: Roti Canai. We found it and really enjoyed just sitting and chatting over breakfast. We then went back and checked out of the Hotel Balik Pulau and walked up the road, luggage in tow to the Moty Hotel. OMG our room is huge and the bath…………..I was in it soaking before my bags hit the floor. The room is gorgeous and well worth the extra $9 per night!

Our Indian cafe for our Roti Canai breakfast.

Roti Cani, the best breakfast.
After moving hotels we went for a ride on the revolving tower, Menara Taming Sari. 110mtrs high providing awesome views. 

A great view of Melaka from the tower ride.

Another great view out over Melaka Strait and peek at the location of the Moty Hotel.

After the ride we though it was a good idea to walk up and along the canal where the river cruise went yesterday to take some shots of the street/wall art. Incredible!

It was very hot walking around so we came back to our room and watched a movie in the cool, had a snooze then headed out for dinner. Sid’s it was again. Great service, really cold beers, nice wine and a great menu.

Ploughmans at Sid's

Day Four – October 3, 2017
Another great day, so glad we decided to stay on for two more nights and move to a better hotel yesterday, the bed is so comfortable. We headed back to our Indian café around the road for the usual Roti Canai breakfast and then decided to do the Flora de la Mar Maritime Museum. It’s fantastic. The Portuguese galleon on display is a replica but the sheer size of it is incredible.  Learnt loads today about previous sailors back in the day and we were both very impressed with the museum's displays.

After that we did the Customs Museum, again very well done. The day was hot so we really enjoyed taking our time as the entire museum was air conditioned (and free). 

Then we enjoyed some a lovely morning tea at the funky Halia Inc Cafe on the canal front.

Bruce enjoying his enormous banana waffle. 

Halia Inc Cafe

Halia Inc cafe booth seats and fully air conditioned!
Went for a walk back down Jonka Street for a look see then had lunch at a Chinese place, very good food at a great price.

A walk back to the Moty for another long hot bath, a relaxing sleep and yep we headed back to Sid’s for dinner and beers.

A really pink hotel in our street.
Day Five – October 4, 2017
Went out for our last Roti Canai in Melaka and said good bye to our new friends at the cafe. Packed our bags, checked out and ordered our Uber back to Matilda.

Our driver was a young man and had his wife and baby in the front seat. No seat belts. No baby capsule, just holding and feeding as needed. It rained like crazy on the way home and a few times it was an interesting ride, not unlike one of the stickers on the windows!

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).

01° 46.9376' N   102° 52.5576' E 
01° 47.2917' N   102° 52.8914' E
01° 47.6600' N   102° 53.1500' E
01° 47.8556' N   102° 53.3573' E
01° 48.1900' N   102° 53.6100' E
01° 48.6000' N   102° 53.6300' E
01° 49.1200' N   102° 53.4900' E
01° 49.3350' N   102° 54.0310' E    in 5 metres. Good holding on mud

Anchorage WP8: 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 WP9: 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                                 :2015
WP2              3.2 meters
WP3              3.3 meters
WP4              3.8 meters 
WP5              3.6 meters ** between WP4 & WP5 the depth sounder showed 2.5 meters for a while
WP6              3.3 meters
WP7              5.0 meters
Anchorage WP8      At  Anchor  : 2120    5.0 meters

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

** Depending on vessel traffic during the loading of barges it should be possible to follow the line of the river further to the east as you manoeuvre between WP 4 and WP5, this we would assume would be deeper water. 

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 high protein bread making flour 
180-200 ml of luke warm water
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 Teaspoon of salt
1 Teaspoon of dry yeast/instant yeast
1 Teaspoon of raw sugar (or white or honey)

Cook's notes
The flour it needs to be what is known as "strong" or "high protein".  The higher the protein the better, read the label on the side of the pack and look for 12grams or more of protein per 100grams.  Much lower than that and you might need to add bread improver. 

Oil is your friend, it will stop the dough from sticking to your hands/bowl/bench top/bread pan and the oil left on the dough after removing the wrap will help it brown.

 The cooking time for this loaf is about 25 minutes. I like to crank the oven up to 210 deg C to start the first 10 minutes and then reduce the temp to 180 for the remaining 15 minutes.  

Oven temperatures are for either a conventional or fan-forced (convection), I find the gas and fan forced work the same, if using an old convection you may need to add a few degrees. 

We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. We have found the bread pan to cook the loaf in is 220 x 105 x 60 mm, this makes the loaf manageable once its cooked and your slicing it up.

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.
Knock the air out of the dough and flatten 

Rolling up the dough

The dough roll ready to be put into the oiled bread pan

Place oiled plastic film as used previously to cover the mixing bowl 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.
Rolled dough in the bread pan

Cover the top with oiled cling wrap and let rise
About time to turn the oven on, dough has doubled in size.

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.

In Malaysia we now shop in dedicated baking goods shops, it took over a year and a half before we found these shops. We were not looking and it was only by accident we stumbled upon a new one near the 2 RM shop at the turn off to Lumut.  (Pangkor Marina) Since then we have found several others. They usually have a great range of available goods, including the 2Kg blocks of Anchor Cheese and some keep Mozzarella, dry fruit, mixed peel, molasses, golden syrup and basic baking goods not stocked in the supermarkets.   We buy the high protein flour and have found this works for making bread, however if your shopping in one of these stores the staff should be able to help your choice.

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.
Test loaf, the flour wasn't right for bread,but will toast up Ok

As you can see the loaf collapsed slightly when cooked

Open grainy texture on top, the flour used is ok for cakes etc but not bread.

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