Tuesday 31 July 2018

July Newsletter 2018

News from the Crew of Matilda
July  2018

Asean Lady at anchor at her 'home base' Redang. The owner amongst many other business's owns the resort here.
Ships log: 
As the end of June came we realized we would not make Koh Samui with enough time to enjoy it, as we have to be back in the Sebana Cove marina by September 4. So we decided to call it a day and loiter around Pulau Redang. It wasn't a hard choice!

Log for the month:
  • July 2, we travelled 58.9 Nm's to Sungai Pahang (breakwater wall). Anchoring at 03 32.22N, 103 28.15E in 5.4 meters at low tide on a sand bottom.
  • July 3, we travelled 45.1 Nm's to Sungai Kemaman and anchored down from the town at 04 14.21N, 103 25.69E in 5.5 meters close to low tide. The bottom suprisingly was sand.
  • July 4, we travelled 40.1 Nm's to Pulau Tenggol. This is a very deep bay, it is full of coral and anchoring is prohibated. We picked up the only mooring (there use to be 3). The mooring is located at: 04 48.50N, 103 40.60E in 20 meters. Note there are other mooring but they are lite, only for dive boats.
  • July 5, we travelled 36.1 Nm's to Pulau Kapas. Anchoring at 05 13.73N, 103 15.67E in 5.8 meters at high tide on sand (we know this because we could see our anchor).
  • July 9, Monday we travelled 10.9 Nm's to Terengganu. Anchoring in the marina basin in 3.6 meters on a dropping tide at 05 20.51N, 103 07.88E on muddy clean sand.
  • July 15, Sunday we travelled 32 nm's to Redang. Dropping anchor in 6.8 with the dropping tide at 05 47.21N, 103 01.03E in the whitest sand - glorious spot.
  • July 28, Saturday we travelled 21.4 nm's to Palau Perhentian Kechil - Long Beach. Anchoring at 05 55.10N, 102 43.46E in 6.4 mtrs close to low tide. On sand.
  • July 30, Monday decided to circumnavigate Pulau Perhentian Kechil with a stop at Pulau Rawa for snorkel. We dropped our anchor at 05 57.68N, 102 40.85E in 10.4 meters on sand and then returned to Long Beach.
  • July 31, continuing the circumnavigation this time of Pulau Perhentian Besar the larger of the two islands, we stopped for lunch and a snorkel at Flora Beach. Dropping anchor at 05 53.51N, 102 45.21E in 15.1 meters on sand,then returned to Long Beach.

This is how they collect the garbage at Pulau Perhentian Kechil - Long Beach, and this is it arriving they still loaded up many more black garbage bags. The vessel was clearly over loaded.
Crew log:
Heading up the east coast was a mixture of sailing and motor sailing. We have certainly enjoyed being so close to the coast. On the way up we hit a cluster of floats. We couldnt believe it, as we were on watch. The only way we can explain hitting them is that they must have been partially submerged. It was very disappointing, but relieved to see no major damage other than a dint to our propellor and a little bit of anti fould was scrapped off. 
Not what we wanted to see as we dived on the prop at Tenggol.

This is why we are so glad we bought a hookah unit - its priceless.

The mess of rope Bruce cut off the prop & shaft.

One happy Captain,,,,a clear prop!
Anchoring in the Kemaman River was interesting. There are no soundings (depths) for the river, only instructions where to keep close to the mangroves as you head towards the town. So we edged our way in. There were two waypoints suggested but we couldn't get Matilda to them as it was not deep enough for her keel - we didnt fancy sitting on the bottom! While there we saw and heard loads of wildlife. The local fisherman kept waving their arms at us to move as we were in the channel, but we couldnt go anywhere else. As much as we wanted to stay a day or two exploring, we got up the next morning and left.

As we entered Sungai Kemaman, we watched a fire building, it burned for hours and hours.

Very typical scene here. A sunken boat right in the harbour and it just lays there. Everyone moves around it.

It started to pour with rain when I noticed two eagles sitting on a chanel marker.

I watched this enormous monitor lizard for a few hours. It is as long as a small car, its huge.

While I sat outside admiring the wildlife, Bruce went into the bowels of Matilda to find and repair a fuel leak. He did find it and repaired it, but to do so he had to dismantle everything in his path to get to the cause of the leak.
While anchored in the river we couldnt get over how much water traffic there was. We watched loads of water taxi's, local fishermen and big fishing boats coming in and out.

Leaving Kemaman bound for Tenggol we passed loads of supply boats as Bruce spotted a Seismic vessel. Naturally we had to do a drive by in case he knew it and maybe some of its crew. As it turned out he knew the vessel, but it wasn't one of his so we did a lap, waved to the Captain and went on our way. 

This is the Polar Empress, she is a seismic vessel like what Bruce use to work on.

Captain at the bridge of the Polar Empress.

This was where Bruce did most of his work. Its the gun and cable decks. And the heli pad is on top for crew changes etc.
This is a supply boat . It takes crew and supplies out to the working ships so they dont have to come in, that way they can stay out and keep working. Buce has been on 100's of these going to and fro from the main seismic boats.
Palau Tenggol is a very popular dive site for those wishing to swim with the whale sharks. We didnt see any. Our guide book said the diving is the best on the east coast. We hoped the diving was indeed better than the snorkelling as we found it was not very good at all. Its very smashed up, bleached and in a bad way. Later that night we watched a fisherman drop his anchor clearly in the shallow's over the coral area, we were both so cross watching him. Tenggol is not a tourist spot so to speak, its a guest house only location so they don't cater for drop ins. We went ashore for a beer and a snack but could only buy coke & crisps. It was however a lovely chance to stretch our legs and enjoy the foreshore.
Bruce enjoying one of the many swings on Tenggol.

Deb outside one of the three resorts on the island of Tenggol.
Our mooring. Looks like a mess doesn't it? We are in 20 meters of water and the mooring line is attached to a wreck. All day long we had divers under Matilda.

This was some of our view from Matilda. Its very pretty.
Palau Kapas was an absolute joy of a place to chill for a few days. Its gorgeous, very pretty. The water is clear, the snorkelling was great and the food on the island was delicious. Kapas is only 3.5 nm's from the mainland which allows the locals to come out for the day on fast boats or to stay the weekend. We had a lovely time here and enjoyed the company of Jaga II.
Bruce found Nemo - Again! Can you see their baby?
Not quite right but fantastic drawing.
Deb with the model brides.

The lady in white is being prepared for her next photo shoot and the lady in pink is taking selfies - adorable.

Beach photo shoots.

Model brides enjoying their own photo shoot.

Some of the very neat accomodation on Kapas.
One of the cafes on Kapas. The beds out the front are for guests to lay on, reading, chatting, watching the sunset.
After the beautiful P. Kapas we went over to Terengganu. The second largest town on the Malay east coast. While the water was very muddy we had a lovely stay. The anchorage was secure and we had great access to everything we needed. They are busy building an opening bridge that we had to pass under.

This marina is the left of screen. The large wharf dock out the front of the two large buildings is for the supply boats to pull up along side on. The anchorage is just to the right of these buildings.

Matilda is passing under the open section of the bridge.
The workmen on the bridge were all smiles and waving.

We spent more time with Jim and Wendi off the beautiful Jaga II. WE enjoyed listening to Jim who shared stories of his childhood in the Appalachian Mountains, USA and of his adult years in Alaska. His stories of brown bears, grizzly bears and reindeer were priceless. 

Jaga II is heading to the bridge.
Terengganu has a wonderful Chinatown with amazing street art. It was interesting walking around the town.

Turtles are valued at Terengganu and they have taken positive steps in education. We accessed Chinatown via Turtle Alley. 

Terengganu is a great place to refuel, refill your gas bottle or to find spare parts (you will have to hunt around). Provisioning is easily done either at Giant, which is about RM6 in a Grab or you can wonder around the town and take in the day & night markets. You can easily and safely leave your tender at: 05 20.0185N, 103 07.9280E. 

We left our tender in the canal which is to the right of the right hand picture. We had no security issues here.
We like to bake a lot and we found this fantastic shop full of everything baking in Chinatown. If you need anything while at the anchorage or in the Marina call Omar on +60199266594, he is extremely helpful.

This is the bakery supply shop. As you walk out of Turtle Alley, turn left and walk about 6 minutes and this shop is on your left. If you cross the little bridge you have walked too far.
We love 'Dim Sum' and found Master Wongs in Chinatown. He sold a variety of dishes and cooked them as you waited.
While in Terengganu, we needed to extend our Malay visa. I did a blog on that which you can view here.

After Terengganu we headed over to Redang, famous for it's water color and resident turtles. The anchor had only been down about 2 minutes when 2 turtles came over to say hi. Not long after Bruce jumped in with them. To attract the turtles for their clients the tourist operators feed them and this has made the turtles very inquisitive, not shy at all.

While at Redang we spent quite a few days with Beth and Mick off the catamaran Site. One day we did a circumnavigation of Redang and had lunch on the other side. The day ended with a few drinks and some lazing around in the floating donut chairs enjoying some G&T's.

On our circumnavigation we went to vist the northern bay where you can purchase fuel. We couldnt work it out. However, look at the incline of the road in the back ground.

A gorgeous little island had a resort on it.

Our lunch venue,,,gorgeous.

We enjoyed watching this incredibly quick squirral jump around this blue umberella while we ate lunch..

The resorts pool was lovely.

People mover with a glorious beach in the back ground.

Back to our bay and the Asean Lady.

And what a better way to celebrate a successful circumnavigation but with ice cold G&T's in the floating donuts off Site!

This is Beth & Mick on Site waving bye for now as they sail north from Redang.  It's never easy seeing off friends who touch your heart - see you down the track Site!
This is the Captain letting his hair down on Site, priceless!
After a few days swimming in the pristine waters of Redang, all 14 of them, we took off for the Perhentian Islands for a look around.

This is what we had to put up with every single time we swam - its a hard life. The turtles are feed here so they become quite tame.
The Perhentian group of island just north of Redang are very lovely, but also very busy. We found the most protected spot was in the bay of Long Beach. Its very much a backpacker type place with loads and loads of tourists swarming the place. Its extremly popular with divers. We loved every minute. The vibe was great, everyone was really friendly, loads of places to eat at ranging from upmarket to cheap as chips. Music was loud at night, usually starting around 7pm and still pumping it out at 4am, but once we were down inside Matilda with either the tv, radio or fans on we honestly couldnt hear it. Every night while we ate dinner we watched the fire twirlers and any other entertainment they had for their guests - awesome.

Some of the interesting accomodation at Long Beach.

One of our favourite places to eat while we visited. The Chillout Bar.

Tourists come and go all day long.

Divers come and go all day long - thats the main reason people come here.

This was gas bottle day. The empty cylinders and all tied up here, a boat comes along, picks them up and replaces them with full one. All in the water!

Simply stunning, the water was crystal clear at Long Beach. Matilda is out the back.

Long Beach.

On our circumnavigation we saw the steps up to the wind turbines. Zooming in we could see the steps are in a sad state, not sure many people walk up from this side.

A magnificent Mosque out on the water. Love the green of the jungle behind it giving a wonderful contrast of color.

The brains trust worked out how to use his fish/depth finder to grid the bay for soundings (which are inaccurrate here).


Snorkelers,,,,too funny.

More neat accomodation.

So very pretty.

This guy is flying his Malaysian flag and the state flag for Terengganu.

I never tire of these enormous colourful fishing boats.

Love the colours in the buildings.
Long Beach was the busiest place out of the two islands which are Pulau Perhentian Besar (the larger island) and Pulau Perhentian Kechil. Pulau Rawa is not to far away and a great day anchorage with snorkeling with giant bump head parrot fish. As we circumnavigated both we did see loads of other great anchorages, mostly day stops during this season but they looked lovely.

Bump head parrot fish - huge!
A school of fish at Rawa,,,,,nice Barracuda out the back of the school.
Bruce must always find Nemo. These fish when we look back on our photo always look like they are photo shopped they are so vivid. 
After 4 full days we headed back to finish the month off with friends at Redang and our final swim this year with the turtles. It's so good to catch up with friends just sitting around talking. It was great to explore one of the 2 decent walks on the island. The walk we went on took us to the southern end which seems more like the service end. There are two jettys, one is clearly for passangers and one is for supplies, rubbish and fuel. It was lovely to be amongst the locals who let most of their wild life wander around freely.

It was wonderful to spend time with Les and Colleen off La Passarola. One day we walked to the other side of the island together. Believe it not these phones didnt connect!
The local school on Redang is like many others we see in Malaysia. Loads of colorful murals on the walls and fence line. The school grounds are well maintained with lots of shade from trees.

The two jettys on the south end. It seemed the one on the left was for fuel, supplies and rubbish removal. The other is for passengers.

Colleen enjoying the view.

These are the bins for the locals. This goat didnt take her eyes off me and I was worried she was about jump out and ram me.

Mother cow and her calf. They are not teathered and free to wander, however their handler is sitting on a bench just lazying around while they chew on the grass.

There was loads of goats everywhere. These ones are out side the school.

This is how the locals chill so they are not in the heat (unlike us walking for hours). The draught pieces are bottle top lids and the guy with his leg up has just been taken off the board. So much fun to watch. 

Rambutan fruit is local and Bruce loves them!

Local servo.
The lovely Jenni D. It was so good to finally meet Jan and Glen.

The mighty La Passarola at anchor at Redang - washing day must continue!
Cruising Helmsman this month featured Bruce's article on Bilge Pumps. A critical item on any vessel on the water. Hopefully the 4484 word article helps others to understand them. To read this article online you need to visit here, or you can buy the magazine at your local newsagency. 
Well done Brucey!

It feels good to support one of my cousins in his new online business. Steve has worked hard to get this site revamped and is offering a great range of IT products. Check out his site 'UrbanElectronics' here:

Good luck Cousin!

To close this month here is a few videos Bruce took underwater. 

Now to head south.........