Saturday 1 September 2018

August Newsletter 2018

News from the Crew of Matilda
August  2018
The Malaysian Navy always makes its presence felt. Warship 174 was sitting proud at the entrance to the bay of Redang at the start of the month - quite the sight.
Ships log: 
The start of August saw us head south, for Pulau Tioman to enjoy all her surrounding islands, final destination is Sebana Cove marina.

Log for the month

  • August 1st, Wednesday we arrived back at Redang after being up at Perhentian Islands. We basically anchored in exactly the same location. 5 47.19N, 103 01.05E in 5.9 meters in sand.
  • August 4, Saturday we travelled 32nm's to Terengganu for supplies, anchoring at       5 20.50N, 103 07.88E in 3.4 meters close to low tide in muddy sand.
  • August 15, Wednesday. We travelled 11nm's to Kapas, anchoring at 5 13.75N, 103 15. 74E in 4.2 mtrs at high tide on a clear sandy bottom.
  • August 16, Thursday we travelled 64.7nm's to the breakwater wall at Kemaman river. Dropping anchor at 04 13.98N, 103 27.08E in 2.9 meters right on low tide in sand.
  • August 17, Friday we travelled 45.8nm's to the breakwater wall to the Pahang river, dropping anchor at 03 32.1368N, 103 28.0752 in 4.2mtrs, however we started to roll badly in the developed south east swell so we moved up into the river to: 03 31.58N, 103 27.68E dropping anchor in 4.4 meters in sandy mud.
  • August 18, Saturday  we travelled 70.4nm's to Pulau Seribuat/Sembilang (aka the Butterfly Islands). dropping anchor in sand in 14.5meters at 02 41.97N, 103 53.84E.
  • August 19, Sunday we travelled 18.2nm's to Tioman. Dropping anchor in sand in 12.3 meters at 02 49.32N, 104 09.46E.
  • August 23, Thursday we returned to the Butterfly Islands, 17.9nm's. Dropping anchor 02 42.00N, 103 53.87E in 15.8 meters on sand. 
  • August 25, Saturday we travelled 32.4nm's to Pulau Sibu. Dropping anchor at 02 14.034N, 104 03.462E in 12.6mtrs on sand.
  • August 27, Monday we travelled 25.4nm's, anchored in 4.4mtrs on muddy sand at 01 51.39N, 104 08.51E.
  • August 28, Tuesday we travelled 49.5nm's to the Navy Base anchorage so we are in position for the entry to Sebana Cove Marina. At high tide we dropped anchor in 8.3mtrs on muddy sand at 01 23.06N, 104 05.74E.

A local fisherman at Terengganu.
Published News:
Bruce has been published again this month in the Cruising Helmsman Magazine. He spent a great deal of time (as he does) writing about tenders. For all our arm chair readers, tenders are basically our cars and our only way to get ashore. A very important piece of our kit and Bruce has written a fabulous article...

You can either buy the magazine at your local newsagency or on line here.

Crew log:
We started the month at Redang for a day to enjoy a banquet on the beach put on by one of the local families - you simply can't beat fresh fish, served on a table made of bamboo with coconut palm trunks for seats and sand at your feet - incredible.

Captain Bruce just love, love, loves fresh fish.
Sadly for us we had to leave the crystal clear waters and the turtles of Redang and make a move south. A few hours saw us back in Terengganu from Redang. On the way we passed a huge anchored pipe. No idea what the story was, but here it is.

Between Redang and Terergganu: 05 35.29N, 103 04.754E

Terengganu is an amazing place to anchor. For us yachties we have a calm protected anchorage, the marina allows us to supply our boats with water and everything else we need is close by. The only down fall is the the discoloration on our hulls from the muddy water, you cant swim here and also the constant hum of the working boats gets to you after a while. But other than that we loved every minute of our stays. Most afternoons a decent storm would roll in, always looking ominous, but with good holding and protection we never dragged.

This is where we left our tender pretty much every time we came in. We did lock the outboard on, removed the stop cord but we only tied up and we never had any issues.

Storm fronts like this greeted us most afternoons. Sometimes they would just roll over and move away, others would rain like crazy and blow for a few hours.
It's funny how over the last few years we have crossed paths with many boats. Some of them we know through other friends or people we have met casually. It was so good to finally meet 'S & P' (aka Sue and Paul) off Osborne Star. Really nice people, excellent sailors and their boat was so cool.

Osborne Star all the way from Western Australia.

On one or our many nights out, the girls were in full swing. From left to right: Jan off Jenni D, Colleen off La Passarola, Wendie off Jaga and yours truly. I am going to miss this lot - so much fun.
While at Terengganu we enjoyed the markets, both local and the Chinese markets. They are both very good, with excellent quality produce. The larger local markets sell very good chicken, fish and some kind of red meat, which we couldn't work out what it was - we didn't buy any. The local markets are open 0600 till 1200 (or when vendors are sold out). Not sure of the opening hours for the Chinese markets but they are open everyday as well, I dare so go early. The Chinese markets are not in the building shown in the pic below they are situated behind the Chinese Temple/Master Wongs restaurant in Chinatown.

This is the market building. 

Excellent produce from the markets.

Lucky for us we love pineapples, they are so cheap at the markets.

Fresh chicken anyone?

We bought loads off this lovely man and he was thrilled, couldn't stop smiling.
Just behind Master Wong's is the Chinese markets and Roti place, but there is also a fruit shop. They sell excellent product.

The video above is a chap making his Roti Canai, which is eaten for breakfast. We absolutely love Roti Canai. It's like a crispy pancake served with a dhal, and or a curry sauce and or another creamy type sauce. You rip the Roti apart with your fingers and dip in the little bowls, wash it down with Teh Terik (a sweet tea, made by doing long pours). Delicious and so very cheap.

Here are couple of working boats that are based at Terengganu - the noisy ones. They ferry crew on and off to ships and oil platforms 24/7.
After several attempts we finally found the 'Pork Butcher's'. Not an easy feat. The trick is they are only open: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Closed on Fridays and Sundays. On Mondays there is one place open but he only sells the left overs of what was not sold during the week, which he has frozen. His pieces are sitting out unrefrigerated which is fine if your using it that night, but if not you can't refreeze it. We saw about 5 pork vendors, all close together and their hours are 0600 until sold out, which apparently is around 1100. They are easy to find: if you walk down Turtle Alley, turn right and head for the Chinese Temple, if you cross over the bridge you have gone to far. 

Bruce placing his order, the pork we bought was delicious.

The pork shop Bruce is in, ironically is situated right next to the Vegan Shop.
Water and Gas are easily purchased as well. The marina at Terengganu is happy for you to fill up. The gas man is easy, he will either sell you a new bottle or refill your bottles. We didn't do a refill but did an exchange of our 14kg Malay bottle for RM30. 

The yellow doors behind the blue car is where the gas refil guy is. The doors where always closed, but if you knock he pops his head out!
Diesel and Petrol are very easy. For diesel we got that two ways: one was in our hire car with our jerries and the other was from the fuel dock near the bridge, also in our jerries but with the tender. Approximate Lat & Long for the fuel jetty: 05 19.316N, 103 07.576E - if you go under the bridge you have past it. Excellent service and prices at both locations. For petrol we simply walked our jerry cans down in a trolley to the Caltex service station. You could also take your tender down, go past Customs and tie off at the fisherman's jetty and walk over.

Checking in and out was so easy. We didn't need to do immigration as we were not leaving the country, but if you need to go there you will need to catch a Grab or taxi to the airport which isn't that far away. Customs and Harbour Master are easy to find. You can either take your tender down and tie off on the Customs wharf at 05 19.762N, 103 07.920E or walk down. They are literally opposite each other on the road. Very friendly staff all round.

Matilda leaving Terengganu for the last time. Heading for the gap in the construction of the new lifting bridge, we wondered if it will be complete by this time next year. 

On the west coast of Kapas this gem of a mooring has no lights, is huge and made of steel but it does have a rubber ring. You still wouldn't want to bump into it at all. The location is: 05 12.894N, 103 15.564E
Leaving Terengganu we puttered over to Kapas for our last clear water swim. It was great timing as La Passarola came into the anchorage and we made plans to get up early and head for the Kemaman River (remember those huge water monitor lizards). The day down to Kemaman was a bit rough, but we need to push on. Anchoring inside the breakwater wall gave us a lovely calm night.

The mighty La Passarola is coming around the northern end of Kapas, the weather was really rough outside.

Something we don't normally get close enough to see, but we had to scoot through the ship anchorage at the Kertih Refinery. Here the tanker Alpine Madeleine is either dropping or picking up crude oil.
Thankfully the next days trip down to Pahang River breakwater wall was a shorter day as the seas were still a bit rough. A good SE'ly swell was developed and the south, south easterly wind was not kind. The sou'easterly swell made the breakwater wall very rolly for both our mono's so the decision was made to go into the river. She was a bit shallow at the entrance and the current is very strong, but we had a very peaceful night here. A bit of math's soon told us we needed to be underway for Tioman early, La Passarola put out there 0400, OMG we said no,,,0500 was settled on!

Sunset from the Pehang River, the cloud formation was interesting to watch.

The beacons into the Pehang River are very large.

Not sure but maybe Rapunzel had some influence on the local Mosque builders?
Next day was a shocker of a day for the wind. We had: south, south easterly, south westerly and even a touch of northerly! The day turned out to be a very long one,just over 70nm's and with the wind and swell mostly on our nose to Tioman the decision was made to change direction head to Pulau Seri Buat/Sembilang, aka The Butterfly Islands. It was such a relief to sit in a stable cockpit with a drink in hand just just in time to watch the sun set. These islands are nicknamed Butterfly Islands as they are connected by a drying reef. You can smell the coral at low tide and hear the surf as it smashes on the reef in a good southerly blow.

La Passarola sitting peacefully at anchor at the Butterfly Islands after a long day. Note behind her for the entire width of this photo is the surf breaking on the reef.
Sun setting over The Butterfly islands.
The following day was in our favor to sail, yes sail (as in no motor - a rare event) over to Tioman. We had a great sail over to Tioman. We do love it here, between their duty free alcohol and seriously good cheap Chinese restaurants its great. We spent a few days here. Catching up with friends and playing MTD's - Mexican Train Dominoes. 

The girls on Wishful Thinking.
On the way over to Tioman our AIS told us we had a Tanker engaged in fishing on our bow - we did not. We had a tug & tow on our bow. Many boat owners/Captains do not know how to set up their AIS units here, we think mainly because they do not/can not read English.
Tioman is so tall, it alters the direction of wind around its shores. One morning we woke to a sou'westerly (not good, on a lee shore) so we decided to take off for Pulau Tingii. However, once we were off Tiomans shore, the wind changed direction to a stiff sou'easly, it was actually a bit boisterous, so we aborted the Tingii trip and headed back over to the Butterfly Islands. Worked out in our favor because as we got further away from Tioman, the wind dropped off and we had a lovely sail over to Butterfly.

Warship 174 at anchor on dusk outside the Tioman anchorage.
While at Tioman we enjoyed a new (to us) burger place, the new Chinese was delicious and we finally got our act together and went snorkeling on the small island just off Tioman, called Pulau Rengis. We swam with black tipped reef sharks, a larger one and 2 juveniles - awesome. Tioman is also home to a very large family of flying foxes and for some unknown reason a few of them decided to visit us each night at anchor - a bit creepy.

The view from our Burger Place!
While at Butterfly we had a good storm come over us, but its so well protected there we just sat and enjoyed a beer while our roast pork and veggies baked. The Butterfly Islands are protected from the east, south and west quadrants, but we wouldn't want to sit here for any wind from the northern quadrant. 

The sun setting makes the eastern rock face glow orange - its hard to capture but the color was gorgeous.
Pulau Sibu turned out to be a great choice in the current weather. We did stop here on the way up but we didn't do the walk over to the other side then. This time we made a point to walk over to the western side, through the jungle, to the Sea Gypsy Village resort and very nice it was. And once again we got to enjoy the company of our friends on Wishful Thinking.

North Pulau Sibu - gorgeous.

North Sibu again, with Wishful Thinking and Matilda at anchor.

Bruce securing our tender so she doesn't float away.

The start of our walk - I don't do jungle!

The Sea Gypsy Village Resort, accommodation to the right  and the cafe to the left. Its very well kept.

Bruce at the bar. Very clever tables out the front.

We totally missed this last time here. It's so positive to see the turtles being looked after, but more importantly the people are being educated. 

Local black tip reef sharks, just babies.

More babies - we've never seen so many sharks.

Wishful Thinking bathing in the full moon.

So glad we were out of this squalls path. We watched it for a while as it headed over to Tinggi.
Once in the calm of the Sungai Santi (Navy Base) we sat for two days catching our breath. We checked in at Pusat Serenti Pengerang. All the staff where just lovely, the Harbour Master must of seen us arrive and he even came down stairs to assist! If you have to call in, we took our tender in and tied off beside a maritime boat in a pen. Harbour Master is on the 3rd floor, customs and immigration are in the arrival hall. The complex also has a fairly well stocked store, there is a cafe and if you walk out you will see an eatery over the water which looked pretty good but we didn't stop.

We have never seen this before. A family of hogs eating at low tide.
During the month we did a bucket load of baking. Bruce bakes the most gorgeous loaves of bread, but this time he out did himself. The Ginger Biscuits where incredible and the Irish Tea Brack cake was delicious and don't start me on the Cinnamon Crumble Cake!

Ginger Biscuits - so good.
Irish Tea Brack Cake
Cinnamon Crumble Cake, the top is all crunchy!
To finish off the month we went into Senibong Cove Marina. To get here we had a 3 1/2 hour journey up the waterway that separates Malaysia and Singapore. A very busy place, with some interesting sights along the way. 

Someone's floating home.

We saw literally 1000's of blue containers, there were so many I couldnt fit them in the camera frame. We believe they are strung together making mussel farms.

The Golden Star shipping container vessel - empty. Quite the accomodation & bridge tower.

In all the chaos someone is still makes their home and living on the waterway here. This is a massive fish farm.

Good fishing to be had in the mussel farms.

Another floating home.

Giants waiting for their turn at the refinery.

A very nice orange coloured garbage boat.

This is one seriously big arse crane on a ship. Look at the size of the tug on the lower left corner.

Makes us humble: this is someones home.

Love the mighty tugs.

Everyone waves, (driver is waving).
And finally a glimpse of Changi Airport, Bruce has flown so many times from this place he has lost count and according to Wikipedia, Changi Airport is the worlds best airport!
It's always interesting to see what others have talked about for so long. We had read that the marina has little to no security, that is not true the facility here only has one entry gate and you need a gate key to get in and out. The marina is very well kept, clean and tidy. Very good facilities and loads of cafes/restaurants to choose from on the board walk, although they are catering for the residents close by who all seem to be driving BMW's (not joking). 

A few happy snaps.......

An otter chewing on a fish, I finally got a shot (they are so quick) he is very far away so the photo is a touch blurry.

This clever bird uses bait to catch his dinner.

This monitor lizard is drinking fresh water.

Same monitor lizard, he has finished his drink and is off back home.

Nice reflection.

The board walk on dusk, a few of the eateries are cranking up for a long night.

And to finish off the month we love this photo taken by Mal & Sue at Sibu who where visiting Wishful Thinking........

Matilda (to the right of screen) at anchor at Sibu just as the sun was setting,,,what a glorious color.....Thanks Mal!

As we are always looking at the weather as its a very important factor in our life, this month we signed up to learn more off 'Met Bob'. His website is incredible: . Bob's focus is for those mainly in the South Pacific, but he teaches his readers how to understand weather reports. A very knowledgeable man indeed!

Our favorite photo this month is of the street dogs in Terengganu. Nobody worries about all the dogs roaming the streets, they are at home along with everyone else. The day we went into the pork butchers 3 of the hounds where waiting very patiently for their treats.


  1. I really enjoyed reading this article. There are so much that I don't even know about my own country.
    Looking forward to read your next article. Cheers, Tony

  2. Hi Tony, we find the same thing when overseas friends got to Brisbane, they seem to go to things we didn't even know were on or there. Glad your enjoying the newsletter.