Friday 30 November 2018

November Newsletter 2018

News from the Crew of Matilda
November  2018
Indonesian warships: 332 & 357 side by side at the navy base dock Langkawi, Malaysia. 
Ships log: 
  • November 3 we left the anchorage at Pangkor and took Matilda to Pulau Talang, so she was position to jump off to Penang. We anchored at 04 24.97N, 100 34.61E in 6.6 mtrs at high tide on a muddy sandy bottom.
  • November 4 we took the 61.3 nautical miles to Penang, anchoring in the allocated spot between Jerejak & Penang. We dropped anchor at 05 18.59N, 100 18.12E in 7.9 mtrs at low tide.
  • November 8, moved Matilda to the channel for an early take off in the morning for Langkawi. From Jerejak we travelled 8.3nm's. Dropped anchor at 05 24.18N, 100 20.68E in 7 meters.
  • November 9 we motored for 12hrs covering 63.3 nm's to Langkawi dropping anchor at Bass Harbour - Kuah. 06 19.05N, 99 50.65E in 3.3mtrs right on low tide.
  • November 21, motored for 16.4nm's around to Telaga harbour providing a rolly evening despite our stern anchor. We dropped our anchor at 06 21.72N, 99 40.49E in 4 metres.
  • November 22 we mostly sailed the 27.6nm's to Thailand's Koh Lipe. Dropped anchor in 18metres at 06 29.40N, 99.17.58E on its north facing side.
  • November 25, we moved over the other side of the channel between Lipe and Adang as a NW'stly was forecast. The journey was only 45 minutes. We dropped anchor at 06 30.18N, 99 17.92E in 7.6 metres on sand.
  • November 26, went for an explore over to Koh Butang to do some snorkeling. Dropped anchor at 06 32.12N, 99 10.10E at high tide in 13.6mtrs. Journey was 8.1nm's.
  • November 28, returned to Koh Lipe, circumnavigating Butang for a look. We travelled 12.4nm's and dropped anchor back n the north side at 06 29.50N, 99 17.70E in 16.2 metres.
A local Malay fishing boat in Langkawi. We always love the way they paint their boats with so much colour.
Crew log:
The start of November saw us leave Pangkor and head for Penang to gain our Thai Visa's. On the way to the little island north of Pangkor - Talang we managed to pick up a plastic bag on our prop and then just as we passed under the bridge at Penang we hit a rope, heard the engine change pitch and noticed our steering wheel was all of a sudden very hard to move.Once anchored at the Jerejak anchorage Bruce jumped in the yuk water and managed to get a rope off our rudder stock - geez not a good start to the trip up to Thailand.

Bruce looking on in disbelief that 2 hours into our journey we clearly managed to snag a plastic bag around our prop.
After such a long day it is always lovely to reach Penang. The island is pretty from afar and only gets better as you approach and such a great city. Going under the bridge never seems to loose that 'omg will we clear it?' feeling - but we do, every time.

Here is something we hadn't seen before....a fishing net wrapped around beacon!

Below is a quick video of Matilda going under the 'second' bridge.

We obtained our Thai visa's while at Penang. It's a simple process for yachties and this is what we did.

The Royal Thai Consulate - General building.

You need:
  • 2 passport photos (current within 6 months is stated)
  • your passport
  • your boat papers (copies for each applicant)
  • a photo copy (we did b&w) of your identification page in your passport
  • RM150 per person
  • Your applicationn form which must state Penang on the header (if you download this form on line and it states either Bangkok or Kuala Lumpar in the header it will not be accepted). If your at Pangkor marina go grab the form off Ruz at the office, she has the correct form, which states Penang in the heading.
  • Dress code: there is a sign out the front which the guard will point to stating: no thongs, no ladies short skirts or shorts, men's shorts are not to expose the knee, no singlets or skimpy tops. 
The sand is to the right of the photo, the area is saturate with local fishing boats.
We anchored Matilda at the southern end of Jerejak known as the Seagate Anchorage. Apparently you can land your tender on a jetty here, we could not work out which one to use. A contact number for Mr. Black 0194701865 is correct however he doesn't speak or understand English very well - our conversation with him was difficult. He is not always available as a water taxi either. If you want to leave your tender on the beach here and you don't mind standing in filthy mud up to your knees (not joking) at mid to low tide, then yes you can leave your dingy on the beach amongst the fisherman's boats.
Fauzi Ikan Bakar, Seagate will appear on Google Maps.

For transport we used Grab. The image above is the address you need for the Grab to pick you up and then to the Royal Thai Consulate General address. At the time of travel the charge was RM28 to the door and back to the cafe. Excellent value.

The car park of Fauzi Ikan Bakar, Seagate.
As it turned out we were guided in by a chap from the above restaurant to leave our tender beside an unused fishing boat on a jetty (which is immediately north of the fishing boats), which we were grateful for. However, the jetty was in bad shape and was a hazard to walk on. 

Looking towards the jetty this is the entrance. You have to walk to the right on the planks of wood.

To enter the gate you have to step on this piece which is very unstable and as you step on it, all the cockroaches take off.

This bit was stable.

At low tide this is almost vertical and not stable.

Good luck!

Final approach is just shocking. Our tender is to the far left.
Our thoughts on anchorages around Penang for those who do not wish to use the marina are not terrific. Your choices are the Seagate Anchorage which we anchored at. You can walk to Queensbay Mall from here, we took about 45minutes and the path is excellent. You cant get water here.

Batu Uban Public Marina anchorage which is cheap, but not easy to get in to. You are allowed to anchor out the front with permission gained in advance from, even then you have a 24hr restriction for anchoring. Why the restriction is anyones guess, what difference does it make. You can get water here which you pay for, dump rubbish and it is secure to leave our tender here.

Then you have the Fishermans Wharf, more commonly known as The Dump anchorage (because it is directly beside the towns dump complete with the city's sewage outlet pipe) which is out the front of McDonald's. The water is absolutely foul here, your tender line in the water will make you dry retch its that bad. However you do a have safe & secure place for you tender at the unused marina. You play a game however of being locked out if the fisherman go away and remember the gate is locked everyday from 5pm so no going out for dinner here. You can not get water here, but can dump rubbish. Its a very easy walk to the local shops which are great, including a very good doctor and coin laundry.

Next stop is the Clan Jetty anchorage. The local water taxi seems impossible to get a hold of (we know this because we yelled out to the taxi guy and he wouldn't even come near us), you can no longer leave your tender on any clan jetty and access is tidal even for the water taxi guy if you can get a hold of his phone number. No access here makes this anchorage only good for an overnight stop to or from Langkawi.

The anchorage out the front of Strait's Quay Marina is fraught with danger as its exposed to the north, north west. It is also shallow in close so us deep keelers must anchor way off, and there is a lot of land reclamation work going on here with huge machinery running floating pipes back to the shore. If your willing to risk the weather coming up, it is a very good anchorage. You can pay a nominal fee for a gate key at the marina which gives you access to showers/toilets. You can dump rubbish and get water here. Loads of cafes and free buses to town.

All of the above are negative comments and we hope in earnest that the government bodies understand that all yachties absolutely love Penang and just want/need to have a safe, secure, easy to go ashore anchorage with confidence that we are safe to do and that our tender will be there when we get back. We know many yachties are already bypassing Penang for the above reasons - what an absolute loss for a great place.

As a footnote details for the above can be obtained via the Facebook group: Ahoy Penang.

As we approached Langkawi the fisherman where heading out for the night.
Approaching Langkawi we loved seeing these old 'tall ships' which no doubt are used for charter. 

The Lili Marleen

The Puteri Mahsuri
Last time we approached Langkawi we saw one of Bruce's old work boats which had obviously been sold off to a local Malay university - the vessel is still in place and looking a bit weathered. 

It's still here.
Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, protected by its breakwater wall.

A charter boat in the makings. Love her low belly to the water line.
We enjoyed our stay anchored in Bass Harbour, Kuah - Malaysia. Its a terrific spot to resupply as everything is here. You can anchor in the harbour with good depths and shelter. Its easy to see why yachters who get here extend their stay. Our stay was mostly due to Bruce waiting on parcels to complete his Raspberry Pi (RPI) installs. He has done a good write up on why we choose the RPI here and about his set up here

Amongst all these parcles is our parcel.....

And a few days later Bruce has his final parcel....wooo hooo.

Each evening we enjoyed watching and listening to two eagles as they hunted. There was an unattended ketch beside us and the eagles used one of its masts to perch on. One would always land and then call and call until his/her mate arrived.

The one of the mast is calling out to the one behind. 
Back on his own, he never stopped keeping watch.
Thought we would share the sign at the fishermans wharf (not the blue jetty) but at the creek wharf.
Once the last package had arrived we went for a break over to Koh Lipe, Thailand. It was lovely to be in clean clear water to enjoy a few snorkels and we swam every day. Went and had a look at Koh Butang, it was very nice and its big neighbour Koh Rawi has a waterfall on it but we didn't get there this time.

We were treated to a beautiful sunrise each morning.
Walking Street on Koh Lipe is an interesting place.

While at anchor at Koh Butang we had the incredible advantage of watching the sunrise over Koh Lipe.

Matilda sat so flat I was close to being able to get a clear shot as the sun rose in full.

This shot has no filter on the camera for sunrise. The colors where just gorgeous.

While the sun rose I turned around and this is the shot away from the sun, incredible difference. The water around us was almost completly still.

Once we reached Langkawi we have had a been of time to our self this month We enjoyed just chillin, catching up on boat jobs, reading, relaxing, swimming, snorkeling and time ashore. 

Thanks to the local newspaper, this shot of four water spouts was captured. We missed the four but saw one of them - not a comforting sight.

To close we remembered during this trip to take some photos of the street art in Langkawi.

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