Sunday 31 March 2019

March Newsletter 2019

News from the Crew of Matilda
March  2019

Not the Navy, but the Air Force was in full swing during their warm up for LIMA 2019 exhibition.
Ships log: 
  • March 4: 27.1nm's to Telaga, Langkawi. Anchored at 06 21.71N, 99 40.55E in 3.7 mtrs at low tide.
  • March 26: 26.7nm's to Koh Lipe, Thailand. Anchored at 06 29.75N, 98 17.90E in 13.5 mtrs at high tide. (In retrospect we were a bit close to the extending reef and were thankful no westerly blow came in during the night).
  • March 27: 47.2nm's to Ko Talibong. Anchored at 07 14.47N, 99 21.74E in 7.6mtrs.
  • March 28: 32.2nm's to Ko Lanta (northern tip). Anchored at 07 38.10N, 99 01.43E in 4.9mtrs on a falling tide.
  • March 29: 40.5nm's to Panwa Bali, Ao Chalong. Anchored at 07 48.97N, 99 22.96E in 6.2mtrs at high tide. (this is not a good spot, we picked up a huge steel cable when we left the anchorage early April).
Crew log:
Another month of chilling and doing boat jobs. We lapped up being still for a few weeks as we have decided to join the Sabang Marine Festival for 2019. This is a quick rally run over 4 days at the end of April on a small island named 'Weh Island', which is right on the northern tip of Sumatra, Indonesia. Forward thinking brings us back to Pangkor after Sabang for our annual haul out and then off to Anambas. With so much moving eminent over the next few months - we were glad to have time to chill out. 

The boat jobs never go away, as quickly as we tick off jobs on the list, we find new ones. One of our jobs meant Bruce had to be hauled up the mast. This was made easier with the help of friends who bought along their headsets.

It's a long way to the top.....I hear AC/DC humming in my ear, something about a sausage roll?

The look of concentration ,,,I know I don't want to go up there. Love the headsets for communication.

Second time up that morning, once the fear eased I got a friendly wave as my Captain stood on the spreaders.
Telaga harbour basin is a great place to sit for, hmmm 22 days (OMG), its the longest we have ever sat. It certainly allowed us time to do boat jobs at a leisurely pace. There are great walking grounds here to enjoy with abundant birds and other wild life. There are not many shops so we didn't spend much, only a few cafes and restaurants to enjoy. Town is a quick ride in a hire car for provisioning. 

An interesting idea. It didn't work much and the beer was expensive.

Not a bad drop the 'ol Tiger beer. RM5 for a glass = AU$1.74

Glorious bougainvillea growing in a pot at Telaga.

Passed the largest super yacht yet for us: Maria. The black frame on the top rear deck is their basketball net!

On one of our days out we went to this bakery supply shop, it had very good product and the young lady who served us was exceptionally well informed.
Its very pretty here at Telaga. This is looking west and towards the row of cafes. All the super yachts park stern to there.

Looking towards the marina. The buildings in the background from the left are: the unused official harbour master, customs and immigration buildings. Next is a building that houses the Petronis service station, a restaurant and loads of unoccupied rooms. Finally the now used harbour master building.

Bruce taking in the now defunct light house.
Every now and then we saw horses on the beach. We have no idea where they came from, we assumed a local hotel hired them out from a local vendor.

Our position in the basin allowed us to view the Langkawi Cable Car every day. Some days we felt for the people who would luck out with cloud engulfing the entire mountain, they would have had zero visibility. 

The entire cable car and lookout are shroud in cloud.

The first tower second from the ground up is now clear.

Nearly all clear with some blue sky, but the top would still have zero visibility.

Back to normal, clear skies, 100% visibility.
During the month I was able to indulge myself in learning more about Matilda's history. This is what I have so far. She was designed by Scott Sprague and built by Jack Hall in Thailand during 1990 in the Pantawee Marine Boatyard, which is still pumping out boats today, however under a new owner and he is producing catamarans. 
  • 1990 - 2002 is missing, but we know this: She was previously known as Sweet Thing and we think she was based in California during this time. The next owner changed her name to Patience and they sailed her down the east coast of the USA to Puerto Vallarta Marina in Mexico. She sat in the marina for some time until her next owner 'Colin' brought her. 
  • 2002 to 2006 she was brought by Colin who is an Australian and at the time had a dream of sailing to Spain. Colin renamed her to Maya III and sailed her from Mexico, all the way down the Pacific Central-American coast and through the Panama Canal. He unfortunately had an accident during a storm on deck nearing Columbia resulting in him needing back surgery, plus a further 5 months recovering. He ended up flying home to Australia for more treatment and had the boat delivered back to the pacific. Once well he enough flew to Fiji, sailed her home and checked in at Bundaberg and then sailed her down to Scarborough marina. Colin was preparing her to continue his sail to Spain when he had an unexpected offer and took it. Later using the funds to buy a boat in New Zealand, finally seeing out his dream of sailing to Spain via Chile, Argentia, Africa and the Azores. 
  • 2006 to 2010 she was owned by Mike & Michelle from Bundaberg. They took possession of her in 2006, renaming her to Friendship III. They bought her while she was in the Scarborough Marina, sailed her to Sydney, then back up to Bundaberg where we brought her. 
  • 2010 to current we are her custodians. She had another name change with us to Matilda. We have sailed her from our home port of Brisbane, Moreton Bay all the way down to Eden in New South Wales, sailed her extensively in The Whitsundays, Queensland and sailed up to the most northern tip of Australia to Cape York were we sailed off to Asia in July 2016. 
Our girl has certainly done some extensive sailing and has many more years ahead on the high seas under our care. It was very generous of Colin to give me his time sharing his memories, we a great chat and I loved listening to all his stories while he owned her. What a wonderful boat we find ourselves on with such a rich sailing history.

This is a photo Colin shared with us of her entering the Panama Canal. When I asked him about the boats hard to her port and starboard sides he responded with: 'one boat had no motor and one boat had a useless skipper, so the pilots made us raft up and Maya had to drive the 3 boats into each lock'. Go Maya!!!!!
On our walks around Telaga, we saw so many birds and other wildlife. Here are some photos we took.

This was the view from our bird watching location. Matilda is to the right but out of the frame.
Bruce bird watching.

Whatcha lookin at down there??

The basin at Telaga is protected by two man made islands. One of the islands is a fun resort for day trippers.

Some guests heading off for a para sail.
Over the years we have been watching our main sail for signs of wear and tear and it's lasting well, but showing signs of age. To help extend the life of the sail we did a few repairs on it while in Telaga - not an easy job. The main is huge and covers some 36.2m2, which makes repairs difficult while at anchor and its all spilled out on deck. Then you have to maneuver it best you can to sew it. This work took us nearly 3 full days, just trying to get it done without damaging the sewing machine or the sail anymore. While the main was dropped we also took off the main sail cover and did some patch repairs where its rubbed. Time to start saving our pennies and shout ourselves a new main in a year or so.

Bruce putting one of 4 patches on the main sail cover.

You can see where its wearing. We had already done patches a few years ago with leather, but its worn through.

As much as we love our SailRite sewing machine it is a pain sometimes getting it sewing right. I think Bruce spent just as much time trouble shooting the darn thing as we did sewing.

Our main sail dropped on deck.

Bruce uniting the lines so we can remove the main sail cover.

Here is sight we don't see too often - a bare boom.

Bruce sewing to reinforce the sail.

All done, the sail bag is going back on.
Some more happy snaps around Telaga.

These grey monkeys have adapted to enjoy the muscles and crabs at low tide.

A glorious shot of the last full super moon for 2019.

We actually have no idea what this animal is.
One day the skies opened up and we had torrential rain. A god send for those in the area as its been a very dry season. We however, forgot to raise our tender and it nearly sunk!

Bruce had to quickly get in and bail like crazy, it wouldn't have taken much more water before we lost it.
Just how long is to long to stay in one place.......

Well according to the springer which came up almost completely encrusted with barnacles - 22 days was about it.
While we sat for 22 days at Telaga, we got to watch the air force practise for the LIMA 2019 display. LIMA = Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition. Every morning for about a week we were woken with the thunder of their jets in the air. We certainly enjoyed the show while having our breakfast each morning.

Langkawi airport. All the planes are parked up and waiting for their King to arrive to commence their display.

A cargo plane flanked by 7 (was more but out of the photo) jets.

Tell you what these boys make a noise as they pass over head, sometimes it was deafening.

It was so hard to get the jets they are crazy fast. I was just lucky to get them as they flew over Matilda's mast.

The two cargo plants flew the same formation morning after morning.

Same two cargo plans, heading back to the airport.
Love this shot - both pilots are visible.
And we did eventually leave the Telaga basin, for the big 5 hour sail (yep we sailed) over to Koh Lipe. Just as we entered the channel between Lipe and Adang the auto pilot decided to make some unfriendly noises.

On closer inspection Bruce discovered the motor housing case was loose and it just needed to be tightened - thank heavens. Can't imagine actually hand steering!
To close the month we were treated to a spectacular sunset while at Lipe, even managing to get the Star Clipper cruise ship in the frame!

What have we cooked or baked his month?

This really is just us showing off indulging in ham with fresh eggs, asparagus with white sauce.

Muesli biscuits.

Another sensational loaf of bread.

This is a 'Sailors Pie', the peppered beef version. Oh so good.
Brocolli salad.

What else have we written about this month on the blog?

This month we were so busy doing boat jobs we only wrote about the benefits of signing up with your email address. Read about that here, we'd love to have more followers.