Sunday 30 June 2019

June Newsletter

News from the Crew of Matilda
June  2019
The 'Papalenos' super tanker heading straight for Matilda was a formidable sight as we transversed the Singapore Strait.

Ships log 
Anchorages for this month:
  • June 1: 6.3nm's to the southern side of the Bernham River (we moved out at 0400 with a dropping tide as we didn't want to be stuck in the river for a day) dropping anchor at 03 46.73N, 100 46.71E in 7.9mtrs.
  • June 1: 66.7nm's to Klang River. Dropped anchor in 12.9mtrs at 02 55.17N, 101 15.78E at the Che Mat Zin tributary.
  • June 2: 42.4nm's to Arang Arang, Port Dickson (McDonald's anchorage). Dropped anchor in 14.1mtrs at high tide at 02 30.99N, 101 48.00E.
  • June 3: 34.6nm's to Pulau Upen, Malacca. Dropped anchor in 8.6mtrs at 02 11.73N, 102 12.31E.
  • June 5: 9.2nm's to Pulau Besar, Water Island. Dropped anchor in 10.1mtrs at 02 07.23N, 102 19,90E.
  • June 6: 71.9nm's to Pulau Pisang. Dropped anchor in 7mtrs at low tide at 01 28.49N, 103 16.02E.
  • June 7: 45.1nm's to Puteri Harbour, but that includes a trip up and back to Country Garden Marina which added approx. 10nm's.
  • June 23: 56nm's to Pengerang, Navy Base, including a stop at the Sebang Fuel Barge. Dropped anchor in 7.6mtrs on mud at 01 23.09N, 104 05.74E.
  • June 24: 34.4nm's to Indonesia, P. Sembulang/P. Rempang. Dropped anchor in 4mtrs at low tide on mud, sand and plastic bags at 00 52.18N, 104 14.03E.
  • June 25: 47.2nm's to Lingga, Mesenak. Dropped anchor in 9.7mtrs at 00 25.78N, 104 31.48E.
  • June 26: 33.9nm's to Kentar. Dropped anchor in 9.1mtrs at 00 03.26N, 104 45.49E.
  • June 28: 43.6nm's to Lingga, South East corner. Dropped anchor in 18.2mtrs at 00 18.73S, 104 59.01E - Crossed the Equater today.
  • June 29: 120nm's (over night sail) to Bangka, Tg. Ular. Dropped anchor in 13.4mtrs in mud at 01 57.00S, 105 07.59E.
Another giant passing us by in the Singapore Straits.

Crew log:
Some months it feels like everything is going wrong. Just as were leaving Batu Uban last month Bruce noticed rust on both the syphon breaker for the engine and the fitting for the bilge pump. Good grief. So we had to have replacements custom made. Luckily there is an excellent stainless steel factory in Penang. However, due to the location of the pieces once removed, one of them allowed a dribble of water into an automotive relay which controls the stop button for the engine (discovered this one day when we couldn't turn our engine off). There's never a dull moment.

Old bits above new bits. 
This little guy is the stop solenoid for the off button for the engine. The green is the water damage.
We also omitted to mention during May that we needed to replace pieces on our water maker, including the accumulator tank. Then we noticed our rope clutch for the main head furler was cracked. Jeez lucky we could order parts and have them delivered to Langkawi. You just can't carry every single part as a spare.

The accumulator tank.

Stainless steel high pressure tubes for the water maker.

The most expensive swage lock fittings in history.
June was another busy month that's for sure. We spent the first few days continuing our journey south to get to the Country Garden Marina at Danga Bay. This meant we travelled through the Klang River, port zone. We were very lucky the afternoon we approached as the river had a nice 2 knot current pushing us south. 
A local fishing boat which seems to be moving quite a few very colourful boxes down the Klang River.

Not long after we dropped anchor at Che Mat Zin (a tributary running off the Klang River) we were treated to the most amazing sunset.
We are thrilled to be sailing in company with SV Moonshadow. Jeremy and Margie are travelling through Indonesia also and our boats are the same length with similar draft.  

Moonshadow ploughing through the southerly swell as we approach Port Dickson.

Once both boats where anchored, Margie and I enjoyed a chat via the VHF radio's about the next days plans.
Not long after we left Klang Port and were heading to the Port Dickson area, we had fairly strong winds coming so we dropped our main. Sadly it ripped on the way down. We are getting desperate for a new one but it has to wait for the sailing kitty to plump up.

A very sad sight, she really is showing her age, but we can't complain. This sail was on Matilda in 2010 when we brought her.

The main sail spilled on deck.

Bruce setting up the SailRite.

And here he goes. This is not an easy task to perform. The space is tight, you cant sit down and the sail is not free moving.
A few hours into the late afternoon and we had the sail repaired. The next day it was off to Malacca, or is that Melaka. so many places have different ways to spell their names here. While at anchor we heard a thump, we got up and here is what we found all around us.

This is looking out the back.

This is on the port side.

This is what made the thump, we had a tree limb on the anchor chain which was catching all the debris.

Our tree limb - fond memories of something similar at Batu Pahat. 
This is Pulau Upen. We had a very secure anchorage here out of the south westerly winds.
Then it was off to enjoy a day in Melacca one last time (ha, never say never right). But we think for now, we won't be back for some time. We both love walking around this place, its full of life. We enjoyed a long delicious lunch with Jeremy and Margie then we had to walk it off. Dawdling around this town is easy and fun.

Sid's is a special place with fantastic views of the river.

Oh dear, this was a lovely starter: hot fries with melted cheese and gravy.

Love the hair......

Sensational wall art around the streets to enjoy.

Deb enjoying the view of the walkway along the river.

Tri-shaw's are a very common sight, and a fun way to get around Melacca. 

This was so gorgeous. The tailor had made little tiny replica's of the clothes they make.

Nearly all the streets look like this,,,its incredible.

After a quick stop the next day at The Water Islands, we made our way to Pulau Pisang (Banana) for the night. This is always a very long days travelling,  70+ nautical miles. We had a cracker of a storm on the way down, so it was great to arrive just as the sun was fading to wind down. Next day off to Country Garden Marina. Weaving in and out of the shipping traffic in Melacca/Singapore Strait always keeps you on your toes. 

On the way up to the Johur Strait we noticed these two huge kato's moving whatever the pile was. It was hard to capture how tall this mound of stuff is. It was a very hazy day, hence the hazy photo.

And there's Country Garden in the distance.
This marina is very small, but well placed and is located on the Johur Strait past Puteri Harbour Marina. The strait separates Singapore and Malaysia, but our stay was not meant to be. The Country Garden Marina was full of small run about boats and certainly could not accommodate both of our boats. The water was really shallow at high tide and it has zero protection from the south west, and we are in the south west monsoon season - it just didn't feel right. So we puttered back to Puteri Harbour and pulled in for a while. 

Country Garden Marina, is very small.
In the end we spent a couple of weeks at the dock at Puteri Harbour Marina, making sure Matilda was ready to head to Indonesia. We know from experience obtaining spare parts or services in Indonesia can be a challange, apart from places like Bali. This meant the days where long and the job list was crazy but not as crazy as the shopping list. Shopping for 5 months for all your non perishable items is a daunting task. Working out how much you use of each item is a tricky job, especially when you haven't had to worry about it for 3 years. I won't post my list, but if your reading this and would like a copy, please leave a message on this post and I will happily respond.

This was shop number 1, two trolleys worth.

Shop 2, another two trolleys worth.

We don't have a freezer on board Matilda. We find that by using our cryovac machine, we can extend the life of many items on board. 
During May when Bruce had to remove the syphon breaker for the engine because it was rusting, the open/exposed end leaked sea water onto the engine stop solenoid, but the open end also dripped salt water onto his favourite electric drill. So Bruce rinsed it in soapy water and then flushed it with fresh water for a good 15 minutes. Then let it dry out over several weeks in the engine bay compartment because its warm. Incredibly the drill works as new.....

Did you ever think you would see someone do this with their electric drill?
So back to our work and general job list. What jobs did we do for 16 days, here is a list of what kept us busy. This was all jolted off to a good start with every yachties nightmare, the blocked toilet. We have had it block before but this blockage was the pinnacle - all up it took Bruce 8hrs to clear it over 3 attempts, a shocker of a job.

Another nightmare was a side strike from a large lightning bolt, we lost the AIS input to the chartplotter. We had a couple of options; new chartplotter, repair the chartplotter, go without the chartplotter displaying AIS. Well crossing the Singapore Strait without AIS on the chartplotter would be madness. A new chartplotter was way too expensive. Repairs to the old chartplotter could drag on for weeks waiting for parts, repairs, delivery persons and so on. So we decided to install a Raspberry Pi with the OpenPlotter image, the output of the Raspberry was set to composite video and input to the E80 chartplotter video input. We also purchased a small keyboard all up cost for the install was about AU$150, a lot cheaper than our other options at the time. 

Here is Bruce installing the Raspberry Pi so we have AIS on our E80 Raymarine chartplotter.
This is the Raspberry Pi running OpenPlotter (OpenCPN) unit attached to the back of the Chartplotter.

And its working - he has the AIS working through the Raspberry Pi unit. Isn't the keyboard to drive the AIS neat.
This is most of what we did:
  • Prepared all documents for the Indonesian Visa
  • Obtained our Indo visa from the Consulate, this took 3 days.
  • Shopped for 5 months for all non perishable items over 4 trips
  • Investigated why the AIS stopped working on the E80 Raymarine Chartplotter - turns out we took a distance lightning electrical strike and the NMEA 0183 input for the AIS was fried 
  • Acid washed the hull
  • Serviced the furler
  • Cleaned and polished the clears
  • Investigated why the fridge was running hot - turned out to be a fan had died
  • General shopping and running around for bits and pieces
  • Went up the mast to put on 4 leather boots on each spreader arm, checked wire around the radar and serviced the pulley for the head sail
  • Caught up with friends
  • Tender repairs and improvements over 7 days
  • Serviced the outboard
  • Hosed out the anchor well
  • Repaired the 3 bolts on the duckboard that were letting in sea water
  • Started up the HF radio SailMail membership for 12 months to enable us to get GRIB files while out of internet range and communicate with family - tested and its working well
  • Checked In / Checked Out
  • Sorted out our gas bottle options for Indonesia, decided to wait and buy a bottle there - its easier
  • Sorted paper charts for Indonesia
  • Did loads of general running around and tending to boat business plus  haircuts, socialising, insurance, etc
  • Cooking
Margie, Jeremy and Bruce - happy days, this was our last shopping trip!
The tender turned out to be a big job. Since we've had it, its been taking on water. Once we could pull it up onto the deck to investigate it was clear the plug and its surrounds where completely brittle and breaking off. This repair took roughly 7 days, due to the epoxy curing time. Bruce also put in some secure blocks for the fuel tank so it stops sliding around the floor. A timber block was placed on the back of the tender for its depth sounder. We checked the underbelly for leaks in the tubes as it goes down but couldn't see anything. Bruce filled the boyany cavity with expanding PU foam (closed cell) to try to eliminate any more water getting in, and lastly we gave it a good clean.

Start of the job fixing the brittle fibreglass around the drain plug
For sometime we have been wondering why some of our stores in the stern locker area were sometimes wet and sometimes dry. Pulling everything out of the lockers Bruce noticed that the 3 bolts that hold on our duckboard were loose. A following sea would no doubt push sea water into the loose space and hence we would sometimes notice moisture. Another crappy job for Bruce but glad we found it here, as the calm water of the marina allowed us to pull out the bolts (which are right on the water line), and reseat them with a very good dose of FixTech15 sealant.

Everything has to come out so Bruce can fit in to repair the stern platform bolts - a tiresome job in the heat.
We had to obtain our Indonesian visa's here. Thanks to Raymond T Lesmana - our Indonesian agent and friend, that was done with no issues. The cost was RM210 per person (approx.AU73).  You need a copy of all your boat documents per person and it takes 2 working days, eg. go in Monday, pickup Wednesday. Good to dress appropriately. The Consulate opens at 0900 and closes at 4.30pm daily (shut Fridays & Saturdays) and is closed for lunch and prayer between 1230 and 2pm. .    

Four very happy sailors showing off their Indonesian Visa's. 
The Team doing a gas transfer for the ship Moonshadow.
When your spreader boots are looking like this its time for some new ones.

A good time to have a through look around the gear up the top.

First of 4 boots to be sewn in place.

Its a long way up there......

A very happy Captain to have his mast work done and all in good working order - well done Captain Bruce!!
Sadly during the mast work we ripped the sail again - its quite fragile, so out came the sewing machine again.
Finally with all the jobs ticked off the list, we are ready to set sail.

Moonshadow loaded so full of provisions she is low in the water - ready to go to Indonesia.

Matilda ready for her Indo trip.
Before we set sail to Indonesia we had to refuel both boats. Around to the fuel barge at Sebana we went. The phone number for the barge is: +6078252255. Position: 01 24.5693N, 104 07.2687E. We had trouble finding it but we were looking for a dock, not a barge - quite easy to spot once you know what your looking for!

Matilda at the fuel barge.

Moonshadow approaching the fuel dock.

Matilda leaving the fuel barge.

Just need to dodge a few tankers in the shipping lanes and into Indonesia we went.........
It felt good after all this time to be back in Indonesia with variable passage plans to follow. I guess we were seeing what the wind and currents bought us before making final decisions. We did know that the winds where going to be predominately from the SE, and the current against us for some time, but sometimes you have to push on to get to your end destination and take each day as it comes.

A magnificent sunset captured by Jeremy - it was lovely to sit at Kentar for a rest day.
Always a thrill crossing the equator - a step closer to home being in the southern hemisphere.
Finally after what turned out to be a great (read uneventful) night sail we approached Bankga. On our final run a ship actually changed course (maybe to have a look) but boy he seemed close as he ran by - we must remind ourselves this is Indonesia.

The Spil Nisaka altering course to our direction.

He was definitely in hurry to come over and see us.
And that is it for the month of June. A busy time but a good time. We are looking forward to good times ahead with new friends. 

Moonshadow in our last anchorage in Malaysia - next countryIndonesia.

This month Deb had a piece published in Cruising Helmsman on both Sebana Cove and Senibong Cove marina's which are located on the east coast of Malaysia.

Deb was asked to do a podcast on SE Asia with Tina Hussey to support Tina's FaceBook and web page: 'This Girl Sails'. This was certainly something new and fun, we hope to do more.

Tina Hussey is the creator of 'Thisgirlsails' on Facebook and she keeps a great blog at:

What have we cooked or baked this month?

This month we cooked up a batch of our own BBQ sauce.

To start with we made Tomato Sauce as a base then made the BBQ sauce. While there are BBQ sauces in the supermarkets our home made sauce tastes so good.

We made a stack of crumpets using slightly larger rings we found in a bakery supply shop in Johor Barhu, and spooned in slightly less batter into the ring. See our recipe here
They turned out like store brought crumpets but they tasted better!