Nov 27 - Jerejak Island, Penang

We left on the incoming tide and had a slow motor sail 15mi. to our anchorage at Telang Island. (Position: N04deg25.17min/ E100deg.34.69) We departed Talang at 0600 in the dark and decided to forgoe anchoring at the mud bank 22 miles away as it was still before noon when we were abeam of the area. That area promised to be an open road stead anchorage, and I had noted a building westerly swell, so it just didn't look that promising. By the early afternoon we finally picked up a favorable current, and at times were doing over 6.5 knots, allowing us to pass the unfinished center span of the Second Penang Bridge at about 1815 hours. By 1830 we were anchored in 24 feet (N05deg18.52min/ E100deg18.16min) and were fairly amazed that we had made the miles we did in daylight. Other boats here at present are Rumrunner II, Amulet, Imagine and Fearless. More of the fleet are coming tomorrow (from the mud bank anchorage) and a few boats are already in Georgetown (north end of Penang) or Langkawi.
Pic: A new bridge is going up between the mainland and Penang Island (the Second Penang Bridge). We went between the open span and anchored between Jerejak Island, just past the bridge, and Penang to the left.

Nov 23 - Pangkor dinner

The marina here is full; boats are rafted to each other and one catamaran is even tied alongside the ferry dock. Larger boats are in smaller slips; it's all a bit chaotic, but it works. James, the marina manager here, has been working overtime to ensure that most everyone has a berth, electricity, and whatever else is needed (and yes, some boats chose to stay at anchor.) There are several small places to get a bite to eat, and one larger sea food restaurant, which is where the fleet gathered for its Rally dinner. Cases and cases of (free) beer continued to be served, and as the dinner proceeded, the noise level went up as well. Well over a hundred people were there, so the serving staff was quite busy. I saw nothing but smiles all around, and the few kids present were also having a good time. Indeed, one of them was busy putting ice cubes down anyone's back he could reach...Lots of pictures were taken, and the movie cameras were rolling as well. A really fun evening, and another milestone for the Sail Malaysia Rally. Tomorrow, Sue will take the all day bus tour to the Cameron Highlands before we depart Monday for our next stop, Penang.
Pic: Tea Plantations in the Cameron Highlands. It was great seeing the interior for a much agriculture and jungle...what beautiful country!

Nov 18 - Pangkor Marina

Anchor Position: N04deg12.39min/ E100deg03.30min 22'. We had a tough time of it last night coming up from Port Dickson to Pangkor. The early morning started off gray, but by afternoon the clouds had built up and by early evening it was raining hard. The lightening and thunder surrounded us, so there was nowhere to really go but towards our destination. With steady winds of 18-24 on the nose, that meant slow going, at times one knot of boat speed with the current against us. Frustrating, especially since the autopilot chose today to be cranky, leaving us to hand steer on a one hour on, one hour off schedule. Well, we know you just have to take the cards that are dealt, although that doesn't mean we have to like the hand! On top of everything else, I've finally succumbed to the "cruisers crud." The yachties were dropping like flies, with head and chest congestion, fatigue and so forth, and I was immune to all that until a few days ago, when it reared its ugly head, so taking lots of medicine is also part of the deal. Just great. Well, the good news is that we dropped the hook in the waning light at 1930 hours, put the sail cover on, took badly needed showers, and had a good nights rest! Pangkor Marina on the mainland 5mi. away has to be entered at high tide, so by 0830 we were tied up in a berth. Position: N04deg12.68min/ E100deg36.11min) A rally dinner is planned here in a few days. There are about 63 boats participating in the Sail Malaysia Rally (6 from the US), so you have plenty of opportunity to see the same people over and over.
Pic:We took the ferry across to Pangkor Island with friends and toured around. This Foo Ling Kong Temple has a mini version of the Great Wall of China.

Nov 14 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

We took a tour to the capitol of Malaysia today. Starting with the impressive Batu Caves, it was explained that these gigantic limestone formations were discovered about 120 years ago. The Hindu's have since erected many temples, and a pilgrimage happens every year during the 3 days of Thaipusam. We walked the 272 steps to the top, giving our legs a much needed workout. The large golden statue outside is a local landmark and the caves are dedicated to Lord Subramaniam (Muruga). It had rained earlier, so our visit had the normal drippings from the cave openings, and the usual visits of the local monkeys hoping for handouts. From there we had a brief stop at a batik factory, then onwards to the National Monument war memorial sculpted by Felix de Weldon (the creator of the Iwo Jima monuments in Washington, DC), the Petronas and KL Towers (we chose not to go up), the King's Palace, the City Gallery, Merdeka Square (also known as Independence Square in the heart of colonial KL, where Malaysia declared their independence from Great Britain in 1957; this is also where the running and drinking club of the Hash House Harriors started in 1938!), and then to busy Chinatown for a delicious, authentic Chinese supper. We drove past the National Mosque, the KL Train Station, Little India and the Lake Gardens. Two million people live in KL, and the variety of shops, goods and foods available is staggering.
Pic: The King's Palace

Nov 12 - Melaka

We took a tour bus to Malacca, also spelled Melaka, which is a UNESCO city with Portuguese, Dutch and English history. Many of the buildings are over 500 years old and a lot of them have been restored, so the preservation of the area is ongoing. We visited various cultural places (museums, churches and forts), and our tour guide was very informative. The city used to be the major port city for the entire SE asia region, but it has long lost that appellation to Singapore. Ethnic Chinese, Indian, Malay and others have been settled in the area for hundreds of years, and the many restaurants are known for their various foods. Antique and souvenir shops line Jonker Street, and we wished we had planned an overnight visit to walk the city and enjoy its ambience.
Pic: Another form of transportation; quite a change from the rickshaw.

Nov 8 - Admiral Marina, near Port Dickson

We departed Puteri Harbour Marina at first light (0700), and anchored at Pulau Pisang at N01deg27.87min/ E103deg15.85min in 12.5' mud. We decided to do an overnight to Admiral Marina (N02deg28.54min/ E101deg50.75min) and had an easy time of it. Although there was a tremendous display of lightening nearby, we had none of it, and the night passed quickly enough. We kept on the edge of the busy shipping lanes of the Malacca Straits. The marina here is part of a deluxe condo-club complex, and we've hooked up our air con and are definitely walking in tall cotton....There are lots of activities planned as part of Sail Malaysia later this week. Btw, the entrance here is a bit tricky, and there are shallow patches nearby, so good navigation is mandatory....or better yet, follow someone else in...(we didn't have that luxury!)

Nov 6 - Sail Malaysia activities have commenced

We're departing Puteri Harbour Marina in a few hours on the way towards Langkawi. Last night was the Rally welcoming dinner at Danga Bay Marina Convention Center; a lovely meal, cocktail hour beforehand, and entertainment during; then a 20 minute ride back by the Puteri Marina water taxi. We've been on a bus tour of Johor. This area has a vibrant economy and the long range urban plans are just amazing. The new government center, Kota Iskandar, has been operational for a few years and we were able to see where the representatives work and laws are passed. After a mid-morning tea break, a tour of the pineapple museum followed by a traditional lunch (delicious!) at a homestay was arranged, then stops to a National Park on the coast and to one of the upscale shopping center outlet malls completed a full day. Yesterday morning, our main navigation briefing for the rally took place, and during the afternoon break I bought a window air conditioner unit! It is seriously hot and humid here at this time of year, although we won't be using the a/c unless we have dock power at a marina. So...things are happening, and the fleet is starting to move around. Some of our friends are in Langkawi (about 460 miles from here), a few have even pushed to Phuket, Thailand (another 170 miles further from Langkawi), and we're looking forward to seeing new areas on our journey up the Malacca Straits.