Monday, February 29, 2016

Admiral Marina, Port Dickson

Front lobby entrance of the Admiral Marina

The Sail Malaysia 'Passage to Langkawi' rally is organized each year by a great guy named Sazli Kamal Basha.  He also does the Sail Malaysia 'Passage to the East' rally.  Sazli has a knack obtaining sponsors who pay for events during the rally.  Our $65 entry fee was paid back to us many times over by the free parties, dinners, lunches, and tours that we had.

Central Park, Malacca
Port Dickson is more or less between Malacca and Kuala Lumpur.  We took the public bus(es) with our friends Paul and Lilanne of LUNA BLU to Malacca for the day.  We made the mistake of not finding the Express Bus which cost us an extra hour in stops.  Malacca was the original main shipping/trading port for Malaysia for hundreds of years.  All trading routes between China and India/Europe go through the Malacca Straits. The port has since silted in and most shipping now goes to Port Klang.  You will sometimes see it spelled Melaka, which is the Malay name.

Entrance of the Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum
We walked through the parks and ended up in China Town for lunch.  We did a tour of the Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum.  This is a house of a wealthy Chinese/Malay family from the early 1900's turned in to a museum. We learned about their culture and how it was to live in this part of the world a hundred or more years ago.  We climbed 'the hill' to the Ruins of St. Paul's Church for a good view of town, met up with other cruisers for some beers and took a cab back to the marina.  Much quicker than the bus and not too much more expensive.

Statue in front of Batu Caves
The rally had a planned bus tour day of Kuala Lumpur.  We started out at the Batu Caves.  One of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India even though Buddhist and Muslim religions are also represented here.  

The stairs
It is really a beautiful massive place with 272 steps from ground level to the caves.  Women have to have their legs covered so the rent-a-sarong lady had a good thing going providing for the tourists.  A monkey thought Booker's earring was some kind of food, jumped on her and ripped it out of her ear.  Fortunately the loop pulled out and didn't damage her ear.  The monkey tried to crack it with it's teeth and smash it on concrete with no luck.  It thought it was some kind of nut.  I used the other earring to distract the monkey and he chucked the one he had on the stairs.  We were lucky to get it back.


Renting a sarong and the last time Booker's earring was intact.

The earring stealer.
Inside Batu Caves

Petronas Towers

We had lunch at the Petronas Towers.  They are the tallest twin towers in the world.  We've seen them in a few movies and even look bigger in real life.  The first 5 floors are just one huge mall.  Very expensive name brands which we had no interest in.

Making the handles for pewter mugs
We drove by the King's Palace but didn't go in because it was raining very hard and continued to the Royal Selangor Pewter factory.  We had never heard of Royal Selangor but it turns out that it is the largest manufacturer of fine crafted pewter.  It was interesting to see pewter products being made and how the discovery and mining of tin was a major source of economic development of this area.

Friday Night Market 'Street Food'
We did have a few free days between all these tours which came in handy to keep up with boat maintenance, etc.  The marina had a fine happy hour with marginal food and an over amplified band.  We did find good street food out at the main road and went to the Friday night market. 

Buddah's at the Kwan Yin Cave
Another bus tour was to the town of Ipoh.  We visited an organic farm/ecolodge and ate lunch at a Homestay Klawang.  We then walked through the Buddhist Kwan Yin Cave Temple.  

Ipoh Street Art
The Old Town area of Ipoh is very artsy and historic.  It is a short walk from the historic train station and mostly has Chinese influence but we had a great Indian curry at the Banana Leaf restaurant in Little India.

Team building, after the water balloon tossing exercise
As if all this was not enough, Sazli organized a team building event and lunch buffet for us.  We had four teams and had to work together and compete against other teams.  It was quite fun and educational.

Next, off we go to the marina at Pangkor Island.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

JB to KL - (Johor Bahru) to (Kuala Lumpur)

Here's the layout of this part of SE Asia.  The Malaysia Peninsula is connected to Thailand and Burma (Myanmar).  Singapore is at the tip of the Malaysia Peninsula.  Eastern Malaysia is on the western part of the island of Borneo.  The Malacca Strait runs between Malaysia and North Sumatra, Indonesia.  The tides run 10-12 feet.  That is quite a bit of water to be flowing through what is essentially a river running from Thailand to Singapore.  The current is much stronger than anywhere we have been, with perhaps the exception of the Great Barrier Reef.  If you don't run the engines, you will essentially lose 6 hours while the tide is running against you.  Of course you will make that up when the tide is helping you but the day is short and night sailing is not an option with the hoards of unlit fishing boats out at night.


This is our first exposure to sailing Malaysia.  We should have left Marina Puteri as early as possible.  We could have obtained our port clearance documents the day prior but decided instead to wait for the office to open.  Big mistake.  The supposed outgoing tide never appeared and then the current of the Malacca Strait was against us.  This made a short day into a long slog motoring most of the way.  We anchored at Pulau Pisang (Banana Island).  We tucked up behind the island and had a good night until the land breeze started and we ended up with our stern getting slapped by waves coming across  the Strait.  Most of the Malacca Strait is less than 30 feet deep and we were told that if you want, you can just drop anchor anywhere.  A few boats did anchor off the island and apparently departed very early since they didn't have to navigate the shallows around the island.  They probably had slapping waves during the night also.

Pulau Besar (Water Island)
We had a long day as it was to our next anchorage at Water Island.  There were 6 boats anchored there when we arrived at sunset with a huge thunderstorm chasing us during the last hour.  There was plenty of lightning but we all made it through fine.  This was a nice island and would have spent a day exploring it had we not been on an agenda.  There is some type of deserted or lightly used resort on the north side of the island and beaches to land the dinghy.

We departed early for the short day sail to the Admiral Marina in Port Dickson.  This is the closest yacht facility to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

The Admiral Marina.  By far, the nicest marina we have ever stayed in.