Sunday, March 27, 2016

Pangkor Island

We arrived at the Pangkor Island Marina around noon.  The marina seemed to be very professionally run.  There were dock hands ready to show us where to berth and catch our lines.  The depth in our berth was almost nothing below the keel at low tide but 10 feet at high.

This marina is where we are thinking of hauling out Tortuguita for the season.  We scoped out the entire operation and were quite impressed.  It's not a professional boatyard like the Gold Coast City Marina in Australia but more like a DIY place like Marina Seca Guaymas in Mexico.  They have a giant shed where about 15 boats can be stored or worked on in the shade.  However, all masts must be taken off in order to get in the shed.

Marina Island sits between Pangkor Island and the mainland.  It is entirely man made over a 5 year period.  The island has the marina, a ferry terminal, small mall, shops, offices, restaurants, apartments, and a hotel along with a causeway connecting it to the mainland.

Marina Island

A very nice banquet for the rally
The marina manager, James Khoo, has sponsored this stop on the rally and set up a day trip and lunch out on Pangkor Island, and a banquet dinner.  We did find out that if the marina paid for the events, they would not be allowed to serve alcohol so James paid for everything personally.  Way to go James.

Good thing James provided the beer.

Grounds of the Buddhist Temple
Pangkor Island is a tourist destination with the clearest water that we have seen since Indonesia.  We went to a Buddhist Temple and saw fishing boats under construction.  Amazing carpentry skills and beautiful tropical hardwood.  We had a catered lunch on the beach and were all pretty much burned out by the time the ferry got us back to the marina.  A good long day!

Boat Craftsmanship


Monday, March 14, 2016

Anchoring off Port Klang

We left at sunrise from Port Dickson.  I think I've said this before, but, you can never leave early enough.  Right outside the marina, the current had us down to 3 knots and we had 50 miles to go to Port Klang.  Port Klang is the major shipping port for Kuala Lumpur and most of Malaysia and looked to be our stop for the night.  

We could see other rally boats 10 to 15 miles ahead that were doing 8 knots but the current that they had just hadn't progressed toward us.  I found a very good way to tell what the current ahead is.  AIS targets can be seen 30-40 miles away.  The large ships' that are anchored all along the edges of the Malacca Strait show symbols on our AIS display.  They point in the direction that they are heading, even while anchored.  Small boats like ours, however, point only in the direction they are traveling.  When the current changes,  the large ships all change direction with the current.  You can actually watch the tide progress down the Malacca Strait by watching these anchored ships turn like dominos, but in real slow motion.

AIS Ship Traffic from

The early departure from Port Dickson was not much help.  The tide must have just switched so we pushed against the current for 6 hours until early afternoon.  Now that we were enjoying a nice push, it didn't make much sense to stop so our plan was to go as far as we could and just drop the anchor wherever we were when the sun went down.  There were a few possible places that looked like anchorages but what you see on the charts is a world of difference to what it really looks like.  On the chart below there are large green 'islandy' looking areas.  Our track is the purple line.  The plan was to tuck up behind one of these 'islands' for protection for the night.

In actuality, there are no islands.  These green areas are apparently mud flats but the water was so muddy, you couldn't see the flats.   


Here's the Google Earth view.

Notice the four green islands.  They are the same as the brown islands on the chart view.   The green areas that look like islands just don't exist.

So we anchored out in the middle of nowhere and as the tide changed, so did the current and so did the direction we pointed.  The wind and chop made for a noisy night. 

It turned out that was fine because around 2AM we were woken up by the sound of thunder.  The storms were a few miles away just south of those little brown islands.  We were a sitting target for lightning out in these flats.  The current was again now in our favor, so we pulled up the anchor and headed out for the fish trap free deep channel to our north.  This would give us a nice early arrival at Pangkor Marina.