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.

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