Welcome to sailing yacht Alishan

Read more about the adventures and boat-projects on board of Alishan

IN JAPAN

The beginning of Q2 found us shivering, half freezing in 9 degrees C. We had just arrived in Fukuoka, Japan (by air, not over sea) from Langkawi via Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei and - not surprising with so many stops - our bags with woollies and long sleeves got delayed. They showed up 24 hrs later as they were delivered to Myokoís house in Meinohama, where we were staying. Brrr!

Not all of the Alishan crew suffered. Nori and Wakame, who would have been much better equipped for this, were warm and comfortable onboard ALISHAN in Rebak, Langkawi, the island group on the NW coast of peninsula Malaysia where temps were more like 32 C. Our friends Dave and Marcia were kindly looking after them.

Getting our new passports stamped and driverís license extended took 2 days and we spent the rest of the week catching up with friends. It was cherry blossom time and we came prepared to party!

On April 4th it was time to say farewell again to our Ďhometowní. Thank you to everybody, specially the Nishijimas. You opened your house for us and treated us like family. We had a wonderful time and you all contributed to our motivation to head back to Japan from now.

 

 

There was Papa-rin with grand-daughters growing taller and taller.

 

 

 

 A ladiesí night out with Nobuko ended in an okama bar. The he/she-s were already in their late fifties Ė and a lot of fun!

 

 

We met Hana, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Shinkai and Marina Athletes Clubís youngest member.

Hajimemashite, yoroshiku!

 

 

Usagi-san specially opened his restaurant to treat us.

 

                   

 

 Jaap-chaaan! With the gyogyo ladies (not go-go) at Myokoís house.

                                               See the Hina dolls in the background?

                                                                                 Kirei!

LANGKAWI

When we returned to ALISHAN we spent a couple of days getting ready to move on. Updating Q1, varnishing the toe-rail, patching up the dinghy cover. Just little things, so easy in Rebakís yacht harbor.

 

                              

Nori and Wakame watching the harbor activities from their favorite possies.

 

                                  

     Me-chan getting her yearly shot from dr. Tim at the Bonton Animal Clinic.

 

                                        

                           Hair-cutting session on B-dock, starring Moe of s/y Alchemy.

 

After Rebak we went around the corner to Telaga for 2 weeks of nature walks, photography and more social gatherings. 

 

      

Nature guide Aida of Devís Adventure tours, pointing to a very poisonous scorpion that was out hunting at the spa of the Berjaya Resort.

We recommend Devís team for all sorts of outdoor activities, see http://www.langkawi-nature.com/ 

 

                                

 The mountains with primary jungle just off Telaga Bay. Jaap climbed the highest top, from were he could look down! on the cable car.

 

                                      

 Motoring or motor-sailing around Langkawi. Sadly, there is hardly ever enough wind for a good run under sail only.

 

                               

The Bella Vista hotel in Kuah where nobody ever seems to be staying. One of the big white elephants of this country. It makes a nice picture, though.

We spent a day or 3 in Kuah town, shopping for spare parts and saying goodbye. On April 26 we left Langkawi for good. At least for this year.

 

Scroll down for more Langkawi wildlife photos. 

PENANG AGAIN

The first day-sail took us to Penang, a place we have visited on various occasions, see previous Q-updates. We had our last walks around China town and the Indian quarters, our last soft-shell crab meal and our last real Dutch cheese. (Thank you Clair and Stewart!)  

               

On the way to Penang we encountered a waterspout, a kind of nasty phenomenon that you should give room at all times.

 

                         

                                            Street scene in India-town

 

                                       

                                    A shoemaker, practicing his trade on the sidewalk.

 

                        

   

 

   

Penang, a world heritage site of UNESCO, has buildings in all stages of  neglect as well as renovation. The combination gives it a pleasant, authentic atmosphere.

 

                         

Tanjong City Marina, a yacht harbor in the middle of Georgetown, 5 mins (yes, on foot!) from little India and Chinatown.

 

                    

       One of the many temples, this one mostly hidden in an old complex at Penang Road.

 

                         

                                     Nori Ďsocializesí as well.

Here he is challenging the neighborís dog to jump on the pontoon. Wakame usually watches from a distance.

 

PENANG to PORT DICKSON

From here southwards we entered unknown territories. On the way up from Johor a little over a year before, we sailed this trip non-stop, but this time we wanted to see a bit of the west coast of Malaysia. We did one overnighter to Port Klang, where we anchored between channels and mangrove swamps in front of an unattractive industrial harbor. We stayed one extra day to wind down from our previous busy social weeks. We had many friends to say farewell to, some of whom we would not be seeing again for quite a while, others who were following the same route, we expected to meet again, but you never know where and when. There were s/y Strider, s/y Ouma 3 and s/y Zorana staying behind in Langkawi. But also s/y Lady Ann, s/y Labarque and s/y Ninth Charm heading the same way as us. Others were entering and leaving our social life, as expected. It all keeps you quite busy.

 

We cannot say anything about Port Klang since we didnít feel like going ashore. But at the next place, Port Dickson we did. Here we stayed in the local yacht harbor for whole a week. There were very few other cruisers and actually not much to do, but Marijke took the chance to travel to Fraserís Hill and sort out the wildlife over there.

 

              

 Alishan in Admiralty Marina, Port Dickson.

 

              

 A little temple in an obtrusive corner just behind the marina.

 

                               

                           Inside the temple. Is this Indian? Chinese?

 

The cats had a chance to stretch their paws again on the jetties, but we had to keep an extra good eye on them. A pair of Sunbirds had built a nest in the middle of the cockpit of s/y Windy Lady, who was moored right across the pontoon from us. The parents flew back and forth all day to feed their 2 little chicks, whose hungry cries could be heard from far. David and Arlene onboard made a great afford not to disturb them, by staying inside most of the day. They mailed that the babies successfully flew out the day after we left.

 

 

 

The nest seemed to be made of bits of rope, that came off an abandoned catamaran in the harbor

 

FRASER'S HILL

Fraserís Hill is a very old hill station at 1200m elevation, about 100 km from Kuala Lumpur. Itís a pretty little place, but there is not much there: very little accommodation, a couple of eateries, a mini store and a golf course. The road up is long and very windy and there is no form of public transport. In the weekend city people drive up to escape the heat and enjoy the mountains. But during the week itís quiet.

 

I checked in at Silver Park and met my guide Mr. Durai, who showed me around on his motorbike or under his umbrella. The weather was not so good. It had been dry for weeks, but now it rained every day and the trails became very muddy. I got quite good at flicking leeches off my legs and a lot of my birding had to be done from the balcony.  But that was okay, I saw a fair amount of mountain birds, all new to me. There were Woodpeckers, Spiderhunters, Bulbuls, Barbets and many others. The last day I saw some uncommon birds, like Blue Nuthatches and even a Long-tailed Broadbill. Thanks to my guide, who wouldnít give up.

 

  

These birds were hard to miss: the Chestnut-capped Laughing Thrushes (L) and (Greater as well as Lesser) Yellownapes (R).

 

 

A (Common) Green Magpie, colorful but not easy to spot.

 

   

   One of many Barbets: Fire-tufted and a young Mountain Bulbul with (maybe his first self-caught) insect.

 

 

Silver-eared Mesia, coming out of the bushes to look for crumbs around the hawker stalls.

 

         

I still havenít got a book on insects, so sorry, no names. These two came out when the rain let up a bit.

 

 

 

And so did this Himalayan Striped Squirrel.

 

 

       

    

 

The leaf-monkeys looked different from the ones we saw in Langkawi. The leaves they were eating too. This is the Banded Leaf Monkey.

 

          

  

  

The rain brought out a lot of bugs and I loved the moths and night flies.

 

       

A Spiny Tortoise next to a Bamboo Orchid.

 

 

Fraserís Hill is a great place. Iíd like to go back one day, in a better season.

MELACCA

In Port Dickson we rented a car and drove south to see Malacca for a day. This small, historical town has lots of reminders of its Dutch heritage. Of course we walked around the Dutch Square, where lots of souvenir-stalls line the side streets and a multitude of colorful rickshaws are waiting to take you for a ride. This is one of Malaysiaís most visited places, so thatís where the business is.  

 

 

Dutch Square

 

There were the Dutch Stadthuys and Malacca Christ Church on one side and the Portuguese St. Paulís Hill on the other. In the museum we saw old Dutch pottery and money, amongst the same articles from Portugal, India and China.

It happened to be International Museum Day, so we got free tickets. Nice!

 

                    

 Across the river we found the Heeren House.

 

                        

  

         

   Of course we admired some of the old buildings and old crafts (beaded shoemaker, black smith, coffee branderij) in yet anotherÖ

 

                      

 

ÖChinatown.

 

 

We bought Portuguese egg tarts, very popular on ALISHAN since our trip to Macau (Q3 2007). Here they were called Porincheese tart.

 

Malacca also became a UNESCO World Heritage site last year, together with Penang. We both found the freshly painted buildings in Malacca a bit cheapish and less authentic than the ones in Penang, though some of the tile-work was magnificent!

 

  

 

 

 

DANGA BAY

Our passage through the Malacca Strait was fairly uneventful. We could only sail a few hours every now and then, which was to be expected in this area of very light winds. The heavy thunderstorms, that this place is pretty ill-famous for kept at bay. Just as well, because they scare me a lot. Weíve heard of so many boats thatíd been hit by lightning, loosing some or ALL their electronics, sometimes even with holes burned through the hull. Weíve been lucky so far. But it makes me feel we are due soon.

 

The last part of the Straits went fast. From Port Dickson to the bridge of the 2nd entrance to Singapore took 24 hours. From there to Dhanga Bay (Malaysia side) another 2.

 

                           

Approaching the 25m high bridge between West Johor and Singapore. A bit scary, even though we know itís high enough for our 18 m mast.

 

Arriving in Dhanga Bay (DB), part of state capital Johor Bahru, we were in for a pleasant surprise. There is a new marina, but it is not completely finished yet. At the time there were no facilities like showers and toilets ashore and no proper office. But, there was water and electricity on the pontoon and it was all FREE of Charge! That made us change plans soon.  Staying in any marina in Singapore is so expensive. Clearing customs  would have cost us about Ä100 already.

 

                 

                                       Dhanga Bay Marina

 

 

From this marina we could easily make daytrips by bus into Singapore. Okay, it sometimes took a bit of time going through customs/immigration 2x each time, (1~3hrs, depending on the time and day) but we paid no more than Ä2.50 pp for the buses in and out, round trip.

So we saved up for the big day, the day of  PEPPERCRAB.

 

So what was the surprise? The people. We found a good bunch. A bit like the old days, when there were not many of us and we didnít have internet and email, no cell phones, no movies nor tv series, not even GPS. We relied on each other for many things and a small group tended to get quite close, like a family. Here was that feeling again. 

 

 

Long discussions. About food, health, boat jobs and yes, mostly computers.

 

 It all surmounted to the real thing when Italian yacht SORA ALICE arrived, which we knew from 23! years before, when we had just that: A tight social knot with the people of the very only other yacht around in the wilderness of Hiva Oa, the Marquesas.

                      

                    Marijke with Antonio of s/y SORA ALICE.

        A few years are showing , but weíre cruising friends for life.

 

Needless to say we were not in a hurry to move. Just as well, because we had our radar fixed at Rico in Singapore, and though it was only the brightness of the screen that we could not adjust anymore, it took 3 weeks and a lot of Singapore $$$.

We made several trips in town, to get the ever needed oil and filters, canvas and other materials for covers, cheese, yoghurt mix and other gadgets, and a new computer for Marijke.

                      

   We fixed (partly successful) the leakage at the mast with a new collar and lots of glad wrap. Made a new bag for reefing lines. Replaced lights for better, brighter and more economical LED ones.

 

                    

 Wakame helping with the electricals.

 

 

DANGA BAY WILD LIFE

The whole Dhanga Bay area is undergoing some major changes, according to the huge billboards laying out the plans. Some time in the future there will be a big hotel with many restaurants, an apartment complex, an artificial island and the works. However, this is Malaysia. It might take many more years and might very well turn into another white elephant, like so many other unfinished projects that fill up this country. Those and the palm-oil plantationsÖ

 

Never mind the road constructions, we hauled the old bicycle ashore to do some exploring and I found a little niche of swampland. Guess my surprise when I discovered lots of big birds! Great Egrets, Grey Herons, Little herons and Milky Storks and even the rare Painted Storks, feeding on little fish caught in a fishing net at low tide.

 

  

 

 

 

    

   I went back many mornings and late afternoons, and saw them following the path of a fisherman moving around the bay setting his net, like they were his pets.

 

 

 

                    

                             The Johor version of Monitor Lizard

 

 

 Just a big moth (19cm)

 

SINGAPORE

In Singapore we did the sights.

Musea, Nature Parks (very nice and clean, without all that rubbish you find in Malaysia lying around) with a surprising variety of lizards, small mammals and birds, Sentosa Island (The Luge!!!) and Jurong Bird Park. (Marijke finally got her Nicobar Pigeon fix).

 

     

Jaap with an old acquaintance, L=see Q4 2008 and R=the bar at Sentosaís Cafť del Mar. Pfff, they didnít sell the CD-s.

 

We met up with friends Heiko and Rose with whom we shared

 the BIG PEPPERCRAB meal.

 

           

 

See more of Singapore below

 

               

 

                        

                                                   Boat Quay

 

 

 Rochor Centre

 

 

 A mosque in Chinatown

 

   

   Bukit/Little India

 

 

 

Little India

 

  

                               Colorful shops in Little India: materials for sari on the left, bangles on the right.

 

                                     

                          One of many little temples on the sidewalk outside Chinese shops

 

                            

   Restored buildings near Raffles Place.

 

   

   See a similarity here? Itís Durian, Jaaps favorite fruit and we were eating it almost daily when it was in season.

 

                    

 This building is the train station downtown JB. We passed it on the way to immigration each time we ventured in and out of Singapore.

 

DANGA BAY 2

 

Back ďhomeĒ in the marina we had our socials at the pontoon. The best one was Laurence of s/y Ty Armorís birthday bbq.

 

  

We would not recommend Dhanga Bay Marina for its features. The place itself is not pretty, very noisy and traffic is the pits. Buses to and from town are frequent though and the Dhanga Bay waterfront can be entertaining in some way, if you like karaoke, games, rides in carrousels and other sorts of merry-go-rounds, little trains circling the entertainment strip and family sized bicycle-carts, decorated with strings of LED lights, horns and bells. The starting points for these carts was on the dock in front of our jetty and in the evenings there were always kids trying them out. The best solution seemed making lots of noise ourselves.   

 

                    

One problem was: rats.

They had their own all-night parties. On the pontoon and on the boats. But not on Alishan! Was it Nori and Wakame? I donít know. We lock them in at night, so they couldnít hunt. The cats didnít seem excited about the the rats at all. They were much more concerned about the dogs Jake and KC off s/y Ocean Spray and s/y Lady C. They loved to challenge each other. The cats couldnít win, but the dogs couldnít keep the rats off their ships. But maybe it wasnít the cats at all, maybe it was just the smell.

Of Durian, The King of Fruits.

                          

 Jaap with his daily portion. He loved it, but it was a lonesome joy: he could not get anybody to join him.

 

SINGAPORE to BORNEO

We left DB on June 19 and sailed back to the bridge on the west side of Singapore. Here we anchored for the night, to have a good start the following morning, when the tide would bring us quickly around Singapore to the east part of Johor from where we would continue towards Borneo.

 

Not so. The tides didnít cooperate at all. I must admit we had not done the planning properly and had not realized that tides here can run weird. Like 10 hrs against you! When we got to the other side of Singapore, only 20 odd miles, it was soon getting dark and we didnít want to cross the ever so crowded shipping lane in the dark. No problem, we remembered our old possy at the entrance of the river to Sebana Cove and dropped our anchor again.

 

                    

 A fish farm between Singapore and Malaysia. I doubt if it had any lights. Not something that you want to run into at night!

 

We slept very well. So well we decided we needed a whole day to recover from DB Marina. Thus we stayed another night. But that following morning we left bright and early. Only to discover that we had a problem. There was no wind so we motored and 2 hours underway Jaap checked the engine. The bowl under the diesel filter was full of sediments! We turned around, dropped the hook at exactly the same spot (Maxsea is so convenient) and cleaned and changed the fuel filter. It was calm here, so it didnít take long and 2 hours later Alishan was on the move again. By mid-morning we passed our point of return and crossed the shipping lane near Horsburgh Lighthouse.

 

                     

                                    Horsburgh, aka Pedra Branca

 

We made better progress, the tides werenít that strong anymore, but at the end of the day, the filter bowl was full of (sorry) shit again! By now a little breeze had picked up and we could sail, but not more than a few hours. At midnight the wind dropped, the engine was needed and Jaap went on his knees. The diesel from the bowl was just as black and dirty as the previous time. This didnít look good, but as long as it was calm, the fuel-filter routine was not too much of a strain. It had to be repeated a couple more times and Jaap got quite fast at it in the end.

But then... Clouds started packing, squalls came from everywhere and we sailed right into heavy thunder and lightning. The wind picked up, rain poured down and we could only have a little bit of foresail up. Luckily, the direction of the wind (and waves) was good, so we kept up 5+ knots in the right way, but the bolts of lightning were very frightening! We disconnected our electronics as far as possible, stowed computers and GPS in the ovens and hoped for the best. There was still some traffic of container ships, oil tankers, tugboats etc around us, hidden by the squalls and almost invisible on the radar screen due to the heavy rain. We both had to actively keep a look out all night.

This was no fun. But the good thing was the WIND, so we didnít need the engine. The following day the storm subsided and all went back to normal. Borneo appeared on the horizon and we took turns sleeping.

 

                     

                                    Sharing watches, sharing bunks.

 

                    

                                               BORNEO!!!

 

After 4 nights we reached the entrance of the river leading to Kuching, the City of Cats, our first stop in Borneo.

 

Exciting! Borneo looks really dark and wild from the sea. Our anticipations grew by the minute. Upriver we found a number of yachts on anchor, old friends of s/y Lady Ann and s/y Labarque amongst them, who had arrived 2 days before and also complained about the bad weather. Soon all was forgotten and we checked out the village of Santubong in good company, followed by an extensive excursion to the Sunday market in Kuching town.

By now itís the end of June, the end of this episode. Next time we hope to tell you more about this place. We are getting ready for the Rainforest Music Festival in July and after that Alishan intends to sail further north.

Bye!

 

Remember you can follow us on our Blog at  http://syalishan.blogspot.com/ 

 

MARIJKE'S WILDLIFE

More of Marijkeís wildlife

 

    

   The Great Hornbill, 1.5m tall. Even such a giant can get chased by a Ďsmallí drongo

 

 

 Dark-necked Tailorbird, 12cm

 

  

  

 

The babies of the dusky leaf monkeys are bright orange.

 

 

 Sunskink

 

 

   Amorphus Phallus (L) next to a  golden dragonfly (R)

 

 

 Flying Lemur at Berjaya, Langkawi

 

  

 Red-wattled Lapwing

 

     

      Flower of the Cannonball Tree

 

 

 Two tiny bats under a banana leaf

 

 

   White-throated Kingfishers (L) and Paddyfield Pipit (R)

 

 

 Collared Kingfisher

 

 

 Baya Weaver on nest

 

 

 Common Tailorbird

 

     

                                                  Eyeing a morning snack. Donít they look yummy?

 

 

ROUTE we TOOK

 

FLOATS

  

Big Netter looking for fish.

 

 

 

Cargo to and from Indonesia.

 

 

 

Very low freeboard, seas are seldom rough, skies not always sunny...

 

                                     

                                    This tanker is carrying his own tropical palm beach.

   

             

                                          Cargogogo heading to Indonesia.

 

 

 

Some Floats have legs.

 

 

What Float is this?

 

 

Two sister ships lying side-by-side.

 

 

 

Soo many floats for anchor as bizz is very slow this year.

 

 

Sportfishing float,  Kuching.

 

Funny

                             

                                        What are these shop dolls having such fun about?

 

                                     

With Elizabeth of s/y Labarque at the toilet bowl restaurant in the Queensbay Mall at Penang. Toilet seats as chairs, sinks with a glass top as tables and showers on the wall. We ate chicken rice out of little toilet-shaped bowls.

 

 

        

 In case you couldnít tell.

 

                       

       A sign in Penang. Say it out loud, it sounds funny. (At least in Dutch it does)

 

                    

                            Jaap with his own travel agency.

 

 

                       

                                  And Alishan with its own cans.

 

 

                                        

                          WILD OATS Guys, WILD OATS!

 

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