The beginning of Q2 found us shivering, half freezing in 9 degrees C. We had just arrived in
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
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
There was Papa-rin with grand-daughters growing taller and taller.
We met Hana, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Shinkai and Marina Athletes Clubís youngest member.
Usagi-san specially opened his restaurant to treat us.
See the Hina dolls in the background?
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.
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 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.
The first day-sail took us to
On the way to
Tanjong City Marina, a yacht harbor in the middle of
Nori Ďsocializesí as well.
Here he is challenging the neighborís dog to jump on the pontoon. Wakame usually watches from a distance.
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
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.
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
Fraserís Hill is a very old hill station at 1200m elevation, about 100 km from
I checked in at
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.
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
There were the Dutch Stadthuys and
It happened to be International Museum Day, so we got free tickets. Nice!
Of course we admired some of the old buildings and old crafts (beaded shoemaker, black smith, coffee branderij) in yet anotherÖ
We bought Portuguese egg tarts, very popular on ALISHAN since our trip to
Malacca also became a UNESCO World Heritage site last year, together with
Our passage through the
The last part of the Straits went fast. From Port Dickson to the bridge of the 2nd entrance to
Approaching the 25m high bridge between West Johor and
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
From this marina we could easily make daytrips by bus into
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.
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.
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.
Musea, Nature Parks (very nice and clean, without all that rubbish you find in
Jaap with an old acquaintance, L=see Q4 2008 and R=the bar at Sentosaís Cafť
We met up with friends Heiko and Rose with whom we shared
the BIG PEPPERCRAB meal.
See more of
Colorful shops in Little India: materials for sari on the left, bangles on the right.
See a similarity here? Itís Durian, Jaaps favorite fruit and we were eating it almost daily when it was in season.
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
Of Durian, The King of Fruits.
We left DB on June 19 and sailed back to the bridge on the west side of
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
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.
After 4 nights we reached the entrance of the river leading to Kuching, the City of
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.
Remember you can follow us on our Blog at http://syalishan.blogspot.com/
More of Marijkeís wildlife
The Great Hornbill, 1.5m tall. Even such a giant can get chased by a Ďsmallí drongo
The babies of the dusky leaf monkeys are bright orange.
Amorphus Phallus (L) next to a golden dragonfly (R)
Flower of the Cannonball Tree
White-throated Kingfishers (L) and Paddyfield Pipit (R)
Eyeing a morning snack. Donít they look yummy?
Big Netter looking for fish.
Cargo to and from
Very low freeboard, seas are seldom rough, skies not always sunny...
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.
Jaap with his own travel agency.
And Alishan with its own cans.
WILD OATS Guys, WILD OATS!