October 28, 2010--October 28, 2010—On October 18 we left Nongsa Point Marina in the morning. We headed west and stayed parallel to and just outside the shipping channel. The amount of traffic moving from both east and west was really amazing. There were cargo ships, tankers, tugs with barges, and even a cable-laying ship. Our AIS system was sending out warnings as fast as we could mute them, and our screen looked like a video game.
As we approached our waypoint for crossing the shipping channel we approached quite a few local fishing vessels. There was a tanker approaching from the west and seemed to be close to one of the boats. The fisherman just went about his work, while behind him loomed a huge ship. We thought the picture came out well and shows quite a dichotomy. Look closely at it.
We began to look for a gap in the traffic and noticed one after a large tanker passed us from our left. As soon as we could, we headed across the channel and crossed right behind the large tanker. We were close enough that our boat got caught in the ship’s prop wash, which moved us around a bit. Once we were behind the tanker, we checked to our right and saw that we had quite a gap before the next ship would cross our path. We pushed on and watched out AIS screen to see how close any ship would come. The closest point of approach was never less than 0.3 nautical miles, so we were fine, and we soon entered the western anchorage.
There must have been 50 commercial ships anchored in this area. We called Immigration and after about 15 minutes, their boat pulled up close to ours, and the officer held out a fishing net for our passports and ship’s papers. When we had placed our papers in the net, he took them and asked us to wait. About 10 minutes later the boat returned, and our papers were in the net. Steve had to sign a few papers and return them to the officer via the fishing net. It was all done very efficiently, and the officials were friendly and helpful.
We then proceeded through the buoys that mark the harbor and slowly motored through the breakwater for the One degree 15 Marina on Sentosa Island just south of Singapore Island. The marina is a very large and upscale marina with several mega yachts moored here. It is quite a change from Indonesia. We were directed to slip D 03, where we tied up and then headed to the office to check in. We returned to cleaned up the boat and hooked up the water and electrical. A little while later we received a tour of the facilities, which include a pool, a gym, a spa, several restaurants, and a laundry. There is regular shuttle service to Vivo Shopping Mall where we can catch the MRT.
The MRT is a light rail system that gets us around Singapore Island pretty easily. Once we understood the schedule and the system, it was easy to make our way around. Sometimes the MRT can be pretty crowded, but it is still the best way to get around.
Sometimes the MRT is not crowded--and sometimes it is.
One afternoon we took a long ride on the MRT looking for boat parts, and then we met three other couples at the Raffles Hotel Long Bar, where the Singapore Sling was invented. The Raffles Hotel has been here since the mid-1800s and is quite famous. The four ladies all ordered a Singapore Sliing, while the guys had a beer. We all walked around the facility for awhile, and then we headed for Little India and the Banana Leaf Restaurant. The food at the Banana Leaf Restaurant is served on placemats that are made of banana leaves. You can order from a buffet line or order from the menu. We ordered a tandori dish for two, which turned out to be very spicy.
Afterward we walked around the Little India Arts Belt and walked through the arcade, which was fascinating because of all the items that were for sale. The streets are decorated with lights for the upcoming Deepavali Festival, which is a Hindu celebration.
Our dinghy is on its last leg, so we began to shop around for a new one. Luckily, there is a Mercury dealer here, so we just ordered the exact same dinghy plus a new 8 horsepower engine. We also needed a few other parts, which Steve was able to pick up. Unfortunately, on one of his runs, his wallet didn’t make it back into his pocket and was left in the front seat of a taxi. He reported the loss to the taxi company, the police, and the U.S. Embassy, hoping that someone might turn it in.
We spent the next few days seeing some of Singapore. One day we went downtown, where we walked along the river and enjoyed lunch at a local restaurant filled with business people. We went to see our first movie in a year in a wonderful, air conditioned theatre. On another day nine of us left to go to the zoo; however, it started pouring rain, so we decided to go to the Asian Civilizations Museum instead. It was quite interesting, and there was a special exhibit on Sumatra that we really enjoyed.
By the 23rd Steve was feeling very poorly. His intestinal bug that he had in Belitung returned, and it really laid him low. He went to see a doctor, who ran a test to find out exactly what it was. We should have the results in less than a week; however, the doctor told Steve to begin the medicine for Giardia right away. Two days later Steve had a cold that has been going around all the cruisers, so we are taking it easy and keeping a low profile for now. We have not heard anything on his wallet, so we assume that is a total loss, which creates hassles since we are so far from home. The good news is that we can go to the pool and relax where it is nice and cool.
Yesterday we received our brand new dinghy, and it is so pretty that we have decided to just leave it on the deck and not use it. It was hard to put the old one in the trash bin, but its time had come. It did, however, give us six years of excellent service.
Today we decided to go to Chinatown for lunch and to do some shopping. It was quite a place, and we did find some interesting things.
We will leave tomorrow, October 29, and motor the 36 miles to Danga Bay Marina. We have a slip reserved at this brand new marina, and it is where the cruisers are all waiting to begin the Sail Malaysia Rally the first week of November.