Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Port Dixon and Melaka

November 16, 2010—We left Danga Bay mid-morning on November 7 and headed back down Johor Straits to Melacca Strait. We made good time considering the tide was against us, and we went back under the bridge without much stress this time.

We turned to head northwest up the Strait and were enjoying excellent weather. Our plan was to travel overnight to Port Dixon and Admiral Marina. We were making good time until about 3 p.m. when a squall hit us with 40 knots of wind. The seas were suddenly short and steep and right on the nose. We were already double reefed on the main sail, but Steve went to put in the triple reef, and when he lowered the main sail, our lazy jack that holds the sail in place broke. Now we had loose sail flapping around plus the lines of our lazy jack blowing in the wind. We turned the boat 180 degrees so that we were going directly down wind, and Steve was able to get all the loose stuff contained and tied down. We had already passed the only real anchorage, but we decided that, all things considered, it would be better for us to double back a few miles and pull into the anchorage for the night.

We pulled into the anchorage on Palau Pisang just after dark. Tin Soldier was already there and helped us with directions, so we anchored securely in mud and then got the boat put back together. We were pretty tired, so we ate a quick meal and then went to sleep on our settees because the anchorage was pretty rough. When the wind died down later, the boat began to roll, and it was impossible to sleep. Then at 2:30 a.m. we heard a clang and looked at each other. Steve ran up in the cockpit and called down that a boat had drug its anchor and was coming down our starboard side. The couple on Cheekabee were fending us off, and we joined in the struggle. They made it past us and were able to reset their anchor a short distance behind us. Steve checked the starboard rail and found only some varnish damage. It was now 3 a.m. so I decided to stay up on anchor watch while Steve got an hour or so of sleep. At 5 o’clock we pulled the anchor and left.

The next few hours were difficult because of the head seas that were slowing us down quite a bit. The bow was dipping and scooping up water which would then come running down the side decks and exit off the stern, or at least most of it. Finally, the seas calmed down, and we were able to motor sail comfortably at a good speed. Later in the afternoon we were again slowed down by waves and current and figured that we would not make the next anchorage by dark. An hour later everything calmed down, and we made enough speed to pull into the anchorage right at sunset.

That night we slept much better because there was so much less roll. We awoke and left at 7 a.m. for the last leg. Once again the seas were nasty—short and steep waves, but this time it lasted only an hour before calming down. We actually had a nice run for the day and arrived at Port Dixon at 2:30 in the afternoon, just ahead of another squall.

We got a slip and secured the boat. Admiral Marina is a resort with a marina that is in need of repairs. We did have water but no electricity. The good news was that there was a lovely swimming pool for us to enjoy in the afternoon as well as a good restaurant. We spent the evening packing our things to go to Melaka the next day. Melaka was a scheduled rally stop, and there was a marina there, but it is rolly and shallow.

We decided to take a hire car to Melaka and made it just in time for the organized tour, which was disappointing because they took us to a resort to see the facilities and then dropped us off at a mall for lunch. The afternoon was much better with a tour of St. Paul's Church, which has old tombsones from Dutch time that are carved with poignant inscriptions. A' Famosa/Porta de Santiago is the old stone gateway to St. Paul's Hill, and finally the old traditional palace. It was all very interesting and informative.

When we stopped at the Queen Victoria Clock Tower, we found a man who had two pythons, one of which was an albino, in a rickshaw. For only $10 rincas or about $3 we were able to take our picture with the larger one. It was “interesting.” There were also the usual pedicabs that are beautifully decorated by their owners, but we did not have time to take a ride. Very close by were the remains of an old Dutch fort, which were in very good condition.

We left the tour at this point and took a cab to the Mahota Hotel. We checked in and went to our room. It was air conditioned so we just rested and relaxed. At 7 o’clock we were picked up by bus and taken to a restaurant about 7 miles away. There was the usual band and speeches. We were quite disappointed by the meal as were most of the participants.

The next day we were free to explore on our own. We made a quick run to Tesco, which is similar to a Walmart, to get water filters. We then went to China Town to tour the Chen Ho Cultural Museum. Admiral Chen Ho was the leader of the great Chinese navy around 1421, and his exploits are covered in the book 1421, which Steve has read. It was a very interesting place with many excellent pieces and some beautiful pottery from the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. Jeff was our enthusiastic guide and gave us a lot of history about Admiral Ho and Melaka.

We joined Dave and Jan from Baraka for a late lunch in Chinatown, and then we returned to the hotel. We went with Tin Soldier for a late dinner at the Seoul Garden Restaurant, where we chose our food and then cooked it at our table. That was quite fun.

The next morning we returned to Chinatown to do some quick shopping. Marilyn and I had a good time looking in all the shops, and then we joined the guys for lunch at Raffles Restaurant for some wonderful Malaysian food. We returned to the hotel at 3 p.m. to meet our hire car; unfortunately, he was almost two hours late, so we arrived back at the boat at 7 p.m. We shared the car with seven other people, so we were all tired when we got back to our boats.

November 14 was spent preparing the boat to leave. Steve had some projects, and I went with the ladies to town to pick up some fresh vegetables. We enjoyed a nice meal at the marina restaurant and then called it a night. At 7 o’clock in the morning we left the marina headed north to a new marina on Selat Lumut at the south coast of Palua Indah. We had lovely conditions and made the 46 miles by 2:30 in the afternoon.

There was quite a bit of current here so it was tricky pulling into the slip, but we had a lot of help from cruisers who had already arrived. The facilities are minimal for a “brand new marina,” so we were disappointed. We spent the evening on board, and today we took care of some minor boat projects that had to be done before we leave tomorrow.

We want to keep moving while the weather is good. The one problem here is the afternoon thundershowers, and they are pretty amazing, producing a lot of rain, thunder, and lightning. We had a real downpour this afternoon. We are making our way to Pinang, where we will stop for a day or two. That should be an interesting place to see, and it will give us a good break.

1 comment:

david_hatton said...

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