Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Home for Christmas 2010

We love Kota Kinabalu and really enjoyed a visit from our friends Teryle and Steve and Philip and Robin. It is an easy place for people to fly into from anywhere in the world and the resort has great accommodation.
We have now left China Grove in the Sutera Harbour Marina to spend family time in Melbourne and plan to return in March next year.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kuantan to Kota Kinabalu

Gosh where has the time gone? It has been a while since updating the blog.
Now, where were we………Ah, yes, Kuantan. You can be assured, we won’t be hurrying back too soon. Great city but the world’s worst anchorage just off the Hyatt resort. Apparently you can anchor up the river but have to be careful with all the fishing boats coming and going through the night.

Our next rally destination was Trengganu where we had a fabulous reception and stayed in a marina. We also had a reception at the resort on Pulau Kapas. Our favourite island – great snorkeling in crystal clear water and lots of turtles. It is a tiny island frequented by backpackers.

We sailed up to Pulau Redang (famous for diving) for a few days and again enjoyed clear water and then headed back to Pulau Kapas prior to our departure on the 3rd of July to cross the South China Sea to Borneo. Our initial plans were changed somewhat because of increased incidents of piracy around the Indonesian Anambas Islands. So we headed back down to Pulau Tioman and then across the Tioman shipping channel (where our AIS showed that we had at least 25 ships on our plotter at times and of course it was midnight on a moonless night!) keeping well south of the Anambas Islands.

No pirates but just on leaving this area we hit a log. We were in company with “Three Ships” who stood by us while we tried to remove this 16 foot railway sleeper that had lodged between the keel and beyond the rudder – held tight by the propeller!!

After much panic and getting all the diving equipment out, we managed to remove the log by tying a couple of ropes and winching it with the electric winches. Positives were – minimal damage to the propeller and it was a calm sunny day!! We arrived at Pulau Talang Talang Besar about midnight on the 6th of July having spent four days and three nights at sea. We then moved on to the Santubong River at Kuching where nephew Andrew and his mate Tony joined us for three days.

We took in the Rainforest Music festival while there – an interesting experience and the Orangutan Sanctuary.

After a week, we headed for Mirri which took us four days passing through countless oil rigs and dodging massive floating logs!

Mirri was the start of the Borneo International Yachting Challenge.

We admit the first race around the bouys we got totally wrong and had to pull out – a DNF. We then had quick tuition on race courses. You would think that having had kids sailing sabots throughout their childhood would have put us in good stead. Different story, however, when we had two more races around the bouys in Kota Kinabalu – fourth, no less!!! From Mirri we had an overnight race to Pulau Labuan – we motored most of the way. Pulau Labuan is a duty free island and so we were able to replenish some of our refreshments. There would be no other reason for stopping at that island. We had another overnight race to our final destination – Sutera Harbour Marina at Kota Kinabalu.

Guess what? After traveling 2100 nautical miles from Rebak Marina, we think China Grove will be here for some time:o)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tioman to Kuantan

From Tioman we spent a night between two islands called Sembilang and Seiri Buat and had the most wonderful time snorkelling. The fish were not that abundant but the coral was just brilliant from purples, pinks, blues, yellows and white. The next night was spent anchored off the beach at Rompin where we attended a local festival. We have been anchored off the beach in front of the Hyatt Resort at Kuantan for four days. It is a very rolly anchorage and so have had to use both of our "flopper stoppers" - they work a treat. We have a rally "high tea" here tonight and will head out to the islands in the morning.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Desaru, Pulau Aur and Tioman

We are in the Tioman group of islands on the east side of the Malaysia Penninsula and will be in this area before heading north for the next nine days. Very good diving and snorkelling. I (Chris) have certainly put to good use Steve and Marion Collis gift of a coral viewer -- not sure of the name but you don't have to get wet to view the coral and all the fish within. Magnificant!

Singapore Straits

Johor Straits

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Night market at Gelang Patah

Gala Dinner - Danga Bay, Johor, Malaysia

Our hosts, the state of Johor, were extremely generous when it came to the Gala Dinner. We had food fit for a King, plenty of refreshments including beer and a live band and singers that made your feet tap involuntarily. The traditional dancers were sensational and joined all the rally participants toward the end of the evening - dancing to the sounds of Santana!! What a fabulous night. Next stop will be Deseru where we will be anchored off a resort on the East Coast of Malaysia. We leave here on the 28th May and should be there on the 30th May, after heading south and rounding Singapore.

The Republic of Singapore

Singapore is one place you can feel entirely safe walking alone on the streets. It is very clean and very, very organised. It is certainly not the "cheap" shopping mecca of years ago but it is wonderful to visit for a more "western" feel. However -- shoes and handbags are always on the agenda when in Singapore. Not to disappoint anyone -- two pairs of shoes were purchased this trip!! Sorry, no photos of the shoes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Malacca, Malaysia

We were here three years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it then and Melaka did not disappoint us this time. It is rich in history from the Chinese, Portugese, Dutch, British and Japanese and the old town of Melaka is a world heritage site. One could easily spend a couple of weeks here. Hope you enjoy some of the photos. Next port of call will be Danga Bay, Johor, Malaysia just over the border from Singapore. We should arrive there Friday, 21 May 2010.
Melaka, Malaysia

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lumut to Port Dickson, Malaysia

The trip from Lumut to Port Dickson was wonderful. The first three nights we stayed in a delightful anchorage on the southern tip of Pangkor Island with “Truest Passion” (AUS), “Sea Bunny” (GBR), “Out of the Bag” (AUS), “Devon Gypsy” (AUS), “BeenAlong” (AUS), “Fast Forward” (RSA), “Reflections” (GBR), “Wave Runner” (NZ), “This Way Up” (AUS), “Cool Bananas” (NZ). The smaller island just south of the anchorage has a very exclusive resort where Pavarotti chose to stay for his holidays.

Next stop was behind two extremely small islands called Pulau (this means island in Malay) Angsa along with local fishermen. Unfortunately we were anchored down wind of them – and OH – let me describe the smell.

First light next morning on to Port Dickson wherein we encountered a bit of “bad management”. Ian had his route plotted, however, decided to follow “Truest Passion”. Rule number one – never, ever follow someone else especially when they are a Catamaran!! China Grove was high and dry for four hours, through a storm including lightning and thunder (surprise, surprise – it is near Port Klang after all!!!) First mate Chris got so frightened when China Grove groaned and laid on her side – she jumped ship and spent an hour or so sitting in the dinghy!! No damage was done (except to Ian’s ego)!

We are now happily in the marina at Port Dickson.
Port Dickson Marina

The next rally function is on the 16th and 17th of May in Malacca. Ian and I will take a taxi from here and spend two nights in a hotel (Hotel Puri) as the marina at Malacca is in very shallow water – don’t want to be high and dry again anytime soon!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lumut, Malaysia

Lumut, Malaysia
This was the first "official" stop in our rally. The marina is built on a man made island between the mainland at Lumut and Pangkor Island and is not complete at this time. There is no electricity, water, nor cleats to tie up to as yet. Once the facility is complete, they will be able to haul boats out of the water and will also have a fuel dock. The whole island is quite indescribable -- way "over the top". James is the manager and is one of the most helpful people we have come across. He organised fuel for us. We had a wonderful dinner last night hosted by the owner of the island -- so much food and the beer seemed to flow endlessly. The owner also brought a truck full of the local fruit in season and insisted we all take some. We are now anchored in a bay in the south of Pangkor Island.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Hauling out at Rebak is extremely easy and mostly problem free. The hardstand is well maintained and the travel lift is wide and large enough to accommodate most boats.
We will be out of the water for just over a week. Ian and I stay in a hotel in Langkawi while all the work is being done by locals. Of course, it pays to be at the scene during the day to "supervise".

When we are back in the water we plan to fly down to Penang for a few days. Penang is the island where we had our honeymoon back in the dark ages of 1976. On May 2, 2010 we will embark on a journey with the East Malaysia rally from Langkawi and arriving in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in the first week of August 2010. Hopefully, we will be able to update our travels via this blog.