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)