Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pulau Goal to Pulau Tioman

I'm dragging my toes in the water. It's midmorning and already hot. The sun is climbing up to it's brutal spot directly overhead. I'm sitting on the shady leeward rail. The water is some color. It's greener than blue and bluer than green. Transparent. I though for a while how I would describe it to you. But didn't think of anything. When my toes touch the water it changes from it's blue tones to sparkling gold as it reflects the sunny sails above.

Honey, I think I want to live on a yacht in the tropics. No dear, remember you promised we'd get a condo in Kuala Lumpur. I just took the picture. I have no explanation. Her name is Asean Lady. Google her.

I arrive at the tiny Telok Tekek marina on Pulau Tioman. A friend who has been half expecting me, someday about now, waves me into a slip after evicting some local boat that had been parked there for a nap. The heat has exhausted me. I take my own nap until the sun goes away. This island is dramatically tall, wooded, tropical, filled with birds, butterflies. Maybe 7 miles across. 5000 Malaysians and a few tourists. Did I just see a barracuda chasing fish out of the water? My photos don't do her justice. Google Images and see for yourself.

150 miles from the Danga Bay mud. Four day of sailing and motoring. Anchored each night. No serious problems. Confirmed that the jib is trash. There's another jib I'll try next time. Three days until Chloe's 17th birthday. Said I'd be fly there.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Sail all day. Motor just a few minutes to tuck in close to a little island. Spent the entire day under a hot sun tacking against a strong current while slowly passing dozens of little islands. Here's a typical cockpit view. And here's a comment on your Spring Equinox. Up in the frozen north the Spring Equinox might be celebrated. Here it means the sun is directly overhead. The streets do not have a shady side. I cast nothing resembling a shadow. The decks get burning hot and the solar panels finally work as advertised. Clouds are wonderful shady things. I stop for a moment to test the swim ladder. Works perfect. Very refreshing.
Dinner turned out to be a rather yummy potatoes, greens and yellow curry.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

But just beyond Singapore...

Just beyond Singapore. In the South China Sea, along the eastern coast of Malaysia, things start looking much more peaceful. I can still see the petrochemical haze and distant ships in the sealanes, but the sky turns blue. The muddy shoal water gives way to deep clear water. Islands appear. Inviting tropical islands. A few dozen miles back the sweaty crowds are jamming themselves into the MRT trains. Here two tourists are standing on a lonely white beach. Captain orders to stop here for the night, toss over the anchor, prepare a pizza with mozzarella, salami, olives, and egg.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Just Sailing Around in Singapore Harbor

Ducking into the nav station on X to see if any ships might spring from behind the little island to my left, I snapped this picture of the MacBook screen. Where's Waldo? Each orange label points at a ship. The blue ones are moving, probably fast. The grey ones are not moving, but rather waiting for me to get right on their bow before they start. X and I are near the middle of the action. We have a green dot and are about to get passed very close by the OOS DISCOVERY, a smallish ship throwing a huge wake. This crowd of ships occupies 40 miles east to west across this southeastern tip of Asia.

A half hour earlier I was crossing the equally busy western part of the harbor when a powerful squall roared through. If I could hold my eyes open I could maybe have seen the bow. The rain was torrential. The reefed fold of the main drained rain water like storm drain. The old rule on reefing hold that one should reef the first time the idea arises. My new rule is to reef five minutes before that first idea. I had just gotten the jib rolled up and one reef in the main before we got pushed over hard by the first gust. I had been keeping my eye on several nearby ships which were now invisible. Big fun.