To Singapore and Beyond

As much as I loved hanging around Penang island, Malaysia, it was time to leave and head back south through the Malacca Straits down to Singapore. We had three months to enjoy Penang, but by the end of our stay it was getting ridiculously hot and humid. There's no a/c on the boat and sleeping at night was almost impossible. It did cross my mind to sleep in the marina's shower room. 

It makes sense now, why cruisers don't tend to hang around in the Malacca Straits around this time of year. 

That's ok, we find these things out as we go. 

The trip down to Singapore was -mostly-  uneventful. Lack of wind and loads of garbage seems to be the norm between Penang and Singapore. Exploring that island with the abandoned resort was fun though. 

I hardly sleep when we anchor for the night in the Malacca Straits. Apparently Malacca has taken the crown from Somalia and is now the new piracy Capital Of The World - GREAT! 

But I have been told there's nothing to worry about, because they are only after the big, slow tankers that carry oil. That doesn't stop me from popping up like a Meerkat all night long with any strange (or not so strange) sounds.

Pirates are after the ships and the ships are after us! The second worst way I've woken up since living on the boat - 
being blasted by a ship's horn (someone was up at the time), The Captain of this container ship (above) in the Singapore shipping lane wanted us to move but didn't radio to tell us his course. We ended up doing a 360 to the stern of the ship - because being chased down by a ship is not as fun as you'd think.

So I give Malacca Straits a five poop emoji rating. 💩💩💩💩💩

We made it to Singapore, picked up Skipper's mum 'Mazzie', then sailed/ motor sailed around the peninsular to 
the East Coast of Malaysia. We had a small-ish drama (again) as we traveled in the shipping lane...I steered bow first into some large oncoming waves created by a ship so we wouldn't be hit by the waves side on. The waves were
really sharp and steep and the 'sea' saw action catapulted the kids sailing dinghy, (the one they built) out of the inflatable dinghy into the shipping lane. Luckily, there was a break in the stream of ship traffic (especially since I was on the helm), and we circled several times to pluck the sailing dinghy and bits - the rudder and centreboard from the sea.

A couple of days later, we spotted Tioman Island through the mist. It felt like we were sailing to an island in prehistoric times. 

The water was so still and glassy we stopped and drifted a few nautical miles off Tioman to jump off the bow and have a swim. I'm still not 100% free from 'sharky terrors' even though I'd probably have a better chance of spotting a Plesiosaur than a real shark in these waters. 

Back in Australia, Brisbane I used to be quite terrified of sharks... we have an array of sharks that are well known to chew on people.

When we sailed north along the Queensland coast, around Cape York and across the Gulf to Darwin, the amount of large Salt Water Crocodiles I saw on that trip cured me of my fear of sharks... For a bit.

Not only can you NOT swim, but you're not guaranteed you're not going to get snatched while standing on the beach. Many people get eaten by Crocs every year. Just google 'The NT News' the newspaper that covers all things croc related and Local Bogan antics. 

But there are no crocs around here and hardly any sharks due to overfishing in South East Asia - so I have to think of something else to be afraid of...

...Rat Jaws!? 

As far as Mazzie was concerned, 'Rat-Jaws' does indeed exist! 

Meet Pie-Rat. We made him our boat pet after he crawled aboard when we arrived in Indonesia... 

Not really - we bought him at a pet shop in Darwin. He came with a 'Black Plague free' certificate and nut removal. 

Time to reelaaaax. I'm not saying my life is super stressful, but it can be hectic and tiring. Plus, the heat that we've had to live with for the last three months sucks the life out of you. And makes me cranky. Popping migraine medication like they're candy is probably not good for my liver either. 

So it was very blissful floating about Tioman Island for a while. 

Not always chillaxing - I still had cartoon and animation jobs to deliver, not a bad office though eh? 

Syd and Indi making the river crossing on a jungle walk to a waterfall. They insisted they try to cross on their own... it was entertaining to watch.

The waterfall at the end of jungle trek was a dream come true after walking uphill in humid jungle the whole way. 

Syd and Indi had fun sliding down the rocks.

I loved the sea - so clear and turquoise, I spent a lot of time in the water bobing about with hundreds of colourful fish.

It was nice to see a lot of fish for a change. There seemed to be a lot more tourist boats than fishing boats, so maybe they are safe from the dinner plate around the tourist islands. It was also a lot cleaner, not as much plastic in the sea or washed up on the beaches.

There were many beach fires... one of my MOST favourite things in the world. 

I could have stayed up there for a month, dazed by the mild weather, but we had to head back to Singapore to drop Mazzie off as she had to fly home. Plus, we had more visitors arriving - Mia, Steve and Savannah Tapsal from Brisbane, Australia. 

Pity their son Jack couldn't come, Indi would have enjoyed having another boy around, but Jack was at Space Camp in the U.S.

Squids reunion. Sydney and Indi were extremely excited to see Savannah, they have been friends since they were in nappies.

We took them to Lego Land then on a road trip to our second favourite city in Malaysia - the old section of Malacca city. 

Road rage at the Lego Land driving school.

We saw many massive monitor lizards swimming about in Malacca's canals. They're almost as big as Komodo Dragons. 

Plenty of beer, good food...and foot massages. We had a fantastic time. 

Next post: The untouched paradise that we just had to touch - The Amazing Anambas Islands (see map above). China wants it, find out why next time. 

Fair winds,

Sarah Steenland 

1 comment:

  1. I loooooove your missives and imagery. Thanks, SS.