Sunday, 21 July 2013

Cruising Buddies

Selecting dim sum at a local cafe in Penang
Mike and Sue Powell, good friends from Australia and long time cruisers, visited Crystal Blues in June.  They have sailed the Pacific for the past 17 plus years on SV Yaraandoo II, a well proven Naut 40. After meeting first in 1998 we shared many anchorages in Pittwater and along the Australian coast for the next 7 years.

We parted ways in 2005, us to Asia, Mike and Sue later on to circumnavigate the Pacific, via New Zealand, Hawaii, Canada, USA, Mexico and back to Australia.  Our love our Asia tempted them to fly over for a visit.
Showering on the back deck after under water cleaning

 After first visiting friends in Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Mike and Sue flew to Penang.  For 8 days we explored temples and feasted on local food from our base at Straits Quay Marina.  We also managed a road trip to the cooler Cameron Highlands on mainland Malaysia.  We left the marina for a couple of days to test the new Northern Lights genset under cruising conditions anchoring overnight behind Pulau Jerajak on the south east side of Penang Island - an excellent anchorage that is close to a major shopping mall.

During the day Mike gave Neil a hand by diving on the hull, giving it a clean whilst Neil used the hooka to clean the propeller.  Unfortunately the scraggy long tail "killer" jelly fish were swarming around the boat so the boat scrubbing was quickly curtailed.  Neil escaped, though Mike was not so lucky, with one long sting across his foot.  The joys of working on a boat in exotic locations.

Crystal Blues and crew are now in Puteri Harbour, Johor, Malaysia.  We're very close to Singapore, but missing the fine food and culture of Penang.

And for testing purposes only, here is a link from other cruising buddies Rolf & Irene in South Africa.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Penang To Johor Baru - Heading South

We departed Straits Quay Marina in Penang at 07.30 Sunday morning, motoring south through a sticky haze.

Day One - The Fishing God Speaks

Penang wasn't going to let us go easily though - after 2 hours of travel we pulled up with a fishing net caught on the skeg.  So into the water I went, once again the little Powerdive Hookah system earned its keep. Less than six inches of visibility, but I found the net had caught on the skeg, so the clearance was simple enough. 

By noon we had cleared the inshore nets and traps and were at 05deg 09.38 North and 100deg 12.84 East.  

We're testing the new Delorme inReach satellite communicator on this passage, so you should be able to track our movement by selecting the "Where Are We" tab at the top of this page, and clicking on the link provided.

Late afternoon the south westerly has "freshened" to 15 knots, despite a local forecast of 5 to 10 knots.  We plowed on (literally) through lumpy and confused seas, with a lot of water over the deck.  Beating to windward in the Malacca Straits is a very frustrating exercise - up to 2.5 knots of adverse current means that at times we seemed to be going backwards.   We settled in for a longer than usual trip.

Day Two - The Weather God Shouts ......

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Northern Lights - Reliable Onboard Power At Last

If you follow this blog you'll already know that early this year our Onan generator died, with a frustrating control board fault.   We decided to ditch it, as it was probably the most unreliable piece of kit onboard. A month later it had been removed, and sold.  Amazing.
We selected a Northern Lights unit to replace the Onan, though pricing in Thailand was steep.   Looking further afield we found we could save 15% by buying in Singapore, or even Australia.  Then we contacted the reseller in Taiwan and received an even better quotation, for delivery into Penang, Malaysia.  

So we sent the money, they shipped the generator.  We arranged for trans-shipping to Langkawi in Malaysia and craned it on board without any duty or tax. Brilliant.