We left One 15 Marina early on saturday 4th December hoping for a 4 day trip to Phuket. But almost as soon as we had received our documents by the fishing net from the immigration authorities a big storm started so the voyage started as it was to continue all the way to Ao Po marina in Phuket .This was definitely not champagne sailing rather stewing in some witches brew. Squalls never ceased, the NE monsoon never came , there was only a NW wind to hinder our passage.
We were trying to sail non stop afer the delay in Singapore but afer an unpleasant first night with ..yes a very wet and windy squall we anchored off the Port Klang estuary for a rest the following night 5th December. Refreshed after a good nights sleep we sailed on ,occasionally having a pleasant 2 or 3 hours sailing and by dawn on Tuesday morning 7th December we had reached the Sembilan Islands near Pilau Pangkor after another night of relatively successful squall dodging.
It is a wonderful feeling of anticipation when dawn arrives but this dawn brought with it a fierce NW gale creating a big sea quite quickly and making onward progress to the NW impossible.We had no choice but to seek shelter behind Pilau Rumbia along with many of the local fishing fleet and had to stay there until the following morning.
We set off on Wednesday morning towards Pinang and conditions were calmer but still a NW wind . We discovered that the new alternator we had got in Singapore was now no longer charging the batteries but luckily the generator was still functioning so we could continue .That night off the west coat of Pinang was black with squalls and dark eerie cloud formations so all quite exhausting and stressful until dawn which arrived with a total blanket of grey .We did a mixture of sailing and motoring towards Langkawi dealing with the adverse weather as best we could but really decided we had had enough of night sailing and soakings in the current weather conditions . We stopped for the next three nights anchoring off islands on the way to Phuket.
In good weather they would have been beauty spots but not for us this time .On what finally proved to be our last day which was already 2 days behind our schedule we started early hoping we would make it to Phuket and after 5 squalls on the way we were alongside in the Ao Po marina by 17.30 having had to wait outside for a gap in the weather to enter. All day the squalls had been appearing from the NW and in fact had dogged our journey all the way from start to finish . We now have to try and solve the charging problems we have had with the engine ,we both suspect the new ‘green’ wind charger we had installed before we left is interfering somehow .Our fuel ,water and provisions lasted for a journey which turned out to be double the expected length of time ,but it was rather closer than desirable for the fuel. Our calculation of an average speed of 6 knots per hour proved optimistic faced with a strong NW wind and many adverse tides .One (of many) lessons learnt always over provide for everything, and assume nothing .
Anyway we have made it and are still afloat !
Following your progress with interest from a cold and foggy Oxford
Delighted you have got there safely. Warmer here than it was but temp.still in single figures. Frost and snow will be back in the next few days.
If we do not exchange e-mails before- ‘have a very happy christmas’