Singapore to Langkawi November 2018

Andrew and Jila had arrived in Singapore to sail this last passage with us up the Malacca Staits to Langkawi where we planned to sell Baringo. We enjoyed a few days sightseeing in Singapore the highlight of which was the laser light show from the top of the Casino building, it felt like being in outer space so high and so many lights.

We left the bright lights on 18th November after the usual Western anchorage document hand over and we planned to repeat the first journey we had done in 2002 stopping in the same places. Our first impression was that the coast was much more built up and industrialised and this remained all the way up the coast to Langkawi, evidence indeed of the booming Malaysian economy we had read about. We anchored the first night at Pilau Pisang on the north side as there was a SW wind, a squall blew up but no lightning this time. Water Islands were next and we had a squall during the night again which never makes for a good sleep. Then to Admiral’s Marina, passing a now very industrialised coast through a plastic laden sea. The marina had not changed very much since our last visit in 2003 but there was a rally passing through so we had to content ourselves with a berth without electricity so we had to run the generator to have the air -conditioner. Check in at Port Dickson was much as before on our previous trip. We took a trip to Melaka by car which we had not done last time although we had been there with the children in 1984. Of course, there were many more tourists this this time but the elegant unusual pink Dutch buildings were still there.

While we did the check-out Andrew had perused the guide book during a rain storm and suggested we go to Royal Selangor Yacht Club and take a train to Kuala Lumpur to see the new Islamic museum there. We had only anchored off last time so this was something new and we went up the river delta to the Royal Selangor Yacht Club passing rows of dockside cranes belonging to a huge container port. The water in the  yacht club was so dirty, the water was scarcely visible underneath a thick layer of plastic and rubbish. The tide was running fast so getting alongside was not easy. However, we were rewarded the next day with the interesting train ride to Kuala Lumpur and the beautiful Islamic Museum. Not sorry to leave the Yacht Club we continued to Pilau Pangkor and this time had  to navigate a new lighted path into our old anchorage in the dark but we make it safely. Once again we all wanted to do the motor bike ride we had so enjoyed last time and luckily Pilau Pangkor was still pleasantly unchanged and unsophisticated but we did find a rather beautiful new mosque built out on stilts over the sea.

The wind had not been very favourable so far so we were not sailing as much as we had expected, the NE monsoon did not seem to be well established here yet. We needed an overnight passage to arrive in Penang in daylight and this was uneventful apart from the lightning and we decided on a dawn anchorage off the NW of the island and enjoyed a rather spectacular dawn and before going around to the marina. There had been no marinas here in 2003  so we were pleased to avoid the difficult anchoring we had experienced here before and just tie alongside a pontoon although the entry had to made through a dredged channel at high tide.  But despite these problems it made our stay in Penang much easier. We hired a car and visited the Penang Funicular railway up to the peak but it was very crowded so we then circumnavigated the island finding the temples and villages of interest with Andrew and Jila’s guide book. The evening storm came with a vengeance as we were driving over the hills by now looking for a  restaurant for supper. The guide book had a few recommendations of wonderful sea food meals in local villages but each one we found proved gloomy and empty, no sign of welcoming sea food eateries obvious. It was dark, raining and we were hungry but when we stopped for Andrew to top up his SIM card we were under a sign for Tiger beer outside a restaurant and by now desperate we went in and had not only several cold tigers but a superb meal including grilled whole fish, all very tasty, one of the best dinners we had but no thanks to the guide book!

Pilau Bunting was the next anchorage and this was rather curious; we were sure there would be a resort there but all we found was a deserted island with a very glossy bridge connecting it to the mainland the reason for which was not immediately obvious. We later discovered it had been built for a power station which had never happened. On 2nd December it was the final journey to Langkawi and into Rebak marina……. this was our last passage on Baringo. Andrew and Jila stayed in the marina resort and then kindly  organised the celebration of our safe arrival with Moet in the gazebo on the end of the breakwater at the resort over looking the sea.

Baringo was sold in March 2019 to Andrew and Kylie who will I hope take her on another adventure, after all that is what she loves.

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