Sunday, July 27, 2014

Penang to Johor Bahru

Here are a few photos of Penang before we left.

Penang has lots of street art, art created on the sides of buildings and using junk and features available. The street art is keeping up with the times. Minions have appeared all over town.

Some of the Chews, hehehe. We anchored near the Chew Jetty, a village built over the water alongside the pier. Each clan built their own village, thus all the people on this one have the last name Chew. Celene kept my bicycle in her front room while Trinda was in the apartment recovering from the knee surgery.
Queenie Chew and of course Mr. T.

Celene and hubby Sao

In front of their house looking at the Katie Lee.

I'm sure I mentioned on Facebook that as we were coming around the bottom of Singpore we had engine trouble. We were just anchoring for the night by St. John's island when the engine made a terrible noise and quit moving the boat. I was not able to set the anchor properly. That is to put the anchor down, the boat in reverse and backup till the anchor catches something and the boat stops. We were in a well protected spot, so I was not too worried about the anchor dragging.

(I am officially giving notice that Trinda did help a lot during this adventure. It is just easier to type I than she, we, us, Trinda, etc.)

We were tired from watching the traffic all day. Once the AIS showed 536 other boats around us. Most were anchored though. But some were giant freighters moving as fast as 18 knots. We can only motor 6 knots. It wasn/t as bad as some people tell it though as I was able to read a few chapters in my book during the 8 hour trip.

Anyway, I re-started the engine a couple times listening to the noise from several different places and hoping to see the porp shaft turn agan. But no turning. I decided the most likely problem would be the damper drive plate that connects a diesel engine to the transmittion. It is there to reduce the vibration of the engine effecting the gears in the tranny. So It is not something I carry spare for.

The times before that I have pulled the tranny, it took severl hours. Singapore is a very expensive place for thiings like tow boats and labor. So calling for help was really out of the question. St. John's Isand Park is about 40 mile from the Senibong Marina where we had reservations in the next few days. We slept! Next morning, I started it one more time, just to make sure it wasn't a nightmare. HAHA, I wish! So I tied the dinghy to the side of the boat, with a couple fenders for a cushion. Flled it with gas, started it, put it in gear, set the motor straight and turned the throttle up to 3/4. Then I climbed back aboard and steered the boat normally. We got up to 2.4 knots! WOW! not as fast as I would like, but better than nothing.

The current runs as high as 6 knots around Singpore according to the charts. It depends on the phase of the moon, wind and time of day. The route I chose seemed to have only 2 to 3 knots of current. So for 6 hours each days it was going the right directon. We anchored the rest of the time. Most of the time we could make 3 to 4 knots according to the GPS, but occasionally I would get on the wrong side of the current. One spot we took 3 hours to go 2 miles. Singapore is expanding the only way it can. They build a sea wall then fill it in with sand dredged from ythe bottom outside the wall. One new wall was 2 miles further out than when I saw it 2 years ago. I couldn't see it because of all the anchored big ships and haze so I missed it. I could make only 0.9 knots turning back till I got around it.

The slow pace gave me plenty of time to calculate, measure and re-calcu;ate the amount of gas we had for the dinghy. Diesel doesn't work! We barely made it to Penelih the second day. It is the first land in Malasya coming from our direction. It has a small ferry terminal. I was able to find a local willing to take my 3 empty gass jugs to town (29 kiometers away) and bring them back full. He only charged double, but he did do it after dark and brought them out to the boat.

As we approached the marina I fiinally got the manager on the radio. I had sent an e-mal saying we were having engine trouble but were coming slowly. When we pulled into the marina I finally got him on the radio. After I explained the suituation, he changed the assigned slip to one easier to get into. We motored right in. Trinda steered the big boat and I got in the dinghy to help with the sharper turns and control the speed. The manager and am mthe dock hands couldn't believe we came in so easy. I didn't remind them that we had been practicing for the past 4 days, sorta any way.

In the marina with the dinghy still tied along side.

Finally here, we got a ride to the closest grocery/mall, dropped off the laundry, shopped and then celebrated with banana splits!
Trinda and her banana split.

Sunset after the banana splits!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Passports

Our passports are full. I have only about 6 places for stamps and Trinda has 10. Some countries will not let you enter if you do not have at least 4 pages (16 places for stamps). Our passports are good for another year and a half. But, it cost the same to get a new passport with 52 pages as it does to add 24 pages.

So we took the bus to Kuala Lumpour, to the US Embassy, and applied for new ones. You have to submit 2 photos, so these are the pictures we took to make the photos from.

It was a long trip. The nice folks on Chew Jetty insisted on picking us up from our boat so as not to leave the dinghy at the jetty while we were gone. Then we took the ferry to Butterworth, walked to the National bus terminal and bought tickets for KL. This started at 10pM. Bus left at 11:30PM. We were the last on the bus, so we had lousy seats.

Arrived tired in downtown KL a little after 4AM and hungry. There was a Kofe Shop or small restaurant there so we had breakfast of local coffee and roti canai (fluffy tortilla to dip in curry). By 6 a taxi driver talked us into a scenic ride to the embassy. It only took 20 minutes so we rested on the benches in front till 9AM.

By 10 we had finished the application and were told our passports would be ready July 3 and only one of us need come back to get them. We met an American living in KL who also was applyig for his new passport. He said "Come, I'll take you to the bus station." I naturally assumed he had a car. Notice how I put that? He said is was a short walk up the street, by McDonald's. So off we walked. When we finnaly got to McDonald's and turned into the subway station I asked him about the car. NO car! He intends to escort us to the bus via the subway. He had been living in KL more than 6 years, and I knew how to get around better than he!

We had planned to take the taxi back, cause it was only about 3 bucks. We wound up walking about 2 miles. Trinda's knee was starting to swell and she was grouchy by the time we found the right bus. Much better seats this time. The bus ids the size of a Greyhound, but only has 3 seats across, 1 on one side of the isle, 2 the other. But no toilet. About 5 hours later the bus stops at the wrong end of Penang island and announces the "end of the line"! I had argued a couple minutes with the ticket sales guy about where I wanted to go. He insisted this was the right bus. We had to get a taxi back to Chew Jetty, then a ride back out to the boat about 6PM.

A long 20 hours! RM35 for bus 330 kilometer to KL, RM15 taxi in KL, RM38 bus back, RM40 taxi 5 kilometer wrong bus terminal to Chew Jetty. Irritating, but at RM3=$1 not really much.

I got an e-mail in only 4 days saying our passports are in and ready to be picked up any time. I plan to wait until we get to Port Klang in a few days and take the bus from there to get the passports.

The actual passport photos were cropped from these.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bats in Ko Roi Hong

Ko Roi. The entrance to the hong is from the small beach near the center
We went SE from the top of Ko Thalu to Ko Roi. It is an island with a hong, a hole leached through the island from the top to sea level in the inside. These islands are a mixed limestone with some hard spots and soft spots. Often during the leaching process tunnels and passages are created too. Last year up year we went to James Bond Island.

This hong is so big that the bottom is now covered in mangroves and a few trees. Large bats have taken to roosting in the trees. They look similar to the fox bats from Samoa. They don't seem to mind a little light as at noon they are only shaded by the trees above them.

The photos are not very good, but the black spots are the bats hanging from the branches.

The black spots are the bats



More black spots


Greg and Grace in front of exit
Greg in entrance
The back wall inside the hong

Guess who
The Katie Lee over the dinghy





Cruising the Islands Near Phuket

We went to Phuket, to the bay Ao Chalong where we checked into the country. Then bought a few groceries and such. We rented a car to do most of the shopping. Then we left and headed north to the unique limestone islands in Pang Nga Bay. This was the furtherest north we went. Ko Thalu has a natural 'thru-the-mountian' cave. I went through and photographed the boat back from the far side.
Approaching the cave under Ko Thalu

Looking back at Katie Lee and Shanghai

Zoomed in some

Greg and Grace on Shanghai

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Trinda has Knee Replacement OP in Penang

While seeing the sites in Penang during Chinese New Year Trinda kept having trouble with her knee. Finally a friend talked her into having it checked. The doc immediately asked for an MRI. It showed the damage she had done back in the 70s in Judo practice was irreversible. So we scheduled a replacement the following Wed, Feb 12,2014.
The morning after the knee replacement
I was supposed to show this long ago. Now 6 weeks later, she is planning to visit the boat Saturday to see if she can manage the ladders.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Phuket Taxi Ride - You Couldn't Guess

We rented a taxi again and went for a little sight seeing. A really large Buddha on top of the mountain here. Yes, again that is our boat in the far distance in the bay. Haha.
Phuket is an island, barely, divided by not much more than a river width from the mainland.


The Big Buddha

Some really neat looking chairs

You ranchers might guess, YES I'm glad elephants don't fly!
Sorry about the pictures. The elephant driver is not in line for the greatest photographer, but he did try. I forgot my camera again. I thought we were only going shopping, but Trinda had other plans.


I remember reading stories about how uncomfortable the gait of an elephant is. I can confirm, after only a 30 minute ride, I was done!

You would never have guessed!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Langkawi Drive

We rented a van and drove all around the island of Langkawi yesterday. First stop was the cable car to the top of a mountain, but it was closed for 2 weeks for the off season yearly maintenance.
Terry and Greg. One of these guys is going the wrong way.
Then we drove to the top of a different mountain where the microwave towers are and had a view. The poor van just made it to the top. It was 'not new' and over heated a little on the way up. 
Sleepy Greg, me, Grace, April and Trinda on the lookout tower.

We had complementary tea that was quite good. It was local tea flavored with black pepper corns and maybe ginseng and mint.
Trinda and April relaxing after the strenuous elevator ride up.

The view was nice.
Looking southeast, The Katie Lee, Shanghai and Paktiya just left of center, in front of Kuah Town and below the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, where the wedding was.