Leaving was so hard, many dear friends, many lovely places, favourite restaurants, known haunts to hunt out supplies and parts; what a wrench, didn't realise how much we had grown to be part of Langkawi and vice versa. Anchor up in Telaga Anchorage on the 4th of March and a leisurely motor down to the 'Fjord' on the southern end of the Langkawi Islands. A quiet, lovely anchorage between sheer limestone cliffs 100 metres apart and 'bullet-proof' from all directions of weather. We spent two nights anchored up at the Fjord while getting used to the idea of cutting the umbilical. We also de-barnacled a very overgrown snubber that seemed to have increased to twice its girth with an infestation of barnacles in the preceding 2 weeks while anchored at Telaga.
Departed Langkawi at first light and motor sailed in light breeze towards Penang 60 nms to the south. We decided that we would cut the passage with an overnight stop at Pulau Bidan just 17nms north of Penang. Bidan used to be part of the RAAF's air weapon's range back in the 1980's and so we know the area quite well from our time working with the RAAF in Butterworth during those years. About 5 nms out from Bidan, Libby and I were watching sea bids diving for fish close by Aquarius when a whale surfaced very, very close to the boat. We so astonished at its sudden appearance that it took a moment or so the recognise the type of animal - in fact it was a small whale shark approx 5 metres in length. How fantastic to see such a creature in an area totally unexpected - what a lift it gave us.
Next morning on to Penang where we had secured a berth at the new marina 'Straits Quay Marina'. Very nice, very plush, yet so welcoming and very inexpensive. Easy to get into Georgetown to all our favourite haunts built up over many years of visits to Penang. We stayed a week and during that time caught up with many favourite eating spots like Red Garden, our favourite bar the 'Hong Kong Bar' in Chulia Street with the hosts Peter and Jenny, shopping for special foods at Cold Storage, and generally just enjoying our favourite cities in SE Asia.
Departed Penang for the southern extreme of P. Penang and anchored at P. Rimau just before a fierce thunderstorm bore down on us to bid us farewell from Penang. Left early next morning for Pangkor Island and arrived just before last light. Pangkor island is a nice peaceful spot to lay up for a few days but we were on a mission. We had boat parts to collect from a friend's boat in at the new Pangkor marina. Tried to anchor off the marina but with 15 kts of breeze and 3-4 knts of current and a very silty bottom that proved impossible. Eventually we relocated and took a very wet dinghy ride to collect the parts.
A short trip with very nice winds took us on a lovely sail to a small group of islands just 10 nms south of Pangkor. Then an overnighter through the shipping anchorage outside Port Klang to Port Dickson. Wow, how crowded was the ship anchorage - took us 2 hours to pass through it and somewhere in the order of 150 ships and some around 360 metres in length.
Port Dickson was our first stomping ground on arriving in Malaysia in 2006. We were looking forward to renewing acquaintances but the marina management has changed and so there were no familiar faces. Still, the new faces are very friendly ones and totally welcoming. We did a little shopping nearby and ha a lovely meal at the seafood restaurant that was our favourite on our previous visit.
An early morning departure saw us headed for Water Islands off Melacca. Again we have anchored here before and so knew our way into the best anchorage. Next morning we again departed early as we wanted to get to Danga Bay as quickly as we could in order to see our friends Jim and Kay on the catamaran Bach and Byte before they left to fly to Europe. Our day saw us achieve some good miles and we anchored before last light in the entrance to the Johor Straits that separate mainland Malaysia and Singapore. However, to reach our anchorage we had to transit the western shipping anchorage for Singapore. At one time our AIS (automated identification system) showed 200 targets of shipping. Mind boggling. From that anchorage our transit through the Johor Straits to Danga Bay was very easy and not challenging. So here we are, berthed at Danga Bay, awaiting the delivery of a hydravane self steering for the boat, and flying back to Oz tomorrow for 2 months before setting sail again. On our return in early June we have decided to stop in Singapore for a week or so to haul the boat and to fit a new through hull fitting to support the new watermaker. We will also finish provisioning the boat before heading to Indonesia.