october 2010: malaysia

Malaysia: Aceh to Langkawi


Aceh – Malacca Strait – Langkawi

The parasite makes…

bomb diving…

easy… but…

limbo hard.

Six things we have learned

1. Yachties can be categorised as-
(a) mono-hullers or multi-hullers
(b) rally goers or non-rally goers
(c) Rebak Marina fans or Rebak Marina detractors
We are multi-huller-non-rally-goer-Rebak-Marina-fans.
2. Langkawi is not the land of milk and honey: It is a secure, convenient and cheap place to leave your boat but if you want work done (any work that is, not only specialised projects), go elsewhere. Perhaps the absence of cheap labour wandering the docks is the reason boats allegedly age and wear more there than they do in say Thailand?
3. Couples who service winches together, stay together.
4. The yacht broker NOT to use if in the future we decide to sell Zinc: The said broker came to see our buddies’ boat. He brought along a dog that shat in four places and vomited on a cushion. He chain smoked rollys in the cockpit while he moaned about how busy he is and about how his last two business ventures failed. He left after 45 minutes without looking around our buddies’ boat. We threw out his card.
5. Jogging cures all parasite related ailments (e.g., swollen feet, cankles, headache, lethargy, sore back).
6. Acehenese fishing technique: Stand on deck of boat. Throw out net. Toss spears at fish caught in net. Level of success unconfirmed.

The parasite: 26 weeks.

The parasite: 29 weeks.

At the lake of the pregnant maiden.

One of the many hectic tourist spots in Langkawi.

Eight of the best bits

1. Cruisy check-in to Malaysia.
-Immigration: no worries.
-Customs: no worries.
-Harbour Master: “gone fishing” sign on the door… come back tomorrow.
No fees, charges or “souvenirs” extorted by any department.
2. The first mate is obsolete: The skipper installed a new screecher sheet that reaches to the cockpit. Sailing Zinc with all sails can now be easily managed by one.
3. Sightseeing at the Langkawi cable car (but see worst bit #4).
4. Hassle free haul out at Rebak Marina: Zinc is spick and span, ready to leave home alone in Langkawi while we return to Australia to do our best to convert the parasite into an able crew member.
5. The French visitors: For a few days we put our cleaning products and tools aside and explored Langkawi and its outer islands with the Frenches: small child mouse island, hole-in-the-wall, the fjord, toba island, the lake of the pregnant maiden. Fabulous.
6. Milestones.
-Zinc is dua.
-The first mate is tiga pulu tiga.
-Our marriage is tiga.
7. Cleaning out cupboards and lockers: The first mate loves this biannual task. Zinc is lean. Five tonnes.
8. Best item on board in October in the opinion of:
*The skipper – Leatherman. Multi-purpose tool.
*The first mate – Stand up paddle board. Bonga Perkins 10′ x 28″ x 3 3/4″. The perfect (only?) way to exercise on water when you have a (rapidly expanding) beach ball where your stomach used to be.

The French visitors…



Sailing around the outer islands.

Four of the worst bits

1. The Malacca Strait from Aceh to Langkawi: Trees. Rubbish. Palm fronds. Unidentifiable slabs of metal the size of small cars. Supertankers. Tiny unlit wooden fishing boats. Unmarked fishing buoys and nets. We ran into two massive logs and four small/medium sized logs. We cleared the propellers of debris twice. We had over two dozen near misses… that we are aware of…
2. The first mate fretted that something would go wrong on our last night at sea (for a while)…
That the storms would flip us. That the lightning would strike us. That one of us would fall overboard. That we would hit a massive log or other big unmarked thing and get a hole in the hull(s). Silly. We were fine.
3. The closest we have come to dying at sea: An inter-island ferry we travelled on almost flipped. The driver was fanging it 20 meters from a rocky lee shore side on to two to three meter chop. The vessel teetered on its port edge but righted itself. Not fun.
4. Sitting next to a civil engineer (i.e., the skipper) on the Langkawi cable car: He harped on about the (dubious) quality of construction of the infrastructure while we were suspended 100 meters from the ground, one quarter of the way up the mountain. Unproductive. Unsettling. Unhelpful.

The Langkawi cable car.

The concerned engineer.

The engineer did not like this bridge either.

Telaga Harbour Marina.

Nature report

*Storms. Ten. A rainy start to the month but clearing as the dry season filled in.
*Monkeys. Thousands.
*Monitor lizards. Hundreds.
*Otters. Two. Sunning themselves on a rock until a turkey tourist in a kayak scared them away.

Zinc on the sling.

Living on Zinc on the hard: sort of like camping.

Engine maintenance.

Pirate report


Sunrise at sea.

The skipper overcoming his fear of heights.

Rebak Marina.

Surf report

No surf. Though there was a wind chop wave that looked much better than the waves we have seen on the Gold Coast since we have been back.



Dive report

No diving. The visibility around Langkawi is ordinary at best.

Book report

The skipper read:

*Captain Scott : Ranulph Fiennes (4 stars) – Exploring the Antarctic seems difficult. I will pass on that adventure.
*Three other airport novels with forgettable titles, written by forgettable authors…

The first mate read:

*All the king’s men : Robert Penn Warren (3 stars) – Politics… bringing out the worst in good people.
*Kate remembered – Katharine Hepburn – a personal biography : A Scott Berg (3 stars) – I would like to have met Kate. A Scott Berg though seems a tool.
*The namesake : Jhumpa Lahiri (4 stars) – Lyrical. Very sweet.
*The quality of sprawl : Les Murray (1 star) – A red neck parading as an intellectual parading as a red neck.
*Immortality : Milan Kundera (0.5 stars) – I love (used to love?) MK. I could not finish this book… Me? The book?