Wednesday, November 5, 2008

27 October 2008

27 October 2008

Port Dickson Malaysia
Lat 02 28.75N; Long 101 50.40E

We thought it would only take us a week to get to Langkawi, but here we are at Port Dickson, less than halfway! Unfortunately it's not because we've been lounging around on beautiful tropical isles, but because the wind and weather have been a bit contrary. The winds are supposed to be from the south-west at this time of year, pushing us along from behind, but instead they've been hard on the nose, forcing us to tack back and forth, and to use the engine most of the time to get anywhere. As well we've had a few thunderstorms to contend with but nothing too scary.

Pisang Island, a tiny lump of rock and trees with a lighthouse on top, was our first stop, and the rolliest anchorage we've experienced. After a very uncomfortable night, we set out early next morning into stronger head winds and rougher seas, and after 9 hours of motoring, and not getting very far, we gave up and followed Lothlorien back to Pisang, this time sailing at a smart 7 knots with the wind now behind us.  We reached the island about 10 pm and dropped the sails to motor in, and after half an hour the overheating alarm went off. I always wondered what it might be like to anchor without the engine to manouevre the boat around... but I didn't expect to have to try it in the dark, with a strong wind behind us! 

It took us about 6 hours the next morning to fix the problem - a broken belt which required Lex to take off all the other belts and remove the alternator, and then replace it four or five times before it was all sorted. The sea was no calmer and the boat was lurching around the whole time. While I was holding torches and passing spanners, I was reflecting on how I used to think working on engines in the bush was hard, all that kneeling and lying on burning sand under trucks and bullcatchers, getting hot and dirty. You might have been sweating and covered in grease and grit lying under a truck, but you didn't get sea-sick. And there was more room to work in. Marine engine rooms were obviously designed in the days of child labour, given the amount of space there is for large hands to move. And ours is a good one!

Lothlorien has been having problems with their anchor winch so decided to turn back for Singapore, while we headed north again. This time we had a great run up the coast, overnighting to Port Dickson, and sailing the entire way although with the engine on as well. 

Port Dickson has a lovely sheltered marina, with an old, once grand clubhouse/resort. The town is a few miles from the marina, spread out with no obvious centre, and a mix of the shabby and run-down alongside some new developments. We were able to clear in through Immigration when we arrived on Saturday, (albeit going around the back of the office!) but Customs was closed until Tuesday. We had intended only staying a night to see how the weather was shaping up, but now have to wait till Tuesday to complete the paperwork. 

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