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The Adventure ....

ships log

Monday 20th July 2009
Somewhere in the Malacca Straits, about 100 nm to go to Singapore!

Another 2 months gone by , but who's counting ? What have we been doing you may ask ? Well, we've been too busy to update the website - until today that is - we're currently motorsailing back down to Singapore (retracing our route of November last year). Motorsailing is where we have the sails up, but their contribution to progress is arguable , so we have the motor on driving us almost straight into the wind, and for the last 6 hours we also have current to contend with - if we didn't motor, we'd be going backwards. Such is the joy of sailing! We're just outside the designated shipping lane, where we hope not to get run over by a mega container ship (there is a constant line of traffic passing us). Closer inshore there are a multitude of Malaysian fish traps, nets strung across the channel and so on. Scary stuff. (which is why I'm down below doing the website and the trusty crew is upstairs on watch). Anyhow, to recap our happenings since last time, which went something like this -

The 'in-laws' came for a visit ! Gill's folks came to Phuket for a 2 week holiday from the UK. First week we hired a car and explored around Phuket Island, then for the second week we took them on the boat for a trip around one of our favourite areas - Phang Nga Bay. We'd been around before, so we knew a few places to go, but it was lovely to do it a second time - there's always something new to see. It has to be one of the most spectacular cruising grounds in the world. It was a bit crowded on the boat though, so a week was enough for everyone. The folks had a good and memorable time, and perhaps now have some understanding of our current lifestyle. Here's a couple of pics for the record.

Spectacular views throughout Phang Nga Bay

The next group of islands appears on the horizon

Exploring a 'new' beach

We anchored for the night outside this seafood restaurant

An enterprising Thai fisherman has built this shack
on an otherwise unihabited island

Anchoring amongst the islands gives good shelter and flat water

Possibly the last gathering of "the family "?

Buddhist temple in Penang

We had a final gathering of 'the family' ( our nickname for a group of 4 boats - 'El Misti', 'Crasara Cruzin' , 'Purnama' and Destiny'). We'd all come through Indonesia more or less together and had shared many experiences, sundowners, celebrations, comisserations together and become good friends - this was probably the last time we'd all be in the same anchorage together, and we were all about to head in different directions. We drank many toasts to " Good times, good memeories" and a whole lot more I don't quite remember!

Next on the agenda was leaving Thailand as our visas had almost expired, so after a final day around Phuket on hired motorbikes (cost A$4/day - very handy for getting last lot of fresh groceries, plus a chance to drive around for a last look at the beautiful viewpoints) and in company with our long time 'buddy boat' Purnama, we set sail for a leisurely trip down to Penang, Malaysia. This took about a week of delightful cruising, anchoring amongst the islands - some deserted and some more developed for tourists. Although technically we had cleared out of Thailand, the authorities don't mind boats island hopping down the coast for a week or so. It was during a stop at Phi Phi island that we came across a fire twirling show on the beach, and Brian has now decided this is what he want to do when he grows up - better get a fireproof suit first !

Thailand was a wonderful experience for us - the memories will last until we return again - friendly, graceful people, great food, spectacular temples, awesome scenery - a great country to visit, especially by boat.

Farewell to Thailand and the great kids........
... and 'anything goes' transport solutions!

Thailand working elephants were unforgettable
Fire twirlers after sunset at Phi Phi Island

Some great images of a fun evening - and possibly a new career for the captain ? (click here to view the fire dancing movie)

By popular demand - a couple more shots of the beautiful Patong 'ladyboys' - ( yes, these are, or were, all guys !)

The first stop in Malaysia was Langkawi for formal check in, and where we hired a car for 're-provisioning' Langkawi style. Which means the chance to load up as much duty free beer as we can carry, also collected our chart plotter whch had been back to Australia for repairs after being struck by lightning. Did I forget to mention we got hit by lightning? Sorry, it was a month or 2 back - we were ashore at the time, watching the Malaysian GP on a big screen TV at a pub with a big crowd of rowdy yachties, all getting a bit squiffy on ridiculously low priced 'happy hour' beer, when an almighty tropical storm hit. Nothing much you could do except have another round and wait it out as the heavens opened and the thunder made the place shake. In the sober light of day we discovered our chart plotter didn't want to play anymore. Without it, we have even less chance of knowing where we are, so it got sent back to Aus for a repair. (S.V. 'Seventh Heaven' kindly lent us a spare one in the meantime - thanks guys). The only other problem was discovered some weeks later when we ran out of diesel despite the engine hourmeter saying we should have plenty of fuel - a closer look revealed the hourmeter was fried to a crisp. Very strange, and we considered ourselves very fortunate that we didn't loose more gear in the lightning strike, particularly as we have a bunch of electronic stuff at the top of the mast - VHF radio, wind meters and so on - all survived OK. The American boat anchored next us, 'OZ' ( as in 'Wizard of..') took a direct hit and eye witness report was that was like a firework display as the top of the mast exploded - we think we got off very lightly !

Then on to to Penang, where we checked in to the Tanjong City Marina. A unique place this, as it's right in the heart of old Georgetown, and a short stroll away from 'little India' and a million other really good, really cheap eating places. Downside of the marina is that it's right next to the cross channel to Butterworth ferry, which causes a lot of swell and discomfort. We had a birthday 'splurge' at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel for Brian, then sadly said a final farewell to our good friends Neil & Maree from Purnama who are heading back to Australia. They were great company and we did a lot of miles together - cheers guys, look forward to seeing you again somewhere.

We need a bigger hire car !
Tanjong City Marina in the heart iof Georgetown - Penang

The daily tide of rubbish that flows through Penang Marina,
on different days there's been a dead body, an oil slick
and a naked chick skinnydipping in the harbour - go figure!
A turban shop in Penang makes a colourful pic (nearly bought one!)

Another of our favourites - tandori oven chicken and roti,
great food in 'Little India', Penang
Some more of Penangs' delightful heritage buildings look set to crumple

Some Chinese temples in and around Penang

An interesting view from a chinese temple in the hills behind Penang
We enjoyed some tranquility in the Penang Botanic gardens

Old MacDonald had a new friend
Banana leaf curry - a popular and cheap lunch in 'Little India', Penang

While in Penang, we needed to get a few things fixed up - specifically, we bought a new laptop as our trusty Dell had given up again (did someone wear it out?) and Brian got a new smile, having some crown and bridge work done at very good prices (about 1/3 compared to Australia). Also had many visits to the skin doctor for zapping of sunspots etc etc. We wound up spending 6 weeks in Penang - the longest we've been in any 1 place since we can't remember! It was great though, we had a wonderful time, but now it's good to be back on the ocean again. We also took a side trip on the big silver bird and had a wonderful week in a different, very special country - but we'll hold that story for the next update!

Our plan now is to visit Singapore, then around to the East Coast of Malaysia (Tioman and other islands) before heading over to Borneo, then probably through the Philippines to Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomons, New Caledonia and then it all gets a bit fuzzy - also remember that plans change pretty often too!

Well, that's about it , cheers from Destiny III, keep well and, as is traditional, we leave you with a another sunset picture!

Very best regards

B & G.

PS - we took a fun movie clip (with sound) of the fire dancing on Phi Phi Island - for some it'll be a big file to download, so if you have a really good internet connection, or a lot of patience, here it is (black screen is the default, click PLAY to start the download)