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Monday, December 3, 2012

November 19, 2012 – Our Version of Pangkor, More Dreadful News and Another Wet Moped Ride

I say "our version", because we did not actually venture to Pangkor, rather we remained at the anchorage between the islands of Pulau Pangkor and Pangkor Laut where a few small tired-looking resorts, restaurants and shops are located. The marina is on the other side of this island on the mainland.  There is a bit of a swell in this anchorage but not uncomfortable enough to send us scurrying elsewhere.

Last night we enjoyed Happy Hour aboard Bicho, and the snacks were enough to suffice for dinner.

Today we casually went ashore, joining Bicho and Imagine for what we thought would be a day of discovery and adventure aboard mopeds. An Italian couple, Vivian and Giorgio from s/v Tamata had just gone to shore and offered to help us pull our ridiculously heavy dinghy up onto the beach and then joined us all for lunch. During lunch we were told that one of the rally yachts anchored in the Lumut River, just outside the Pangkor Marina, was hit by a barge at 5 AM this morning! I have not spoken to the owners of that yacht, but what we heard is that the tug pulling the barge either did not see the anchored yacht or that the river's current caused the barge to hit the bow of the yacht. Word is that the tug said he did not see the yacht because it was not well enough lit. As a result of this shocking tale, many of us have run out and gotten flashing lights to mount all about our yachts while at anchor. Further rumor indicates that the offending boat is going to pay the 6,000 Euros worth of repairs to the yacht.

After lunch the skies looked ominous to me and I mentioned to anyone who would listen that I didn't fancy another treacherous moped ride in a monsoon. No one else seemed bothered or perhaps they tire of listening to me whinge, as the men carried on negotiating a good price for the sad looking mopeds parked along the street. Alas they decided on a vendor, paid the funny little man with no voice and then each took a quick spin to make sure they had selected a bike that would at least stay together long enough to get us around the island. Typically, none of the bikes had any fuel in the tanks, so the first order of business would be to get to a petrol station right away. As Frank and I were getting onto our bike, the little man began waving furiously, motioning for us to switch to another bike, communicating with a series of tongue clicks. I kid you not he has no voice but how he figures we understand his clicks was beyond us. We have no idea why he had this sudden change of heart but followed his hand waving gestures and moved our gear over. The bike he had selected was a rust bucket, and the seat looked as though something had taken offense to it and had brutally punished it leaving very little cushion and a lot of gnarled vinyl cover.  As this was happening, the other three couple shot off down the road and out of our sight. Immediately an argument ensued between the two of us as Frank chose to turn left at the corner and I had pointed for us to continue straight ahead. We didn't bother pulling out the cell phone to call the others to ASK where they were. That would be much too simple – right?

After several kilometers we realized three very important things:  The others must have gone straight, we were definitely going to get wet, and there were no petrol stations around this part of the island. The rain came with a vengeance and the serpentine roads became very slick, winding upward into the forested hills. Poor Frank had no choice but to hear me groan and gripe about not having found the petrol station and about the possibility of running out of fuel in the middle of a tropical rainforest. Neither of us was having a lot of fun. We never did find the others. Although I was carrying my mobile phone there was absolutely no place for us to pull over in this driving rain and furthermore there was absolutely no shelter to be found. By the time we did find a small gas station we realized the fuel gauge was inoperable. This was actually a blessing because had the tank been as empty as we had feared then we would never have make it to the other side of the island where the fuel station was located. We put a couple of liters in and then set off to find our way back. Eventually the road entered a trash dump that was about as disgusting as an open septic tank! Then the road ended abruptly. HMMM. OK, we turn around here. We knew that somewhere there was a road that cut across the island and if we could find that road it would take us back to the anchorage. By now we were soaked to the bone and although we had finally located the main town we were done in. The others were long gone. WE slogged our way back to the moped rental, dropped of the bike and went in search of an ice cream. When the rain abated we made a mad dash for the dinghy, returning to Destiny before the next wave of storms hit. More lightening and frightful thunder filled the troposphere, sending shudders through us testing our nerves, but the storm passed during the night and we awoke to a beautiful calm morning. At 10:00 we weighed anchor, heading for Penang. This is where we split from the rally.

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