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Thursday, December 13, 2012

November 29 & 30, 2012 Leaving Penang and Encountering a New Twist

Goodbye lovely Straits Quay Marina. I shot over to TESCO for last minute fresh food shopping before we met Ally and Wayne for a farewell breakfast. We left the dock at close to mid-day when the tide was up, giving us better depth to clear the shoals and mud. Our journey was fairly uneventful other than navigating the typical drifting and speeding boat traffic. We arrived at a lovely little island called Songsong by early evening and were greeted by fishermen and goats on the beach. What an interesting combination for a welcome party! Even more intriguing was the fact that these fishermen were fly-fishing and using casting nets and waders, so unlike the typical Malay style. The goats were frolicking and bleating amongst the coconut palms on the sandy shore, while fish jumped all around us in the water.  The little bay was very calm giving us a pleasant rest for most of the night until the big bad storm hit, streaking the sky with lightening and sending tympanic booms through the atmosphere interrupting a really nice dream I was enjoying. We could hear the distressful chatter of a group of yachts anchored several miles away giving us the impression that someone or several of them must be dragging and having a rough time with the storm. We were very happy to be away from the crowd. Friday morning we awoke at 5:30, exhausted from interrupted slumber, and although it was very dark out we had to get going in order to arrive at the Rebak Marina in Langkawi before 3 PM. We felt pretty good about traveling with minimal light thinking that there won't be fishing nets about because we don't see the fishing boats around.  By 7 AM we were proved very wrong! Although we see no nets, Frank spotted yet another bizarre site: dozens of sticks or poles set in disarrayed groups all about us literally sticking up in every direction out of the water. What is this? We assume they have to do with the fishermen and are perhaps supporting some type of net. There is no rhyme or reason to the nests of sticks. No structure and no markings in the way of flags, bright colors or lights give hints either. Obstructions, in the manner of an obstacle course, are what we see although we suppose what THEY see is a means to make a living. Of course it could be that the groupings of sticks are marking dangerous uncharted underwater obstacles. Hmm. Something to ponder as we keep a sharp eye out for them and journey onward also dodging fishing trawlers and tugs pulling barges. Ahh, the joys of cruising Asia.

Approaching the island of Rebak, Frank asked me to go to the bow and watch for the entrance. There was no entrance that I could see, only an island filled with trees that rose upward. As we neared the waypoints for approach to the inlet it felt as though we were in a fantasy movie and at any moment all I had to do was to wave my magic boat hook and proclaim, "Abra Kadabra!" so that the island would open up to reveal her hidden marina within. As I was stretching and peering, however, a green channel marker appeared and then the slight outline of a rock jetty came into view. Within a few dozen more feet a narrow entrance revealed itself and we lined the boat up to delicately thread the needle through the middle of the small man-made channel. After a short "S" curve the narrow channel opened up to reveal a large beautiful marina. The first yacht we saw was "Scallywag", moored to the end of A-Dock. Big smiles played across our faces and we danced a little jig as we headed toward our berth that would be home for the next two weeks. We have now sailed all the way to the top of Malaysia.


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