Posted: 16th June 2012 – 11:16:33 AM AEST.
I know it’s been a while since we sent y’all a message (4 months for some… Sorry guys). Thanks for all your emails wondering “where the bloody hell are ya?” But be rest assured we have not been abducted and raped by pirates, got lost at sea, sunk etc. etc… We did however seem to almost have grown roots in the marina here at Danga Bay, Johor Bahru – hence the email.
WE ARE FINALLY MOVING ON!!! (I was beginning to think we would never leave…YAY!!).
The Malaysian people are great, the food amazing, the marina cheap and a great base for land travel. But it IS time to move on and we are actually starting to get really excited about it now there are only a few days left for us here. We have met quite a few yachties (and many of them Aussies) who we have developed friendships and shared a wealth of information with, but none that we could cruise with…the only ones we clicked with were both heading in opposite directions to us (one couple heading home to Australia (sunning it up at Redang Island last we heard), after spending 4 or so years in Malaysia/Thailand, the other couple heading across the big blue to South Africa – we wish them all safe journeys – and we WILL meet again).
As for us the big date is Saturday June 16th, where will finally venture out beyond the confines of the marina and meander or ‘mooch’ as we like to refer to it, up the west coast of Malaysia eventually making it to Rebak marina/island just off Langkawi Island on the Thai/Malay border for haul out on the 15th July.
We have booked the hardstand until the 15th August as we have a brief sojourn to Phuket from the 1st to the 11th August to catch up with our beloved mates Monty and Fi. Prior to that it will be pressure washing, scraping, sanding , taping, painting, changing out valves and all that wonderful stuff associated with haul out (always a joy – and NOT really what I envisioned doing for my 40th?? Antifouling?? WTF?? Something is very wrong with that!!)
Anyhoo …I suppose you are all wondering (yes I know you can’t wait for me to keep rabbiting on Doogs) what we have actually been doing the past 4 months??
Basically, we checked out of Indonesia at Batam Island on the 14th Feb and ran the gauntlet, crossing the Singapore straits and around to Johor Bahru (JB)…not something we would want to repeat on a daily basis! Maybe that is why we got stuck here so long…the thought of all those gigantic LNG tankers and needing eyes in the back, side and front of your head! But then we’ve heard the Malacca Straits is another eye popper as well…Bring it on!!
While in JB we have explored every nook and cranny and must know this section of the Lonely Planet guidebook off by heart. We’ve tried every local food imaginable from Marsala Vadai, all types of Laksa’s, Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Pisang Goreng, Otak-Otak and the list goes on (and on).
We’ve gone back and forward that many times to Singapore our passports are nearly full. We have used local taxis and buses; used buses to travel interstate to Melaka and Kuala Lumpur and taken advantage of the amazingly cheap flights in Asia to travel to the most expensive city in the world..Tokyo..where we spent 9 days, having an absolute ball while freezing our butts off! We managed to eat our way through the Tsjuki fish markets tasting everything on a stick we could find. We sat at a local market and watched the traditional Japanese guitar being played while the locals offered Cam a taste of the local dried fish and waited for the reaction…Priceless!! Not even the green tea will get that taste out of your mouth when it’s stuck in your teeth!! We tackled the sake bars (where Cam was mistakenly believed to be Kevin Costner – I kid you not, the waitress kept stroking my ’lovely blonde’ hair – it was a little bizarre), gorged ourselves on sushi trains, ordered steak through a vending machine, threw snowballs on Mt Fuji, wandered the Imperial Palace Gardens checking out the cherry blossoms, survived the subway system, rode the bullet train, visited temples, shrines and of course the Asahi Beer HQ!!
We met a gorgeous couple Abi and Helen, in Narita the day before flying back to JB who just happened to be heading in the same direction as us on their way home to NZ. Helen is a JB native with family still here, and she was lovely enough to take us about town taking us to the best Laksa restaurant, the best Banana fritters, and the best Cendol place and took us to our first Steamboat restaurant. She even took us out to Kukup a local fishing village where they farm fish for the HK market, where we went on a boat tour, lunch and walked through the stilt village.
Cam has also been on a fact finding mission with his good mate Murray to HK/China to a shipyard which Cam describes as looking like it belonged in the fifties, where they build luxury steel hulled boats (apparently very agricultural).
So all in all we have been managing to keep ourselves entertained and busy in amongst the fantastic visits from family and friends we have also had. I started writing this email a few days ago, so time has passed and tomorrow is the day of departure. The past few days we have restocked our supplies, and have scrubbed the boat from top to bottom (well not the gungy part underneath the waterline – the water here is NOT exactly swimmable!!)…
We are ready to go! So best wishes to all and we will stay in touch!
Nikki and Cam