Monthly Archives: June 2015
We had stopped at Panang to visit the Wellness clinic at the private Loh Guan Lye hospital. There wasn’t any particular reason but as we are unable to visit the doctors in the UK it’s nice to be able to have a check up. The last ones we had were in Sydney. We’ve stopped in Panang several times on our way up and down the coast so we weren’t going into the old town but this is a previous photo.
Monday 8th June after leaving Camomile at anchor and taking the dinghy into the marina, we jumped into a taxi and headed down to the hospital to make an appointment. The receptionist was very helpful and produced leaflets for various options. We decided to go for the Executive Health screening package at MYR700 (£127) each adding on a mammogram for me and a few bits for Bill and full cancer marker tests for both of us bringing the total to MYR2066 (£375) and were offered appointments the following day – what service!
That evening a big storm crossed our path with simultaneous thunder and lightening right overhead. Oh no here we go again! Bill put all the computers in the Faraday cage that he’s made while I sat cowering; after last years strike I don’t like lightening any more.
The next morning, after fasting over night, we returned to the Loh Guan Lye and spent the morning having full blood tests, ECGs, chest x-rays, my mammogram, and ultrasounds of our upper abdomens. The staff couldn’t have been nicer, we were escorted to various departments of the hospital for the different procedures. The hospital was spotlessly clean and very busy considering there are 3 private hospitals in Panang. After lunch we were given appointments with one of the doctors who was also a cardiologist and had trained in the UK. All our results were back and neatly printed in a folder together with a dvd with our various xrays and tests we’d had. Amazing. I’m happy to say I was given a clean bill of health and so was Bill although the doctor advised him to wear a portable ECG machine for 24 hours to monitor the heart palpitations he’s been getting for the last few months.
Upon returning to the marina a berth had become free and we took Camomile into the marina for 3 nights. The first night we were joined by Chris and Lyn of Out of the Blue II. It was lovely to catch up with each others news. We had a nice meal together but the following day they left to head north.
Our berth was perfect for me – right in front of Starbucks! The next morning we went in for coffees and Bill had a double espresso because, typically, he hadn’t had any palpitations since having the monitor fitted. Sure enough the caffeine started them off and the monitor recorded them. We went back to the hospital in the afternoon to have the monitor removed and the reading assessed. The doctor felt they weren’t any thing to worry about thank fully and just gave Bill some advice on dealing with them.
There was a big mall down the road from the hospital so we went for a wander. It was huge with 8 stories in some sections. It would have taken all day to see it all but I found an M&S in there selling my favourite Percy Pigs!!! How lucky was that? Bill was looking at watches and decided it would have to be a Rolex! Maybe one of sons might treat him one day!!
Our third day in the marina was spent doing jobs such as laundry, shopping (Tesco was within walking distance) and cleaning the boat. I was just scrubbing the decks when I heard a familiar voice calling me over the fence. It was Stefan and Silva of Meditteraneo. It turned out they had rented an apartment in the marina complex. So another evening was spent catching up with news. Fortunately they knew of a really good Indian a short taxi ride away in the old quarter that had an authentic Tandoori oven. We enjoyed a delicious meal for 4 for MYR100 about £20 or £10 a couple, really good value.
Friday 12th we left Straitsquay on the high tide. We had had our 3 nights and needed to get going again. Tricky, Jane and little Millie on Ananda had left the day before and Bill and Caroline on Juffa, who were anchored outside the marina, were leaving at the same time as us. As we motored past this cruise liner in the cruise terminal the clouds were bubbling up behind it. Within an hour they were overhead and lashing us with rain. The visibility was down to less than 100 meters. Following Juffa towards the Panang bridge they called on the vhf to warn us there were fishing lines in the water. They were trying to weave in between them and we followed. I could see the floats in front of us but the two ends disappeared off into the distance. Bill took the decision to go over them. So with bated breath and the engine out of gear we floated over them. Luckily they didn’t follow us so we obviously hadn’t hooked it.
Within an hour or so the storm clouds past over us and the sky cleared. Panang island is only about 15 miles long but has 2 bridge crossings from the mainland. We passed under both of them but decided to stop for the night. If we carried on it would almost certainly mean a night sail and with the storms in this area that wasn’t an inviting prospect. There’s a saying ‘It’s better to be in an anchorage wishing you were at sea than at sea wishing you were in an anchorage’. We went back into the Jerejak anchorage for the night with a plan to leave at first light. Juffa stopped a bit further down too. The high tides at the present are dragging a lot of rubbish into the water. This strange object floated past us in the evening. I think it’s part of a tree.
Saturday 13th was a long day. We left at 7.00 and arrived at Pangkor island just before 8pm, apart from an hours sail in the morning we had motored all the way. We’d lost sight of Juffa during the day but our friends Terry and Alison on Panir from Rebak came up behind us and called on the vhf for a chat. Panir and Camomile anchored just north of Pangkor island at 04˚15.5N 100˚33.5E. As the south west monsoon season is upon us this should have been a good anchorage but on this one night only the wind decided to swing round to the north and blow into a storm. Bill was up half the night checking the anchor and Camomile was tossing in the waves but fortunately the anchor held firm. Winds of 30kts+ were blowing across the decks. By 3am Bill decided we couldn’t stay there so we got ready to move the boat, which wasn’t going to be easy. Just at that moment the heavens opened and the visibility was almost zero so we decided to wait until it stopped raining. I went back to bed and luckily the wind started to die down. Within an hour Bill came back to bed and said we would wait until first light to move. In the morning the storm clouds had gone and the skies cleared. We motored the short distance round the island to Pankor marina where our good friends Gary and Jackie on Inspiration Lady had been waiting for us. Our little group was growing.
Monday 1st June we were ready to leave – just. We folded up the cockpit cover. Bill put the last of his tools away and put his little work bench on the giveway table, it had served its purpose.
We went over to the office to pay our final bill and say our goodbyes to the office staff and have one last look at the Hard dock café. Quite a lot of the boats are unoccupied now as a lot of cruisers have headed home to avoid the southwest monsoon or headed south already. We needed to catch them up.
There were a few goodbyes left to say before our photo was taken on the aft deck and we left at 1pm.
Bill enjoying the view from the new dolphin seat he made. It felt good to be out in the beautiful blue sea again. The first part of our journey only took an hour as we headed to Tulaga on mainland Langkawi for fuel.
Our jerry cans were all empty and the main tank took 100 litres as well. It was quite nerve-racking coming alongside for the first time because of our beautifully painted topsides.
Within an hour we were off again on the 3½ hour journey to the main town of Kuah. Bill wanted to raise our beautiful new sail to check it out. Good job we did because as it has deeper reefs than the old one the reefing lines weren’t long enough. Big problem, new reefing lines were needed, more expense! Eventually the sail went up without the reefing lines attached and Bill could sit back on his superb seat under our lovely new bimini cover and enjoy his Christmas cigar that he had been saving for the occasion.
We arrived at Kuah at 18.30 in time for the most stunning sunset. This is what we’ve missed. We sat on the deck with our sundowners.
The next morning Phil from Lyttleton Sails came on board to look at our sail and confirmed that we needed new reefing lines. Fortunately he was able to give us some tips on where to get them from. After managing to land the bikes ashore Bill and I cycled up to Chin Ho trading to look at rope and do some supermarket shopping. The gears on my bike weren’t working properly and Bills tyres kept going down so we took them to the bike man again but this time he was unable to fix them. They’ll have to go back in their bags until someone comes out from the UK who can carry some bike parts for us. Any volunteers?
That evening wasn’t as good as the first one and in fact as we got back to the boat storm clouds were brewing. We started to lift the dinghy onto the davits before the clouds burst but one of the wires broke – another problem; would we ever get away from here?
Wednesday 3rd I gave Chris and Keith ex of Poco Andante a call in their apartment in Kuah and luckily they came to our rescue driving us around for the day so Bill could buy his rope. We all had lunch together before they took us to a duty free shop they knew to top up our alcohol stores. That evening we joined them again along with many other cruisers including Lorraine and Graham of Lorrigray for the cruisers mid week get together. All enjoyed a wonderful evening. (Forgot my camera.)
Thursday 4th I walked through the park to the ferry port to check us out of Langkawi and get our port clearance for Puteri 400 miles south. There just happens to be a Starbucks there so I finally got my cappuccino I had been looking forward to. The giant eagle is a symbol of Langkawi, there are many eagles in the area. After lunch and a final wine shop we headed back to Camomile.
Bill spent all of the morning of the 5th June trying to replace the davit wire. It proved to be quite difficult but he managed it in the end. The anchor came up just after 1pm and finally it was goodbye to Kuah until the end of the year. We didn’t go far and anchored at Pulau Besar just 2 hours away. Sundowners on the deck again.
Bill wanted to get the new reefing lines in before we headed south so Saturday 6th he spent quite a bit of the day rerunning them in and out of the boom while I sat writing. Once he’d finished we raised the sail to check all was ok and thankfully, with a few minor adjustments, everything was fine.
Sunday 7th we finally left Langkawi. I was beginning to think we wouldn’t ever get away. Camomile motored through this gap and headed south for 60 miles. After all the playing with the main before we left there wasn’t any wind and we only managed to sail one hour of the 12 hour passage.
As we are now in the south west monsoon season there are a lot of storms around. We watched this one approach with trepidation. It’s also possible to see them on the radar and we were able to skirt round some of it but it still hit us with torrential rain and strong winds.
There were also a lot of these guys dotted along our path. No they aren’t pirates just fishermen but they set these fish traps. Not sure how they work but we always steer well clear of them. They are everywhere.
Most of them have a fishing boat next to them but some don’t and as they aren’t lit travelling in these waters at night is very dangerous.
Finally we reached Panang just as the sun was going down. We planned to stay there a few days.