After returning to Rebak from the Wedding, we spent some time re-provisioning while anchored near the town of Kuah. Kuah is a Chinese town and has many shops, but knowing who has what takes a lot of time to find out. If you know where to go you can get lamb, beef, cheese, pork and bacon!
17th May 2010. Finally, we were ready to leave and catch up with the Sail East Malaysia Rally which had left a week earlier. We had another quick stop south of Penang, a couple of days in Lumut for fuel and water, then a couple of overnighters to get to Puteri Harbour in Johor. Overnighters are not the best thing to do in the Malacca Straits because of the heavy traffic with shipping and tugs. Many of the tugs have either no or minimal lights.
24th May Our haste was rewarded by arriving in Puteri Harbour at 1pm, in time to get up to Danga bay for the official event marking the start of the rally.
After some rest and restocking we again chased the rally. We finally caught up with some of them at Palau Aur. Anchoring in the channel between the islands wasn't feasible because of the currents, but we managed to pick up a mooring. Around the corner, we anchored for a couple of days, but again, the anchoring was tricky.
We left P. Aur with Minke II, arriving at Juara Beach on the east coast of Tioman Island. Next morning we went and joined the rest of the fleet at Tekek on the west side. This is the centre of activity for Tioman, with a couple of small supermarkets, bakery, and duty-free stores. The anchorage is fairly deep, and with an onshore wind, not too comfortable.
The main rally activity was a Games afternoon at Genting Village, a few miles south of Tekek. Rather than have everyone up-anchor, it was decided that some of the big cats could ferry us down. Entertainment consisted a few dancers and singers, and a light lunch was served. Then ... Let the Games Begin!!
Some of the local villagers were competing against the might of the Rally fleet. Events favoured the home team though. They certainly had more experience in blowpipe shooting for instance, but our novices weren't disgraced. Other events included one person towing another on a palm frond for about 20m, then reversing the roles. Bowling consisted of coconuts and water bottles, and a peculiar race where people sat astride a length of coconut palm. Except they were facing each other in pairs. After going forward for about 20m, they then had to reverse direction.
The final event which we confidently expected to win was the tug'o'war - big beefy yachties against fairly skinny and lightweight locals. In the event we did win, but only just!
From Tioman we headed back to the East Coast to attend a local festival at Rompin. There were hundreds of stalls, with clothes, thongs, watches, sunglasses ... you name it, someone was selling it. Many food stalls as well of course.
Next stop up the coast was Kuantan, a fairly large city. The anchorage was off a resort but with onshore winds and shallow water, it made for a very bouncy, uncomfortable place to try and sleep. As a result, as soon as the on-shore meeting and free feed was over, many left towards Terrenganu.
We had decided that going that far north and then coming back to Kuching was a lot of miles. The main attraction of going north was to see the various dive sites. We don't dive, and the snorkelling we had done was not very noteworthy. So we moved up the river and anchored off the Water Police station. We spent some time here as Judy had some medical problems which needed visits to the Private Specialist Hospital.
From Kuantan we went back down the coast for one overnight stop, then went east back to Tioman Island. This time our friends on Dallandra managed to secure a spot in the Marina for us. It was much more convenient than anchoring off in 20m of water.
After a week or so, it was time to head further east, to Kuching, Sarawak for the Rainforest World Music Festival. This was a distance of about 300 NM so three days and nights. Around this time, there were reports of pirates operating out of the Anambas Islands, half-way between Tioman and Kuching. They were only attacking small commercial shipping, but the news was enough to make us take extra precautions regarding radio chatter and giving out positions. We were travelling in company with David and Juliet on Reflections. During this passage, the GPS milage ticked over to 25,000 NM in 10 years of ownership.
This wind was generally light, 0 - 15kts about as strong as we got, but of course, on the nose. So poor old Danny the Detroit was kept working nearly all the way to Santubong where we anchored.