Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Malacca to Port Dickson -- a short day

24 August 2010 Tuesday
Berthed at Admiral Marina in Port Dickson
02.28.561N 101.50.685E
Distance sailed: 42.1 NM

We motored close by Malacca (Melaka) after leaving Pulau Besar this morning. No wonder the Chinese and Indians and Arabians all chose Malacca for their major shipping port 500 - 800 years ago. The shallow road stead around the river entrance at Malacca must have been perfect for them. We could envision the area filled with ships at anchor off-loading trade goods and filling with more precious cargo to return to their home countries. It is huge and the perfect depth for anchoring hundreds of the old ships. Today, however, we were dodging fishermen in tiny boats with nets strewn to small floating buoys flying flags. It kept us on our toes to first see a floating flag and then try to identify which little fishing boat went with that flag -- then try to see the line of tiny floating buoys connecting the two, so that I could know which way to alter course in order to avoid fouling their fishing nets. We have an excellent line cutter on our prop shaft, but that cuts only the leading edge of a fishing net. The rest of the net bundles around the prop blades and makes a huge mess. This requires Bill diving with a good knife to cut it away. Our diligent observance paid off today and we managed not to foul any fishing nets.

For future cruisers, take note that we anchored on the eastern side of Pulau Besar in about 5 meter depth, with the small rocky island on the right due north of our anchor spot. Holding was very good in mud. It was a little rolly but not at all uncomfortable. There was free wifi, although very slow. When we left this morning, we sailed around the western side of the island rather than going through the cut. On the western side there was a huge resort complex which apparently is empty or abandoned. The only activity we saw was one security guard. There was no wifi on the western or northern side of the island.

At 15:00 we arrived at out intended anchorage at Cape Rachado. But the slight breeze of well less than 10 kts had whipped up the sea enough that the anchorage did not meet our approval. We would have been rocking and rolling all night and there was no protection should an unexpected blow arrive. So we motored into nearby Admiral Marina near Port Dickson. The clerk in the marina office did not ask for our clearance from our previous port, so I decided to go with the "Don't Ask; Don't Tell" policy. We have not yet cleared back into Malaysia since our short visit to Singapore. We cleared our of Singapore with our next destination listed as Langkawi. In Malaysia you are supposed to clear in and out of each port. That can be such a hassle when the official offices are not located near the marinas. So until someone asks to see our clearance papers, we are going with the original plan of clearing in at Langkawi.

The pontoons of Admiral Marina have seen better days, and friends who were here last month already warned us that the showers are not great; but the swimming pool is very nice. We shower on our boat anyway, so the condition of the marina bathrooms does not matter to us. The nice swimming pool is much more important. Their rate for electricity is double what we paid at Puteri Harbour Marina. We probably will stay here 3 nights before moving on. No real plans at this point. Port Dickson is a popular stopping point for easy access to visit Kuala Lumpur. We have already been to KL twice, so doubt we will make another trip there; but who knows.

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