Thursday, August 26, 2010

Port Dickson to Port Klang

26 August 2010 Thursday
03.01.88N 101.20.46E Anchored at Port Klang (a/k/a Port Kelang)
Distance sailed today: 55.8 NM

Yesterday was the first day with wind suitable for sailing since we left Singapore - and we were sitting in Admiral Marina near Port Dickson. Figures. We have done nothing but motor or motor-sail since leaving Darwin. That is well over 2,000 miles of motoring!!!! During that entire stretch of sea we have been able to sail only 2 days because there has been no wind. Since leaving Singapore we have twice briefly encountered wind strong enough to sail, and both times the wind was directly on our nose.

Others have told us that "it gets better the farther north you go." So far that has been true. The sail today from Port Dickson to Port Klang was the prettiest stretch of Malaysia coastline that we have seen. The water is becoming clearer each day. It is now like the waters around Australia, which we thought were cloudy and very unappealing when we were there. After seeing the waters in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, we now realize that the Australian waters were better than we realized. We just had been spoiled by the beautiful South Pacific and Caribbean before that. We are looking forward to clear waters around Langkawi and north to Phuket.

Today there were far fewer fishing boats with drift nets to navigate around. And we even saw 3 dolphin! Cannot remember when we last saw dolphin. Certainly not in Indonesia; so it must have been well over a year. We trailed a fishing line for several hours and received no nibbles.

But the fishermen were just fooling us. Indeed they were out fishing after all. Just not along the coastline. When we reached the third green buoy inside the strait that runs to Port Klang between the islands and the mainland then we found all the fishing boats. The idiots had staggered drift nets buoyed completely across the shipping channel for about half-mile! We had just passed a tugboat pulling a large barge and we were under full sail (with the motor running just in case a quick maneuver might be required) when I spotted the first nets. I threw the throttle forward and tried like hell to get well forward of the tugboat and barge so I could cut across the channel to avoid the fishing nets. The current was in our favor. I was concentrating on avoiding fishing nets, ships and barges and did not watch our boat speed; but at one point I looked down to see we were doing 10.5 knots. Thank goodness Bill had insisted on putting out the sails. Otherwise, we would not have been able to attain speed fast enough to avoid all the shipping traffic and the fishing nets. The tug and barge followed me and missed the first 2 strings of nets, but he plowed right over the next string of nets and all thereafter. A barge does not have the maneuverability of a little sailboat. Sorry for the loss of the poor fishermen's nets, but that is exactly what the idiots deserved. Of all places to string nets all the way across, this was the worst spot possible.

We had planned to anchor just north of Port Klang, but when we exited the channel on the north side the weather conditions were not appropriate for anchoring up that way. The weather forecast was for 3 knots wind from 102 degrees. Instead it was 17 knots from 270 degrees. That would put us anchored on a lee shore with no protection. So we backtracked a few miles into the channel again.

We are anchored across from the big shipping terminal area, behind a sand bar. The current switches with the tide all up this coast, and this channel is no different. The current is now running around 2 knots. The breeze behind the island is nice. We are far enough from shore that there should be no insects. This should be a comfortable night.

Our plan is to depart around 04:30 tomorrow morning because the next leg is about 90 miles and we would like to reach the next anchorage during daylight if possible.
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