Saturday, August 28, 2010

Port Klang to Pulau Pangkor near Lumut

28 August 2010 Saturday
04.12.538N 100.33.148E anchored at Pulau Pangkor near Lumut
Distance sailed 87 NM

Yesterday the anchor was up at 04:30 and we motored out of the very long channel at Port Klang. Really easy to maneuver in the dark in a large commercial port with properly lit navigational channel markers. It was a beautiful sunny day and we motored the entire distance to Pulau Pangkor, directly across the narrow channel from Lumut. We anchored in the small harbor on the southernmost tip of Pulau Pangkor behind the tiny island of Pulau Pangkor Laut, which I guess in Malaysian Bahassa means "little Pangkor island." On the tiny island there is a very nice and little used resort. On the nearby beaches of main Pangkor there are 2 more resorts of lesser quality appearance which show much more activity.

Java meets Venezuelan design fishing boat
When we first departed Port Klang and began to encounter fishing boats it was a relief to notice than none of them were using the drift nets buoyed to floating flags. It was much easier to avoid a boat than to avoid a boat attached to floating nets in random directions. The boats were very colorful and a different design than those seen farther south along the coast. These looked as if a Java boat and a Venezuelan boat had been furbling and produced a mutated combination of the two. Reminded me very much of the Venezuelan boats but with a brightly colored higher-prow Java influence. And they pretty much stayed out of our way, so life was good. This was our best day yet.

Totally calm glassy seas
The last 15 miles before this anchorage was heavily infested with these fishing boats, except these were using the buoyed drift nets and floating flags. The damn things were all over the place. Some of them had set up the floating flags and nets stretched for long distances with no visible buoys between the flags. It became impossible to tell which flags went together and know which way to turn to avoid running through a net. One guy had at least 6 flags all strung together with nets. The distance between each flag was longer than one might assume a net could be strung - and he had at least 6 of these all run together. Took us awhile to figure it all out and get around the whole mess. That one involved us making 2 circles before we got away from it. With no boat anywhere in sight! At least it is easier when there is a boat somewhat near one of these floating flags and you can sort of match them up and figure out which way to turn. When there is no visible boat but flags stretch as far as you can see in both directions, it is difficult to know which way to divert. Needless to say, Bill was more than a little annoyed and cursing all local fishermen by day's end. I did the driving and he was on the bow with binoculars. He was not a happy camper.

The last 10 miles to the anchorage we had not only the fishing nets to contend with but also a fairly strong adverse current. All day we had made good speed-over-ground. Every other day as we have progressed up this coast the tide has controlled the current. Rising tide put the current in our favor and descending tide put the current against us. That is really easy to remember as you sail up this coast. Tide going up and you are going up and you get the current boost. Tide going down and the current is going down the coast toward Singapore and will be against you. That little bit of information works everywhere along the western coast of Malaysia except when you are in a strait between an island and the mainland. In those straits, the currents run out on both ends of the strait as the tide rises. Anyway, we made very good time today because there was no adverse current until the final 10 miles from our destination. The currents are particularly strong around the Sembilan islands and rocks that one must pass en route to Lumut or Pulau Pangkor from the southeast. This was also the area where we encountered the heaviest fishing traffic.

A small part of the resort on Pulau Pangkor Luat
The wind also picked up and it was very pleasant when we arrived at Pulau Pangkor and dropped anchor. It was a very enjoyable night. We were anchored well away from shore and no bugs bothered us. Plus, we were receiving wifi signals from all 3 resorts. Then this morning we realized we were in the prohibited anchoring area which runs between the nice resort on the little island and the large resort on the main island. Luckily we had not dropped our anchor over the water line that also runs through this prohibited anchorage area. I don't know how both of us missed the chart markings for both the water line and the "no anchoring" when we arrived yesterday. Now that we were aware of what we had done, we did not feel comfortable staying there - even though no one had called us on the VHF radio and asked us to move. There were lots of small water taxis taking guests and staff to and fro from the 3 resorts. None of them had indicated that we should move. But we knew now that this particular place was off limits and we should move.

We pulled the anchor and moved over .3 mile to reset in shallower water.

And now flies are bothering us and the wifi no longer works.

The view from our cockpit.  Little water taxis back and forth all day
 Still the best place we have seen so far along the Malaysian coast and we are staying at least 1 more night.

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