Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Arrived in Langkawi

On September 9 we motored from Penang a distance of about 25 miles to Pulau Songsong. Anchor was dropped at latitude 05.48.663N, longitude 100.17.955E. This is a great stopover point when en route to Langkawi. It was a pleasant evening and felt great to be at anchor again in nice surroundings. The next morning we headed off unsure of our destination. We wanted to stop at an anchorage cruisers call "Hole in the Wall" but we also needed to clear in with officials at Kuah. Kuah won. It didn't seem right to start anchoring out around Langkawi if we were not yet officially cleared in.
Langkawi arrival      
Kuah Town anchorage 

We arrived at the anchorage next to Kuah town about 15:30 on Friday, September 10 -- which just happened to be Hari Raya, the Muslim holiday celebration of the end of Ramadan. We dropped anchor at latitude 06.18.956N, latitude 99.50.590E after motoring 42 miles from Songsong (through a million or more fishing flags!!).

Our friends Bill and Amy on S/V Estrellita had arrived before us and had cleared in, so they knew exactly where to go for Immigration, Harbour Master and Customs. They met us in their dinghy as soon as we dropped our anchor and whisked us off to clear in. How nice!!! We would not have made it to the offices before closing time if we had to deal with lowering our own dinghy and engine. It was great to have friends take care of us so well! Bill led us straight to the Harbour Master's office -- where the only person working was an Indian lady. All the Muslims had taken the day off. Immigration apparently employed only Muslims because there was no one working in that office, even though the sign stated that Immigration is open 24/7. Customs took our clearance from Penang and waved us on our way. Then the 4 of us found a Starbucks and enjoyed iced coffee drinks. Almost like being in civilization again.

Entering anchorage at Kuah Town     
Saturday we ventured ashore with Bill and Amy to check out Kuah town but found that most of the businesses were still closed in celebration of Raya. Any shopping would have to wait until Monday. We returned to the boat to print out a map and list of local businesses that other friends had emailed. Big mistake. Really big mistake. REALLY BIG, BIG MISTAKE. One of the files included a Trojan Horse virus that promptly royally screwed our primary computer. Our virus software was able to remove some portions of the virus, but not all. The computer was toast. Then Bill pulled out our secondary computer and learned that it has developed a problem with the power supply. Next he pulled out one of our old laptops to use while he worked on removing the virus from the primary computer.

After 2 full days of work that finally resulted in reformatting the hard drive and reloading all programs, he then restored the latest data back-up. He is pretty diligent about backing up frequently. Unfortunately, that data back-up restoration did not work quite right. Everything from June 25 through September 10 was missing. All our photos of the grandkids over the summer and our trip to Thailand were gone. Also missing were lots of product information on various boat items that Bill had spent weeks researching. As well as many electronic chart tracks that we had accumulated from various sources. I'm sure there are other things missing that we haven't noticed yet.

I think we gave a DVD of the photos from the Thailand trip to our son when he visited us in early August. We should be able to get those back when we visit Houston in November. But all other photos taken over the summer and during our trip up the Malacca Strait are gone forever.

Speaking of the Malacca Strait, we are now finished with that particular section of geography. Technically, we exited the Malacca Strait when we arrived at the island of Penang. At that latitude, the designated shipping channels turn westward over the top of Sumatra; and we continued northwest.  We are now in the southeastern tip of the Andaman Sea, part of the Bay of Bengal, in the northern Indian Ocean.

On Monday we shared a taxi with Bill and Amy and visited the "warehouse" in Kuah. We bought only a few things -- 3 cases club soda, 6 toothpaste, 12 shower gel and 28 tubes of potato chips. They only had Carlsberg and Budweiser beer in stock. We bought 3 cases of Carlsberg in late July and it was horrible, and Budweiser is just so generic; so we skipped on the beer from the warehouse. But the Chinese wife of the business owner appreciates wine and she steered us toward several brands of wine to sample. We bought 7 bottles of various reds to taste test. After we decide which we like best, we will make another trip to the warehouse and buy several cases. Need to stock up to last well into the Med next year.

Our hand-drawn cruiser map calls this Disneyworld.  It is a hotel.

Later in the afternoon Bill and I took the dinghy back to the shopping mall at the ferry dock where we had cleared in the previous afternoon. There was a tiny shop these selling cigarettes, beer and liquor. Bill made a deal with the shop owner to have 15 cases of beer delivered to the dinghy dock. He bought Tiger beer, which he swears is infinitely superior to Carlsberg. It was also only 48 ringitt per case ($15.47 USD), which is less than the warehouse prices for Carlsberg or Budweiser. Later we made yet another trip to town and visited a supermarket where I found a few cases of Coca-Cola Light with expiration date of March 14, 2011.

Monday evening we joined Bill and Amy for drinks on S/V Estrellita. We drank too much wine. Had a fun evening with them. This morning they sailed off to Reback Marina. They will be hauling out next week and wanted to scope everything out and get prepared. We went to the Shell fuel barge and filled all 10 of our jerry jugs and our main tank. The diesel was very clean and well-priced at 2 ringitt per liter, which is only $2.45 USD per gallon. Bill scrubbed the deck while I manned the helm and motored 8.7 miles to our current anchorage at the "Hole in the Wall."
Can you see the narrow pass?  This is the first entry between some islands to reach the Hole in the Wall.

Actually, the Hole in the Wall anchorage looked too buggy to me so we continued on around southward a tiny bit and anchored at latitude 06.10.508N, longitude 99.47.116E. This spot is beautiful. Sorry we don't have internet so I cannot share a photo right now. When we were anchored off Kuah, tiny bugs would bite me at night resulting in large red welts, some of which are 6-inch in diameter and very swollen. I am hoping those particular bugs are not around this anchorage.

If tonight is bug-free then we might stay here a few days. If the bugs attack tonight, we might be heading straight to Rebak Marina tomorrow so we can enjoy air-conditioned bug-free sleep.

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