Sailing Story - Fish Traps in Malacca Straight

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    Danga Bay to Pangkor Island

Heading back up the Johor Straight

    It was time to tackle the Malacca straights so we headed back up the Johor straight and anchored just before the bridge for the night.

    Once again we set off in our dinghy and explored the mangroves full of wildlife but no crocs! Early next morning we headed north to our first stop at a little island called Pulau Pisang (Banana Island).

We made reasonable time as the tides are big but unfortunately the longest time it would run north was at night and by all accounts advice from all quarters is to do only day hops through his area.

Many yachts go straight through but apart from missing everything along the way, they have to make for the shipping lanes to once again avoid traps etc.
    Apparently this year one boat hit a fishing boat and sunk it! And many caught nets and of course a few were struck by lightning which is ferocious in these parts but spectacular to watch!

    Whilst ambling along we noticed a yacht heading south which looked familiar so we called them up and it was old friends of ours on SOJO, who we had first met in Tassie so with a fair bit of coercing, we convinced them to turn around and join us.

    The waters were still murky but this island was sweet with lots of trees, birds etc and we were able to swim again.

Next morning was off to Pulau Besar which proved to be a very long day. We left before daylight just ahead of a storm and averaged about 2 knots. At one stage we were only doing one and our intended destination was still 8nm away but we made it eventually.

Others had the same experience as us and we checked tides in cruising guides etc but they are very difficult to work out up here.
    The next stop was much more rewarding. It was a little bay just south of Port Dickson marina with a few shallow spots to avoid and tended to be a bit rolly but we were greeted by a pod of pink/grey dolphins called “Indo-pacific humpbacks” and they stayed around the boat for ages, even when we dived in! Quite a treat.

    In the back corner of the bay we found an old Chinese well. Locals told us later that it’s a special site guarded by a spirit which never allows the well to run dry. I think the spirit is one of those dolphins.

    The main area of beach is dotted with big lavish houses with big lavish fences all the way to the high tide mark. One house was fenced with cyclone fencing and as the locals were fishing off the beach, the owners were standing at their fence looking out. It’s funny how we all have our own sense of freedom or privilege; I know who I thought looked the silliest!
Port Dickson marina next, where we were to pick up our first lot of mail since leaving home. Wow! What a place!

In true Malaysian style it is huge and showy! The pool was out of this world and we decided to don our noodles and go for a dip!

For those who don't know, a noodle is a brightly coloured piece of foam designed for kids to play with but for us, they are the ultimate for relaxing whilst wallowing in nice clean, clear water.
    Our mail wasn’t there of course so we spent an extra night until it turned up.

    We taxied into the local markets but basically stayed put enjoying the pool and of course “hot” showers, our first in 4 months.

    Next day we made it about 1/2nm from the marina entrance when the motor overheated and found we had cracked our heat exchanger and as a result had blown off the exhaust!

    We got the sails up and miraculously with tide with us and a little wind, managed to sneak between two reefs to anchor further north at Port Dickson town.
Mike went ashore and met a fisherman who drove him all about town until they found someone to fix it.

We were quoted about $2000 Aus for a new one but due to the cleverness of a Chinese welder we had her back in and running the next day for about $20Aus.

No evident damage to our dear old Perkins motor except a little bit smokier.

On our way again "watching the temp gauge every 2 nanoseconds!"
    It was a pretty standard journey with tides strong and seemingly against us rather than with us and a few lightning storms and thousands of nets and traps and plastic bags etc to finally anchor just south of the entrance to Port Klang.

    Lots of ships here as this is a major port but only had to run the gauntlet once to cross their path and then anchored safely for the night.

    The next morning we had good timing to run in with the tide for a change!

The tides here are 5metres in height, something like Darwin, so very soon we were passing the huge port and on our way north.

We were rounding the corner to head out to sea when I noticed lots of yachts heading out from the marina. Guess what, we didn't know that this was the start of the Raja Muta race which we were now leading!

As our course was set, I the navigator decided to cut up a pumpkin for soup as the leaders passed we waved but I think they were confused, we still had our dinghy down!
    Mike was pleased because the last of the yachts didn't pass us until well into the night and when a storm hit us he laughed (proudly) as they rushed to get their sails down whereas Whimoway stretched her wings and enjoyed it.

    Pankor Island next and we loved it. Advice from a friend found us anchored in a lovely little bay with reef and white sandy beaches and an obscure Chinese temple with Disney-like characters on the hill above.

    It reminded me a little of beach towns in Victoria, Australia when I was young. The guesthouses though a few on the beach, are mainly set back behind the main drag which follow the coast.

    Lots of activity with tourists and locals, and lots of little food houses and cheap beachgear and trinkets for sale.

    We met a lovely man who gave Mike a portrait he'd drawn and Mike returned the gesture with a gift of a wooden knife of black-heart sassafras and he was pleased as unbeknown to us, his nickname was Black.

    Whilst wandering around the funny temple I met a backpacker who asked if I would take her photo and after a little chat, she boarded our vessel and sailed with us to Penang which is our next story.

    Sabrina has kept contact with us and returned this year and visited us in Satun, Thailand.

Map of Danga Bay and Pangkor Island