05 November 2007

Huge News Update

Moored at Sabana Cove Marina
Sungai Santi River
State of Johor

Ahoy from Sabana Cove Marina, week 1.0.

Originally we thought that we would stay in Malaysia for 4 months, and then sail across the Indian Ocean to round the southern tip of Africa. We looked at our guidebooks and we discovered that we would have to stay in Malaysia for a year in order to catch the winds blowing in the right direction, and avoid Monsoon season in the Indian Ocean.

We are now planning on heading up the Malacca Straits to pick up Amy’s dad . He is flying in to Puket, Thailand in December, and will be crewing with us for 2 weeks. Then we are then leaving Thailand in January to cross the Indian Ocean and sail up the Red Sea, through the Suez Canal, to the Mediterranean Sea. There we hope to spend some time before crossing the Atlantic in fall of 2008. We will be doing this trip up the Red Sea along with friends from S/V Uterus and S/V Shiraz. Be sure to check out their sites under ‘Friends of Sandpiper’.

This was a major change of plans for us and we are pretty excited about what lays ahead. We will have to keep moving along to keep on schedule. So keep on checking on us to see how we are doing!

Since our arrival in Malaysia and Sabana Cove Marina ‘Team Sandpiper’ has been taking full advantage of marina living! It is really nice to be plugged into power, swim in the pool whenever we want, run a hose with drinkable water, surf the internet all day long, chat with friends and family back home via Skype on the internet, and go into town via the marina's shuttle vans. Sabana Cove is a resort that has a restaurant, bar, pool, gym, laundry services, golf course, archery range, and houses surrounding the marina that are part of the resort.

It is a bit of a strange place though. We are really in the middle of nowhere, 6 miles up a river, and far from the nearest town. There are not many people around the resort during the day. Except on weekends when people come over on the ferry from Singapore to get away for a few days. Most of the year this marina is mostly empty, with a few boats that live aboards year-round. But now the marina is totally full with boats that we traveled with in the Sail Indonesia Rally. It’s quite strange to walk down the dock since we know every boat as we pass by and everyone yells "Hello" as we walk by. It is kind of like we never came into foreign country.

Our friends on S/V Blue Sky with whom we have sailed with since the Marquesas in French Polynesia are tied on the other side of the pier from us. Just like we were back in Woolwich Marina in Sydney Australia. They are planning on spending a year in Malaysia with their kids and are going to here in Sabana Cove Marina for at least the next 3 months.

The resort also has a bar that Team Sandpiper appeared in last night. It is quite a strange bar, full of older white men whom we found out work down the road from the resort and building giant oil drilling platforms. Its quite a huge facility. They showed us pictures of the platforms and the huge cranes that they use to pick them up and place them on barges for transport around the world. We tried to scam a tour. But security is quite tight and could not get any takers to take us over there.

We did find out that most the Western workers all stay at the hotel here. Now it makes sense why this place is here, and why it is empty during the day. I think the resort was built to house western workers as part of a deal when the oil platform yard was built. This is why this resort is out in the middle of nowhere.

The best part of the bar are the 3 Malaysian girls in white go-go boots singing to all these white, male, oil workers.

We have made a couple of runs into town. The marina provides a van on Mondays and Thursdays for the cruisers here that need to get some shopping done. It is a bit of a painful procedure though, a lot like an outing at a senior center. Everyone wants to be first in the van. And when in town, they all want to be first back in the van. So you never know if you are going to be left behind.

Town here is 10 miles away and quite small. There is a chrome statue of a giant prawn (shrimp) in the town center that is quite exciting to see. We found a really great restaurant that has tanks of live lobsters outside and great giant shrimp.

Other than getting groceries in town, we have been trying to find parts for things that have broken while transiting through Indonesia. The first thing we needed was a water filter to filter the water from the spigot on the dock so we could drink the water that we were loading in Sandpiper's water tanks. We found a hardware store on the edge of town where the Chinese owner hooked us up with all the right fittings. I think he has sold quite a few of these in the last week with all the boats that had just arrived.

We also needed a new long propane lighter so we could light our oven with out burning our fingers. We asked the owned of one small hardware store if he had any. He came out with a lighter that looks like a small shotgun. When you pull the trigger, flames come out the barrel. Too cool!

Another part we needed to find was a replacement electric fuel pump for our generator. It has given us constant issues. We stopped a several automotive shops, but mostly they only fix motorcycles as this is the preferred mode of transportation in this part of the world. Just when we were about to give up we stopped at Berjaya Car Service Center where we met the owner, Eng Ching Fook, or Mr. Fook. He was convinced that he had one on his shelves that were piled high with automotive gear. We both dug around, not finding it. He promised me in broken English that he would find the part. From where? I have no idea. HE said that he would bring it down, that night, to the marina.

We were a bit skeptical and left him the old pump so he would have an idea of what we needed. Sure enough, that night he showed up in the lobby of the resort with a brand new electric fuel pump! He also told us that we could use it as a back up because he had also fixed our old one!

He had brought his wife and friends with him, so we invited him down to Sandpiper. He was very impressed with Sandpiper's engine room and crawled all around giving us a big thumbs up. You ever need an engine part in Malaysia, Mr. Fook is the man!

Another project is the chain locker. Back in Bali we had pulled the chain out of locker in order to repaint the length markings. They show us every 25ft of chain. When we looked down into the empty chain locker we noticed that there was over 30 years of old mud and dirt on the bottom. The chain locker is very narrow and has a small door at the top that you can just barely put your eye up to look in. It is so inaccessible that there is no way to reach down to get at the dirt, 4 feet below.

Since Bali we kept thinking of ways that we could get all this dirt out there. Jim, from S/V Blue Sky, totally hooked us up with a giant hole saw and a screw on fitting which took less than 15 minutes to install. (Be sure to check out Blue Sky's web site). I scooped out a trashbag full of mud and dirt. Now, with the new fitting, we can unscrew the cap and clean out the bottom of the chain locker whenever we want!

This was also made easy another project. Many boats here are taking advantage of galvanizing services. It is really cheap here. Since all the chain is out for the locker cleaning, we might as well. We all put our anchors and chains together for galvanizing. They should all look like new by next week, Or so we hope. Or else we will all be stuck here for some time.

The Sabana Cove Marina has WiFi. So we have been taking full advantage of it since we have not had unlimited WiFi since we were anchored in the very rolley anchorage in Niue. All the WiFi in the marinas in Australia were limited since they charged you by the amount of data that you would transmit and receive. So if we needed to send photos, or to work on our website, we would have to track down an internet café.

We have had the Internet hooked up since we arrived and it has been really nice. If you go to our photo and video links, we have gotten everything caught up.

Also using the Skype service as been really great since we have been able to talk to friends and family whom we have not talked to in a long time. I had a great conversation with Captain Chris, our good friend that just retired from the U.S. Coast Guard. He is sailing his Westsail32, the S/V Christa, down the east coast of the U.S. on his way to warmer latitudes. It was cool as we could both talk from our boats on opposite sides of the world for free! Make sure you stop by his site and say "Hello!" on his guest book.

We also had a great write up published in our yacht club back home in their online newsletter , ‘The ‘Porthole’. You can read it here. (Adobe Acrobat PDF reader required)

Team Sandpiper's current plans are to leave Sanbana Cove via the ferry tomorrow for 3 nights in Singapore to meet our friends from S/V Shiraz whom we have not seen in a long time, and celebrate Steve’s birthday. We have been sailing with S/V Shiraz since Bora Bora last year. And we will continue to travel with them for the next year. Their boat is in a marina further up the straits, 200 miles from here. They are flying back to the States for a month. Their flight stops for the night in Singapore and they are staying for the night between flights in order to have some Singapore Slings with us.

Team Sandpiper is then hopping on an airplane to fly up to Bangkok for 4 nights since flights are very inexpensive in Malaysia. Then, back to Sandpiper.

Tom and Amy

1 comment:

amy said...

you really should make shirts that say Mr FOOK is the MAN!

did you have any lobster???