ON THEIR RECENT EXPERIENCE CRUISING INDONESIA & THE SAIL MALAYSIA RALLY
The Sail Malaysia rally was a great adventure and something I’d recommend for all cruisers to try. The up side was that you make lots of new friends and end up cruising in small but changing groups. The down side was that at every anchorage where an official ceremony was organized, there were up to 80 other yachts all looking for the best spot in a limited space. Being a cat certainly gave us lots of advantage here but in this rally there were probably 20 other cats also looking for the best cat spots.
We thoroughly enjoyed the sail from Magnetic Island to Darwin which took about 6 weeks. From Lizard Island to Cape York was mostly 30 knots downwind and Keshi performed wonderfully. Our crossing of the Gulf of Carpentaria was done in 3 days with SE winds 15 to 25 knots and a mild swell. We were lucky with this weather as we heard plenty of stories about 40 knot and 4m swells from others along the way.
The top end of Oz is fantastic but we just did not have the time to stop and explore as much as we would have liked. We will definitely go back there again but with plenty of time to enjoy it all.
The rally start from Darwin was pretty awesome – 120 boats with 10-15 knots so lots of spinnakers and skippers pretending they weren’t racing but quietly tweeking like mad.
It was 4 days to Kupang and winds came & went so motors were used often. Keshi was the 19th boat to arrive in Kupang so were were quiet pleased with that.
The cruise through Indonesia was mostly without incident but upset tummys were common and a few cases of Malaria were diagnosed. The weather was sunny and light so lots of motoring with the occasional good days sailing. The Indonesian people were very welcoming and hospitable but the bureracrats were a pain with much form filling at every official stop. The worst thing was that there was no concept of rubbish disposal so it was EVERYWHERE.
Arriving in Singapore was quite an experience with all the shipping movement around. We made it without being run over but you really have to have eyes in the back of your head to keep on top of all the different types of boat going in all directions.
Singapore culture, food, cleanliness and efficient infastructure was a very welcome change from the monotonous Indonesian poverty, lack of hygene and no thought for the environment mentality.
We left Keshi in a Malaysian marina near Singapore and went back home for 6 months then came back in May this year and joined part of the Sail Malaysia rally cruising up the East coast of Malaysia. We caught up with lots of friends from Sail Indonesia so that was nice too.
Cruising in Malaysia has been much nicer than Indonesia as of course it is a much more advanced country so there are plenty of marinas, resort islands and lovely snorkeling spots and no one gets sick eating out.
We left the rally at Terengannu ( just south of Thailand) as they were going across to Borneo and Brunei and we wanted to go up into Thailand.
As I write, we are coming to the end of our stay in Thailand as our visas expire on Wednesday. We are back at Ko Samui having explored the islands as far north as Ko Tao. Lots of swimming, some fantastic dive spots, mostly eating ashore as it is so cheap and having nana naps pretty much describes our time here.
Next we will re-trace our path south to a marina at Tioman Island (about 150 miles north of Singapore on the east coast) where we will leave Keshi for about 3 months. Early next year we will return to sail up the west coast as far as Phuket then make our way back to Oz as the Cyclone season permits.
Next destination will be the Pacific for a few years.
The cruising life is certainly good fun with lots of adventures along the way.
Jack is developing about twice the rate of his peers and people are constantly amazed that he is only 3 1/2.
Lea & I love all parts of what we are doing but especially when we are just sailing to a new destination and the motors are off.