The next two entries have titles I used early on the voyage in Mexico. They cover topics well worth repeating: food and friends.
Our next stop on the way to Indonesia is Pinang. History abounds in this colonial town – British, Indian and Chinese cultures mix here where centuries of influence become apparent. The architecture tells the story. Stark white colonial buildings surrounded by huge white pillars show the British history. The foot moving music and smell of incense let you know you are in Little India, where garment shops display ornate traditional Indian attire reminding me of the cover of Sargent Pepper. Chinese merchants hawk just about anything imaginable.
Mouthwatering food aside, there are practical reasons for stopping here. It is the home of all the Indonesian and Thai consulates. We make our pilgrimage to the little bit of Indo, as international consulates are actually extensions of the country they represent. We get our vitally important red-backed passport pictures, a unique requirement of this particular consulate and gather the needed documents, including the sponsorship letters from our Indo agent and start the ball rolling. It is a snap to do and our visas are ready the next day.
Another reason I like this stop is it has become home of one of my favorite past Furthur crew, Troy. Two years ago he left the boat here to start a career in the boat business. We stopped by last year to visit and this year we spent more time with Troy. He is now a bona fide bureaucrat working on several civic projects. He wines and dines with the government big wigs and manages a large crew. All a far cry from the Troy I met two years ago in Australia: I am quite proud of him.
We arrived at the entrance to Pangkor Marina a bit ahead of schedule and sufficient high tide so we anchored outside and took the dinghy ashore. This is not the best of stops, little to see or do, so finding my friends was the only reason to stop. Luckily that was no problem and we found Patamba on the hard in a state of chaos usual for a boat in a yard with many projects. Big Aussie smiles beamed down from the cockpit inviting us aboard, so we climbed the boarding ladder to meet Lorraine and Steve.
It turns out we hit at a good time. The Patamba crew was about to celebrate their wedding anniversary, eleven years. We picked the perfect moment to see this duo, still undeniably in love. Not a gooey kind of love, nor the dependent kind, but a solid kind with a side of Laurel and Hardy humor. Lorraine and Steve are what I call the quintessential Aussie couple: they ooze Oz. They became one of my favorite couples in the 2011 Sail to Indonesia Rally and we have stayed close ever since. The original Patamba was a crude, yellow, home-built steel 32’ Westsail type craft, with a “boy’s club” looking house, but she was hell for stout. That boat got them from Melbourne to Thailand and cemented their love of cruising. In Phuket last year they bought the new Patamba, a Celestrial 48 sailing yacht. I am familiar with this boat, as I sold one years ago and was impressed by it back then. This boat had suffered some neglect and is in need of work, but in the end they will have a great cruising boat.
So full of news and Aussie smiles, we left Pangkor on the rising tide and once again followed the big compass rose to SE to Indonesia.