The famed Melaka Straights

The famed Malacca Straights

We left Singapore early on a rainy morning, weaved through the maze of massive anchored ships and rounded the corner to enter the Straights of Melaka. This is one of the busiest shipping routes on the planet and holds centuries of history.

We are told there is a “safe” area between the shipping lanes to the left and the fishing grounds towards shore. The ships stay in the lanes and the fishing nets are all inside the ten meter of depth line, sounds easy. Oh but none was true, ships go where they please, often against the lane direction and often outside the boundary. Fishermen fish where they please usually very close to the shipping lanes. We got to weave amongst them and rarely went where we pleased! We were also told there was a favorable current again not the case so with one knot against us and a gauntlet of traffic we headed for Port Dickson.

We arrived late afternoon and entered the Admiral Marina. I was expecting something a bit more primitive as we saw magnificent buildings and a modern marina. This place is phenomenal, great restaurants, exotic swimming pool complete with pool boy distributing towels, and to top it off 24 hour uniformed security guys who open the gate for you with a salute! All this for about $18 a night!

We are pleased to meet some old friends here and spend a lot of time getting reacquainted. I give young Alex another guitar lesson and teach him, “Wild Thing” wondering if his folks will still love me, hahaha.

As we arrive on a weekend and there is a holiday on the Monday we have to wait till Tuesday to clear in with customs and immigration. Malaysia is one of the more relaxed countries on this but I still want to do things by the book. The crew wants to go to the historic town of Malacca with some of their friends but I was concerned that traveling that far before we are legally cleared could cause problems, they agreed and I agreed to stay another day so they could go.

the pilot house scene

It appears Jenny saw this as an affront to her independence and she left the boat the next day sighting her need to be independent as she traveled and to travel at a faster pace. This conflict has occurred before with veteran solo backpackers who travel alone and whose decisions only affect them. I am working on ways to clear this up with potential crew who are independent solo travelers. Again communication will circumvent most conflicts. I wish Jenny safe travels and great adventures.

After five days at Admiral Marina we headed north again. This is the transitional season weather wise. Huge thunderstorms and rain squalls are common and the humidity is almost 100. Some are really affected by the heat and humidity but all I have to do is read the weather back home and a little sweltering looks good to me! The current changes as we enter the wider part of the straights and we are now picking up a knot, yippee.

We get to the shipping port of Klang mid afternoon, earlier that anticipated. I was not expecting such a huge port, the shipping docks are massive and there are many. This is five times the size of the Port of Seattle and not the biggest one in Malaysia. We find the Royal Selengor Yacht Club and tie up to their courtesy float along with some of our Rally friends. Apparently the unusual rains have emptied the ditches of rubbish and landed it all in the river, total mess. There are fishing boats scooping up rubbish in nets all about but it is a losing battle.

We go to the club house for dinner and find great food including a real honest Hamburger and a Banana Split. I have grown fond of Asian food, but sometimes there is just nothing like a hamburger!

As the next leg is long we arise at three AM and head out the river through the shipping docks. AIS, Nobletec and a full moon make this transgression easy. The sun rises just as we leave the river system and back into the straights again with a good one knot push and sunshine. Pangkor is the next stop and the first Sail Malaysia Rally official destination. We look forward to the festivities.