DREAMCATCHER - Asian Cruising

25 March 2020 | Thailand
17 March 2018 | Malaysia Thailand
24 March 2017 | Royal Langkawi Yacht Club
24 March 2017 | Kata Beach early 0730, before the onslaught!
21 May 2016
30 March 2016 | Boat Lagoon Marina, Phuket Thailand
13 February 2016 | Boat Lagoon, Phuket, Thailand
03 December 2015
10 June 2015 | Straits Quay Marina, Penang
22 February 2014 | Asia
25 October 2013 | Redang Island
25 October 2013 | Singapore
16 June 2013 | Singapore: Keppel Bay Marina
27 May 2013 | Singapore
07 January 2013 | Rockingham, Western Australia
27 November 2012 | Malacca Straits, November 2012
25 October 2012 | Phuket, Thailand
17 September 2012 | Malaysia - East Coast
29 May 2012 | The Malacca Straits

Cruising Langkawi

03 December 2015


Cruising around Langkawi – what a concept!! Each time we’ve been afloat in Malaysia’s lovely island state, we’ve been racing – Raja Muda’s and the Langkawi Regatta, so, focused on other boats, sheets, lines and the skipper’s orders. This time, however, we took the opportunity to cruise in company with our friends on Kokomo. We exited Straits Quay Marina in Penang (Dreamcatcher’s home since April) and motored 18 miles to drop anchor for the night in one of Malaysia’s coastal islands. We are governed by the tides from Penang and the 50-mile passage to Langkawi is best done only in daylight to avoid collision with the multiple unlit bamboo fish traps along the way. We still don’t know how those bamboo poles stand vertically in 25 meters of water! They seem to be mid-ocean moorings of up to 2 dozen bamboo poles with palm fronds attached, and are used by the smaller fishing boats as temporary moorings and net supports.

We rendezvoused with Kokomo at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club Marina for a few days of burgers, beers, provisioning and planning as well as catching up with good friends who live there. After a few days we motored a whole 4 miles around the corner and dropped anchor at a scenic spot despite the fish farm. Planned cocktails aboard Dreamcatcher were thwarted by a huge electrical storm complete with a serious tropical downpour, so we stayed alert and mopped up in the morning.

Sadly, we’d discovered our Furuno chart plotter had died so despite having the paper charts we felt it prudent to follow Kokomo through the winding, shallow spots between the islands. For those who haven’t visited Langkawi – it’s really worth it. A collection of 99 mountainous islands all thickly coated in tropical jungle and fringed with little beaches, offering a multitude of lovely anchorages. We headed to the “Hole in the Wall” – a narrow chasm in the NE between high towering cliffs above the Kilim River. A little too shallow and muddy for us at first glance, so we backed out and dropped the hook outside the mouth of the river. We later checked it out by dinghy and decided that we’d made the right decision. The Hole in the Wall has 3 or 4 floating fish restaurants along the west side of the river and a selection of mostly sad-looking vessels on fore & aft moorings following the contours of the cliffs. It offered little room to turn and what lay at the bottom – old fish traps and mooring lines – could offer up an unwanted surprise.

Julie & Mark joined us for beers after the dinghy trip and thereafter we spent a quiet evening on our respective boats.

We weighed anchor mid-morning and motored carefully along the NE shallow channel before popping out into deep water on the NE corner of the island. Our next planned anchorage was all of 8 miles away so we decided to drift sail to it – very pleasant. Would have loved more wind but with 6-8 knots of breeze we ghosted along at between 3 & 4 knots with just the headsail and mizzen. We’re too lazy to put the main up unless we’ve got a guaranteed 10+ knots of wind and a decent length passage in front of us (no in-mast furling here!!).

We dropped the hook alongside Kokomo in a very pretty anchorage. Two upmarket hotels (The Datai and The Andaman) respectfully occupy the beach, allowing their guests the use of kayaks and a hobie-cat – no jet ski’s thank goodness! We anchored there for 3 nights and checked out the hotel beach bars. GT kayaked around the anchorage for several hours – what a delightful spot. We had the regular afternoon thunderstorm – always spectacular, particularly in the aftermath, watching the plumes of mist rising from folds in the mountains.

Time to move on, so we motored around to Telaga Harbour on the NW, predominantly to get fuel and check out the shop and local restaurants. Both boats had been in here multiple times. Annoyingly there was a queue for the fuel dock which meant that we waited on short stay hook for several hours before being able to proceed in, only then to be told the credit card system was out of order and all fuel had to be paid for by cash. That cleaned us out! Both boats left with a mere sceric of cash as the ATM was also not working, neither were any credit facilities in the district. Nevertheless, undeterred, we found some more money and were able to dinghy in to a waterside restaurant that evening for a great Chinese dinner. We had to tally up the menu items we wanted before we could order, to make sure we had enough cash! A reminder of student days. A peaceful night at anchor lit by the bright green lights of the small squid boats had us back dockside the next morning to check out the health of the ATM, only to return to the boats to find a hellish swell coming in from the SE. We made a quick getaway and motored over to the lee side of Rebak Island late afternoon. Not an ideal anchorage, but conditions did settle down, and the full moon rising was a bonus.

Another lazy morning (wow, what a contrast to up & off at 0730 for racing!!) followed by a motor up between the islands. We’d sailed this track many times during racing, but had never had a chance to appreciate the scenery at our own pace. Exiting on the west of the islands, we hoisted sail again and had a lovely low stress drift sail for 4-5 hours before rendezvousing again with Kokomo down south in P. Singa Besar, one of our favourite anchorages anywhere. The hills are high, clad with hundreds of tall hard-wood trees, which in turn are clad with thick wandering vines and creepers, all footed by tiny strip beaches over blue-green water. The weather gods were kind to us and allowed us to proceed with enjoyable cocktails and dinner in Dreamcatcher’s cockpit, it being the last we would see of our friends on Kokomo for a couple of months.

Away we went at 0800 the next morning (after removing bits of jellyfish from the anchor chain), hoping for a lovely Nor’easter to push us back to Penang. No such luck! We were faced head on with 18-28 knot winds on the nose all the way back. Where was our NE Monsoon??? A very uncomfortable ride, howling wind and swell to 2 meters, resulting us arriving at our anchorage pretty whacked and very salty. A restless night followed by the 18 mile motor over shallow water back to our marina where we slipped into the entry with a mere 0.5 meter of water under our keel. Phew. Tie up. Beer. Shower. Sleep. Get Up. Clean Up. Laundry. Laundry and more Laundry.

It takes us 2 full days to get the boat from cruising mode into “storage” mode – moving dinghy’s & kayaks, re-installing the aircon, de-provisioning and arm-wrestling the sail covers and tent. The joys of cruising!!

So after 2 weeks of circumnavigating Langkawi, we put Dreamcatcher to bed for 6 weeks and fly back home to Singapore. We plan to spend more time sailing in Langkawi in 2016 – it’s a lovely place, best enjoyed from the water: tropical mountains, lush growth, soaring eagles and duty free drinkables!

Photo is of scenic anchorage near Hole in the Wall.
Vessel Make/Model: CAL 3-46 Ketch
Hailing Port: Singapore
Crew: Henry Mellegers & Glenys Taylor
About: A collective sailing experience of over 100 years across the USA, Australia, South Pacific and now SE Asia....we love cruising in Asia............
After sailing Dreamcatcher from San Francisco, through Mexico and across the South Pacific to Australia, and then to Singapore for 8 years, we will base her in Malaysia and Thailand to cruise the Malacca Straits and Andaman Sea. In April 2015, we moved the boat from Singapore to Penang to have [...]
Home Page: www.dreamcatchervoyage.com
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