Pangkor Island Marina, Lumut, Malaysia
Singapore is definitely first world! The streets are in good condition with expensive stores, buildings, cars well dressed people, and lots of luxuries. There is a hustle around town with lots of commerce. The supply stores are loaded with inventory. People are working. We saw no homeless people on the street. The hotels are expensive as are the restaurants. That is excepting if you eat in the food courts where there is a good deal of cheap Asian food. No evidence of economic downturn here. .
Our next destination was Pangkor Island Marina where the rally was to meet. We spent 3 weeks with diesel mechanics and welders getting our needs met and left as soon as we could. It didn't take us long to discover that the diesel mechanics left much to be desired and we had a persistent leak of diesel fuel as we had to motor 35 hours to our next stop. We had to stop every few hours to clean up the diesel under the engine. In the end we discarded about 15 liters of fuel!
What was most memorable and interesting was our trip down the Malaaca Straits. Commercial vessels travelling west all have to go down the 200 mile stretch of channel. They on average pass every 12 minutes. Out of the channel, small and medium size fishing vessels lay out fishing nets perpendicular to the direction of traffic. Travelling at night, therefore is too hazardous unless one stays in or on the fringe of the main shipping channel. During the day you have to concentrate just to avoid collisions.
To avoid the small traffic we had to get in close to all these large and sometimes huge ships. Many travelled at about 25 knots so they came up fast and were about 100 yards or more away from us. During the day we got used to it. At night it felt more dangerous, however, since we have AIS we could see all the boats and they could see us so our anxiety level wasn't off the wall. We travelled all night and by the end of the darkness we exited the channel and headed for our destination. We wanted to arrive at marina ahead of our friends so that we could arrange to have our engine worked on without having to wait in line for workers.
So here we are now. 3 weeks later and we hope today our engine will be reassembled and will work.
We had a nice trip to Kuala Lumpur. We had a lot of fun at the Chinese market and toured Petronus Towers. It too is a rich city being the financial capitol of Malaysia. The Malaysian Ringgit has bottomed out against the USD and is very cheap which allows Americans to see bargains in everything purchased. Labor is very cheap here and menial laborers earn about 3 to 4 dollars a day. Many boat owners come here to refurbish their vessels and although we still want to sell Always Saturday we still need to have work done on her to keep her in working order.
So we hope to be on our way soon! On our way to Langkawi and then Phuket, Thailand
From the crew of Always Saturday