Five O’Clock Five Hundred
13 December 2019 | Pangkor Marina
Ever heard this? It's an American country rock song about the mayhem and madness as working folk launch their pick-up trucks into the evening rush hour to get home in time for the kids soccer, hockey, line dancing or whatever you do in a Stetson and cowboy boots. Well, here in Malaysia, it seems they have a seven AM version. Except it's waterborne.
After a reasonable sail up the reasonably boring, muddy seas of the Malay coast we'd anchored up for the night off one of the few small islands. If you can't find a small island you anchor in about four or five metres off the coast. Usually about a mile or two off the coast but technically, still off the coast and still in just a few metres. It's all pretty shallow. Anyway, after a decent nights kip we were rudely awakened by the sound of screaming Yamahas powering the pointy bowed, flat bottomed fishing boats that are common as muck around here, all thrashing past at full throttle, off to murder as many tiny fish as they could in the early morning light.
Now, my mother-in-law was renowned for spending much of her church attendance hours not listening to the minister drone on but counting hats. I've developed a similar habit except I count fishing boats. This morning, we had fifty two between us and the horizon all chucking nets and weedy flag poles flying an old pair of knickers into our path. The fishing fleet has been a challenge from day one of this trip. From Thursday Island in Australia five months ago, we've had to keep our eyes peeled for boats and nets. One of our number didn't; crashed into a ton of timber and lost their main beam, being a cat, and consequently their mast. The first story to hit the rumour mill was that they'd been at anchor, in the dark and a fishing boat had ploughed into them. So, next stop, everyone is queuing up to buy flashing LED lights to string around their boats at dark. The pitch black nights of all the anchorages are now lit up like a cheap Chinese Christmas tree. Quite nice actually, especially as it is nearly Christmas. However, the fact you can't see anything now for being blinded by green, blue and red strobes is a bit of an issue.
We wandered up the coast via Malacca, with its colonial past, in fact, being Malaysia, much has a colonial, or perhaps more descriptively, a trading hub past. The Dutch and British "colonisation" of SE Asia brought wealth and prosperity to Holland and Britain. Less so to the locals. But they did leave some nice buildings and probably scurvy, flu and rickets among other things......or I guess, they traded these nasties for malaria and yellow fever.
We knocked off the stops up the coast in short order reaching our final resting place for this year in Rebak Marina resort, off Langkawi Island, parked the boat, tidied things up and hopped on a plane for KL, Hong Kong and Toronto.
Something like a forty degrees Celsius difference.
Haud me back.