Singapore to Sunda Strait
15 June 2008 | 1 17.73'N:104 44.27'E, South China Sea
14th June 2008 Singapore to Sunda Strait 9.45pm local time Position: 1 17.73N 104 44.27E
Valiam is heeling quite a bit to port as I write this. The seas are smooth and the sea sick pills are trying to do their job almost successfully. We left One15 Marina at around 10.30am this morning for the Sister Islands just outside the harbour to await the customs boat. Even though we had an extra day up our sleeve before our departure we were busy all day with preparations. It was one of those really 'stinking hot' days in Singapore where we had to recover once again in the air-conditioning of the local shopping mall. After our final purchases of fresh food and various other smaller items such as head torch batteries, stove lighter etc we were back at the Marina to pay our bill. Bill had to go back 3 times due to mistakes made by the office staff. Linda wasn't too happy with our clearance certificate stating our next port was 'Australia'. Usually a specific official port should be named. We said Cocos Keeling Islands but the dockmaster said he couldn't find 'any coco isl and 'in his papers. Hopefully they will let us in when we get there!
Our new Aussie friends Di and Bruce kindly invited us out to their Friday regular teacher's dinner at a place called 'Everest' in Little India. The food was delicious and inexpensive. An Indian lady next to me said that at 'Mustafa's' store one could buy curries in sealed plastic bags that just needed heating in hot water. Di took us to Mustafa's which was an experience in itself. This massive shop has evolved over many years being continually added to. It is a huge rabbit warren over several levels and sells EVERYTHING. One huge section was devoted to gold - gold chains, jewelry etc that went on for ages. I hadn't seen so much gold except in pictures of Tutankhamen's tomb! On the way to the supermarket section Linda was distracted by the gorgeous sequined tops and saris in beautiful colours and fabrics. But no retail therapy that evening! Bill chose 8 assorted vegetarian curries and waited in a queue with turbaned men and saried women. Di and Bruce took us to the 'French Sta ll' for desert - a French restaurant in Little India! It was now close to 11pm so we tried to hail a taxi. No luck - all taken. We walked to the MRT station and caught our last underground train to Vivo. It was easy to phone for a taxi from there. We enjoyed our last night in Singapore with all its sights and smells of India.
This morning we struggled out of bed at 7.30 to have our last long shower. As I went into the ladies amenities there were at least 3 cleaning ladies there but they weren't cleaning. One was doing her hair, one was chatting to her and the other one was relaxing in the leather chairs reading a magazine. Another young girl appeared to be filling up several little bottles of her own with the free shampoo dispenser in one of the shower cubicles. I felt I had walked into someone else's home!!
Yesterday Friday 13th was an exciting day for the Anderson family as Bill's brother Peter and his partner Jenny became the proud parents of a little boy. Bill was able to speak to Pete and we received photos of the baby by email just before we had to lose our internet connection. We had a quick Skype call to our granddaughter Caylan and made last minute calls to my sister Yolanda and my father.
As we saw Singapore fade away in the distance we felt glad to be back at sea. One 15 marina was a place with lots of rich people owning huge motor yachts with fulltime staff with boat names such as 'Fantasea' and 'Hye Seas' (there were 2 of those).
We have motored most of the day dodging and passing ships. Our new autopilot seems to work quite well. She moans a bit as she keeps us on course. As we were trying to think of a name for the latest addition to our boat I said 'What about Mona". Then Bill said 'Lisa' so she is tentatively called Mona Lisa. Heath has retired (the little tiller autopilot) and Fred the wind vane will come into his fore when we hit the Indian Ocean. Mona Lisa has one quirk however. Whenever Bill pushes the buttons to change course too quickly she starts doing a U-turn! Mmmmmmmmm. This trick requires the 'standby button' and hand steerage back on course!! It's good to be back out at sea and we are going nicely now. The wind is blowing 12-15 knots from the south. We are losing just over a knot due to the current being against us. It was the same coming here from Kota Kinabalu. It was funny being able to see 3 countries at once - Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. We've seen a couple of Indonesian f ishing boats. Let's hope they have lights on tonight so we can see them. There's a ? moon which is great for night vision. I just counted 9 ships out there surrounding us on the horizon.