Saturday, 18 May 2013

No more rattling and on the move again

Yeah, no more rattling. My handy boy friend fixed the problem :-) Last blog post finished with cheap us anchoring outside Sutera Harbour marina waiting for the return of our gas bottles. Amazingly the new bearing turned up even before the gas bottles (so only 48 hours after it was ordered, good service!), so we only spent two night outside the marina on anchorage before moving back in. We didn't want to be at anchorage with a non-functioning engine (while Phil pulled the shaft etc out). Not that we minded being back in the luxury of the marina and the facilities surrounding it, hello again swimming pool.
One of our 'neighbours' in the marina was Keith, ex-paua fisherman from Picton (but fishing in Chathams) who has spent quite a while in KK and has a motorbike, so besides helping Phil with the engine, he also knew all the right places and took Phil to a shop where they machined a new cooper housing for the cutlass bearing. We did have to wait a few days for this, but there's plenty to do in KK. It's actually a big tourist destination, mostly Asian tourists, jets are flying over the city all day long.
So very KK-ish, Mt Kinabalu behind the city, a para sailor in the water and a jet above
We took a local bus (always an interesting experience in itself) to the big city mosque. Here we paid a few dollars to get properly dressed like Muslims (I had come prepared with lots of sarongs and scarves, but that didn't seem to be an option) and our private guide showed us around inside the mosque, which was neat because we got to ask him lots of questions. For some reason all the Asian tourists visiting the mosque only stay outside.
Hilarious how there are paddle boats in the water around the mosque!
Another must-do touristy experience in KK is the night market. It's on every night and the people who wrote the lonely planet guide are very enthusiastic about it, especially the Filipino food section. We did have a yummy bbq fish and scrimp, but otherwise I almost think the market in Kudat was more interesting, because it was more local and actually busier too. Or maybe we just weren't there at the right time.

After in total two night in the marina, two night outside and then four more nights inside we left KK. It has definitely been a great visit, but not so great on our wallet. Especially hanging out with cruisers with more money than us was tough, paua fishing must be very profitable ;-)
We spent one more night by one of the islands off KK where it's swarming with tourist boats during the days, so we figured it must be good snorkelling. It was NOT, limited coral and fish, and lots of jellyfish that sting, not too bad, but enough to be quite unpleasant. On our way south the next morning we tried again at a place LP claims is the best for snorkelling and it was just as bad, if not actually worse. Bugger, we had been hoping for a bit of snorkeling therapy after all that marina and city time.

We are now on Labuan island after one stop at Tiga island. Tiga is another beach where Survivor has been filmed. We choose to go check out a place with bubbling mud, as Phil has never been to Rotorua and therefore hasn't seen the phenomenon before. Rotorua is way cooler though, Tiga's mud pools were just extremely muddy and only a little bit of bubbling.
Labuan is famous for being tax-free, so it's the place to buy cheap booze and beer in an otherwise alcohol-expensive country. There's also lots of duty free chocolate, heaps of yummy stuff, things you normally only see in Europe, so a bit dangerous place to be nostalgic. Maybe it's good I got a reminder to be healthy the other day. The lovely older lady dressing me up in muslim clothes, pointed at my tummy, looked shy and like she wasn't sure, but then did ask anyway: bebe!!! Ups, first time that has happened, and I wouldn't like it to happen again before it's actually true.
Sophia anchored in Labuan close to a whole fleet of ships and oil tankers (oil rich water around here!)

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