Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Across the Strait of Malacca

Well, if you're following us on facebook, you'd know it's old news that we sailed around Singapore (the around will be explained in a photo below). We actually did that over a week ago. Since then we have been in Danga Bay. It's a big marina in Johor Bahru which is in Malaysia, but just across from Singapore. We could literally see Singapore from the marina.

Phil has, again, fixed our engine rattle. The cheap stern tube that we got in Kota Kinabalu was totally worn out, so we're glad we got a new one via Phil's parents' visit to Singapore back in June. The New Zealand version was eight times more expensive (NZ$ 280) but hopefully it also will last at least eight times longer than the cheap one! We had hoped to only spend a few days in Danga bay, but an unexpected holiday and weekend meant we spent over one week in the marina.

While Phil was working on the engine, I popped over to Singapore for at quick visit, as exciting news had happened since we left: Theresa had a baby boy. He was very tiny and very cute and is lucky to have two sisters to adore him.

We are now on our way north, hopefully to as far as Langkawi. I'm flying home to Denmark for Christmas on the 12th December and Phil follows me a week later. It will be my first Xmas in Denmark in eight years, I have totally gotten used to warm Christmases with pool time and strawberries (NZ), but I'm really looking forward to the real deal (cold!!!) and to show Phil all our traditions, but mostly to seeing my nephews and niece.
This picture explains the sailing aorund Singapore. We started at the beginning of the red line in Malaysia at the last possible anchorage and sailed almost right around Singapore. Unfornatley because of the bridge, you can't sail the shorter way. It's approximatley 50 miles, so a fairly long day, although it is possible to anchor earlier.
Down town Johor Bahru (JB), has both an india and china town, all very central and close
Danga Bay marina has a lot of lights. It's a popular place for locals to visit and also pose for photos witht yachts in the background
Singapore in the sun rise.  JB has big ambitions and there's a lot of land reclamation going on

Monday, 18 November 2013

Snorkeling as a happiness drug

Both Phil and I LOVE snorkeling. The feeling of slipping into that blue water where a whole new underwater world opens up, it's just amazing. I really think it could work as a happiness medicine, it sure works for me every time. And we have truly missed it all along Borneo's coast, the last good snorkeling we had was in Philippines, way too long ago.

Getting to Tioman was therefore something we were really looking forward to. And it was so worth it, because the snorkeling was really good. OK, it wasn't Palau-good, but there were turtles and sharks and the water was pretty OK clear. The only downside to Tioman was that all four different anchorages we stayed at, were rolly. Not gunwale to gunwale rolly, but still pretty annoying rolly which means poor sleep. There is a little marina where of course it's perfectly still, but it has no breeze, so it's hot. We only stayed there when we left Sophia to go to Singapore.

We have now day-hopped our way down towards Singapore and are now only one or two days away from crossing over to the west coast of Malaysia, just one crazy hub of busy harbour has to be nagivated safely through first.

My all time favourites: clown fish. They are just co cute and courageous the way they swim out to defend their home
Two Star Puffer fish. Their size is hard to judge in this photo, but they are both well over 50 cm long
Spot the cuddle fish, master of disguise! Right in the middle, this guy is also pretty big, maybe 60 cm long
pretty coral, these look like roses
I can't stop taking photos of them, but they always move, so are hard to get in focus
another puffer fish hiding under a coral
happiness drug
lots of turtles at Tioman, yay
and black tip reef shark, a sign of a healthy reef (Tioman is a marine sanctuary)
a mooray eel weawing across the botom to another hiding hole

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Home sweet home

We're now back on Sophia after having spent the last 10 days in Singapore with the same friend as last time. It really is such a luxury to stay in a real house (and furthermore a really nice one), in a bed that never moves, with toilets where you just push a buttom and showers full of endless water. There are also power plugs and you don't have to worry about draining the battery and internet in Singapore is fast! One of the biggest reliefs was the aircon. I kind of have a love hate relationship to those. It really is super nice to be able to cool down when it's 30-35 degrees outside (too hot) but at the same time I easily get super cold in A/C and need to dress really warm. All in all, living in a house (in the 1st world) really is a luxury, and it's nice to be reminded of that once in a while, just like it's nice to get off the boat once in a while.

I got lots of girly time with my friend and her two little girls (see photo proof below) and Phil got some computer time :-) He also went to Hong Kong to pick up some sails and did some racing at Changi with the new sails when he was back. We're now going to spend a few more days here at Tioman doing as much snorkeling as possible and then we are going to sail through the Malacca strait past Singapore to west coast Malaysia.
We visited the Singapore Art Museum and there was this, uhmm, funky, exhibition about a level on your head.
Little India
One food thing Phil and I agree on is Indian food :-)
Yay, Christmas decorations, haha
Singapore is full of trees, it's really nice. This is right on Orchard Road!
At Botanical Gardens feeding the ducks - turned more into feeding the turtles, they were plentiful and mean!
Riding the cable car to Sentosa Island (just fot the ride which the girls love)
so. many. cranes!!!!
rain gutters are serious business in Singapore and Theresa said this even sometimes overflows!
I got to take the girls to their swimming lessons, much to both their and my delight
I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday while in Singapore
girly time, one thing I don't get to do with my four nephews (my only niece is only 4 months old)
Theresa, Saba and Lea with braids :-)

Monday, 4 November 2013

October's cruising costs for Brunei and Malaysia

An expensive month at NZ$ 2059, but considering that Phil bought a new computer (NZ$ 850) and that our amazing little side trip to Gunung Mulu national parks came in at NZ$ 520, it's not bad at all. Without those two costs it would have been NZ$ 686, which (in theory) would have been a record low.

We now again have internet and laudry costs. Those costs we part of the $5 we paid a day for the yacht club in Brunei, I think I forgot to specify that in the last cost post. Speaking of which, were only in Brunei the first couple of days of the month, the rest of the time was spent in Malaysia. And doing a fair bit of passasing, which also always helps keep the expenses down.