Eleanor’s CNY sail to Lebam river

On 28th Jan 2009, the 3rd day of the Chinese New Year, Eleanor left her berth very quietly at 6am. A little bit of ebb tide giving us a 0.5kn, while we motored for 1 hour till we got out into Johor river. We would love to sail out instead, but the wind God didnt get out of bed till the sun rose.

Our objective today was to go check out the JB bridge to Desaru. We thought it should have be completed by now! That would cut our driving time by 1hr each way, coming over from SG to Sebana. Anyway, it was a good reason to make this “long” 8hr trip. 

Our track - Sebana -> Lebam -> Sebana

Our track - Sebana -> Lebam -> Sebana

It was a little past 700hrs when we got out into Johor river. We have raise full main and jib, wind was a mild 5knots initially, but soon it was a good 10 – 15 knots. We managed to make very good speed on just the wind alone, averaged 5kns up till the 900hrs mark. Its was refreshing for Eleanor to be out in the open again. To once again do long tacks, check our position against the GPS and watch for rocks and buoys. Eleanor was a happy girl today.

Uncompleted bridge and Tankers hanging out.

Uncompleted bridge and Tankers hanging out.

900hrs, the bridge is in sight. It looks like very much completed.. 930hrs, clearer sight of the bridge, shows that the gap right in the middle.  Looks like its a long way from finish. Disappointed. I, captain, decided to change course and explore the Lebam river. That turn out to be fun.

With our handy GPS, we dont have to be that prepared to make changes to our destination. On the flying tracking helps us mark our positions relative to navigation harzards like rocks, buoys and fishfarms.

Rocks of Tanjung Buai

Rocks of Tanjung Buai

Our track in yellow, shows how close we got to some rocks. Maybe only 3 meters to spare, a little scary, but we survive. Not a problem.

While sailing in Lebam, we were observed by kids and fishermans on their platforms or in their little skiffs. A pretty little sailboat with full on sails is not common in this river, I guess. There was alot of fishing and fish activity in here. Casting and drawing, and fish hopping. It was great fun to watch them at work. This was just a normal day of work for them, except for our intrusion.

Fish farm. Where little fishes grow into bigger fishes.

Fish farm. Where little fishes grow into bigger fishes.

Fish farms and fishing platforms are quite a common sight in Malaysian rivers, especially near kampongs. Some of these farms have rooms for “homestay” visitors.

Fishing platforms

Fishing platforms

We wish to go further, but 1100hrs was the time that I set to turn around. I like to be back with enough energy to put away Eleanor nicely and still have dinner and a movie on the computer.  We had a great day out, so why not… This time, we are sailing downwind and against the incoming tide. 20kns of wind against tide, makes a really nasty chop and a little difficult to steer. We were lucky to only have a few gybes and no hits.

Birds hangout on fishing stakes

Birds hangout on fishing stakes

Rest of the trip was pretty much the same with no much to show. Eleanor, being reluctant in going back, was moving slowly… We had to urge her along with the motor. She has a spirit and mind of her own.

1430, the marina is in sight! 1435, a power boat is coming up behind us, looks familiar. Oh its the doctor and EastWind II. 1445, Eleanors sail taken down. 1500, Eleanor back in berth. 1530, Eleanor put away! It was that easy. And we go have a nice little nap down below Calliste… 🙂

8hrs and 24mins was our total sail time, 32.7nm total distance, 4kns average speed. A really good day out for all of us.


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