2012 Sailing Adventure – SG to Aur to Tioman

Foyer of our flat: Collecting stuff that are going with us.

It seems like we have a pattern that is influenced by the prevailing S. China sea climate. Every year, about end April, we go on a boat and head out to Tioman. We’ve done that in 2009, 2011 and now 2012! .. I almost made it in 2010 in Eleanor.. I took off, but didnt complete it tho.. Well..,  we are probably doing it 2013… pretty sure 😉 .. on route to Japan… possibly, cant be 100% sure, but its a good chance that we be doing that.

Kayaks loaded, fuel loaded, ready to go

This year, I am taking time off work between Labour day and Vesak day to make this a 10 day sailing adventure on board S/V Calliste. Didnt feel too good about leaving 2 cats to the care of 2 teenages in my partially renovated flat.. hope they’ll be alright…

27 Apr 2000hrs: We moved onboard with fresh groceries. Put things away and put kayaks in their places, took awnings down…. At about 2359hrs, we were too pooped to continue and nah… we are not leaving at 0400hrs.

28 Apr 1400hrs: We are finally underway. Yeah! While in Singapore waters, we continue to enjoy mobile broadband and that was fun… Hopefully, we get Maxis broadband to work just as well… I had to make arrangements to get the Maxis Sim card ahead of our departure, and sign up for the monthly prepaid broadband for RM68. Thats not bad, but only 3G of data and wonder how good is the transfer rate.

At about 2000hrs, it was just beginning to get really dark, and I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me… there was a strip of very black water ahead of us…. hmm…. seems to be getting bigger… WHOA! Throttle back engine way down, change course 90′ Port! That was just reflex action and good thing too. We were less than 10meters away from running into some really dense fishing stakes that ran a long ways down to somewhere that I cant see the end. Almost a heart attack… anyway, we got around it by going inshore and passed it in 6meters depth. This end was lighted by some very small blinking red light… I was like, WHOA! Damn crazy garbage people put up this unmarked trap! Yeah right! What blinking light! Damn! #$!%#*@. This is, btw, off Tanjong Ayam.

Approaching Aur. Our favorite island in South China Sea

2200hrs, going thru the narrow passage among the rocks off Rumunia. Good timing, we had a slack tide and passed the dangerous North rocks easily. It was very dark and we relied totally on my 7 yr old Garmin GPSMAP76C and 2005 Bluecharts. I have done this route 3 times before, going up to Tioman, so I was pretty sure that if the old guy(GPS) is working, we would be okay.

Here we are. Moored on the Duyong side of the channel.

29 Apr 0100hrs: My watch. Lots of lights out there to our Starboard. Could be anything, fishing skiffs, big ships… looks like something is closing in on us, I am starting to see some bright red, green and white lights… must be some SG power boats going the same way… hearing their engines now… WHOA! Look at that … how many are there…? They look exactly the same… size, height and lights, and seems to be quite large… 60 to 70 ft perhaps… Changing course 20′ to Port, wanting some distance from this convoy… On closer look, they are military vessels and 7 of them. WHOA! And every one of them checked us out with their on board spot light! I think we have our picture taken 7 times tonight… hmm… are these Malaysian Navy? I didnt think they keep their vessels so up and running… everything seem to be in good working condition…

Calliste at Aur mooring

0400hrs, my watch again. Looks like another big vessel is coming up on our starboard. Couldnt tell where he is going, but its coming a little to close for comfort. 20′ to Port, looks like a very black hull passing us about 50meters on starboard… got beamed again.! They definately saw us…. and bully us into giving way altho it would be nice of them, being the big boys to show a little class and alter course to pass behind us. Since they never did alter course, we did… We know not to expect better of them working vessels in Asia already.

We really love the rocks at Aur and Duyong. See, how pretty.

0630hrs, my watch again… we do like 2hrs on and 2hrs off. Seems to work pretty well. I got this sunrise shift, which is exactly what I wanted. Hoping to catch a glimpse of jumping fishes at the instant sunlight touches down on the water. That was a experience that I had last year and it was so natural and left me with a desire to see it again. I decided that when we are out to sea, I reserve all sunrise watches… I bully Doug into it anyway 🙂 … Well, this time, I am not so lucky. No jumping fishes, but some consolation, the rising sun was really round. Most of the other sunrises or sunsets that I have seen, usually the sun is partially obscured by clouds.

and Aur waters are beautiful! As usual

0930hrs, off the SW corner of Aur. We are looking for anchoring spots and discovering other parts of Aur that we havent seen last year. See, we really like Aur… more than Tioman really, but its too rustic and we cant be very comfy staying around here. We miss A/C and fresh foods… no, we dun fish and we dun put jumping prawns into a pot of boiling water and cover up quick.

1 happy kayaker among rocks at Aur

1130hrs, everywhere around Aur are pretty rocks or sandy beaches. We pick up a mooring on the Duyong side this time, as it seems to be a busy weekend for the dive operators on the Aur side.

Now time to cook a little something for brunch, and then time to relax and catch up on sleep… Yes, the midday heat almost killed us.

1 laid back kayaker in the cool shade among rocks at Aur

1600hrs, time to crawl out of the cabin and go for a little exploration. Things are starting to cool down around here and there’s even a little sailing breeze if we are going anywhere.

We found this little inlet among the rocks at Duyong. This is so serene.

1800hrs, done with rock grocking. Very pleased with ourselves for having done that. Its like 1 thing off our list. On the paddle back to Calliste, I went around to the other 2 sailboats moored off the resort. Socializing… sun down happy hour. Everyone’s bound for Tioman in a day or two.

30Apr 0330hrs, we left the mooring. Nobody came up to collect for our mooring… guess we were lucky once again. One of the sailboats paid RM20.

It was a very dark night. The moon had set and other than a few little lights for the various boats in the channel, we could see nothing… and then there were some flashes in the sky and we could make out the edges of the islands. We relied on my trusty old GPS and our tracks to help us get out of the channel.

Reosrts at Tioman… yawn… havent we seen that before…

0400hrs, we are out of the lee of Duyong and I wondered if we should turn back. Seems to be heavy weather brewing out there. Doug thinks it wont be too severe and nothing that Calliste couldnt handle. Ya, I know, but… ok… prepare for a boisterous ride over to Tioman. Here we go… Choppy 2 -3 meters wave coming in from starboard. Wind against current… so we got a good boost from the current and even tho we are bashing into the waves, we make good speed. Overall 3+ knots, sometimes 4… until we crash into a biggie wave, then we drop down to 1+ knots and slowly build back up.

Leaving Doug to helm the most boisterous bit with his stronger stomach, I went down to get the 1st snooze… Lying flat in the cabin while Calliste is being knocked around… wasnt too bad for me. Nah, I wasnt feeling queasy at all… but standing up and bracing in the cabin for a few minutes, I start feeling my stomach turned upside down…

0600hrs, my watch now. Doug was so nice, he got me up when we entered the lee of Permangol island. We have shelter from the island for about 1hr as we travel north. Well, its my favorite sunrise watch again, but it probably would be dissapointing because of the weather… kinda sleep drunk and a little drudging it… but got to be fair eh…

Yep, here we are. Snug as a bug in a rug at Tioman marina

0800hrs, Tioman insight and the seas are a little less boisterous now. Looks like the storm blew itself out and we didnt get any rain that we thot we might… yes, I was right about the disappointing sunrise… off watch, head straight for the bunk.

1000hrs, finally up again… and now have some energy. Now we can gawk at Tioman and resorts as we pass them. The seas are not quite settled yet, residue from the storm.. but I am surprise, we still have the current going with us… interesting…

1300hrs, we arrived and tied up temporarily inside the marina. Now to take care of the paperwork and be formally cleared into Malaysia. 1600hrs, we moved into a more permanent slip. 1800hrs, off to a cold beer with the gang at Captain Kerks. Yes! We have arrived!


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Sailing 2015: Port Townsend(WA, US) -> Costes Island (BC, Canada)

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