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using water on our boat.

posted Feb 25, 2015, 6:32 PM by Sue Norris   [ updated Apr 1, 2015, 7:51 PM ]


What we have learnt about using and storing water on our boat.

Part 1 storing water on our boat

on 32 footer without dedicated storage tanks

 On our first boat,  a 32 footer,  we had water in 2 x20 litre jerry jugs for use in the galley. These were easily taken out and refilled. In the head we had a 50 litre water bladder and used hand pumps on the sinks. Because we were not sure of the quality of the inside of this bladder we were not prepared to drink it. We were never confident, no matter how hard we cleaned it that it was good enough for drinking water. It was perfect for the head, for bathing, for dishwashing water and teeth cleaning etc.  But we were never able to go too far away from water. While we were cruising around the coast of Tasmania it was not a problem. We kept another jerry jug for collecting water from other sources, waterfalls, rain etc for laundry and as back up to our head water. We installed a salt water pump in the galley for washing up, washing hands, rinsing vegetables etc. Salt water in the galley was a great idea and helped us conserve our drinking water... but it killed the engine... but that is another story and one I am not qualified to tell

1.  20 year old galvanised tanks

When we first took possession of our current boat, Lupari2, she had approx 300l galvanized water tank, 20+ years old, plumbed to the galley and the head. It kept us in water on our coastal cruises and weekends away. We had enough to use for washing and we were always able to top up with clean fresh water when we returned to the marina or boat club. We also caught rainwater from our bimini.  After a few months we began to notice red sludge in the drinking water if we had been out on a rough day, so we installed a particle filter in the drinking line to filter out all the dirt, thinking that it was just accumulation over several years. Before long it was getting through this filter as well. After crossing Bass Strait, we decided to investigate the problem and try and fix it once and for all.

2. 2x 80 litre caravan tanks

The first task was to try and get to the tank which was not an easy job .( note to self...make access to inspect tanks easy) When  we cut through the tank we noticed large black muddy bubbles on the inside of the tank and rusty  mud oozing from them. Here was our problem. After 20+ years in water, galvanizing does not last. The steel tank had rusted and was in danger of rusting through so we cut it out.  It was winter in Melbourne and we were keen to get to warmer places. The cheapest, most efficient and time effective thing we could do at the time was get 2 x 80 litre plastic,  tanks from a caravan shop and install these in its place in the engine bay. This cut our water capacity by half or more. But we did have room for a few 20 litre drums as well.  The water coming from this new tank tasted awful. The plastic taste permeated everything, so as well as the sediment filter, which we kept in the plumbing system, we added a dedicated drinking water tap which was fed off the original plumbing and we put a carbon filter on the line, we later exchanged this for a ceramic filter which we could clean with a Scotchbrite scrubber, cutting down on waste that we had to dispose of. This allowed us to have lovely fresh clean water that we could drink. We added a deck fitting to fill up from outside, previously we had to lift the floor and fill up that way. Everything worked well. We used these tanks for several years (5); coastal cruising along the East coast of Australia while preparing the boat for passages further offshore in the future.  For general use they used to last us about 2 weeks excluding laundry.

That is 160 litres for 2 people for 2 weeks.

After a disastrous attempt to leave Australia and return 4 days later to find all our drinking water had drained into the bilge and been pumped away, we needed another, and better, solution to our water capacity issue. While in Australia we were able to fill up every couple of weeks. But would this be the case elsewhere?

Eventually we were ready to head off again but we needed a solution to our water needs, particularly as we had decided to head to SE Asia and were not sure of the water availability or its quality if we had to fill up regularly.

3. built in steel tanks.

When the boat was built, 2 tanks were built in on the sides in the bilge, possibly for fuel  tanks. then they were covered with the floor and cupboards put on top of them. The inspection hatches were very small. Painting them out with chlorinated rubber was a very uncomfortable and difficult task. There needed to be an undercoat and then 2 coats of the rubber compound. Then they had to cure for 3 weeks, so we left with our 160 litres and 3 x 20 litre jerry jugs, hoping for rain and started our northward journey. (https://sites.google.com/a/lupari2.com/www/home/brisbane-to-darwin)
This got us to Townsville where, among other jobs, we washed out the water tanks and filled them with fresh, clean water.  Now we have 1000 litres approximately and the boat sits almost 25mm lower in the water. 1 tonne makes a difference and we can feel it when she’s full. In installing the plumbing to go with the tanks we had to ensure that they drained evenly and we could turn either one off or on. This took quite some thinking about and trips to the hardware store for garden irrigation fittings which were perfect for the job. Finally we had it all working and it works beautifully. It was much more cost effective for us than installing a water-maker. And we were ready to sail away with no worries about our water, hopefully.

Water we filled up with in Darwin lasted us all through Indonesia without rain for 3 months. This did not include much laundry, we had that done by laundry services ashore. We were gifted a couple of jerry cans of water from boats that had watermakers and were producing too much water but that was all. We still had plenty when we arrived in Johor Bahru.

My notes about water use:

·         Kitchen detergent lathers just as well in salt water.

We used salt water for dish washing and when we returned to shore and had access to fresh we just rinsed the dishes we used. Have a dedicated kettle for heating up the salt water. (camping kettle,billy)

·         Make sure you have a charcoal or ceramic filter (We replaced charcoal with ceramic and give it a scrub every so often with a Scotchbrite or similar kept for this purpose) filters 99% bugs out of the water including Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

·         You do not need a sink full of water to wash dishes.

An inch or so will suffice.  We heat water on the stove in a kettle for that purpose.  We use a plastic rectangular bucket which fits in the kitchen sink, it keeps water warmer, helps prevent chips in crockery and glasses (yes real crockery and real glass) and is great when we head out to sea and we can put coffee and cups in it for storage so they don’t end up on the floor.

·         Be choosy where you fill up with water.

Use a filter on the hoses especially in foreign countries.  (Our experience Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand) Bottled water is available in these places but is expensive. I did not hear of anyone getting sick... we did not need any extra water in 3 months in Indonesia.

·         We use a 12v camping shower in the head

and another one outside on deck for hosedown after a swim. The pump fits inside the mouth of a jerry jug and we use water collected from rain for this. The jerry jug sits in the sun and is warm by late afternoon. The one in the head sits in a small bucket. We can shower in about 2-3 litres of water, heated by kettle to the right temperature if the weather is cool. This includes shampooing hair. Hose down, turn off water, wash with soap, turn on water and rinse.

·         Leave in conditioner for hair is great.

It protects hair from the harsh elements and I don’t have to use extra water to rinse it out or have water with conditioner in the system, just soap scum and hair is bad enough.

·          we feel just as clean if we have a sponge bath

if water is really an issue... we did this for years before we installed our shower.

·         Always use a filter when filling up drinking water

·         Have a tarp or use bimini for collecting water when it rains. We have a reinforced drain in the bimini with a hose attached which feeds into a jerry jug.

·         We have a couple of solar showers on board but we hardly ever use them. When in Tasmania (in summer) it lay on the deck for 3 days and it still was not warm enough to use!

In the tropics it gets too hot! And there is the challenge of filling it up. Our system works very well for us.

long term storage

posted Feb 19, 2015, 4:27 PM by Sue Norris

Reflections on long storage of our boat.

We had left our boat for quite a while and while we were gone we thought that we had sealed the boat us to keep water out ...Apparently we didn’t.  Some things were ruined. Electrical bits and pieces and screwdrivers do NOT like sitting in water. The timber walls were covered with a light coating of mildew. A mild bleach solution hopefully has helped to keep it at bay.

Wood and silicon tools and equipment(silicon cooking trays) ... things that are porous, which hold food particles or moisture will go mouldy in a humid tropical environment.  Ours were all grey and furry if they had been left out or where air could circulate. Next time I will seal them up in plastic tubs or plastic ziplock bags.  Soft furnishings were ok though. Apart from smelling musty they, fortunately, showed no sign of mildew.

The  soft foam matting  that keeps things on the table and benches had to be washed because it was mildewed. I would not put it back on the table as it was threatening to stain the wood

Paper that had been left out, although strangely crinkled with damp were less affected with mildew... perhaps it dried out enough to withstand the dampness. Inside drawers they seemed less affected...in fact perfect, just smelt musty. 

Clothing seemed to be ok, although it smelt musty. Straw hats were growing small mushroom farms (ewww)

                     hat with mushrooms                                                             grey stuff is mildew on the timber

In the galley storage I found some grey taco shells and rice paper sheets. Even though they were in “sealed” plastic bags, it wasn’t enough.

I had to throw out jars of spices. I had hoped they might be OK, although I knew they would not be; they were grey, smelly and nondescript. The only thing that was ok was an unopened sealed tin of curry powder.

White plastics had turned yellow, especially hard plastic. It seems that it is the heat not light that is doing this, because things that were away in cupboards had turned yellow too.

Tablets ( Milton, URAL, Steradent...) had puffed up their cells. I didn’t use the ones for consumption but the Milton tablets were ok for cleaning drink bottles, I think it was the CO2 that had filled the bag.  They didn’t seem damp but the atmosphere was very humid.

Vegemite, although it had a slightly weird taste was ok. We didn’t get sick anyway.

All the steel cooking tins and trays had gone rusty, non-stick peeling off.

Some electronic things did not work...straight away (without help) terminals had corroded. Being in a high salt and very humid environment meant that they were constantly soaking up moisture from the salt and corroding. Some things refused to work, like the printer.

The electrical appliances and instruments (even the wind gauge which hasn’t worked for ages) on the boat all seemed to work, including the battery operated vacuum cleaner...once it was charged

Light and fresh air seems to be the best inhibitor for mould and mildew. After a week all the smell had dissipated.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

Scrupulously clean wooden and silicon implements and make sure they are very dry before sealing up and packing away.

Clean all electrical terminals as much as possible to remove saltiness. Small items might be better in a sealed case ( hand held radio, gps) Don’t forget zips. The aluminium zipper foot needs protecting from corrosion from salt by silicon lube. Plastic ones were fine.

Clean all soft furnishings so there is no salt ingrained in the fabric and they are perfectly dry. Smaller items cushions etc put in a zip up vacuum bag so no moisture can get in.

Indonesian spices translator

posted Aug 6, 2014, 10:56 PM by Sue Norris   [ updated Aug 6, 2014, 11:04 PM ]


English

Indonesian/Malaysian

Shrimp paste

Blachan/belachan

Candlenuts

Buah keras

Chinese rice wine

Shao hsing

Coconut milk

santan

Curry leaf

Daun kari

Dried red chillies

Cili kering

Dried shrimp

Har bee

Five spice powder

Serbuk lima rempah

Fried shallots

Bawang merah

Galangal

lengkuas

Ginger

halia

Lemongrass

serai

Lime leaves

Daun limau perut

Long bean (snake bean)

Kachang panjang

Pandan leaves

Daun pandan

Palm sugar

Gula melaka

Coriander

ketumbar

Cumin

Jintan putih

fennel

Jintan manis

Cinnamon sticks

Kulit kayu  manis

Star anise

Bunga lawan

tumeric

kunyit

Cardamom seeds

Buah pelaga

tamarind

Assam jawa

nutmeg

pala

 

meat

pork

babi

Beef

daging

Prawns

udang

Squid/cuttlefish

Cumi cumi(I) sotong (m)

Fish

ikan

Chicken

ayam

 

These  are most of the words you will need when cooking Indonesian or Malaysian food.

the monster from the deep

posted Aug 6, 2014, 10:49 PM by Sue Norris   [ updated Dec 23, 2014, 10:30 PM ]

Another true story from the Adventures of Lupi2 by crew Sue

The monster from the deep

In a quiet peaceful bay in far Northern Queensland Lupi 2 and her crew, Captain Greg and Crew Sue were deciding what to have for lunch. Captain Greg announced that he would like to try fishing to catch their food. “Ok” said Crew Sue while looking into the deep warm water beside golden yellow Lupi2.

At the surface of the calm warm water were hundreds of little fish fluttering like clouds of brightly coloured butterflies. But what was that dark patch  under the boat swirling in the depths? Was it seaweed or was it something else?  

Captain Greg found his fishing line and rod and settled down for a few hours of relaxing fishing.

The crew didn’t want to go to shore; there were large crocodiles. They didn’t want to go away in the dinghy; they were enjoying the warm sunshine on a lazy day. Looking at the water... dreaming of a tasty fish for dinner... wondering about the dark patch under the boat and the large crocodile they could see sunning itself on the warm sand of the beach. They definitely did not want to go swimming!

Captain Greg cast out his line. Metres and metres of line uncurled in a graceful curving arc across the sky and plopped into the water. The ripples it left were the only movement.  As he reeled in the lure everything was crossed: fingers, toes..., hoping to catch that elusive fish for dinner. Right in beside the boat the lure came with the usual catch on the end of the line ... nothing!

Another cast. This time further out and while reeling in very gently the thin, almost invisible line when snap! They had a fish, a very nice fish that was having a very exciting fight with the end of the line. Captain Greg was having fun on the other end trying to reel his yummy dinner in without breaking the line. It was very tricky work! Many seconds it took to bring dinner close to the side of Lupi2 and they could almost smell it cooking and taste the delicious freshly grilled meat when...

GULP

Out from under the boat came something...

Something VERY LARGE

Something with brown mottled slimy skin

And a fin the size and shape of a table tennis bat.

Its mouth took Captain Greg’s beautiful sparkling yummy looking fish sideways...

And was gone.

The line snapped!

The fish had disappeared...inside a monster!

It was someone else’s dinner now!

The water at the surface swirled and Captain Greg and Crew Sue jumped back in surprise from the edge of the boat. They did not expect to see their dinner disappear like that! Their hearts were pumping fast...their breath had disappeared for a minute...they were hardly able to speak... Captain Greg squeaked, “w-w-what was that?” Crew Sue knew...the shadow was gone.

What did it? Was it a crocodile? It did not seem like a crocodile... There was no knobbly, rough, bumpy skin. There was no long thrashing tail. There was no sign of sharp teeth.

It was a brown monster from the deep... a monster grouper. The shadow under the boat was a giant fish that ate the best fish that Captain Greg had ever caught.

He was sad.

The monster was happy.


Tinned tuna was to be dinner today.

Back Home

posted Nov 20, 2013, 5:25 PM by Sue Norris

We are currently back home in Australia, working, so no travel blogs at the moment.
We will be here for a while.
our other boat..

Trials and Tribulations

posted Sep 19, 2012, 1:14 AM by Sue Norris   [ updated Nov 20, 2013, 5:21 PM ]

GOAL: on returning to Langkawi, before sailing to Phuket: remove rust, grind and paint the deck – that was it – easy – NOT

All we wanted to do in Langkawi was to paint the rusty patches on the deck and get to Thailand. We had given ourselves 5 weeks to do that from leaving Penang. It wasn't that hard –

BUT


On the way back from Penang we stopped at Bidan Island, such a pretty little tropical island, we had a lovely sunset dinner “al decko” and revelled in the beauty of our surroundings. At 2 am things changed, a Sumatra (short wild storm common in this area) arrived with Big wind and thunder and lightning ( always worse at night).

This was the beginning of several weeks of windy, rainy and miserable weather. Not what we wanted for painting!

Since arriving at Telaga Harbour we have had 40 – 50 knot squalls, wind and rain for days – not just showers like we had been used to. The trip from Kuah town to Telaga Harbour was in 30 knot wild weather, so a night anchored in the lee of Singa Besar Island, about half way, was prudent and calm.

When we arrived at Telaga Harbour the work was to start. We had a sunny day so we removed the front hatch that was leaking. It required much more than removing some surface rust . . .

  • we removed half the ceiling liner in the front cabin,

  • took everything out and aired it out because it was damp.

  • A new surface to screw and glue the hatch to was welded in so that it won't leak any more.

  • The hatch was re-painted and attached again.

  • All stuff was returned to front again – took nearly 2 weeks with rain and wind halting activity several times.


Why is it that every job on a boat leads to so many other jobs ?

Wild winds blew out our bimini canvas. The boom tent now has nothing to hang on. Need a new bimini. Nothing to keep rain out of main hatch and cockpit.That will have to wait until Thailand..


Now to attack the cockpit.

PLAN:
  • Remove rope locker, and rusty brackets.

  • Clean up rusty cockpit wall and floor - - oh no! Holes in the metal – generators not coping with the welding – a night in the marina was called for so that we could use shore power to weld. We filled up with water too.

  • Returned to mooring (yes we are on a mooring) and cleaned up cockpit ready to paint.

  • Painted first coat of green primer and what did it do?? Rain 2 hours after it was applied. Bugger!!!

  • Waiting for a fine day to paint revealed more rust so back to grinding and chipping to get the last of the rust out.

  • THEN we repainted with new primer, We had at least 12 hours of fine dry weather for it to cure before the next rain.


We investigated going to a boat yard in Satun (Thailand) and having it all sand blasted and painted there – BUT – in this season it is too wet and unreliable to have raw steel uncovered for any time – wasting our money – so we will have it done later.

Checking under floor in bathroom found a pool of salt water again. It had been there a little while and was rusting again – thick sheets of it. Now we have removed the shower tray to get to the rusty parts of the hull. Fortunately it seems that we are not leaking from outside . . .we found where it was coming from. Now what to do??

More chipping and grinding is called for –

Then painting with primer and sealer.

Now we know where the water came from we are happier.


Who wants a used steel yacht??


The removing of rust and the painting is nearly finished. Just a few more small spots – we can do them in a couple of days – so it is off to Thailand we go.


Hole in the Wall

posted Sep 6, 2012, 12:54 AM by Sue Norris   [ updated Sep 6, 2012, 2:44 AM ]

A beautiful day exploring the streams and channels in the mangrove forests of the UNESCO Kilim Geoforest Park, Langkawi with good friends Taffy and Shirley from the yacht, The ROAD

Hole in the wall Video

(Press back arrow to return to blog page)

Music "Rest With Me" from the  "The Sky in your eyes" album by Cary Lewincamp
If you enjoy the music, you can order it, or others, from  www.cary.com.au

Penang Street Art

posted Aug 22, 2012, 3:31 AM by Sue Norris   [ updated Aug 22, 2012, 3:39 AM ]

We just loved the street art in Penang's core zone. It was quirky, clever and surprising us around corners, alleyways and on jetties.
These wire sculptures tell the history of the local streets and lanes



 

 




There are 14 of these in total. We only found a few.
Painted on the side of one of the clan jetties



Wonderful to see art in the open


Penang again

posted Aug 22, 2012, 2:41 AM by Sue Norris   [ updated Aug 30, 2012, 11:15 PM ]

We returned to Penang as we promised ourselves we would, not having enough time to explore it last time we were here. It is easy to walk around and the public bus transport system is excellent.

The two things that strike you, (apart from the decaying architecture, although much of that is being restored, thanks to the UNESCO World heritage classification,) is the food and the number of places of worship here – there are literally hundreds of them – Chinese, Burmese and Thai Buddhist temples, Indian Hindu temples, mosques and Christian churches. They are everywhere, around street corners, in little laneways, on jetties and dominating whole mountaintops. The call to prayer can be heard 5 times daily from around the city and the smell of incence smoke is on the air.


small Chinese family temple on the end of a clan jetty     The large mosque in the centre of Town (Kapitan Keling)


Kek Lok Si temple on the side of a mountain
Dragon sticks (incense) being burnt outside Goddess of Mercy Temple in the city.




                                                               
Some of them are very busy and surprisingly noisy (Chinese opera in the courtyard) the devoted praying and giving offerings to their deities, burning incence, and “money”, . . .while others are quiet, peaceful havens which exude tranquillity. We have visited many of them.



Penang is one of the food capitals of the world. It's hawker stalls are even more exciting and vibrant than Singapore; Singaporeans are even coming here for holidays to sample the food.

There is a huge range of cuisines to choose from and for every wallet size. It is not hard to fill ones stomach for less than RM40 for 2 including drinks. The Chinese and Indian hawker stalls are open from early morning, but as we were here in the holy month of Ramadan, it was only after sunset that Malay stalls and bazaars opened. There are upmarket restaurants here too which serve a wide variety of food from around the world.

We started our days with roti chanai or, if it is a bit later, wonton mee soup, both light and very cheap, roti for less than RM1 and the soup RM2.50 and an ice cold drink of lime juice or iced lemon tea. For dinner the choice is almost limitless. Many shops specialise in just a few dishes – but the way to find out which are the best places is to see where there are lots of locals enjoying their food.

While here we have took the public transport to Batu Feringhi, one of the beachside areas of the island but it was rainy and windy there so we did not get to see it at its best, another time perhaps.

Another trip took us to the hills to visit Kek Lok Si Temple, one of the largest Buddhist temple complex in South East Asia, according to the brochure. It is an evolving and growing complex with the “Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddahs” which is 7 storeys high and then there is the bronze, 30 metre high Godess Kuan Yin (Godess of Mercy) statue which is very impressive, built in 2002. There are a number of steps to climb to get there and there are small stalls selling all sorts of things on the way up. There are several smaller temples and shrines in the complex as well, along with stalls selling prayer accessories, (incence sticks, candles, prayer ribbons) statues of Buddah and other souvenirs and trinkets. We spent several hours there exploring the place.

























The Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin

Then it was off to Penang Hill to travel on the funicular railway to the top. It is 830m above sea level and pleasantly cool up there. On a clear day the view would be stunning but it has been hazy here ever since we arrived and this day, fortunately, was not quite as hazy. We could actually see Lupari 2 in the harbour and across to Butterworth on the other side of the channel.The rail car is on a very steep angle and seems to defy gravity as it ascends the hill, stopping once halfway to let out residents. At the top of the hill there is a Hindu temple and a Mosque. There are walking trails and several touts all vying to take you for a ride around the summit in a golf cart. The going down was even more impressive!!!


Butterworth is a large port facility and transport hub with large bus and train terminals close to the ferry terminal. The ferries run every 20 minutes or so and start at about 5:30 in the morning and finish after midnight. There are no fewer than 3 ferries running at any one time.

We travelled on one of the ferries to Butterworth across the channel to see what was on the other side. We were there for no more than half an hour when it started to spit with rain – a quick dash back to the ferry terminal to get back – we had left the hatches open and I was told that if the bed gets wet I (Sue) will sleep on the wet patch as it was my decisision not to close them. We just missed one ferry and while we were waiting for the next one we had a downpour. Fortunately downpours here are very localised and when we arrived back on Penang Island there was no sign of rain (Phew).

Wandering around the streets of Penang is a true delight – in the “core area” which is the key area of restoration and preservation, we stroll along the streets which are narrow and the shop houses are used for an amazing variety of purposes. It is great to peer inside the many small businesses and see what is happening in there – it could be anything! Many of the narrower streets are one way. Buses, cars, motorbikes, trishaws and bicycles as well as pedestrians use the roadway. In many places there is only the road to walk on. The 5 foot way in front of the shop houses are blocked by parked motor bikes and restaurant tables. 


Surrounding the core area is a buffer zone where the buildings have a different level of preservation order but outside that there are abandoned and falling down buildings alongside demolished buildings and new ones being built.


A trip on the bus took us to Balik Pulau, (The other side of the island) is what it means,via the southern end of the island. It is an area on the western side of the backbone of Penang Island (Penang Hill)and was originally a place where refugees from other parts of Asia came and started market gardens, small spice farms and rice fields. It is a very productive part of the island. We looked around, had lunch, and then caught the bus back over the hill to town. It is good going to other parts of the island to see how other people live. We did this in Langkawi too.

We spent 3 weeks enjoying the food, exploring and catching up with some old friends in Penang as well as getting our visas for Thailand, our next destination, after painting the deck at Langkawi.


Out of the Blue #1

One morning, just as we were getting up, a bumboat with a passenger was heading for our boat. It was Steve, a friend we had met at Iluka in the Clarence River, during the Brisbane floods in January 2011. He was visiting Penang and while walking along the Clan jetties he saw a yacht he recognised, so he came out to say hello. He had been to Penang several times before so he was our tour guide for a few days. It was good to see him and enjoyed his company as he showed us around.


Out of the Blue #2

A small yacht pulled into the Junk Anchorage and the occupant disappeared into town. The next day he motored past in his yacht. “Hi” he said “Remember me?” It was Mark from the moorings in Brisbane, who had sailed his catamaran to Singapore and was living there and had bought this new yacht in Langkawi and was sailing it back. We spent a couple of evenings chewing the fat and catching up before he left to head south and we headed north.

Who would have thought it - two chance meetings of Australian friends in just a couple of weeks (the world is getting smaller)




Langkawi 2

posted Jul 25, 2012, 2:08 AM by Sue Norris   [ updated Aug 1, 2012, 1:14 AM ]

We have been in Langkawi for 2 months. It is a magical place – just like the brochures say. Every day we discover something new, beautiful or surprising.


We have toured it by car as well as circumnavigating it by boat. The scenery is beautiful and varied. One minute we are driving through thick jungle and then there is a rubber plantation and around the next corner are rice fields being planted. Cattle and water buffalo keep roadside grass down and cheeky monkeys sit on the roadside looking for handouts.


It is quiet here now. The streets are almost empty and many of the tour boats and ferries are hanging around idle – waiting . It is the height of the wet season and there are regular squalls which include 30+ knot winds and huge deluges of rain.


And it is the Muslim month of Ramadan where faithful muslims fast between sunrise and sunset. Food stalls have been set up in the towns and villages to cater for the hungry after dark, but during the day in town it is quiet – many restaurants are not open for lunch and many other businesses use this quiet time to close and have their holiday.

We surprised a taxi driver with the request to take us to the Police Headquarters. He seemed horrified that two tourists would need to visit the Police here. The truth was that we had some documents that needed signing and were advised to get them signed at the Police Station. Not knowing where it was, we engaged a cab driver to take us there. He was a bit unsure about driving through the gate and was relieved when we said that he need not wait. . . even though he dutifully asked if we wished him to. The cab drivers here are really nice like that!

The police officers at the front desk were unsure of our request but a friendly Inspector, with reasonable English, understood our need and certified our documents for us.

Then we walked off to the dentist. I have had a problem with a tooth for a while and decided to have it looked at while I was here. We had been recommended a dentist, named Dr Chew. She was very professional and efficient. The filling was done and I was out the door in only a few minutes and it was very reasonably priced. RM 60 for a consultation and filling. ( where would that happen in Australia – and it didn''t even hurt)I think I will go back to have a more detailed check up before we leave here in case there is more work that needs doing.

Next we were off again - this time to the Fiord and the Lake of the Pregnant maiden, a fresh water lake close to the ocean. You can tie up boats at the jetty and it is only a short walk to the lake where there is infrastructure for safe swimming. Some say that if you swim in the lake you will become fertile. All we know is that we were no maidens . . .Sue and friend, Shirley, went for a swim here in the cool fresh water, with out fear of becoming pregnant.. We did not take cameras here because the monkeys have a reputation for taking anything that looks like a package, although we were not troubled by them. Some people were but they had food.

the Fiord is a magical quiet spot between 2 islands with very steep slopes and is well protected from all directions. So calm and still..



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