Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Legendary Langkawi

We left Penang Island July 15th, passing close to lots of marine traffic going both ways in a lane that was dredged in shallows that extended a few miles out. Freighters, pilot boats, ferries, fishing boats, a cruiseship, and a big tug.

We all shared the aqua medium with a profusion of garbage. Contributors to this unnatural blight are mostly coastal populations but also indigenous maritimers with surprisingly little consideration to fragile ocean environment. Sailors are as a rule very conscious not to discard any non-biodegradable waste.

As we motored merrily along, we finally noticed some of the "fish stakes" that are mentioned on the charts at various spots along these coastal areas. These look just like skinny tree branches sticking high up out of the ocean. It would be impossible to see them at night and in fact they are hard to spot even in daylight until you get quite close.

The day started out sunny but the skies turned a dreary grey and brought with it high winds, up to gale force winds for a short bit. Winds were on the beam so it was no problem even though we were getting some waves over the deck. The winds consistently slowed, along with a directional change, which eventually put a mild breeze against us.

We had planned on possibly doing an overnight stop at Paya Island. It was said there were mooring balls we could hook onto, and it being a Marine Park, has apparently some good snorkelling. But the state and direction of the sea waves made the anchorage less than desirable so we pressed on.

As the daylight waned, we made the Langkawi archipelago of the Andaman Sea. We set anchor for the night tucked in between 2 small islands just before 20:00 close to the southwest end of the bigger Island of Langkawi (N06°14.475' E099°52.206'). This archipelago has 104 islands at high tide (99 at low tide!) with only 2 inhabited - Langkawi and nearby Tuba. This will be our last Malaysian stop before heading into Thailand waters.

The next morning, it was a short jaunt up to the main bay and harbour of the town of Kuah on the main Island, setting anchor (N06°18.817' E099°50.619') amidst about 30 other sailboats plus an abundance of other commercial vessels. Ashore in the high heat and humidity, we walked around to get familiarized with the area.

The word "Langkawi" means "reddish-brown eagle" in Malaysian. A large statue is located at the marina next to our anchorage and we noticed several of the stately birds flying overhead - a very definitive name choice.

Marina statue

As Langkawi is duty free, we plan on stocking up with a few items. We found a small supermarket and small mall - nothing as large as at Penang - and stopped for our favourite treat, iced coffee!

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