Sunday, July 06, 2014

Marvelous Malacca

There are so many sounds associated with sailing. The wind, the water rushing past the hull, rigging, stores moving around with the motion of the sea. Having gotten used to these typical sea sounds, we have tuned then out and don't notice them. However if there is a new sound, however slight, our ears perk up.

Yesterday when almost at the "treasure island", we heard just that. It was just a faint pop. Jordan sensed it was coming from the cabinet where the watermaker pump and filters are. He immediately checked it which was fortunate because the watermaker filter housing had split and it was spraying a mist of sea water. We had an extra filter housing but were short 1 small fitting, so the repair would have to wait.

Our "treasure island" was only a couple of hours from the City of Malacca (aka Melaka) so we upped the anchor at 13:00 and headed there where we dropped anchor on July 5th (N02°10.828' E102°14.313'). Here, we thought we would be able to find the needed part.

We were immediately surprised at the sights of Malacca. It seemed to be a very clean and happening city. Our 1st thing to do was find a hardware store and hopefully the needed part. This was accomplished in short order so we had the rest of the day for exploring.

We discovered several large malls and many, many hotels. This is obviously a tourist city and it has been declared a World Heritage City. Its history is most notable for being an ancient trading port servicing the earliest merchant marines from all over the globe. Consequently there remains a motley culture and blood including Indian, Chinese, and even European.

Colonial architecture

To get oriented, we rode up in a rotating observation booth that circled a single tower structure and ascended about 100 metres to take in the panoramic view of the city. With map in hand, we could see the Chinese sector, the canal with its walkways, and even Sea Turtle all alone at anchor. What a difference from the heyday of merchant marine trade where there apparently could be as many as 100 foreign vessels anchored out front.

Bird's-eye view of Malacca

Canal cruising

We crossed a small bridge to the north side of the canal to walk down Jonker Street. We felt as if we were in China - not Malaysia! The street that Saturday night, as usual, was reserved for vendors of all kinds and pedestrians and it was packed with both. Delicious smells emanated from a great variety of interesting foods being sampled. There were creative crafts and clothes, bright art, and even souvenirs. Sadly, we even saw vendors selling "miracle cures" such as bear gall bladders.

Hub-bub of Jonker Street

Delicious fish ball soup

We enjoyed a light Chinese meal (Chinese food here is different from North America) before returning to the boat for another quiet night.

The next morning with the needed part in hand, Jordan fixed the watermaker. That done, we headed ashore to see more sights and learn more about the interesting history of this place. The displays inside the Maritime Museum - a replicated 16th century Portuguese galleon - were very enlightening. The original galleon has been lying lost somewhere on the seabed for over 500 years.

Tourists could take a tour on colourful bicycles (trishaws) decorated with glitz and glitter unique to each.

For the young at heart

The last thing we did was take advantage of the availability of a large supermarket before dinghying back to Sea Turtle for a 2nd night at anchor in front of historical Malacca.

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