Friday, July 04, 2014

Treasures galore

We got an early start at 08:00 on July 4th as we motor-sailed with only the slightest of wind, continuing northward up the west coast of Malaysia. And also it was early anchoring at 15:00 in emerald green ocean waters where we found an idyllic protected spot by a beautiful little island. One in a group just south of the City of Malacca. We chose Nangka Island (N02°04.546' E102°20.036') where there was a short strip of pretty beach.

We went ashore to do some beachcombing and scouting. A man approached us from a tented area and told us we had to leave. He said we needed a permit. It seemed strange, but as he was very insistent, we decided to get back in the dinghy and head to another island close by.

As we circled the island, we talked to a couple of idle police in their drifting boat. They explained Nangka Island's restriction was because there were signs of treasure on it and there was a secure archaeological dig going on, therefore no visitors allowed. That explained it. The history of this area of the globe is saturated in intrigue.

Early European countries battled for domination here to control trade and procurement of riches which included precious spices among others. Add to that a pervasion of Asian pirates. Ships were constantly being sacked and bootie taken. They were truly swashbuckling days.

The indolent floating police then told us that perhaps we should head over to "that island" pointing to the 1 with the lighthouse. "Many mangoes" they said. Right, that's a good enough reason. So off we went to Undan Island in the dinghy. There we were met by the caretaker who said it was fine to take some mangoes and to walk up to the top for a view.

As we were collecting mangoes, the caretaker came along and insisted on helping. He knew the best tasting ones. After 2 big bags full, we said "No more!" Then as Jordan asked for a sprouting coconut that lay under a coconut tree (at that stage of sprout, the inside is our favourite coconut that the South Pacific Islanders call nafara) he said sure and then disappeared. He came back with 3 more nafaras. So in spite of being swashbuckled by the other islanders, we found treasures of our own!

Our treasure!

Back at Sea Turtle, with just a hint of breeze to subdue the heat, we had dinner in the cockpit while the birds chirped and the brilliant orange sun sunk below the horizon, making it a perfect evening...

...until we were rudely awoken at 22:30 by a loud siren and a searchlight on Sea Turtle. Jordan jumped up and some other police told us to "Move! Now! Far away!" We tried to explain it was dangerous to move a sailboat in the dark in unfamiliar waters. But they insisted. So with a bit of guidance from them, we carefully moved Sea Turtle a short distance to N02°06.330' E102°20.535', 2 islands away from the island where the buried treasure might be. After all, we might be pirates!!

As we moved to relocate, we were given a light show from a storm cell not far away. The lightning bolts had a beautiful and unusual orange tinge from the smoky haze.

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