Sunday, March 29, 2015

Maze of mangroves

We left Telaga Harbour of Langkawi Island (Malaysia) on March 28th at 14:30, arriving 4.5 hours later at the northeast corner of Langkawi Island (N06°27.433' E099°49.943'), near our destination of a place locally known at the Hole in the Wall.

We tucked into a very quiet anchorage, drinking in the beauty and serenity with only 1 other boat anchored, a trimaran from Canada. We noticed construction happening which appeared to be the making of an extension to the area.

The next morning, with computer and GPS in hand, we jumped in the dinghy to find the Hole in the Wall. Why a computer and GPS? This geopark area is a real maze of creeks and narrow gorges surrounded by gnarled mangroves and precipitous limestone karsts which are 480 million years old! So if we got lost, at least we would be able to find our way around and also our way back to Sea Turtle. Jordan only confirmed his navigation twice with the computer and we were spot on.

There were many tour boats with paying customers but we in our dinghy got the advantage of a free ride. Our first sighting was a sky full of majestic white and golden orange coloured eagles swooping with celerity down to the water, making it very difficult to capture them photographically.

As we continued onward, there were numerous troops of monkeys among the mangroves watching all the boats, staring back anxiously expecting handouts as everyone stopped for the perfect photo.

Mangrove monkey

We soon slowly went through a narrow man-made cut...

Cut through the karsts

We finally made it to the Hole in the Wall where on the cliffs of the entrance was a natural form resembling a human face.

Guarding the entrance

We pulled our dinghy up to one of several basic floating open-air restaurants all in a line. The one we stopped at had an interesting fish farm. Below in the water in nets were blue blooded horseshoe crabs with helmet shaped heads, LARGE grouper fish, local sting rays that would glide to the top of the water to be hand-fed, and many more varieties. The blood of horseshoe crabs is bright BLUE, not red, due to the presence of copper in their blood. This blood is presently worth $60,000 a gallon in the global industry for medical uses.

Crab's eye is dark spot at center (copied from internet)

What I found to be the most startling was a small fish called an archerfish. I have never heard of it before but Jordan has seen them on nature shows in the past. A employee of the fish farm would stick a piece of fish flesh to a board overhanging the water. The fish would circle around eyeing it up. Then with incredible accuracy, they would spit a shot of water up about a meter for a direct hit knocking it into the water where it would be gobbled up. Amazing!! What is intriguing to biologists is that light rays refract when they enter the water and somehow the archerfish naturally adjust its aim to compensate.

2 archerfish shooting at crickets (copied from internet)

We found our way back through the mangrove maze to Sea Turtle without the use of computer or GPS, and along the way, we also found a low tunnel (one of many tunnels and caves) that we dinghied through. Cool!

Nature's tunnel

It rained later in the evening, an indication of the rainy season that is slowly approaching...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Back on board

I spent 6 weeks back in Canada with family and friends where I even had the opportunity to go up to northern country to visit my Grandson and Great Granddaughter. She loves to have her photo taken, but my Grandson hates to have his taken!

More beautiful everyday

The weather back home was exceptionally good for winter time, but of course Jordan was in hot and humid Malaysia. When I arrived back on February 28th to the thick heat, I found walking only a couple of blocks exhausting and where time was the only means to acclimate.

But getting back out on the water and being back with my loving Captain was the most welcoming home coming. Jordan had anchored (N06°16.435' E099°43.663') conveniently close to the village, but many seadoos and motor boats pulling para-sailors speedily through the sky all about created agitated seas that rocked and rolled us till dusk. We soon decided it was time for quietude so we headed out to some ideal spots around the Langkawi archipelago.

March 6th arrived with sunlit seas and favourable winds as we sailed the entire 3 hours northward to Telaga Harbour (N06°21.717' E099°40.696').

Several boats were in the Harbour well protected by 2 small outer islets with sandy beaches. Nearby was a mock lighthouse that marked the narrow channel into the marina restaurants and other facilities. One evening on one of the little islets, we had a fire and potluck supper with fellow boaters. A little relaxing mellifluous guitar music by another boater provided some entertainment.

Occasionally the wind piped up, causing the sea to lave the shores with small agitated waves.

Ashore internet was available and was usually not too bad. We were unable to connect from Sea Turtle. Price was inexpensive at 5 Ringgits per 24 hours ($1.35) or even better at 18 Ringgits for an entire week ($4.87). Laundry service was available as well as several nice Harbour view restaurants, a store with basically "junk food" items, and a gas station. Other than that, Telaga is somewhat out of the way and with that it provides a certain calm atmosphere.

We found an area that had a badminton net set up under shade. We spent several early evenings batting the birdie back and forth and then quenching our thirst with delicious, tall, strong, 2 for 1 margaritas at a restaurant afterwards. This bit of exercise gave us a break from what was becoming a daily routine of just hanging out.

A couple of times we rented a motorscooter for the 15-minute ride to the small town of Peland or a little further to Kuah where we could find a good variety of groceries and supplies. In the park of Kuah, is a beautiful lily pond where the lilies were in bloom.

Even the bees found them attractive!