Port Dickson, Pangkor, Penang, Langkawi
27th November to 20th December
Another month sailing northwards (with drifting and motoring) takes us to Langkawi and Christmas time.
First then, I wish you a Merry Christmas, a good holiday, and health and happiness for 2019.
Malaysia has its share of seasonal stuff too, though lacking the scale and frantic intensity of Europe: but still with Christmas trees and twinkly lights, plump pink-faced Father Christmases, snow-dusted reindeer and so on. It seems absurd in a predominantly Islamic society where the climate is oppressively hot, brain-dribbling and humid (to the point where both snowflakes and overdressed Father Christmases would instantly turn to puddles of ploop). But Christmas here sells chocolate and colourful strings of flashing lights – all to the soundtrack of “Love Actually” piped insistently around the giant local shopping mall.
On the sailing front, I’ve enjoyed the company of friend Adrian on the sail from Pangkor to Langkawi.
We’ve anchored in beautiful coves, swum in murky Melaka Straits waters, admired the sea eagles, monkeys and dolphins, eaten too well in many seaside spots – and took a full fortnight to drink the first bottle of whisky.
Winds have been fickle and seas usually calm, but the scenery as we near the Thai border is wonderfully improved over southern Malaysia; Langkawi island itself especially charming with its tree-cloaked hills and mountains and over 90 small offshore islands, providing endless blissful empty anchorages.
The small low-key Rally, ‘Sail to Langkawi’, is over. Our final dinner evening and the next night’s cocktail party (alas! no cocktails) became border-line emotional as many friends bravely kissed and hugged farewells.
For many of us it was the end of over five months’ adventures and shared excitements, so tears were often near the surface, hearts bursting with emotions (not at all British, of course, but these folk are mainly from more advanced nations).
Langkawi (and nearby Phuket) signal a decision time. Sailors must choose to go southwest then via Sri Lanka west via Suez to the Mediterranean, or via South Africa, or southeast round Singapore and on east to Philippines and North Pacific, or back to New Zealand/Australia, or linger around here for a year or two or more. Seasonal winds (monsoons and cyclones and stuff) mean timing choices are limited, and decisions must be made soon. It all gives me a headache – so, taking a cue from British government, I haven’t made up my mind.
I’m sure, I think I’m sure, everything will be fine in 2019…………..