Sunday, December 17, 2023

Finally Escaped from Pangkor Marina

A few days ago, after 2 weeks of fairly frantic activity--completing boat projects, provisioning, getting cat annual visits, moving out of the condo, etc etc, we finally left Pangkor Marina.

Finally Underway!

It was bittersweet. While we are REALLY excited about getting out cruising again, we will really miss everyone, both staff and cruisers, at Pangkor Marina. The Pangkor staff is just fantastic. Led by James Khoo, but supported by Akina, Ruz, Adam, (and several others) in the office, and Shah, Fifi, Fikri, Akmal, (and several others) in the marina and yard, we couldn't have had a better place to spend a year. Yes, A YEAR!

James' monthly (and sometimes more often) BBQ's, where beer, soft drinks, and grilled meat are provided free by the marina, is just one of the thoughtful things that give the marina a very nice community feel. The amenities like a pretty well-stocked marine store (and help sourcing parts they don't stock, from anywhere in SE Asia), free wifi in the air conditioned "library", inexpensive housing across the street from the marina, rental cars by the hour, and a lively Whatsapp group, the marina feels like home.

We did, in all fairness, do two 2 1/2 months visits to the USA, 22 days in Vietnam/Laos, and a long weekend in Cameron Highlands. We got LOTS done that needed doing--most significant being stripping 8 years of bottom paint and getting a new "good for 4 years" bottom job.

Other things that I can think of off the top of my head that we accomplished... 2 new alternators, new start battery, many small electrical upgrades, rebalanced our LifePO4 batteries, major saildrive maintenance, new propane hoses, new awnings, sail maintenance, liferaft tested and repacked, fire extinguishers serviced, new electric outboard (ePropulsion), new B&G digital radar, new Nav Computer, new flooring in the main cabin (faux teak), boat polishing, rudders straightened (again). We also purchased and learned how to use a Starlink internet terminal, so now we will have real internet when we go offshore.

After agonizing over what kind of bottom paint to use (Chugoku, Jotun, International, CopperCoat), we settled on a new formulation offered by International Marine... International AP. It is an ablative paint formulated for high fouling areas and for slower boats that tend to sit in one place for weeks at a time (ie cruising sailboats). International says we should get 4 years out of it. James arranged for a professional team from International Marine in Singapore to come to Pangkor to apply it, and teach the Pangkor crew how to do it next time. Because we are a test boat, we've agreed to send back periodic updates on how it is doing--they wanted to make sure the paint was applied per International specs.
Beautiful International AP Bottom Paint!

We purchased but have not installed yet, new catamaran nets from MultihullNets (aka Sunrise Yacht Products in St. Pete, FL). Pictured in this link are the nets that came installed on our boat when we bought it. But we have now upgraded to full "offshore" nets, with a strong open weave, more suitable to surviving the open ocean. Pics of those once installed (soon!)

Sherry had fun hanging out with the ladies--morning walks and "water dancing" in the pool for exercise. Dave had fun exchanging technical information with all the guys in the marina. We each took the time to give at least one "class" in the marina "library" to share some of our knowledge and experiences. Sherry on OpenCPN, Dave on LifePO4 batteries. (These presentations can be found at

We enjoyed having a car for most of the time. One downside of Pangkor is its distance from the main part of town, with, astonishingly, no regular bus system. Grab (the "Uber" of SE Asia) cars are scarce at peak times from the marina. The marina will rent a "beater" for a cheap price by the hour, so you aren't completely stuck. But we opted to rent a car by the month. A nearly new air conditioned small car is only about $250/mo.

The weather since we left 5 days ago has been stinky... low overcast and drizzly with wind out of the north (on our nose, of course). Yesterday it finally cleared up, and we had the tide with us, for once. We were making 8 knots under sail (and current) for 4-5 hours.

We are now in Kuah, Langkawi, Malaysia, getting ready to check out for Thailand. We made a quick stop in Penang to try to get Thai Visas, but the timing didn't work out. We are on a schedule to get checked into Phuket Thailand before Christmas, because some of our friends from last years' rally have organized a big Christmas Day lunch that we want to attend. So waiting over the weekend in Penang wouldn't have worked. We did spend half a day sightseeing (taking the local 50-cent bus into town). Could easily have spent several weeks in Penang exploring.

Likewise, we will only stay a day in Langkawi. Another place worthy of a month or two to explore and savor. But, alas, "You can't see everything."