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Our Steiner Binoculars
are coming in pretty handy
in these busy waters

< Wake of the Ma'ohi

Read Dream Time's Nov/Dec
story in Cruising World

December 30, 2018    |   Koh Lipe, Thailand - Longshafts are gathering, the bars are stocked and the forecast for celebrating New Year's Eve in Thailand is looking good.

December 29, 2018 (Day 4,230)
Quick Fix: 06° 14.3 N / 99° 43.4 E
Pangkor, Malaysia

A Little Monkey
Our time in Malaysia has come to an end, tomorrow we will raise our anchor, set our sails and turn the bow north-northwest to Thailand. It's a day trip rather than a voyage, just a 25 nautical mile hop, a 5-hour Sunday sail between countries. But after two months of motoring through the windless, muddy Malacca Straits, the promise of a new region with a nice breeze and clear waters is an exciting way to welcome the New Year. We rented a car yesterday, a Malaysian-made Proton ($2 an hour), and drove around the island for a farewell tour of Langkawi. Macaques gathered along side of the road, perched atop the rusty barricades that separate bitumen from jungle, and watched us as we trundled past in a manner that suggested they had assembled to see us off. We later discovered it was the food in the car that drew them to us. Still, it was a pleasant farewell and the little monkeys did seem a little sad to see us go.

December 27, 2018    |   Langkawi, Malaysia - A walk amongst the clouds on a Sky Bridge suspended 2,178 feet above Dream Time.

December 25, 2018 (Day 4,226)
Quick Fix: 06° 14.3 N / 99° 43.4 E
Pangkor, Malaysia

A Cool Christmas
Somehow, with nary a snow flurry, the air temperature hovering around 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the ocean a sticky 85 degrees, we've managed to find a little Christmas Spirit. Perhaps it was donning festive headgear that got us in the mood? The gifts we found under the mast or the mince pies we scoffed last night whilst watching Elf on TV? But Christmas in Malaysia has been a real treat. We celebrated this morning with a six mile dinghy tour around the islands of Langkawi. We made some delightful new friends from Uganda, and had a festive toast with fresh coconut cocktails on a beach surrounded by vacationing Malaysian and Indian families, who seemed just a little bewildered by our springy reindeer antler antennas and jolly sunglasses. We’re anchored off an uninhabited island now, the sun is setting and monkeys are playing on the beach. Merry Christmas everyone, and Happy New Year!


December 25, 2018    |   Langkawi, Malaysia - A Christmas dinghy cruise around Palau Jong.

December 25, 2018    |   Langkawi, Malaysia - The Langkawi labyrinth - a 99 island archipelago to explore.


December 24, 2018    |   Langkawi, Malaysia - Christmas Eve in the Jewel of Kedah - how will Santa ever find us?


Day 4,221 - Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
20:37hrs - December 20, 2018
A Little Faulty Towers in the Highlands

A few hours drive inland and up some hot twisty narrow mountain roads there’s a cool highlands version of Malaysia. The cooler climate of the Cameron Highlands attracts anyone able to escape the the steamy coastal towns. It also rains a lot up there so it's great for anyone who is inclined to a green thumb. Everything green that likes hot humid sunshine and buckets of rain grows there, anything from tea to all year round strawberries to orchids. 

To avoid the weekend traffic we made our way up there on a steamy Monday. Because there's only one logical road up there, if you go at the weekend and someone happens to break down in front of you on the way up, then you'll probably spend the whole day in your hot car in a long hot traffic jam, tragically without ever meeting a single strawberry, actually that happens during the week too.

After slowly winding our way up to the top past tiny green canopied villages on stilts, it started to pour with rain so instead of a rainy walk we opted for a rainy drive to inspect the acres and acres of mountainside tea and the all year round strawberries before making our way to the hotel we'd chosen online. 

When we got to The Smoke House, or as the sign proudly said ‘Ye Olde Smoke House’ a smiling umbrella holding person met us at the entrance and showed us to a comfy sofa inside while he prepared our check in. We were offered a nice cup of tea before being shown to our room overlooking the rainy garden. The main building was built in the 1920s, quite old for Malaysia and there was lots of dark heavy wood and small corridors to explore. Our room was lovely and old too, a little worn and dusty at the edges but convincingly authentic, I even found an old bath which I immediately filled with hot soapy water and spent the rest of the afternoon in, with a cup of tea! 

Before dinner the manager suggested a drink at the bar which was a lovely small dark wood lined room with a cozy wood burning fire, which took all of my willpower not adjust or add too much wood to, while he regaled us with mostly true stories about the hotel. Dinner turned out to be a perfectly Faulty Towers experience complete with Waldorf Salad and a very formal and eager to please silver service waiter with patchy English who presented us with a strange interpretation of ‘Christmas Dinner’ which oddly included a pickled onion.  Which was lovely.

December 16, 2018    |   Pangkor Island, Malaysia - Free at last! Dream Time anchored after 3 weeks of routine boat projects. Thai waters await just 100 nm to the north.

December 14, 2018    |   Cameron Highlands, Malaysia - Taking a spot of tea in the misty highlands.

December 13, 2018 (Day 4,214)
Quick Fix: 04° 12.6 N / 100° 36.1 E
Pangkor, Malaysia

Hotel California
We checked in at Pangkor Marina for just three days but stayed a month. Affectionately known as 'Hotel California' within the cruising community it can, indeed, be a difficult place to leave. The staff make you feel welcome from the moment you arrive and all manner of boat services - from a complete refit to a little polishing - are available, and at rates so low it may make you feel just a little guilty when it's time to pay. It's a charmingly queer place, too, where the streets are decorated with hundred of yellow bathtubs; trespassers, it seems, may be shot in the back, and it's the only marina we've visited where you can BBQ and do a load of laundry at the same time. You can also shower whilst sitting on the loo! We like it here, but unfortunately so do the rats. A few found their way onboard boats (our neighbors on both sides) and also yachts on the hard. Traps are set each night by management and most mornings imprison meek looking occupants who, sadly, definitely won't be allowed to leave.


December 1, 2018 (Day 4,202)
Quick Fix: 04° 12.6 N / 100° 36.1 E
Penang, Malaysia

Discovering Art on The Streets of Penang
We've spent a week exploring the island of Penang and the crumbling UNESCO streets of George Town, the island's capital city named in the 1700s to honor King George III. Today George Town is a bustling city, the second largest in Malaysia, and has the traffic congestion to prove it. The narrow streets within the original city, once the center of the region's spice trade, is a satisfying fusion of colonial and Asian architecture complete with Chinese lanterns, crooked window shutters and tiled roofs. Thick slabs of plaster have fallen away in many areas to reveal worn stacks of dusty red brick that appear held together more by gravity than cement. And endearing art can be appreciated down almost every street and alleyway. Some we found using popular guidebooks while others, like a crouched Hindu woman praying amongst the old roots of a banyan tree, we were thrilled to discover all on our own, and far from the crowds.