Settling in to Langkawi 1- 12 October

david and margaret ritchie
Sat 21 Oct 2006 11:46
Our arrival in the evening at Kuah bay was in lovely conditions but the next
morning we woke to a typical Scottish west coast scene of wall to wall rain
and cloud. We had to check in with the immigration, customs and
harbourmaster and had to wait until well after noon before the rain stopped
enough for us to go ashore in the dinghy.
The next 3- 4 days were a marked improvement on this with periods of hot
sunshine but still very violent squalls hitting us occasionally. One squall
which we recorded at just over 50 knots caused the failure of our wind
generator( supposedly rated at 100mph) and a couple of boats dragged but
it did not last long. . After this there was still the occasional tropical
downpour but the force had gone out of the winds and the occasional
soaking was a relief in the heat.
Langkawi was like many Asian places , full of life and very picturesque
but a bit grotty when compared to the travel brochure and Disney
presentations of these places. At first the grotty bits, the noise and the
poverty loom large but soon the character of the place comes through and we
found that day on day,we were more comfortable and at home, and finding more
and more plus points.
Although happy at anchor, we needed to find a marina to leave the yacht.
Our first approach to the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club in Kuah
was a bit of a downer, as they could only offer us a temporary berth for a
couple of days but we landed up with a choice of berths at the other two
marinas only a few miles away. Our final choice was on pile moorings at the
Telaga Harbour Marina, a very posh place surrounded by upmarket hotels and
restaurants.Pile moorings have the advantage of being considered safer in
the event of another tsunami. Another advantage is that they were
significantly cheaper!
Compared to the UK and even Turkey, we found the yachtie population very
friendly and helpful and there was virtually no pretentiousness. Most people
were very far travelled , some from South Africa; Americans ,Canadians and
Europeans who had mostly come in the opposite direction from us, across the
Pacific,and of course a majority of New Zealanders and Australians, some of
whom made the skipper seem downright extravagant in his financial dealings,
a most unusual state of affairs. Manywere considering the trip up to the Med
and were apprehensive about the Gulf of Aden.and the Red Sea..The yachts
were evenly divided between catamarans and monohulls , the newer and larger
yachts tending to be cats, while many of theolder yachts were relatively
small monohulls, around 36 foot, which were obviously in need of some
maintenance but which had covered some considerable sea miles..
The local population are very kindly disposed to the yachties many of whom
are long term residents and have bought properties on the island
It is quite common for restaurants to give a yachtie discount and some even
had yachtie special menus in recognition of the fact that they were not
short term tourists
A striking feature of the locals was the friendliness and helpfulness
which was very much as we had remembered Thailand. Malaysia could be
Thailand but without the razzamatazz. Visiting the Travel Agents to arrange
our tickets home was pure entertainment.The two girls could have sold me a
ticket to the moon.
Telaga harbour is a pretty upmarket location but still very inexpensive in
U.K.terms.We were disappointed to have to leave Alienkat and are looking
forward to returning in February to start our exploration of the area which
seems to be full of good anchorages. It will take us a few years to fully
explore Malaysia and Thailand and at present we have no plans for further
long trips.