Pulau Paya: racing for buoys.

Mon 28 Mar 2011 01:09
Recent position P Paya, 6:03.9N 100:02.753E
Current Position, Tanjung City Marina, Penang, 5:24.854N 100:20.641E
27th March 2011
Set off yesterday from Langkawi with everything ship shape, Bristol fashion, plus 15 metres of brand new 16mm black nylon mooring warp: I was headed for Penang Marina, with fearsome surges from the adjacent car ferry dock, and where multiple mooring lines pay big dividends.
Quite a stormy day, with appreciable wind for the first time for ages, and heavy rain. But no more procrastination:lets go. Last minute advice from the dock experts: try taking the Diving School mooring off Pulau Paya: you can rest up for the night and be in Penang during daylight the next day. Having previously arrived in Penang at midnight I could see the big advantage of this, so I went cap in hand to the Dive school, and was given permission to use their mooring buoy, and was even given a little map of little P Paya with the buoy marked. It's a marine protected park, no anchoring on the coral, such as it is, it is the only coral for miles in these northerly parts. Thus armed I set off with up to 15 kts of wind behind me, sailing for the first time for months. An enjoyable trip until I began to close the little Island of Palau (that means island) Paya: out on my starboard side I was being rapidly overhauled by a large yacht steaming along with his engine on. Paranoia set in at once: he is going to try and get there first, he knows there is only one buoy, he is going to steal it from me! I mouthed a lusty barrage of abuse as he eased clear ahead, and as I waved cheerily from about 4 cables distance. Fifteen minutes later we rounded up under the lee of the Island, where we discovered three nice big soft plastic mooring buoys, none occupied. The dive schol buoy was a huge metal device: to be avoided at all costs by yachts which are allways colliding with their mooring buoys as the currents, tides, and winds orchestrate a merry dance. Big boy did of course choose the most protected mooring, but her crew was then kind enough to come over in their towed dinghy to help me tie up, The skipper didn't let on whether he knew about these new uncharted moorings or not, but best of friends now, and we congratulated each other on our chosen strategy for the Penang approach.
The second days leg of 50 miles was quite uneventful, the usual Straits weather of 0-10 kts of variable wind, engine on, 4.5 kts over the ground, an 11 hour daylight run. Nice weather, no thunderstorms. Directed to a berth in Tangung City Marina, always a difficult tie up with the surging current, and I didn't notice till the first lines were secured that I was next to Big Boy, Its such a small world, but of course I kept all thoughts of littleness to myself. In the night his still lowered towed dinghy swung round and its big outboard slammed my topsides. So up I was securing it to a cleat on the dockside using an ostentateously large knot, under the moonlight.
Tomorrow I have to go and check in, so that I may check out the day after! My cunning plan this time is to steal a few miles by leaving late afternoon and anchoring out under the lee of P Rimau. This will get me beyond the poorly marked 'second crossing' mainland bridge construction work, and out into clear water with 65 miles to the next thundersrtorm proof harbour. Starting to wonder if the anchorage will turn out to be big enough for me, big boy, and big boy's dinghy.
PS Good manners, concern for harmonious European relationships, and fear of my wife all conspire to prevent me from disclosing the Nationality of 'Big Boy'.
PPS two bonus points if you spotted scouting for girls. The next round is Mornington Crescent.