Port Dickson and Melaka: 02:28.6N, 101:50.8E

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Tue 21 Nov 2023 06:51

Our second stop on the Malaysia rally was Admiral Marina at Port Dickson.  It was a 140 mile trip from Puteri: back down the Johor Strait past Singapore, then north into the Malacca Strait.  This is historically pirate country but we had been reassured that yachts like us were not targets.  We made the passage almost entirely under motor over three days with overnight stops at two islands.  The winds here are light and often contrary: when they pick up it’s usually ahead of one of the frequent thunderstorms, and there are tides up to 3 knots in the Straits so we are all using our engines a lot, with the result that there has been a rash of engine failures in the fleet.  On this passage we stopped to deliver some transmission fluid to Bliss, who had an overheating gear box and had been unable to make progress under sail with the light winds and contrary current.  That enabled them to motor slowly as far as Port Dickson.

Puteri to Admiral Marina at Port Dickson, passing Melaka on the way
Admiral Marina is part of a resort, so we were able to use the bar, restaurant and pool but the downside was the loud music from the bar until late at night.  We have been having our own engine problems, so Phil spent our first couple of days there trying to resolve them.  Our batteries had also been failing for some time and we had finally been able to get decent replacements courtesy of James, who runs another of the marinas we are using on this rally.  James delivered the new ones to us in Admiral and Phil wrestled them into their box.  Now we don’t have to switch the fridge off overnight!
The city of Melaka (previously Malacca) sits at the narrowest point of the Malacca Strait, a strategic position on east/west trade routes that made it a wealthy place.  It was founded in the 14th Century by Prince Parameswara a Hindu and exile from the advance of Islam in Indonesia.  At times in its history it was Portuguese, Dutch and finally British, until Malaya got its independence in 1957, and there are large Chinese and Indian populations making for a vibrant and interesting city.  It’s only a couple of hours by road from Port Dickson and we joined a small group from the rally on a two day visit.
On the first day we visited the old colonial buildings of Dutch Square (also known as Red Square for obvious reasons), then had a bit of fun in the Upside Down House before having lunch in Nancy’s Kitchen, a Baba Nonya restaurant.  Baba Nonya is one of the names given to the Straits Chinese people resulting from the marriage of Chinese men and Malay women and the cuisine is a fusion of the cultures and very tasty. After lunch we had a river cruise.  The river is more like a canal and winds its way through the middle of the town between brightly painted bars and cafes, and traditional Malay houses.  It was very pretty, and even more so when we walked back at night when it was colourfully lit.

Red Square

Upside down house.  All the furniture is on the ceiling.  You take your picture standing on the floor then turn it upside down

Bars and cafes line the river

Together with painted buildings

And traditional style houses

Pretty by day

And colourful by night
Our hotel was modern and comfortable with two luxuries: air conditioning and a bath.  The bath could be pivoted so you could take in the view over the city and out to sea from the 27th floor!  More Baba Nonya food for supper in Wild Coriander in the city centre, followed by a bottle of wine shared between a small group outside a bar, as the restaurant did not serve alcohol.


With a view

Inside Wild Coriander the conversation must have taken a serious turn.  The restaurant was as colourful inside as the city is outside

After dinner drinks in a street bar with Jane and Mark (9 Lives) and Therese and Claude (Swiss Lady)

There was nothing organised for the second day, so we wandered the streets of China Town, including the famous Jonker Street.  At the weekend this is host to the Jonker Street night market, but by day in mid week you could actually see the beautiful old buildings.  Before leaving we returned to Red Square where the church was now open and walked to the ruined Dutch fort, which one of our group was keen to see.

Old buildings with painted shutters on Jonkers Street

And beautiful temples of China Town

Inside the red church (Christ Church)

The Dutch fort dates back to 1511

This replica of a sultan’s palace is a museum
Back on Serenity, we had planned to stay another night in the marina but the music from the bar was so bad that we checked out the following morning and continued north.