Langkawi and the end of the rally: Telaga Harbour 06:21.7N, 99:40.7E

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Tue 19 Dec 2023 07:10

The final hop of the Sail Malaysia rally was a 55 mile passage to Langkawi, a group of 99 islands just off the coast of Malaysia and a few miles south of the Thai border.  As well as being a popular sailing area due to the large number of islands and bays it is a big holiday destination, so we were expecting it to be busy.  We were up at 6:15 to be ready to leave at daybreak and were the first of the day’s fleet to head off, followed by Ozone and 9 Lives.  We were soon sailing and sailed to within 3 miles of Langkawi, which was a pleasant change after all the motoring recently.  We even had to reef at one point.

We anchored at Telek Chawi on Pulau Dayang Bunting - the first island we came to.  It was a small bay with towering cliffs, white sand and ospreys, but no wi-fi!  Jane and Mark from 9 Lives were in the same spot and gave us a lift ashore for sundowners on the beach, a good end to a nice day

Telek Chawi.  

As we have come further north in Malaysia we have seen more and more squid fishermen.  They go out at night and sit in the same spot using powerful green lights to attract the squid.  Everywhere we go now the night sky is aglow with green and there seem to be huge numbers of them around Langkawi.

Every light source is a separate Squid Boat.  How are there any squid left?

Squid boat close up in Telaga Harbour.  Tiny boat, huge lamps

We had a further couple of nights anchored by Dayang Bunting with noisy jet skis and motor boats around as it was the weekend, then we joined many of the rally boats and a number of local cruisers at Pulau Singa Besar, the next island north, for a morning’s beach clean followed by lunch on the beach.

Dramatic scenery around Pulau Dayang Bunting



We collected just under 700 kilos of rubbish, almost half of it plastic, and then our lunch was delivered - in plastic takeaway trays, in plastic carrier bags and accompanied by bottled water! 

Another night at anchor at Pulau Singa Besar and we sailed (drifted) the seven miles to Rebak Marina for the final dinner of the rally.  The marina is part of the resort complex and their kitchens did the catering which was the best yet with a beautiful buffet selection of meat, fish and vegetable dishes and fruit and cakes to follow.  The staff were constantly refilling glasses.  It was a lovely evening, though sad as well: we have been together with many of these boats since last August and now we are beginning to go our seperate ways, always hoping to meet again somewhere on the oceans.  The next morning several boats left for Thailand first thing.

Listening to the farewell speeches

Entertainment during dinner

Australians Cozzy and Mitch were among the first rally members we met back in August.  Their boat, Ocean Lady, is up for sale while they look for something bigger and faster!  Cozzy was always great at finding the best restaurants ashore and arranging social events.

We are now drawing breath after the constant activity of the last 4-5 months.  We are staying around Langkawi until the New Year enjoying the sailing and the anchorages, and the fact that it is a duty-free island with a litre of gin costing £8!  Our first anchorage, in Sunset Bay, was reasonably quiet.  We went ashore rock hopping round a neighbouring small island but weren’t able to circumnavigate.  That evening there was an Osprey roosting in the trees close behind the boat.  It was a real privilege to be able to watch it preen. 


We have visited some of the islands’ tourist attractions and got used to being surrounded by people having noisy fun on the water (the school holidays have just started). 

We joined the queue for the Skycab cable car before realising there was a seperate queue to buy your tickets.  Our tickets allocated us a time one and three quarter hours ahead, and that was just the time to join the queue.  This is a record holder for its steepness and gave spectacular views.  Serenity is at anchor in Telaga Harbour, between the two artificial islands and the beach in the foreground.

At the top there was a walkway out from the mountainside, suspended from a single pylon in the middle (more records for aspects of its construction).  It was also spectacular and probably worth the queuing.

The next day we walked to the Seven Wells waterfalls.  Something like 650 steps to reach the highest falls.  Legend says that seven fairies used the pools to bathe, but a mortal man found where the pools were so the fairies abandoned them to find somewhere more remote to bathe.

Sarah enjoyed the waterslide.

In Telaga Harbour we paid a fee to the small marina (about 90p per day) which allowed us to tie up our dinghy and use their facilities.  Our watermaker has been playing up so we used their showers and took 75 litres water back to Serenity to top up our tanks.  Then Phil checked online to find that the Malaysian agent for the watermaker is based a few minutes walk from the marina so we are now stocked with spare filters and cleaners and hoping it is working again. We are ordering and arranging delivery to Malaysia of various parts we need for our next refit and beginning to clean Serenity ready to be left for a few weeks.