After a lovely four days at Nongsa Point Marina, Batam Island, Indonesia (our last port in Indo) we made the 24nm journey across the incredibly busy shipping lane to Singapore’s Marina Keppel Bay. The crossing follows this basic theory... Travel parallel to the shipping lane for 15miles then turn 90 degrees and cross the 2m lane ensuring you give way, stay clear and out run anything coming at you from either direction. Some of the ‘things’ coming at you are cargo or tanker ships up to 1000ft long and travelling around 15 – 20kn! We were travelling around 7kn. Add to that the thunder and lightning storm that accompanied us that day and you can get some idea of ‘fun’ to be had. At one stage we had 100 vessels showing on our AIS.
But the arrival at Marina Keppel Bay was well worth the effort. To date our most pleasant marina experience. New, modern, unbelievably helpful, spotlessly clean (some one scoops the top of the water every day with a net similar to the one you would use on a swimming pool to ensure the water doesn’t have anything floating in it) and after the unfortunate filth and basic conditions of Indonesia this place was heaven. We spent four nights at MKB with our fellow ralliers and Guy and I arranged for a babysitter for two of those nights. Singapore is a thriving city with as much to be seen at night as there is during the day. Maybe more! Our first night ‘sans enfants’ we went to the Durians (Singapore’s version of the Sydney Opera House) and watched a free concert in the outdoor sound shell. It was a contemporary Indian folk group and they were fantastic. Better that Guy and I were expecting. We then took a long walk – ok so we got a bit lost – to Boat Quay were we had dinner and took a taxi to the new Hotel, Casino, Mega complex called Marina Bay Sands. Three highrise towers connected at the top by a huge runway made in the shape of a massive ship. Must be seen to be believed. It would seem in this part of the world anything is possible when money is no object. There is overwhelming wealth everywhere and the people have a buzz about them that makes to want to be a part of it – even if you are just a spectator. We arrived too late to go to the viewing platform but we did have a good walk around the ground floor and marvelled at the spectacle of it all.
The next morning we were up early to take the kids to the world famous Singapore Zoo. We got there in time to enjoy a great ‘Jungle Breakfast’ where the Orang Atan’s come down out of the trees and sit nearby eating their breakfast. Tamarinds’ play in the low branches of trees and a python snake is happy to be handled by anyone who is game. Simonne had a hold but the kids were happy to just give it a pat. We took in a couple of kid based shows and visited as many of the animal exhibits our legs and the tram to could take us to. The stand out of the day was the Kids Zone where there are heaps of water slides, fountains, pools, waterfalls etc etc for the kids to go completely nuts in. And our two really let their hair down. We were amazed at Hugo who hasnt’ been the most confident of kids in the water. He just climbed the stairs and threw himself down the water slides, laughing all the way! Juliette did the same. After a long time and plenty of tiring running, swimming, laughing, squealing and water logging we departed feeling completely thrilled with our day out.
Our second night without the kids was a cocktail party put on for us at the Marina. Food and drinks provided and a really good reason to get out the good clothes for a change. We swapped sailing stories with our friends and had a great night.
Guy and I needed to depart MKB before our fellow ralliers as we needed to head straight to Thailand from Singapore. Most others are slowly making their way through Malaysia on their way here. We did the passage up the Malacca Strait in three nights, four days and dropped anchor at Ao Chalong on Saturday 27th. We then came around to the Royal Phuket Marina were we have been for the last couple of night. Will be in Thailand cruising the Islands for a month and Maddie and Will join us tonight for three weeks so should be a great time.
‘Jungle Breakfast’ with a couple of our friends
Singapore Zoo ‘Animal Friends’ Show