TIOMAN

    Dreamcatcher has been “at rest”  at her Keppel May Marina home since our return from the
    Andaman’s , Phuket and Langkawi in March.  We worked hard to repair the steering  and other
    things we broke after our 2,500 mile adventure, plus we had other travel commitments.  But we had
    promised ourselves a short 2-3 week cruise on Malaysia’s east coast in July.   Our planned
    departure date was delayed by 2 days due to a typhoon in Hong Kong, 2000 miles away.  It was
    sucking air from the S.E. Asia region, resulting in an opposite wind (to the expected prevailing) and
    rough seas.  When we did set off, the seas probably had abated but unfortunately not enough to
    save us taking a good slap on the beam every couple of minutes, so, it was an uncomfortable trip.  
    The first quarter of it is not a picnic anyway:  threading through  the Singapore anchorages and
    bunkering fleet, then the Johor Bharu bunkering anchorage it just not much fun.  After the northern
    turn, however, the shipping lane disappears and the wind does pick up.  Despite the beam seas we
    had a great sail under jib & jigger (no main), turning in a very respectable 7-8 knots for much of the
    way.  Thus we were going to be early into Tioman and decided to bear off and simply sail.  We did.  
    We probably logged an extra 25 miles simply because we were having a good time.  We saw the
    dawn in passaging along Tioman’s southern coast, which is spectacular – a touch of the Marquesas
    (though nothing equals those!).  

    There is a small marina in Tioman but we were much more interested in the moorings than the
    marina.  There are two very large public moorings just off the ferry jetty: one was occupied and we
    grabbed the free one.  Well, you get what you pay for.  The boat danced around the mooring all
    night long, bumping and grinding.   We used moorings both here and at the northern anchorage at
    Salang for about 2/3 of the time we were at Tioman, and probably shouldn’t have; simply because
    we spent much of the evening fending them off to stop them banging the hull and waking us up.   
    Silly.  We didn’t anchor, as much of the anchorage in Salang – our favourite spot – is more than 30
    meters deep, leaving us with only 3-scope –unsettling if a squall comes in when you are off the
    boat.  We had a lot of confidence in the holding power of the mooring, so at least that worked.

    Our timing for Tioman was poor: it was Ramadan, so nobody in the village was cooking during the
    day, so a nice lunch ashore quickly became out of the question.   Food that was cooked before
    daybreak was being sold in styro boxes and looked cold and unappetising, not to mention it had
    been sitting there for hours.  So we passed on any shore side activities.  We did the rounds of Port
    Captain, Immigration and Customs check in…. much of which was frustrating as they are no longer
    in the same building, and operate different hours.  When we eventually checked out of Tioman, we
    did so 2 days late, as the Port Captain had taken leave for 2 days for Ramadan, but had not
    notified any of the cruisers or marina staff that he was doing so!  Yes, island time.

    One outing that’s fun in Malaysia is the duty free liquor shop : yes, a conservative Muslim country
    has the best duty free booze shops on the planet!!     We bought spirits, wine and beer and
    jockeyed them back aboard the dink to Dreamcatcher….ah, liquid from the gods!     

    Unfortunately, on the third day, our fridge started to play up.  The Customs officer whom we’d met
    was really helpful and arranged for a local refrigeration mechanic from the resort to come  to the
    boat and re-gas it. This helped for about 3 days, after which we realised the fridge/freezer was
    kaput and we were committed to a daily ice run to the beach.  Fortunately by then we’d moved 5
    miles up the west coast to Salang where the selection of beach restaurants, bars and ice was
    plentiful.  It’s a really beautiful bay with a long ferry jetty, where much of the scuba diving activity
    kicks off.  The bay is sheltered, except from the west, but is criss-crossed with mooring lines
    intended for small fishing boats.  To remain clear of the ferry path and not foul the moorings, the
    shallowest anchorage is at 30 meters.  So  we took a large mooring ball again, and had the same
    experience with the bump and grind much of the night, not to mention the marks on the hull.  But
    the stunning scenery made it worthwhile.

    Our friends arrived on their boat, as planned, and we had a lovely welcome dinner for them aboard
    Dreamcatcher.  They too had had a rough ride up and were glad to stop.  We spent enjoyable days
    together but our boats collectively started to give problems.

    A funny thing happened on the way to the duty free.  Our friends were keen to stock up on low
    priced alcohol and we shopped with them.  They’d gathered all their purchases by the shop’s till,
    and then the power went out.  Lights off.  Seconds after, a woman came tearing through the shop
    shouting “Fire! Fire! You all have to get out!”  Sure enough, the warehouse at the back had caught
    fire and we stood and watched with the gathering crowd as the fire tore through the buildings.  Our
    friends left downcast and booze less.   There was no fire truck on Tioman and even the airport fire
    apparatus was either not available, or not working, so the building burnt to the ground.    We felt
    sorry for the owners, who’d lost probably 90% of their stock.

    One afternoon we went to a great, funky, down & dirty bar on the beach.  Our friends had
    discovered it the prior year, and it was great fun.  We ate and drank heaps, and just as we were
    talking about returning to the boats a nasty, wide-spread squall came in.  We got down to the dink
    quickly but the wind was howling, the rain sheeting, the seas kicked up, it was dark, and the bloody
    dinghy engine wouldn’t start.   By the time we were able to haul it out manually along a tie line (in
    place for the scuba boats) and get in, we were all soaked to the skin with a combination of sea
    water and rain.  We paddled to the closest boat, exhausted:  if that didn’t sober us up, a hot cuppa
    did, and we were able to row across to Dreamcatcher after about an hour.

    So, our dinghy engine was now stuffed (again).   So with our fridge and dinghy out of action, things
    weren’t looking good.  Fortunately our friends’ dinghy was working (until its ‘gears fouled) and they
    were able to help us get our daily bag of ice.  They too had a litany of boat issues, including a water
    shortage, and they decided to haul out a day after we did.

    We did, however, swing by Pulau Aur on the way back: only 25 miles SE of Tioman, it’s a lovely
    tropical island spot.  There are actually 2 islands close together and one anchors between them in
    the channel, up close & personal with mid-sized fishing boats.  There’s a string of moorings along
    each side of the channel, which we avoided, not knowing who they belonged to or whether we could
    trust them.  Once again, the shallowest spot was around 30 meters, and we did have a good blow
    while were on the hook: a pretty, pretty spot, but not an anchorage where we had confidence to
    leave the boat.  We had planned to paddle ashore in the dink, but the winds were too strong and
    we would have struggled to get there.  So, we simply vegged out – ate, drank, read, and napped –
    for 24 hours until we launched out for home: 20 – 25 knots on the nose in rough seas.  Awful.  
    Enough to make you give up sailing!!

    When we finally reached Singapore 20 hours later, we, and the boat, were sparkling with salt: we all
    had a good wash, a cold beer and then things were all right with the world.  And we’ll do it again
    next year!

DREAMCATCHER VOYAGE
TIOMAN ISLAND, MALAYSIA 2012
Kokomo and Dreamcatcher
Kokomo
Dreamcatcher
Capt. Henry of Dreamcatcher and
Admiral Julie of Kokomo
Admiral Glenys of Dreamcatcher and
Capt. Mark of Kokomo
Wonderfull location for
Sundowners. You can see why we
had more than one watching the
spectacular sunset