Sailing Yacht SEA BUNNY

Christmas 2010 newsletter

Written in Miri, Sarawak November 2010

Lots of sailing or, rather, motoring this year.  The Andamans, West and East Peninmsular Malaysia, Sarawak, Labuan, Sabah and Brunei.


Synopsis of the year

Sea Bunny's route 2010

Christmas and New Year 2009 was spent in a surfeit of seafood with Stuart and Nanette on Truest Passion and the coming year discussed. End January to the Andamans meeting them, then us to the UK for Easter, afterwards back to join a Rally to the East of Malaysia with them or up the Rajang river in Sarawak with Neil and Ley on Crystal Blues from Singapore to visit their longhouse friends. The thought of revisiting Tioman area and sailing around the top of Borneo had a greater appeal. As we write in Miri, we are in the middle of the north of Borneo coast on our return passage.

So while the calm weather prevailed, we obeyed the call to the Andamans. Clear waters and good hard and soft coral were our prize. Truest Passion came to rendezvous with us with the lure of their recently caught fish for supper but then called again – they had a damaged hull letting in water fast. Our large transportable pump came to the rescue again as the water reached the top of the cooker. Reassuringly catamarans do not sink like monohulls, but with engine damage they returned to Phuket.

Racing under spinnaker

After our UK visit we run round like headless chickens getting Sea Bunny ready for the four month rally starting in May and took us 2750nM over the tip of Borneo and down to Tawau near the Indonesian border. We enjoyed revisiting places like Malacca where the Museum of Enhanced Beauty (body mutilation) made our eyes water! and Singapore before turning north to Tioman and the Perenthians (beautiful vase sponges) then south east towards Borneo.

Well, as with Alfred Wallace, of Wallace line fame, the monsoon winds are blowing not as predicted and have blown mostly on the nose for months! So we motored sailed across the South China Sea into Kuching to attend the annual Rainforest Music Festival in tropical rainy conditions. On our first visit to Miri we trod in 3m deep bat and bird guano to visit the Niah Caves where locals still climb bamboo poles for swiftlet nests. Only a clean nest made solely of white spittle fetches the same price as silver for the prized birds nest soup in Hong Kong. The waters off Malaysia contain volumes of household rubbish and both fish and coral have been extensively damaged by dynamiting and illegal fishing; even the national park areas around Tioman, which, 17 years ago, was to our eyes pristine. Enough about rubbish - we managed to get the spinnaker up for a race off Koto Kinabalu.

Proboscis monkey

We may yet miss the mighty Rajang river in Sarawak but have twice navigated the shallow waters of the winding Kinabatangan in Sabah to search for proboscis monkey and pigmy elephants (monkeys – many, elephants – nil).

Coming back from Tawau while waiting for boat parts and a mail drop we anchored off oil rich Brunei Darussalam for a couple of weeks. Did the tourist things, stocked up with decent washing up liquid, ground coffee etc and found an air of positive tranquillity about the country. 50% of the capital’s population (20,000) have voted with their feet to continue to live in the largest stilt village in the world.

On this return visit to Miri we have just flown back from the Mulu caves which are some of the largest in the world; having individual claims of longest, biggest mouth, biggest passage etc and are from a non-caver prospective are stunning.Sea Bunny now waits for the winds to complete the transition to the NE Monsoon before crossing the South China Sea to Singapore

Lowlights

Illnesses and another fatal accident that have happened to our sailing friends.

Being really scared when Richard had severe concussion after a fall on a deserted island in the Andamans.

Thinking that Sea Bunny was going to be dismasted when toggle holding the furling gear bent in lumpy seas, on the way back from the Andamans, India - the split pin was missing – eh!

Taking 11 hours to hike 11.5km on the Mesilau Trail in Kinabulu National Park, Sabah (this was intended to be a highlight!).

Highlights

Always to see our family and friends in UK, this time after the birth of Maximillian Arthur, Steve and Catharine’s second son and taking Joshua and Jake over a boat like Sea Bunny at a boat yard.

Discovering nudibranches and red ribbons of nudibranch eggs in the Andamans.

Diving the clear, subaqua, shangri-la that is Sipidan National Park, in Sabah - superb.

Being able to make a small contribution to navigational safety, by supplying our anchorages positions, not only through our web site but to the Malaysian authorities via the rally organiser.

Surrounded by friendly, helpful yachties both on and off the rally.

May the wind be always be at your back and may you treat life kindly.

And lastly

Wedding party

We often see wedding couples having their photographs taken in marinas with boats as a background. We were just coming nack from shopping and the decks were clean so Susan asks if they would like a photo on a boat - the whole party were delighted.

UK visit 2011

Probably in the spring

 


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