Friday, 13 December 2013

3rd stop - Penang

Time to leave Pangkor and make our way north towards Langkawi. An early morning start of 5.30am saw 8 of us creep out of the marina in darkness and make our way up the channel. Lots of fishing boats around that time of morning, some just starting their day while others were coming home after being out all night. An easy day of motor sailing saw us reach the southern end of Penang late afternoon. As we were not stopping at Penang itself, we branched off from the others and anchored at the SW corner in a large open bay. The others were chancing the Penang anchorages. As most of them are less than favourable and with no rally events planned for there, we had decided to push through to Langkawi then zip back via ferry or plane and explore the island that way. That night we were anchored alone in the bay, the first night without company in nearly 6 months - how strange that felt.
Late the following afternoon we reached the outer islands that make up the Langkawi group. We had been recommended a fiord-like anchorage and soon located it tucked in between high cliffs with thick jungle vegetation. Sharing it with a couple of other yachts, we stayed for 2 nights and loved the solitude and peace of it. Nearby monkeys played on the waters edge, hawks or kites flew high overhead and the only sound was a high pitched ringing from the jungle - birds or cicadas we never found out.

Soon it was time to head to Rebak marina, only a couple of hours away. Once in our pen, we decided to catch the late afternoon flight back to Penang and headed to the airport. A quick flight of 25mins from ground to ground, flying over the 100 odd islands that make up Langkawi with scattered white beaches dotted around. We met up with Robyn and Craig (Gemini) who had booked rooms with us at the Banana Boutique hotel. Amazingly enough, it turned out that Pete had stayed in the exact hotel nearly 30 years ago as he made his way overland through Asia to Oz. How bizarre is that! The hotel was full of Chinese art and d├ęcor, beautifully cabinets inlaid with mother of pearl, grand wide staircases and intricately carved figurines.

The inside of the Banana Boutique hotel in Georgetown

The next few days were spent exploring the streets of Georgetown, famous for its architecture, street art and culinary delights. On one of our walks, we found ourselves down by the water overlooking the 'Junk Anchorage' at low tide. No guessing why it got its name, with old boat frames still embedded in the mud, tyres, timber and much more. We could see many of our fellow rally yachts at anchor. The houses that stood out over the water were built on concrete filled buckets stacked on each other about 10' high. Paintings and wrought iron art work depicting the history of Georgetown are displayed in the streets, making it easy to pass the time ambling up and down for hours. The streets are narrow and busy with cars so you have to be careful not to get in their way, though they do drive very slowly avoiding the vendors as well as the tourists.

The 'Junk Anchorage' with all the rubbish in the foreground

The house supports of cement filled buckets!

                A view of beautiful architecture harbour side - storm brewing in the background

Street art - Kung Fu fighting - poor cat !!
 Wrought iron street art - all with the written history of Georgetown

                                                      Cute painting of kid reaching up to the window

One morning we took the cable car up to Penang Hill - wonderful view over the island. At the top were markets, shrines, eateries and a dinosaur exhibit for the kids. It was school holidays and very busy but well worth the trip. The guys enjoyed fossicking around all the hardware stalls finding bits and pieces for the boats. Bunnings they weren't but still amazing what could be found with a little digging. Penang was one of those places where the time went all too quickly and before we knew it, it was time to check out for the fast ferry back to Langkawi. We can always go back.

Playing silly tourists!

One of the many large colourful shrines that are found throughout Malaysia
                                                     The view from the top of Penang Hill

How is that for grafted Ficus trunks

The entrance to another Chinese hotel - looked more like a hobbit home

Stainless steel seats around the trees - you obviously need a big backside to sit on them properly!

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