Monday, November 14, 2011

Pangkor Island as seen from our marina.

We had a wonderful tour of Pangkor Island yesterday. We reached the island by ferry from the marina and were met with a fleet of pink minibuses. The island is located about 2nm from where we are tied up at a marina which has been built on reclaimed land. There is a hotel, marina and a condominium complex on the island. The marina has good cheap facilities for getting work done on your boat and there are quite a few boats up on the hard awaiting the return of their owners. Okay back to the tour.

We went rocketing off around the island, the first stop being a partially restored Dutch fort which had been built to protect the tin supplies back in the 16th century. The reason the fort had been restored was because the local Malays attacked the fort and managed to rout the Dutch and this was considered a huge blow for nationalism. The island has a population of 90,000 people and voer 90% are of Chinese ancestry. The island runs on fishing and tourism, one side is dedicated to the fishing industry and consists of densely packed houses and little shops selling everything from nuts to bolts. On the shores there were a myriad of docks with warehouses and fishing boats tied up to the long docks that extended out past the low tide mark. The other side has a series of beaches and resorts dedicated to tourism. There were some spots to go snorkelling and diving as well as places that rented seadoos (the vehicle sailors hate the most after unlit fishing boats). I guess it’s not the seadoos we hate so much as the unthinking yokels that rent them and then play slalom with our anchored sailboats. I think we may head over there today and spend a few days actually relaxing and getting in the water while we are at anchor. Barry’s ankle is still not healed up, the process is very slow in the hot humid environment here, so he will not be going in the water. Okay back to the tour.

 Our next stop was a wonderful Chinese temple. It spread out over several acres and was set up against a hill with waterfalls, fish ponds and a long set of steps up to the highest view point. The architecture was very striking as were the bright bold colours. We wondered around and were able to absorb some of the calm, serene atmosphere that pervaded. Our last stop was a sea food factory where they made every kind of dried fish that you could think of. We sampled dried squid, dried jelly fish satay, prawn crackers, as well as dried mango and tamarind. Then we were taken to a wonderful Chinese lunch whose taste and variety matched any meal we have had in Malaysia yet, it was delicious. The marina island in Pangkor has certainly gone out of their way to attract the cruisers’ business and make a very favourable impression on us.

A view from the top!
 We may leave this afternoon for a few days at anchor on the west side of Pangkor Island or we may take a trip to the interior to do a little land travel. We don’t have to be at our next destination, Penang, which is only a 2 day trip away for another week and a half.

The two faces of Malaysia as the fishing boats sit stranded on the tidal flats infront of multi-family dwellings in Lumut.