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    august 2019


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01/08/19 Thurs.  We went to the market this morning for chicken and vegetables in preparation for our trip up the Klias River with Shelley, then a little more shopping in Financial Park during the afternoon.  The exchange rate for the pound against the ringgit has fallen dramatically since Boris took over as PM in the UK - not good!!

03/08/19  Sat.  Slipped the lines around 0830 and motored northward in the East Channel towards Menumbok, Shelley close behind.  We turned into the (unmarked) channel used by the car ferry and passed by Menumbok about 1030, entering the Klias River.  Using the flood tide, we continued up river until about 1330 before dropping our anchors for a lunch stop.  After lunch, we weighed anchor and motored further upriver to Kota Klias, where you can go no further because of power lines and a bridge.  Watched the antics of the monkeys during the early evening.

04/08/19  Sun.  We cancelled today's planned railway ride because of heavy rain in the morning.  When the rain cleared around 10am, we took the dinghies another 10 miles or so upriver, exploring the denser forest/jungle, returning to the boats around 1430.  Neil and I then went down to the tourist centre and arranged transport to Beaufort for early morning.

05/08/19  Mon. All six of us piled into one dinghy at 0600 and went downriver to the tourist centre, met up with our 2 girl drivers and drove to Beaufort Railway Station.  Each time I have sailed up the Klias River, I have intended making this touristy train ride and today is the day!  Despite Borneo being the 3rd largest island in the World, it only has 134Km of railway and we were going to travel the 48Km from Beaufort to Tenom in the interior.  It was originally built by the British in the late 1800's/early 1900's when the area was British North Borneo and it's purpose was to transport tobacco from the interior to the port at Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu).  It is now operated by Sabah State Railway and is single track throughout it's length (with a few 'passing places') and is run in three sections, Tanjung Aru (KK) to Beaufort - Beaufort to Halogilat - Halogilat to Tenom.  I don't know the track gauge but it looked to be about a metre.  We bought our tickets for the 0750 train (only 2 a day!), a grand cost of 2.75 ringgit each (about 50p) single journey of around 2 hours.  We had time for a coffee before boarding.  The train consisted of a diesel multiple unit, one carriage and a goods van.  Neil's guests, Sean, Charlotte and Samara chose the comfort of air con carriage, we chose the goods van!  The locals sit in this, cross legged on the floor playing cards, or sitting in the open doorways with their legs outside.  It travels much faster than I imagined it would, climbing all the time through the rainforest and along the edge of the Padas River which is a rock strewn turbulent river popular with tourists wanting to go white water rafting - there were a few on the our train.  There are plenty of stops at small 'halt' like stations where locals loaded fruits into the van we were in.  At Halogilat, we had to change trains, the uphill meeting the downhill, engines swapping ends before making their return journeys.  On this train we had only a diesel multiple unit and a van.  After more stops, we arrived at Rayoh, the white water rafters got off and took their rucksacks to the Riverbug office while the train waited for them to reboard.  Further up line, they got off again at Pangie to start their raft ride downriver to Rayoh again.  We arrived in Tenom just before 1100, and had a wander around part of the town before finding somewhere to eat.  It's a nice little town and the locals are very friendly, there is no tobacco industry here now but Tenom has made the change to coffee growing and you can visit the factory if you so wish.  We bought a few supplies needed back on the boat before making our way back to the station for the 1300 train back to Beaufort.  Sitting in the diesel multiple unit, I was amazed the thing didn't jump the rails as it rocked quite violently from side to side as it rattled downhill (in fact one did in 2008, plunging 10 metres into the river and killing 2).  When we changed trains at Halogilat, we sat upfront with the driver for the last part of the trip, I have posted a short video of part of that below, and we arrived back in Beaufort just after 3pm - a couple of Grab taxis and back to the boats for a beer.  An enjoyable change from the usual and I think we all enjoyed it.  Total cost for Ana and I, car to Beaufort, train to Tenom and back, lunch and taxi back - 91 ringgit (17.86).  Now that's good value for a day out!!


06/08/19 Tues.  Time to head back downriver......I cast off the lines to Shelley, waited while Neil weighed anchor and we set off downriver in the early morning light.  Proboscis monkeys were sitting in the trees watching as we got underway.  The river was much shallower because of low water and there were several areas where we had to slow down and feel our way through, Neil hitting bottom at one point.  The skies were darkening as we made our way toward Menumbok and just as we were approaching "George's Rock", a squall hit us, blowing 29.5 knots on the starboard side and heavy driving rain which blinded me (no sprayhood remember!), so we were  happy to negotiate the 'rock' without incident.  Once at Menumbok, the two boats parted company, Neil going up to Tiga and then KK to drop off the youngsters and we going back to Labuan.  We arrived back in the marina at 2pm and tied up in the usual place on B dock.

07/08/19 Weds.  4am this morning, the wind howling, power supply cut off, torrential rain and a Malay Met Office Cat. 2 warning of 50kph winds with 3.5 metre seas until Saturday......wonderful!  Spoke with Neil on messenger, he had taken shelter at Kuala Penyu rather than Pulau Tiga - a wise choice!  An hour later, Craig's boat Kanaway, anchored outside the marina broke free of it's 4 anchors and hit the concrete wall of the marina.  I didn't realise this until we saw it moving into the marina, then I went over to C dock to take his lines.  His boat is steel, so the only damage was an area of about 2 metres where filler had been knocked off the toerail.  Still very lucky!

08/08/19 Thurs.  Up again at 2am this morning, taking down our bimini top which was in danger of taking away the stainless steel framework as it was battered by the winds shrieking through the marina.  Alain's boat next to us broke it's spring moorings later in the morning.

09/08/19 Fri.  Last night we got a fairly decent sleep, with the winds abating!  During the evening, we joined Craig up at the Back Yacht for a couple of beers and something to eat.

11/08/19 Sun.  We spent yesterday and today trying to make the new sprayhood fit but it's slow progress!!  The trouble is the 3-dimensional shapes, the deck curves, the front 'window' of the hood curves, the top curves.  Maybe in a few more days we will have a reasonable fit, we've lost track of how many times we've put it up and taken it down, altered seams, cut a bit off, added a bit on - it's a wonder Ana hasn't thrown it overboard yet!  Neil returned from Kuala Penyu this afternoon, the kids having left the boat there and taken a bus to KK, so in the evening, we had a beer in the Back Yacht.

13/08/19 Tues.  Sprayhood sewing again!  Yesterday was a holiday here, so a lot of shops were closed when we walked over to Financial Park.

16/08/19 Fri.  For some reason, we cannot get the sprayhood to fit correctly and it's driving me nuts!  It's been over 4 weeks now and we are still nowhere near a good fit, yesterday we ended up taking it down and unpicking all the stitching again.  The job is being made worse by the heat, the tent awning sticking to my skin as I try to pass it, and the constant hordes of flies which still pester us daily.

17/08/19 Sat.  Alex and Jenny (Moggie of Arabia), our neighbours, left for Australia early today, so we will be keeping an eye on the boat for them while they are away.  Unpicked the 'window' from the front part of the sprayhood this morning, then erected the steel framework as best we could before re-measuring and planning a new method of doing things!  Rain stopped play in the afternoon.

21/08/19 Weds.  Spent a few days researching replacement winch options.  My mast winches are of the single speed non-self tailing variety, which is fine except when you want to haul someone aloft or raise the dinghy with it's engine for overnight stowage.  In those cases, a two speed, self tailing winch would be more suitable.  My problem is the winch mounting pads which are manufactured for a 4 bolt winch base and new winches are 5 bolt fixings, then there is the mounting orientation to figure out, the self tailing arm has to point downwards towards the deck while the output gear has to be next to the entry point for the halyard.  A second option is to lead the halyards back to the cockpit via a 2 sheave deck organiser, to a bigger, more powerful winch mounted on the coachroof.  However, that also presents a problem on my boat - the halyards exit at the side of the mast base , so they need to be turned 90o by the deck organiser in order to be led aft, and the deck space where I would need to fit such an organiser is limited by the deck moulding and deck strengthening.  Problems, problems!  We continue to re-make the sprayhood, following a different method.

23/08/19  Fri.  Checked out with Jabatan Laut, Immigration and Customs.

24/08/19  Sat.  Slipped our moorings and motored across the harbour at 0815, a relatively calm crossing to Muara.  Anchored in our usual spot off the yacht club at Serasa.

31/08/19 Sat.  Back in Labuan and checked in this morning.  We motor sailed back yesterday afternoon, then joined all the yachties in Back Yacht for a beer in the evening.  The weather while in Brunei was very changeable, and we had rain every day or night during our stay there, getting absolutely soaked on one dinghy trip back to the boat.  Today has been very hot, so we've basically had a 'rest' day!


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