3-8 August At Pulau Tenggol Back to Malaysia East Coast Cruise 2005
We went ashore, where there are three resorts, and talked with the dive shop manager (Michael) at the PULAU TENGGOL BEACH RESORT (the middle one) about the best mooring. He suggested another one and we moved onto it and picked up a second one nearby for insurance. We enjoyed looking at the coral bottom in 20 feet of clear water. We've begun growing barnacles (it's over three years since the antifouling was last done) at the prop area and under the keel. We spent three hours snorkeling and feeding schools of brightly colored fish with the barnacles scraped from the prop and the surrounding area. The keel will wait for a SCUBA dive ... possibly tomorrow.
Had dinner at the resort (no guests until next week) where we were treated to a delicious, huge meal. And they serve BEER! God bless the Chinese!
4 Aug - Midnight Sumatran
This tide chart illustrates the factors that made this 'Midnight Sumatran' even worse that it should have been.
The thunder and lightning of an approaching storm woke us and gave us a chance to furl the side curtains of the awning. We freed the dinghy from the side tie and cast it off with extra painter (but failed to unload the oars and dinghy seat .. a mistake).
The wind and rain quickly set in with moderate (4 ft) seas and the double mooring took the strain. It was not possible to use the engine to help take the strain due to another mooring line near the stern of the boat which could have fouled the prop causing a serious situation (not a mistake).
Then the 'fun' began ;-)
A small Class A fishing boat on a mooring upwind of us left his mooring and got safely out of the way. A large Class C trawler ... 100 tons? ... was anchored about 500 meters upwind of us and dragged his anchor, making a bee line for our bow. Fortunately it managed to get underway when a boat length (ours) from the pitching bowsprit and with a worried Terry madly shining a flashlight at it (would have used the searchlight but didn't want to blind the captain). Our two anchor lights were jumping around and shining brightly so I felt they knew we were there.
At 0130 the winds abated to about 20 knots and then the monster seas began. How high were they? Probably seemed like more than they actually were but the concern was hitting the coral on the bottom ... the depth sounder was registering nil feet under the keel at the bottom of the waves and Terry is sure we hit a couple of times. At the top of the waves it registered 8-10 feet. By 0300 we had a few waves breaking over the bow as we pitched wildly into the seas. The dinghy was back there doing a wild dance popping up over the seas but was the least of the worries. Our 'famous' wind scoop was keeping the rain out but the danger of a sea coming below made it necessary to close the forward hatch, something that should have been done earlier (another mistake).
By 0500 things had calmed down enough to go to bed and ride the bouncing 'pony'. Terry had determined that one oar and the dinghy seat had been lost but it was too dark to do anything about it until morning. By 0730 it was time to dig out the spare oars and take a tour of the shoreline in the bay. Unfortunately the missing items were not to be found.
The arrival of the Sumatran at a very low tide (it's a last quarter moon with new moon on 5 Aug) exacerbated the seas in the bay, especially in the shallow water where we were moored. Of course, coming directly into the bay didn't help either. The people ashore say this is the first storm like it this year and they usually don't arrive until October. Perhaps it was a result of feeder bands into Typhoon MATSA 1500NM to the northeast? Go figure.
We enjoyed the snorkeling at the edges of the bay after doing a SCUBA dive on the bottom and feeding the fish from the barnacles growing on the bottom of the keel. Terry did a SCUBA dive with the Tenggol Island Beach Resort and was very impressed with his guide, Michael, whom he says is very good ... and also that "it takes one to know one"! The resort is managed by Paul Wong who is also an excellent chef. This very popular dive location became crowded with large, liveaboard dive boats on the weekend. After two more Sumatrans it was time to move on.