Mom-warning- there are a lot of terrible gramatical mistakes, I am aware of that and don't really care right now, so you don't have to email me!!
I know it’s been a really long time since I last wrote, and I know I have lots of stuff to say, but I’m having a hard time remembering.Right now we’re on the dock in Singapore, but I think I last wrote from Terengganu, if that’s possible.That was a really long time ago… After Terengganu we went to a series of absolutely gorgeous, mostly deserted tropical islands.Our first stop was Kappas, and we stayed there for about three days.
boom swing fun
I actually got in the water and did some snorkeling for the first time, which was fun.The highlights there were the boom swing and our night out.The main boom on the boat is really long, and when you pull it vertically up in the air and position it out over the side of the boat and attach a line to the end, you can make a nice rope swing.You stand on the edge of the boat, grab the line, and swing out over the water and let go and fall in.I had a good time just seeing how high I could go, but eventually it turned into a sort of contest to see who could make the biggest wipeout or pull the biggest tricks.We had all sorts of backflips and frontflips and dives, but mostly I would say lots of backflops and bellyflops and a few injuries from hitting the water really hard.
more boom swing fun
We spent at least three hours doing this and everyone was exhausted and sore at the end, but it was well worth it.Either that same night or the next we had a night out at another little island called GemIsland, which has its own little private resort.They were closing for the season in two more weeks but agreed to set up a BBQ on the beach for us.It was a really amazing night.We had the whole island all to ourselves, and there were tables set up on a patio on the beach with candles and buffets of local food and fish fresh off the grill that they had caught that day.It was a really cool place.They also had a small pool of turtles that they were trying to like grow so they could release them into the ocean when the resort closed and they wouldn’t be eaten by predators.
that's me on the boom swing
We could walk to the pool and pick the baby turtles up and “play” with them.Our next destination was Tenggol, another almost deserted island (except for a small resort and dive shops).The group did a couple dives there but we could only stay for one night because the anchorage wasn’t that great.We got to go ashore at night and help release some baby turtles that a dive shop had been helping to save, like the other island.A bunch of us and some Malay tourists brought the turtles to the beach late at night, put them in the sand, and watched them crawl to the ocean and get swept away in the waves.They said it was a race to get to the turtle’s eggs between them and another resort who wanted the eggs to eat.We were happy that we could help out in a small way the conservation efforts.
anchored off Kappas
Next it was on to Tioman, which is where the movie South Pacific was filmed.I didn’t really go ashore there, but it was a pretty big island with more tourists and stuff than the others.But it still didn’t have any good provisioning, so I made another day trip to the mainland with a shipmate to get food.That was quite an experience.We left on the ferry for the “1.5 hour” trip across, which turned into the 2.5 hour trip.At the mainland we got in a taxi for the grocery store, which turned out to be pretty good.By the time we started shopping it was 11, and I was a bit nervous because the only afternoon ferry was at , and then only again at .
dinner on Gem Island
So we shopped really quickly and started our check out at , and called a taxi for 1.The people at the grocery store were so nice and helpful, but unfortunately they were a bit slow.They just weren’t prepared to have somebody shop for the amount of food I was getting.They opened three of the four lanes just for us, but only really had one person to bag and box.So it was and I still hadn’t paid yet, but there wasn’t anything to do.I thought our stuff was going straight to a taxi outside, but it turns out they never called the taxi, so there still wasn’t any hope of getting to the ferry in time.Eventually I paid and got in a small van with two middle aged women as the drivers, and I kind of feel like they just pulled them off the street because of the van size, I didn’t see the word taxi anywhere.
But they were really nice and made the two trips to the ferry with the boxes of food.Once the food was unloaded, a guy from the ferry company helped wheel it in to the waiting area on a cart, which was nice.At this point I’m really confused because people are running around yelling everywhere and moving boxes of food and charging me random amounts of money, and our food starts to be loaded onto a boat.There wasn’t a ferry scheduled, so we were confused, but then all these people start showing up and getting in line.We asked them where they were going and they said Tioman, so I was like oh maybe there is a ferry.But then the boat that has half our food starts pulling away from the dock, and everybody starts getting in this other boat.I start to ask people, a bit concerned about all our food, but they tell me not to worry and I see the boat with our food pull up along side and get transferred over.
look at the cute baby turtle!
Eventually all our food is on the boat, and the shipmate and I are onboard and relieved to think that we are finally on our way.So that worked out, that another ferry just sort of created itself.But the craziest part was the ride back.The ferry was more of a 20 person speedboat, very long and narrow.All our food was piled on the back area and the shipmate and I were sitting in two rows of seats on one side.The weather was really quite calm, but due to the type of boat the ride was a little bumpy.I know I’m more used to this kind of stuff but it really wasn’t that bad.Mom you may have been a little uncomfortable, but it was never unsafe or anything.However, one seat behind the shipmate was an Indian man of about 40 or so who screamed at the top of his lungs when we hit every, single, bump.
Gem Island resort
It was so ridiculous we couldn’t stop laughing until we almost cried.Every bump, which was about every three seconds, he would scream, or chant, or sing, shout, grunt, or make some other kind of noise.The whole boat was staring at him laughing, trying to figure it out.Eventually somebody asked him if he was ok and he said that it was his first boat ride, and he would be safer to swim.He was sort of laughing too, but had like death grip knuckles on the seat in front of him.It was quite possibly one of the more ridiculous things I’ve seen.And this boat ride lasted another two hours.Next we went to Pemanggil, which was another small island that was very striking; it had a large stone peak at the top that a few people climbed.
releasing baby turtles
We were only there a day and a half to do some diving, but was just so pretty.We didn’t think it could get much prettier until we got to the next island, Aur.There were actually three little islands all nearby and we anchored the boat stern-to the beach.It was one of the prettiest places I’ve seen, with crystal clear water.I could have stayed there weeks.The shipmates did a bunch of diving there and we had another beach BBQ on one of the islands.I went back to the boat just after dinner to be on watch and start cooking because I was head chef the next day.I didn’t end up getting to sleep until about one, by the time I had picked up everyone from the beach and gotten everything ready for the next morning.
view of Tioman as we sail by
I got up at five and started cooking again, and quite proudly and successfully, if I might say, I made cinnamon rolls from scratch for breakfast.I think they went over quite well.I spent almost the entire day in the galley because I made six loaves of fresh bread for dinner.It was exhausting, but well worth it.I had a lot of fun cooking dinner because a bunch of the shipmates got really into it and wanted to help, so there were like four of us cooking dinner.That night we left Aur to go on passage to Singapore, and the next morning had all hands on deck upon arrival in the quarantine zone to get the boat looking nice for the marina.Apparently the Singapore Straits are one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, and on night watch I counted the lights of at least 25 tankers around us.
arriving at Pemanggil
In the daytime we could see that there were dozens more waiting outside the harbor just to get in.After clearing in we docked the boat at a really nice marina that is under construction, and then had some free time before dinner.I walked around the marina a little bit, met a few people from some boats, and then went to the mainland with a shipmate who needed to go to the clinic.The clinic was in the mall, like everywhere else in Asia it seems the malls are the place to be for whatever you might need.The island our marina is on is called SentosaIsland, and is one of the craziest places ever.I think as like a destination it’s about thirty years old, but is going through some renovating right now.
diving near Aur
It has been compared to Disney, and I must say that’s an accurate description.There is a charge to get on and off the island, and a charge to do all the activities, but there are like eight free bus and tram systems to take you around.I’m looking at the brochure now, and here are some of the things you can do- you can go to the beach (all imported sand), on nature walk,to an herb and spice garden, a ficus “heritage” tree, the largest fountain in Asia, an orchid garden, ride a cable car across the bay, go to a butterfly and insect garden, a historical exhibit, a 4D movie, a luge park and chair lift, a sky tower, climb the “Merlion” statue (mermaid- lion mix, apparently the symbol of the island), see animal shows, see a 3D movie, watch dolphin shows, visit a fort, watch a light and laser show at night, play mini- golf, swing on a trapeze, visit an aquarium and dive in shark tank, play golf, go to the spa, or go to one of the 40 restaurant/cafes, 11 souvenir shops, or stay at one of the 4 resorts… phew! I only have a couple days, and that’s not even leaving the island!I would say that Singapore does not have a plethora of cultural activities to experience though, so I don’t feel bad that what I’m most looking forward to is seeing a 4D movie.
stern to near Aur
I will have some portions of full days free, and I’m looking forward to going out exploring by myself and seeing some of the cool things in the city.I want to see Raffles Hotel, which is like the oldest place here.One thing I might have to do, considering my family history, is visit the “southern most point of continental Asia.”That seems to be a theme in my family, going to totally irrelevant places like that just for the gloating value to other family members, i.e. my brothers.My brother may have been farther south on the water, but has he been to most southern point in Asia??? I don’t think so!!I only lost the contest when I was a kid to see who could get to the most southern point in the US (the tip of Key West) because my arms were shorter and couldn’t reach out to sea quite as far.
more stern to shots
Anyways, I’m super excited to see Singapore and do all sorts of meaningless tourist activities, because it’s nice to have a change of pace and when else do you have time devoted to just plain having fun?? We had a Halloween dinner last night and everybody dressed up in some really really ridiculous costumes. I was a "yachtie," something not all sailor strive to be called. I wore khaki shorts and my Argo polo tucked in with a sailing belt. Attached to the sailing belt I had a flashlight, leatherman, camera, phone, two radios, and six pens. I wore gloves, deck shoes, and a Mount Gay rum hat. I don't know if anybody got the humor from it that I did, but oh well. Ok I am starving and have to go eat lunch now, will be back online more this week so email me!!
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!