dakini update 1-2009
I am on the way now for 70 days and want you to keep informed what happended all the time.
because my broken leg - slippery street at home - I came later back to dakini. it had been already 2 days after eastern, but have had eastern together with monica and my daughter anna-liisa, this had been lovely.
the boat had been in a fine condition on the hard in kudat . kudat is located at the northern tip of sabah. the shipyard for professional fishingboats is well equipped with a 160tons travellift. never have had a haulout without the necessitiy to efixthe forestay or to go stern first in the box.
I just got 5 days until my friends klaus an d roland came to join me to vietnam - but when we got the boat to the water and close to ready for takeoff there was no wind at all . this would have meant 650 miles with the motor. not the idea for sailing to vietnam. at the end of the week there should have been wind together with a severe tropical depression.
we had to change our plans and sailed as a first step just round the corner se to sandakan. I love this town, non touristic but with a lot of life and the best fruit and fishmarket I have seen. not easy to leave this town to sail up the sungai (river) kinanbatangaan.
I never sailed up a river and even with the tracks we got in sandakan yachtclub er it had been an adventure.the water is yellow, a few logs coming down you have to look at. but the river has 5 to 9 meter of water in the average.
although there are many palm tree plantations joining the river in some other areas the rainforest is on both sides , the places to anchor, to see the animals especially the bird, and to hear the sound of the rainforest.
we decided to stay there for a few days and sailed (motored) up further up than the other yachts, without touching the highvoltage line near sokau wich made helenazwo turning round. ( we only have 14 m, less than helenazwo).
we have not have the chance to see these small elefant who live there, but now I know the spot where they come to the river.
downstream it had only be 1 1/2 days, the river is running with around 5 miles. to stay in the river for 5 days killed another plan: to sail together to the philippines. back in the sandakan yachtclub - a nice and friendly club -with no sailors, sorry there are 20 optimists, and one of the girls there belongs to the best opti sailors in malysia. the hospitality of the club is great, most of the time you are the only yacht anchoring in front of the club building.
just 5 days left for roland an klaus we decided to visit danum valley rainforst lodge. its the lodge with the famous cannopy walk in the top of the trees 25 and more meters above the ground. it had been a luxury adventure with air con houses to stay and a lot of leeches while on the walks trough the jungle. but the lodge in the middle of the rainforest is a lovely place.
one last trip to turtle islands, you may not enter the island but you can see the tracks of the turtles digging their eggs in the sand during the night. to be digged out by the ranger to be kept in the hatchery.
within 2 days klaus and roland left me, had been a good time together- we did it several times before already - back to be a singlehander.
end of may is harvest festival in sabah. this is a big music and dance festival and beauty competition. the highlight will be in kota kinabalu end of may, but before there are a lot of small festivals all around sabah. so in sandakan yachtclub as well.
I got an invitation by remy and dani ( he had been the conferencier). got a lot of free beers and saw a lot. most of all I loved the bamboo dance , where two dancers dance between moving and knocking bamboo sticks. I still hope to get some photos of it.
dani and remi invited me to join them to tabin raqinforest resort, they had to got their on their job, so I got the chance to see the third of this wildlife sanctuaries in southern sabah. tabin I love most. it is not this first class hotelin the middle of the jungle like danum , its one step more basic , but more you really need.
since years I miss some clear water for swimming and snorkeling, now I found an island looking like from another world. sandy beach all around, clear water, coralls for snorkelin ( and rocks and other little island and even a wreck close by for divers: landakan.
you may stay there in luxuary well maintained houses and will get all the diving gear and excursion divers are used in. as a visiting yacht you have to pick up a mooring for 20 rm the day, but this includes as much tea ore coffee ashore as you want.
I am very sorrs but it had been to windy to stay there more than 2 days. but I should come back.
a few little jobs to do in kudat and I checked out for the philippines. you cant imagine, for two years sailing in the area I got the first two days wind for sailing on the way to puerto princesa. a lot of wind , high waves but the right direction and sailing for 2 days.
there are only two anchorages up to ppwhich are really sheltered to th sw wind. all the other places up to pp are rolly even when the wind is gone.
am now at anchor in purto princesa opposite of the yachtclub with lovely cissy and john, writing these lines to keep you informed. I wrote more lines than I wanted,but trust me it happens a lot more, and I am happy to be on the way- but happy on the other side to write you. to train my english and for the friends who dont speak german these lines in english. I want to get back in contact with a few of I met on my way the last years, probably this will work too.
all the best to you and fair winds
this email is send via slow ham radio, if you want to send me an answer dont press the reply button please
dakini update 2-2009
dakini in puerto princesa anchorage/philippines
es ist wie ein haeuschen auf dem land, etwas abgelegen, trotzdem die naechste groessere stadt nicht weit.
um wegzukommen brauchst du ein verkehrsmittel, entweder das auto/dinghi mit outborder oder das fahrrad/dinghi rudern. dann allerdings bist du in kurzer zeit in der dorfkneipe/yachtclub in der – durchaus ueblich auf dem land – nur ab und an gekocht wird. aber coke und bier gibt es- gekuehlt, weil dieses land warm ist, und es ist ein echter treffpunkt, mit echten gespraechen. die meisten frauen kommen aus den philippinen, die meisten maenner sind weisse.
zum einkaufen brauchst du das oeffentliche verkehrsmittel/tricycle und zwanzig minuten in die stadt, zu allerdings sehr sozialen und etwas variablen tarifen. in der stadt dann gibt es wirklich alles, bekanntermassen im grossen karstadt/nccc, aber auch ein sanfrancisco/fresh mit wirklich gutem kaffee aber schlechtem gebaeck und zu lauter westlicher musik je nach geschmack des personals. allerdings mit wifi und einer zu kalten aircondition.
das haeuschen auf dem lande schaukelt und wenn es regnet muss man die fenster schliessen, aber es hat eine stereoanlage aber kein tv und das eine solar panel ist immer auf der schattenseite, ausser bei bewoelktem himmel. der garten dafuer ist riesengross, er geht bis zum horizont, der nachbar viele bootslaengen entfernt.
genau das aber macht das alles so schoen, und diesen text kann ich nur schreiben, weil der abanico yachtclub– betrieben von cissy und john – so ungewoehnlich unpraetensioes, liebevoll und gastfreundlich betrieben wird, dass es eine wahre freude ist. hier muss man hin!
dakini update 3 september 2009
i am back from the philippines now and want to tell you a little bit about this trip.
as a condensed version: wrong time, wrong place.
but let's do it step by step.
end of june i sailed up the east coast of palawan heading for puerto princesa - i met cissy and john, the owners of the yacht club there, in kudat, so i knew a little bit about this area.
only in the south of palawan there are some nice anchorages, especially calderon bay and the river tuva. the mouth of river tuva is a harbour village with stilt houses on both sides and docking for big barges - nothing else but friendly people.
the first two days i sailed - this is really an event with all the hours i had to use the motor - but the other 4 days there had been the sea left but no wind at all. this means the night at anchor had been rolly.
cissy promised me to pick me up at the difficile entrance to the bay, but like so often i probably took the wrong channel. is it 68,69,71 or 72? (the water-taxies in labuan are ch67). so i did it by myself.
abanico yacht club - good to recognize by one of its blue roofs - is a nice little club with a few optis and lasers and a very familiar atmosphere. there is no night life but a lot of life during the day. you may get any assistance you need even with a check in/check out service run by one of the friends and his tricycle.
puerto princesa itself is an agile little town with a very big and well sorted supermarket (nccc), some restaurants and a sort of mixture of local activities and tourism. the noise and the smell of the tricycles is phenominal! daily shifting these - carrying up to 4 passengers - vehicles are blue or white.
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the philippines is cheap - extremely cheap - and this is tempting, to
stay here as an ex-pat with a western pension but with a philippine lady!
i stayed there for about 4 weeks and have seen altogether 3 white women (they had been sailors), but many fat white men with loud voices, joined by a much younger philippina saying nothing - but making the money for her family. this way of life happens in some restaurants and bars in town and in the yacht club especially at the delicious lunch buffet every saturday. there must be more ingredients for an amiable life than just the value of your money. but there are exceptions too with some sort of an emancipated partnership - and good talks, talks i miss sometimes.
the philippines is an agricultural dominated country - in this case it is hard to get in contact with locals, usually only the fishermen on the route.
the corruption is high. although the check in at immigration and customs is for free, they charge you 500 peso. but at customs they offered me a cup of coffee, it happened to me never before .
abanico yacht club is situated south of 10°n so they say there will be no cyclones. i had one thunderstorm with 32 knots at a dragging mooring. (i just changed the anchor to the mooring, i wanted to leave the next day).
i skipped my idea to do a sulu sea circle. it would have had the wrong wind all the time ans bonbonon bay one of these cyclone holes seemed to be overcrowed with more than 40 yacht anchoring there and joining the 4 restaurants ashore. to go further north i skipped as well, i had no idea to do such cyclone survival training.
as i told you already, it had been the wrong time, even to fly to the rice terraces it would have rained all the time. thats a pitty the landscape of the philippines must be beautiful. next time?
but i visited the underground river opposite of pp. this is a great event. you are going to visit mother earth, and the tour operators do a fine job. it is a silent job to be in this dark cave, and although you are doing only one kilometer of the whole length of 8.1 it's an adventure. the stones and stalactites create different pictures and figures in your mind, highlighted by a torch from time to time. there is a buddha as well.
i stayed in the bay of puerto princesa much longer than i planned to
- 3 -
do, but i loved the place in some way. i loved to change music files with cissy and to sit there and watch and listen and read.
the way back to kudat had been a day-hopping by motor as i knew it would be, but the last day in the strait of ballabac i crashed into a floating log and got the transducer of my foreward-looking sonar damaged. the troughhull-fitting leaked a little bit but it looked like a minor problem.
in kudat they put me on the hard immediately and i saw that 3/4 of the fitting had been broken. a little bit more of it and it had been off and left me with a hole 5cms in diameter. i had been well protected - thank you!
luckily i found a machine shop in kudat to machine me a new throughhull-fitting out of bronze. to get the spare parts from england took another 2 weeks - a small story marginally: email from echopliot in england: “please specify your shipping address! where is sabah? in malaysia or borneo?”
i am still crazy about sandakan and the river kinanbatangaan. i gave this information to some other yachties and got good feedback. i am jealous that the ladies on ventana have seen the elephants twice, but not me!
now i am on the way down south and anchor in front of brunei yacht club, sitting on their fine terrace writing this dakini update for you - to enjoy the trip with me.
dakini update 4.1 .- 2009
wow! it's end of october now. this is my second time in brunei at this gorgeous yacht club. i think i should explain to you why i’m here the second time.
coming back from the philippines and after the repair of the through hull fitting for the forwardlooking sonar, i stayed for a while in “pool” of kudat. this pool i stayed for several times but this time it happened that the little entrance bay had been overcrowded by around 40 fishing boats. you know why – too much wind outside. this wind lasted for 2 days and resulted out of cyclones in the philippines.
good to be here - all the yachts have got two anchors now.
and the time is running fast even for me with nearly all the time in the world. early in september i started to sail west to be in langkawi end of november. this borneo coast is a good area to do such a day- hopping, to avoid any collision with one of the fishing boats. although well lighted you will get no idea in which direction they're running. they don’t run position lights or i can't see them because the boat is so well lit.
i hopped down with nearly no wind – you know this story already – down to brunei. except for the heavy rain with zero sight while entering the harbour, the anchorage and the yacht club are lovely places. it 's good to stay here, enjoy the (slow) wifi and the well-equipped kitchen. round about 15 yachts are at anchorage here – 5 of them belong to members. ashore, a lot of lasers and other dinghies. you see it’s a sailing club. regatta every saturday and sunday.
3 hours up the river is a dependence of the yacht club. much smaller, no boats but lovely people and a good anchorage in the river. a little bit shallow at low tide. you are much closer to bsb (bandar seri begawan) the capital of brunei daressalam.
there are 360 thousand people living in brunei - 130.000 are born here, the others come from malaysia, indonesia and the philippines – but all are legal unlike in kudat. all the people are proud to live here and will welcome you warm-heartedly.
the character of bsb are the water villages (ayer kapong). 30,000 people live in these stilted houses along the riverside. to walk through the stilted walkways between the houses is an adventure. but the people love to live there, the government couldn’t do anything else with them as they can burn within 9 minutes. and this happens.
bsb is a newly built town with a big shopping mall and a big mosque as well. i only have been allowed to take a look through the door because of ramadan. but the difference to the watervillages is great.
the royal family is omnipresent. the locals are nearly all employed by the government. there is no idea what will happen in 20 years when the oil runs out.
a short marginal story:
producing and selling chicken is the monopoly of the royal family. so you may not sell rice with chicken meat produced by your own. but there is a nice brunei way to handle this, especially close to the end of the month when everybody runs out of money and want to buy some cheap rice and chicken. it is called 'nasi kadok' which means 'rice to knock for'. you don’t ask for rice and chicken but will get it for one dollar. cheap and good.
another time i stay at a place much longer then i planed to do and sailed down to miri the 1st october. this was hard work. close to the artificial harbour of prince jeffrey i got 30 knots on the nose for 3 hours, and the strong winds kept me there 2 more days before i could continue to miri - still a big swell outside. i didn’t try to enter the river at kuala beleit because of the waves and sailed down to miri. although i have had the exact coordinates of the entrance to the marina i turned round - bad sight and high waves in a shallow area - and stayed the rest of the night at anchor – very roly.
my friends helen and bruno on helanazwo are in the marina. it was a warm welcome, haven’t seen them for a year.
miri marina is a little bit out of the town, you need to have a bike. there had been 5 rusty ones out of function. i managed to make one run out of these 5 ruins!
miri is a nice little town made for cars not for bikes and pedestrians. the footpaths are 30cms above the road! but you can buy everything and the fresh market is great.
now i will tell you why i am up in brunei again.
i had to buy new batteries. the best ones you can get in malaysia are produced in kudat. i ordered them to be shipped to miri. but there is no chance to get them shipped to miri – but to kota kinabalu. and there is the 6th biyc (borneo international yacht challenge) middle of october going up to kk. it’s a race for cruisers as well and they pay you 1,000 ringit and four nights in a hotel in miri and kk.
so i decided to join the race, with a nice young brunei crew called saiful. stopover for a night in labuan, big dinner another night, then up to kk.
for labuan we had been too late. we didn’t make it in the time limit of 26 hours (125 miles wind on the nose), but we motored too little ( that’s a sailing race you need to use the engine!- very special) in kk we had been second last. in the harbour race out of sutera harbour we ripped the genua but with the gennacker we had been second last another time. not just a racing success but a lot of fun with my first race at all! out of the participation money i bought the batteries.
now i am on the way back to miri to get my genua repaired. still the ne winds aren’t here – still a lot of motoring. i hope there will be more wind down the coast now and up to langkawi. i want to be there at the end of november.
all the best to you and fair winds!
Dakini Update 5.1
In the background the white Himalaya mountains, 10.500ms below me dry mountains (hard to imagine people can live there, but they do) - you see I left the South China sea and I am on the way back to good old Germany (it’s a part of Europe you know!) Back not just for Christmas (already in a month) but to sort out a lot of things and to assist my wife Monica to find a house for living.
So it's time to give you a last update for this year.
Helenazwo, Silent Wish and I left Miri heading for Kuching. Its not too easy to get out of Miri at low tide - very shallow, so we left in the afternoon and anchored the first night just outside (no wind).
First night in Bintulu industrial harbour. What a surprise next morning, the windlass didn’t move any more. 45 m chain by hand, a good training.
I had a great sailing the next day, 17 kn wind, beam reach –have not had this for a long time. But it had been the final end of the 'repaired' genua too. In the night the wind disappeared but the big waves stayed. Not a lovely sailing, but something like a prelude for the leg Kuching to Singapore.
Jeff of Sy Invictus had been in Kuching/Santubong already when I arrived. He helped me to repair the windlass. This had been a three-day job – one day of these in a machine shop in Kuching – but in the end not successful, the worm and the worm wheel are damaged and need a replacement.
Round about 400 miles to Singapore, again with very little wind and a lot of motoring. For half a night it had been like inside a tumbling washing machine. 3-4 m waves, no wind.
But luckily not too many fishing boats in the night.
Crossing the shipping lane at the entrance to Singapore harbour only 5 ships coming from port and 6 coming from starboard – at the same time. I love my ais, no problems.
I stopped in Sebana Cove to get Razak (he repaired my heat-exchanger two years ago) to work on my windlass, but he doesn’t work on boats any more.
Sebana Cove you may forget for the future. They increased the berthing rates and there is no ferry leaving the marina any more.
The number of sailing yachts is down to round about 15 now. It is no more a place for us yachties I think. But it had been a lovely sailing up the river in the night. No moonlight but Singapore in the background. Very calm and very peaceful.
I left this place of no more interest the next morning together with Dave of Sy Meander. He arrived the day before from Noumea after a 40 day trip. We “meandered” through Singapore harbour. Passing all the ships anchored I had a new experience. One of the freighters started to hoist the anchor. I didn’t realize until this big bow-bubble had been very close to me. (I had been at the chart table for a minute). Dave, behind me, called me on the vhf, but the mobile was in cockpit. I couldn’t hear. The decks of these empty ships are really high above the water. I guess higher up than the top of my mast. The second experience is, that although in Singapore harbour there are ships without a running ais.
Unfortunately you need more than one tide to pass the harbour. Very slow speed against the tide. We got to Puteri harbour, a new marina in Johor Bahru, a few miles up the river, at nine pm. The entrance is a construction site and not easy to find.
I had not been in such a luxurious marina in my life. You may anchor in your berth (like Dave used to say) so much space.
Very friendly people - everything well maintained – and it's cheap there too. Today you get a 50% off the berthings rates. That’s because there is nearly nothing around yet. It is part of a huge development area. Because it's far away from anything, they offer you several shuttle services (free of charge) – yes, they assist you in any question or need you have. There is a shuttle to the causeway link bus to get to Singapore as well.
I decided to leave Dakini there, while flying home. This works because of good friends organizing to get my sail, getting shipped to Langkawi, down to Puteri harbour. And a big rallye fleet is up there now, this will make problms to find a berth in a marina.
Franz of Sy Nan Madol is going to pick the sail up in Langkawi and Frank of Sy Morning Light will take it with him on his way down again. He is still in Puteri now waiting for the right wind. If Frank is going to decide to leave Langkawi for Chagos or Sumatra, Helen and Bruno of Helenazwo promised me to take the sail. Thanks to you all.
Now I lost the view of the mountains, just clouds around and 6 hours left to Munich. Time to say good bye.
all the best and fair winds,
sampo widmann sy dakini
tsunami in phuket
after the earthquake
die westkueste von phuket ist zerstoert. je nach uferformation mehr oder weniger weit ins land hinein. all die touristenorte in den flussmuendungen, wenige meter ueber dem normal null – „vom bungalow, dem hotel direkt ins meer“ sind stark beschaedigt bis total zerstoert -ja verschwunden.
dabei ist interessant, dass sich die grosse welle nicht ueberall gebrochen hat, als sie ans ufer lief. in surin beach zb ist das wasser „nur“ unheimlich weit aufgelaufen, hat die bungalows ueberflutet und die sehr labilen strandrestaurants mitgeschwemmt. ( hier stehen am 4.januar 2005 schon wieder sonnenschirme und einige wenige touristen sind auch noch da).
wo sich die welle gebrochen hat sind die zerstoerungen viel massiver. patong das „mekka“ der phuket touristen – unter uns gesagt ein alptraum aus bierhallen, oktoberfestdekoration und prostitution – ist bis mindestens 200 m ins land hinein zerstoert. der muell haeuft sich auf den strassen, es stinkt grausam.
die meisten haeuser in diesem bereich sind unbewohnbar geworden, die hotels leer geraeumt und selbst nach mehreren reinigungsschritten noch schlammig. das patong tower building – ein hochhaus mit ca 35 stockwerken – nachts total dunkel, koennte mit vorstellen, dass die versorgungstechnik zusammengebrochen ist.
obwohl das meiste wohl nicht mehr zu brauchen ist, menschen, die in den muellbergen nach 2 gleichen sandalen oder stoeckelschuhen suchen, ein einsamer buddha am strassenrand und eben noch erkennbar all dies zeug, das die fremden scheinbar kaufen. (sandalen sind hier uebrigens durch die bank von „diesel“ !)
doch wird extrem gearbeitet die spuren zu beseitigen. in 24 stundenschichten arbeiten die bagger und lkws den muell abzufahren. die gesamte uferpromendade in betoneinzelteile zerlegt und zwischen den b auemen verteilt, ist schon abgefahren. auch ist die stimmung nicht destruktiv. es war ein naturereignis, wir hier sind viel viel besser weggekommen als die meisten anderen. auch andere gegenden in thailand – mit immerhin auch hier ca 5000 toten.
in phuket ist die lage nicht daramatisch, weil das gesamte hinterland von der welle gar nicht beruehrt wurde und die versorgung der kuestenregion damit gesichert ist. die inseln ohne wasser und lebensmittel - die berichte aus sumatra sind entsetzlich.
die besitzerin des gerade wieder entstehenden strandrestaurants in laem beach meint laechelnd, ich habe die haelfte verloren, aber die haelfte behalten, das ist doch sehr gut.
wie schon oefters mal auf meiner reise, bin ich oft froh mich vom land aufs schiff fluechten zu koennen in meine geordnete welt. helfen kann man selten, nur beim „ao sane“ in nai han wurde schon am naechsten tag mit hilfe vieler segler der wiederaufbau begonnen, das war eine gute aktion. beim aufsammeln und aufraeumen haben alle mitgewirkt (manchmal fand sich auch noch eine volle bierflasche in der brandung).
mir faellt der hurrikan in grenada ein bei dem eine grosse yacht aus trinidad gekommen, ununterbrochen wasser mit dem wassermacher hergestellt hat.
alles was ich berichten kann, sind die direkten erlebnisse an dem momentanen aufenthaltsort. die grossen zusammenhaenge sind wohl weltbreit im fernsehen gekommen, auch die ganz entsetzlichen. hier wird hart gearbeitet den frueheren zustand wieder zu bekommen – wohl werden aber hotelzimmer auf meereshoehe nicht mehr ganz so attraktiv gelten.
bei den seglern faellt auf, dass sie in solch respektvollen abstand vom ufer ankern, dass sich der benzinverbrauch der outborder sicher vervielfacht. unter 12 m wassertiefe ankert man jetzt nicht. auch bleibt man zusammen: nai han ca 60 yachten, kata beach 20, patong 7, surin 2 ( von nord nach sued eine distanz von ca 12 sm).
wie es den seglern weiter im sueden ergangen ist muss ich erst noch erfahren.