Saturday, November 22, 2014

Demise of Danga Bay Marina Oct 2014

For any yachtie who has ventured into Malaysia from Indonesia, Danga Bay was the haven sought.  It was originally free to stay there, but by the time we last left it, they were charging 150 ringgits/week to stay.  That's less than $50/week to keep the boat--a bargain!  But alas, the marina is no more.  These pics were taken over a period of about five weeks in October/November 2014 as they were filling in the marina to reclaim land to build high rise condos.
The sand barges with the conveyor belts sticking out the front were plying the waters here now and are nearly a block long each.  An entire fleet of them from China moved an immense amount of sand!  They dredge the sand from the channel here and elsewhere and dump it in the old marina space.
The view from our berth when we first arrived.  Once there were five jetties here.  They'd already torn out and filled in the jetties 4 and 5, and we were told we could stay at jetty 1 or 2 until they were ready to work there.  
View from the balcony of the marina office looking out where the jetties 4 and 5 used to be.  We'd anchored here just months before.
The tractors flatten the giant mounds of disgorged sand and smooth the surface so tractors and cranes and other machinery can drive on it.  The design in the next decade is to have the entire waterfront filled with tall residences like those in the background.
Low tide around the jetties reveals the shallowing waters.
Sand barge coming into the end to spew more sand.
You can still see the jetty pilings as the sand pours into the water.
Danga Bay has always been filthy water, with trash and dead things floating around in the dirty water.
A look towards the Danga Cruise boat and the only dock that will remain--it is not part of the marina and is as the far end of the marina property.  We would tie our dinghy down there and walk the distance to the marina office to use the free wifi in the air-conditioned Yachtie Room.
This barge got caught in a cross wind and ended up running into the jetty 3, where boats are still berthed.  The marina owner's luxury yacht had been parked there until that morning.  Oh that would've been a real disaster if it had still been here.  The barge had a hard time getting out again without wiping out the mast of the sailboat there.
The armed guard watching the action from the marina office balcony.
He repeatedly hit the jetty with the sand barge, but eventually he got away.  The boats weren't there for long after that episode.  The marina officially closed Aug 31, 2014, so the boats were on borrowed time here.
You can see if he just pivoted, he would wipe out the mast of the yacht with his conveyor.
The barges then began to fill in the other end of the space, down by jetty 1.  We had to leave.
Now they were piling in the sand from both ends each day on the high tides.
Even while the one barge was struggling to avoid damaging more docks and yachts, another barge cruised right behind him, coming in with another load.  They are on a contract and you'd better watch out for them.
The owner of the land set up a huge air-conditioned tent for a 3-day venue of sales for the to-be-built condos (they call them service apartments) in what was the parking lot along the waterfront.
The struggling barge on the jetty nearly backs into the other sand barge passing behind him.
He's finally off the jetty and can now raise his anchor and get out of there.  Quite a crowd watched the happenings, but luckily, the yacht owner was away for the day, so he was spared a heart-stopping sight.

The tractors push the sand up towards the fence edge of what used to be the raised walkway.
If they plan to build on this land, won't they hit the pilings that are left in the sand?  We think so, but they pumped the sand in anyway.
These sand barges are so big, they dwarf the other machines.
One day they push the sand to the edge and the next day it is dug out again.  We didn't understand, but it seemed to waste a lot of effort.
The dock sections being piled up for removal.  A boat and barge towed them away.
More of the infamous Danga Bay trash piling up against what is left of a dock section.
The next property down the water is Country Garden and when we finally had to move, this is where we dropped our anchor in the Strait.  You can see the plethora of cranes working to build the new structure here, too.
More Danga Bay barge activity.  These flat barges need to be towed and the one broke loose and banged into the same jetty #3.  We're so glad we weren't on that pontoon.

Dead fish by the thousands floating around the bay one day.
We think something killed them in the fish farms and the farm just let them float away.  But we'll never know for sure.

The fish floated in with the tide and moved around and out with the tide, then came back around with the next tide.  For several days it got pretty stinky around here.  But the birds wouldn't eat them off the water.  Only the shore birds would pick at them if they got onto the beach and the cleaning crew hadn't picked them up yet.

All those little dots are dead fish.
A few close up.  These fish are bigger than most we see fishermen pull out after a day's catch, so we think they came from the fish farms that line the shores along this part of the strait.
Empty jetty pilings at Danga Bay Marina.
Jetty 3 being dismantled.
You can see the gap where there used to be docks.  Jetty 3 was where the local boats and the police boats used to park, as well as the tourist launches that did small tours.
A view from the far end of the marina before the docks were all dismantled.
Docks are getting fewer each day.
The sand replaces the docks in no time,
They put the sand in and then they dig it back out.  They had to dig out a few pilings to remove them.
The flat barges supported the piling removals.
As soon as the docks were gone, the sand barges just barged right in between the pilings and started dumping sand.
After a day, you can see how much sand gets dumped.
We came back to find YOLO soft aground in the muddy sand in front of Country Garden.  The spring tide (extra low low water) had coupled with a SW wind to push us into water so shallow we ended up aground.  You could've waded out to YOLO from this beach at the resort.  We just waited a couple of hours til the water came back up and moved our anchor another 50' out into the channel.  I hated moving out even more in the way of those huge sand barges, but we had to keep YOLO off the keels when the tide goes out.
The barges kept filling in from the sides.  We saw wedding couples getting their photos taken in front of the sand streams coming off these barges.  They became quite a tourist sight on weekends.
Giant sewer pipes were moved in preparation for tearing up the paving bricks.
More trash settling against the wall at high tide.  Eventually, this stainless steel fencing was cut away and removed.  Jason and I picked up handfuls of the stainless steel acorn nuts and washers used to bolt it to the concrete.  They were cut off or just tossed onto the ground.
Looking down from the balcony at day's end.
Cranes came in to move some big pieces of metal around.
This barge didn't get back out in time.  The tide went too low for him to get out so he had to sit for 12 hours to wait for the next high tide to get off.  It happened more than once.
They piled the sand up to the edge of the sidewalk; then they decided they needed to break up the concrete below it, so they brought in the big claws and moved it away.  Then they just punched through it to break it up with the big steam shovels and hydraulic jackhammers .  They had a cool machine that looked like a dinosaur's jaws that just gripped and pulverized chunks of cement, leaving only the rebar.  They could dump sand down through some of that and they had a guy out with a welding torch cutting the rebar away.
One day the sand is here, the next day the water is running here in a channel.  It comes and goes, changing day to day.
The far end of jetty 1, the last space to be filled in .  There is little space left for any water to come or go here, even from the drainage pipe at the top right corner.  You can still see the white "1" on the piling to the left.  It's a little crooked now, as barges have hit it and bent it.  Happened to several of the pilings left in the water.
You can see more bent pilings in this shot, looking back towards the marina building from the Danga Cruise dock.  Even the Danga Cruise boat eventually had to leave this dock for safekeeping.  The barges came in close and had to pivot right around her berthing spot to get into this area to dump sand.  And we were told repeatedly "They just don't care" when talking about the barge drivers.
The disco "LIVE" at Danga Bay.  It opened in Nov 2013 but was so loud, the Sultan closed them down.  The planks of the walkway around the 2nd floor of this building were rotting away and we had to be careful where we walked.
The view from the dock where we parked the dinghy each day, looking towards the marina buildings and office.  We walked up there every day to catch a bus or use the internet and take showers.
What a rusty piece of junk this barge is.  It looks like one of the others whacked its instrument tower with their conveyor belt and bent it backwards.  We didn't see him for a while after this.
This dinosaur-jawed machine pulled the rebar out of the rubble it created and left it in snarly piles for someone else to pick up and dispose of.
A bit of Malaysian repair work.  The man standing on the arm of the machine he is welding.  No gloves or mask or eye protection.  The other steam shovel is holding the arm in place while he welds.  OSHA?  No way.
That bent piling "1" after the sands got piled around it.
The blue and yellow boat on the left with the metal paddle wheels was used to try to push/pull the pilings so they could remove some of them.  It sat tied to the cruise dock and we tied our dinghy behind it every day.  The barges came mighty close to hitting these boats several times and we watches as they ground off a little paint as they rubbed against the pilings for this dock.

Looking back along the cruise dock.  The "1" piling is in the center here.
Coming and going, the barges are getting very close to hitting these boats and the dock.  The Danga Cruise boat just stayed anchored out by us.
Barges in the morning mist.  The barges anchor out here by us and get loaded from another barge that is filled with sand.  They just transfer some of it from one ship to another via the conveyor belt.
The seafood restaurant next to the marina office building was still in operation.  They leave their dirty dishes overnight and wash them the next day--yuck.  This shot, however, was taken after someone left their breakfast dishes out and nobody bussed the table for a while.  The birds had a feast pecking at the refuse on the table.
Jim from Chesapeake came to meet us at Danga Bay.  We hadn't seen him since we left New Zealand.  Chesapeake sailed with us and his wife, Linda was my snorkeling and shelling buddy throughout Tonga.
At out new anchor location in front of Country Garden.  They seemed to host a lot of events and one included this hot air balloon ride, with 10 smaller balloons rather than one big balloon.
The rubble that used to be the raised walkway at Danga Bay.
The giant lobster in front of the seafood restaurant lives on.
These two barges kissed one afternoon but they just get untangled and move on.
Barges in the distance about to tangle.
The scenery changes daily here now.
The boats about to butt butts in the distance.  The black plumes of diesel exhaust indicate a revving of the engines for some reason.
Getting closer......
They did eventually hit one another.  The room to turn around is getting tighter and tighter as they filling both sides of the river here.  The water now runs swifter through the narrower channel, too.
The hydraulic jackhammer breaking up the concrete walkway.  Then the dinosaur jaws would chomp it into smaller pieces so the rebar could be removed.
Rainy day at Danga Bay
The barges are getting closer to our dinghy anchor dock.
More changes happening.
We think the drill set up out there is taking core samples to see how well the sand is packing in.  Just our guess though.
As the contract got behind, more barges fought for space at the same time and there were lines of sand fountains along the shore.
Coming and going during the high tides day in and day out.
You can see four of the six (yes, six) barges that crowded in at one time one day.  That was the record we saw.
The tractor got stuck in the soft sand where the water was trying to work its way out again.  He got a bit concerned as a barge pulled in near him to start spewing sand.
An evening shot as we left for the day.
You can see how those pilings get bent.  These mammoth machines push and pull and wrap their anchor chains around them and they lean on them and power their engines to stay in place when the water and/or wind try to push them around.
The stainless steel railing is gone and the sand is being piled right up to the edge again.
You can see three barges offloading sand here.
Line 'em up and spew!
A crane was brought in to remove the roof of Lazio's, the outside bar where we'd had drinks with the rally last year.
Looking out towards the cruise dock.  That blue and white boat is the Danga Cruise boat.
The drill wasn't paid much attention and was blown around.
The roof of Lazio's bar is being removed with chains and a crane.
Down she comes and then it was dismantled and taken away.  No more Tiger beers here.
The roof of Lazio's is now history.
Looking out towards the cruise ship dock.  This was the parking lot.  The brown rubble to the right of the tractor is all the paving bricks the tractor is digging up.  They are removed by dump trucks.  All those cranes in the distance are working on the project at Country Garden, where we anchored.
The tractors were used to smooth the sand and load the paving bricks into dump trucks.
We met one of the Chinese staff workers (he said to just call him Billy) who dealt with the barges daily and directed them.  He promised us a visit to one of his fleet of ships, but we left for Puteri Harbour for the Sail Malaysia 2014 rally before we got the date finalized and arranged.  Billy had told us we could visit his ship the following week, but we didn't come back after leaving.  I'm sure the barge captains were glad to have that catamaran YOLO out of their way so they could load and maneuver without worrying about hitting us.  Not that they worried anyway.