Monday, June 16, 2014

Kapas and Terengganu, May 2014

After we left Cukai, we headed north to Terengganu, the final rally destination before we turn back to the SE and head for Borneo.  It was too far to make the harbor in one day so we pulled in to 20' of water in front of a long beach just past a port.  We were enjoying a beer when this harbor boat full of young guys motored up and told us we had to move 1-2 miles further up the coast--we were still within the official port limits and even though an oil tanker would never come into water this shallow, we couldn't convince them to let us just stay put overnight.  So we moved a mile up the coast and all were happy.  Back to the beer before it got warm.
 About 10 miles before Terangganu, we reached the little island of Kapas.  A nice shallow bay between it and the neighboring islet in clear water on white sand--heaven.
 YOLO in front of the little islet, Gemia, where a 'turtle hatchery' consisted of a few buckets inside a tiny fenced area.

Patrick and Elizabeth on LaBarque had arranged for us all to play cricket on the beach that afternoon and to bring a dish and just have a pot luck on the beach with sundowners.  LaBarque folks have been speakers at several of our technical briefings as they have been on the rally 3 times and have spent years sailing the routes we are on now.  They are a wealth of information and happy to share it with others.  In fact, he has put together the only cruising guide for this area and we have all been trying to contribute to it with safe anchorage waypoints that we find and feedback on changes from the official navigation charts (like the new breakwater walls not yet charted).  He and Sazli are trying to come to an arrangement where the gov't tourism office will pay to have the guides printed for sale to cruisers.

Here we are setting up to play cricket.  I actually swung the bat a few times and got some runs, but I wasn't up to fielding the balls that went into the water.  I tried to stay dry above the shorts.

We're munching down on our pot luck dishes on the beach here at Kapas.  No matter how hard we try, we can't seem to keep sand out of the food!  I just decided it was a good idea to make something crunchy so we don't notice it so much.
 YOLO at anchor at Kapas Island.
 A tiny beach on the island.  You can see caves if you look hard enough.  There is a stairway built up an over the hill to the small resorts on the other beaches of this island.
 Myra from Saol Eile relaxing at the pot luck, watching the cricket on the beach.
 Cricket on the beach at Kapas.  Peter on the left wore his white clothes to be 'proper' for the game.  Running back and forth between the wickets was heart-pounding exercise when I got a hit.  We played with a tennis ball and it usually went into the water, so lots of folks got wet and salty playing this afternoon.
 The dinghies on Kapas.  If you hit the ball past the dinks, you got an automatic six runs.
 Paul, there on the right, is 73 and from South Africa and was keen to have us playing his favorite game.  He ran back and forth more than anyone.  He's in amazing shape for his age and we can only hope we have his stamina when we get there.
 There was no shade on the beach and we had to tuck right back into the trees on the roots and rocks to get out of the sun.  It was too hot to stay in the sun too long.  But the mosquitoes come out at dusk, so we had a very short window to enjoy the sunset before we all scurried back to our boats.
 Mark from Ajax brought us 200+ liters of water in a portable bladder that he puts into his dinghy to fill.  He has an inline sump pump that fits into the fill hole and we just hooked the tiny pump up to the 12-volt plug on YOLO and pumped the water into our tanks--pretty slick.  Beats hauling buckets of water and pouring them through a funnel.  The water on the dock at Terengganu is drinkable, so we filled up what we could here.
 Our tour of Terengganu took us to a traditional wooden boat builder.  Next door was this sign from another builder that had gone out of business.  Love the spelling!
 We visited the Crystal Mosque here.  Non-Muslims can go into this mosque if you cover yourself in their long robes and scarves.  Bare feet only on the mosque floors.  We didn't go in as we've seen the insides of mosques before and they are mostly bare floors where folks lay out their individual prayer rugs when they answer the call to prayer.
 The Crystal Mosque is a very pretty building from the outside and sits on its own island with a causeway road to reach it.  Along the way is a sort of park, with miniature versions of famous mosques from different countries around the world.  We didn't have time to go there with the rally tour and it was 25RM (about $8) admission, but we could see glimpses of the buildings through gaps in the hedges along the fence as we drove by.
 Above the boat builders shed is this swallow house.  They lure the birds with recordings of their calls and collect their nests to sell to the Chinese to make bird's nest soup.
 Across from the boat builder was this dilapidated house.  It looked like I could push it over with one hand.
 The big fishing boat being built is too big to fit into the picture, but this is one view of it.  They put a spongy bark between the planks and tear it off.  When it gets wet, it swells to seal the space.  Who needs caulk?
A slab of the bark they use is on the left.  The honeycomb-looking piece on the right is a block of wood that has had cores cut out for the wooden pegs they use instead of nails.
Some of the planks with the local hardwood used for boat building.  They look like a supply of crosses, something you won't find readily in this Muslim country.
 The Crystal Mosque.
 If you look closely, you can see my little blue reflection in the bottom pane of the bulb in the center.
Karen in her floppy hat at the Crystal Mosque.  The crystals are at the top of the four tall spires and they glint the colors of the rainbow when the sun hits them just right.

 Jason and I took a detour with Sazli and the folks from Jackster, Dave and Jackie from the UK, to do a radio interview for this radio station, Manis FM.  He asked us a few questions about how we felt about Malaysia and what our plans are and gave us some fresh-squeezed orange juice afterwards.  A pretty light half hour of music and talk.  He translated the discussion into Malay for those not up to speed on their English, but hoped folks would realize they need to practice their English more if they didn't understand our questions and answers.
 Dave, Jason and Karen in the radio interview room.
 Dave and Jackie, our radio host, Adam, and Jason and Karen at Manis FM Radio.  Gosh, we'll be stars of stage, screen and the airwaves before you know it!!
Sazli took this shot as Jason was talking On The Air.

 This is the 'Floating Mosque' because it looks like it is floating on the water when the tide is in.  The water comes all the way to the top of the support posts that you can see under the walkways now.
Some cute little cars we saw along the roadside in Kuala Terengganu.
 Our tour took us to a batik factory.  Here, a young lady is weaving a 'songket', a garment with real gold threads woven into it, worn for special ceremonies.  It's a very tedious and time-consuming weave and the garments are expensive when completed.  It may take several weeks to complete one sarong-like panel.  I'm afraid I'll never understand how they know which thread to pick up or push through next to keep the design intact.  Hands and feet have to coordinate the movements of the loom.  Weaving is a skill most young girls in this part of the world learn as children, but I don't know of a single person in the US who owns a loom.
 These are some funky woven things on display at the batik factory.  The peaks in the weaving are pretty unusual.

 Traditional batik involves stamping wax designs onto a fabric before dying it and then melting the wax off to reveal the original fabric color.  This factory had walls of these wooden stamps to use for designs.  Butterflies, ferns, flowers, etc. have been captured in these wooden blocks of art to reuse.
 These girls are cutting strips of tin to fashion into the letters of the alphabet to use for stamps.  All the Muslim women in this country wear long sleeves, long pants and the long head scarves.  They are covered head to toe, even when swimming!
 This young lady was drawing circles on a fabric.  The tiny funnel-like pen she is using is filled with melted wax and she uses it like a fountain pen.  When the wax runs out, she refills it from the pot on the burner there beside her.
 A colorful batik fabric panel that hung in front of a glass panel at the factory.

 Karen sitting at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina in Terengganu.  Sazli took this shot as we waited for the special fish sausage he wanted us to try-- a famous local dish called kerepok lemok.
 Jason waiting to return to YOLO after our tour.

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