Lot's of drama this weekend. We had planned a trip to Sebana Cove, Malaysia
, a very popular stop off for cruising yachties, for several weeks. The kids
are all out of school
and so a Saturday-Monday trip was planned. We had plenty of volunteers and at one point we had three boats going.
Well, one boat backed out, so I volunteered to rent the club boat (J24) in order to fit all 10 adventurists.
For those who have yet to do an international trip, a short diversion. Old hands will think nothing of this but clearing in and out of countries is one of the cruising skills. I am glad we can get this experience here.
First you get a Harbor Clearance - this is basically approval to take the boat out of Singapore
. Secondly, we produce a manifest. One page lists the skipper
and "crew" - Crew is actually required or paid members. Everyone else is a passenger. So we have two pages in triplicate with everyone's passport details and so on to clear out of Singapore.
Well at the last minute (Friday night) we discover some folks on Relax Lah! have passport (expired) or visa problems. The entire crew of Relax Lah! decide to scrub their mission. So I have a Harbor clearance and a crew manifested on the club boat. Relax Lah! has a harbor clearance but no passengers or skipper
We debate what to do and eventually we decide that the Harbor clearance and the manifest are two separate things, so we take Relax Lah!'s clearance and the club boats manifest. If we get it wrong we are screwed because we are clearing at sea - 1 1/2 hours away. But using your own boat beats paying rent on the club boat.
We loaded half the "crap" on Friday afternoon and made sure the boat was ready. Sebana has tennis and golf and we planned for both. So out little 25 footer was loaded with 3 sets of clubs, bags for 6, tennis rackets for 4, too much beer
(two coolers), food
for 3 days. At least compared to flying we didn't have to worry about CG and Max weight issues and Relax Lah!'s waterline remained above the level of the water - a good thing we reckoned.
Of course this was a sailing trip and while we had the tide with us of course the easterly breeze was right on the nose on our way to South Angler Buoy - the designated immigration holding point for the east side of the island. We motored the 1 1/2 hours to the general purpose area. Along the way we spotted an almost new fender
bobbing along and after "only" 4 passes we got it aboard. I blame it on the choppy sea caused by an outgoing tide and an incoming wind ;-)
We used to enjoy immigration service
at our club but due to circumstances we no longer can clear on land and we have to clear at sea. This was my first time to do this and as we pulled up we called immigration on Ch74 and they were Johny-on-the-Spot in 2 minutes in a big very powerful launch. I dropped all out passports, harbor clearance and boat registration
, all wrapped in a plastic bag, into a net held out by the deck hand. The launch backed off and we floated 5 minutes while they were processed. Any concern about the clearance and manifest was a non-issue.
Another quick transfer and we were off on a wonderful reach at 5kts. A reach that held all the way to the entrance to the river. If you look at the photo
I attached you can see Pulau Tekong. This is a special purpose island owned by Singapore that they are growing with cean dirt landfill. The dotted lines represent the breakwall delineating the shallow water that is being filled. It's a bit controversial with some of the neighbors but you have to admire the Singaporean industriousness.
The river can be sailed, if you are a masochist, but most people will drop sails after the first turn. We were no different.
Arriving at Sebana Cove 45 minutes later we hailed on Ch71 and were guided to our berth. We dropped into the harbor master, provided our manifest and Singapore port clearance. Due to security
changes all the crew had to stop over at the immigration shed rather than the skipper being able to clear everyone.
Saturday afternoon we played tennis and swam and Saturday night we joined the yachties for the weekly BBQ dinner, although we were late and as a bigger group we were off to one end.
Sunday was golf and tennis. Some people joined by Ferry
on Sunday morning and returned Sunday night. Monday was a quick trip to the nearby town and then the clearances out of Sebana Cove for a 2PM departure.
We motored out, enjoyed the ideal reaching conditions again - on the opposite tack and reached the immigration area by 4PM. Unfortunately we weren't so lucky with the immigration boat timing and we and two other boats waited an hour for immigration.
By this time it was after 5 and the wind which we were hoping to remain strong for our downwind run died completely. Welcome to cruising...
So maybe 3:00 of sailing and 5:00 of motoring in a 3 day trip. At least the batteries are nicely charged...