Sunday, January 11, 2009

January 10, 2009 - Pulau Besar, Malacca Strait, Malaysia

If only we had a potter's wheel on board . . .

We had to cover over sixty miles today to get from our anchorage at Pulau Pisang to tonight's anchorage at Pulau Besar, so we were up and underway before dawn. There is a lot of traffic out here. Between the heavy shipping traffic out in the shipping lanes, the local tugs towing barges outside of the shipping lanes, the local fishing fleet with their buoyed lines and nets, and the fish farms in the shoals, we prefer to do this trip north to Penang as a series of day hops.

Our friends who went north two months ago also all reported seeing rafts of floating garbage, which is something else we'd like to avoid hitting. We've seen a few tree branches and the isolated bit of floating detritus, but we haven't seen anything like the islands of garbage that we were expecting. Our theory is the the Northeast Monsoon breezes have blown all the flotsam across the strait to the Sumatra coast.

The light out here is very odd. For two days now we've been sailing along in a haze. Everything is greyed out and blurry. It is hard to tell where the jade green sea ends and the sky begins. The outlines of fishing boats and ships are also fuzzy. From a distance, ships look more like city blocks than anything else. We're not sure if the haze is caused by pollution or just moisture rising off this shallow, murky body of water, but it makes for terrible photos.

Looks good now, but we've still got several days to go . . .

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