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Welcome to sailing yacht Alishan

Read more about the adventures and boat-projects on board of Alishan

Summer in the Year of the PIG

Summer in the Year of the Pig.

Back in Japan, when we first planned our stay in Hong Kong, we talked about a 3 month-stay at the most. In July it was 4 months and we were not nearly ready to leave. Mostly due to time consuming boat projects, but also because of the prevailing winds. The SW monsoon would be blowing straight on our nose if we’d head for Singapore / Malaysia right now.

So we filled the days with “projects”.

There were the cleaning and maintenance projects. Same as ever. 

Jaap buying diesel from the oil boat that comes alongside with big hoses to pour it straight in your tanks, if you like. But we don’t want any of their oil spills on our teak deck, so it’s done the slow but safe way: using jerry cans.

A daily visitor: the rubbish collectors.

All the bags (that they provide) are scrutinized for recyclable items.

There were the sewing jobs, which came with numerous trips in town to find needles, materials and eventually a new sewing machine.

Did we ever show you our new interior?

(with princess Wakame in the tray..)

The biggest project on Alishan was the haul-out.

With the clear-out of our storage in Atagohama, Japan the waterline had sunk a few crucial inches, so that needed fixing.

Up, up and up we went.

The slip way is next to the Hebe Haven Yacht Club restaurant. Nice viewing deck on “Work in Progress 

As said, we had to do something about the waterline, so up, up, up another 5 cm!

Alishan is at least 15 ton, the slipway can have her.

Pfff, at the end of 4 days hard work (pestered by a few rain patches,) all looks well (in the dark) and ready for re-launch the next day.

As you know, HK goes with shopping, so we got new toys, like a 60 gb mp3 player, resulting in recording ALL our cd-s. Talking about time consuming!!!

The days in July and August were hot and humid and Marijke’s skin wasn’t too happy with this weather! The air conditioner that was once for sale was now keeping us cool in the hours before sleep and was quickly taken off the bulletin board.

Health and fitness projects: All the MacLehose hiking trails for Jaap and a 3 months ticket to the gym for Marijke.



The joke is: At what shopping mall did you go hiking this weekend? Indeed there are zillions of shopping malls. And the truth is that there are also many real hiking trails in HK!

Looking to one side: Housing, more housing and of course shopping malls.

But look to the other side of the trail:

Bays, islands and more green.

This is the scenery in the MacLehose trail part 2.

Beaches, beaches and more beaches…

Hong Kong’s hiking trails, trail-maps and info is superb.

What do you think of this crowded HK beach on one of the many sunny days?

In between we went out.

No more overnighters to China, but in and around Hong Kong.



All those years of teaching English to kids in Japan had made us kind of curious about this guy Mickey and the world he’s from so we put Disneyland on our list of things to do.

The day was sunny and hot and we were prepared to get sunburned and all that BUT it turned out to be fun. Marijke had her first ever roller coaster ride and screamed her lungs out. Jaap did the same kind of thing laughing during a 3d movie with no story but lots of effects.

So, especially for the young ones:

Where does this train go to?

Yap Sensei made a spooky friend. And it wasn’t even Halloween yet.

One of the creatures that pop up just beside you to make your boat ride exciting.

You won’t believe who you run into!

Maria Sensei with guess who?



As tourists we are only allowed 3 months in HK and at one stage we had to leave the place in order to get a new visa.

We had already planned to sail to Macau for this purpose, but left it to long and when the time had come, a typhoon warning got in the way and we didn’t dare leave our safe mooring and took the ferry for a one day visit.

Macau, previously a Portuguese colony, is now a SAR (Special Administrative Region of China), just like Hong Kong, but we still need passports to go there. And it is still “abroad” enough to do a visa run.

The ferry from Central takes only an hour and we thought that was fast enough, though a helicopter ride would have saved us at least 40 mins.

Upon arrival we took a bus to town and from there we walked and walked and walked. Saw little temples, narrow alleys and of course the famous sites as the ruins of the church of St. Paul and the Largo da Senado. The old town hadn’t changed much and was pretty much as we remembered it (We stayed here for about a week with Jan Haring 15 years ago), though the butchers selling flat ducks were gone. At least, the meat wasn’t outside the shops anymore. However, the European atmosphere is still there in the wrought iron balconies and the names of the streets, written in Portuguese on pretty white and blue tiles.

Largo da Senado

The façade of the church of St. Paul, one of the first protestant churches in SE Asia

The streets have Portuguese names, written on white and blue tiles.

Temples, always good for a shot or 2, 3,

4, 5… Those spirals are made of incense, burning slowly from the outside, filling the temples with a mystic smoke.

On the outskirts it was a very different place. Huge new buildings rose up, many still under construction, in the weirdest colors and shapes, with lots of that shiny “Chinese” gold. And most of them hotels with casinos. The biggest one, the Venetian, was just about to open and is supposed to have the worlds 2nd larges amount of floor space. This town makes more money then Las Vegas! The place swarmed with people, mostly mainland Chinese on gambling trips.

New casino under construction.

We made sure that we had a good meal of dumplings for lunch and some Portuguese food for dinner before we took the Turbojet ride back to HK and slept in our own beds again.

It was only 2 weeks later that the same issue came up, this time for Alishan. In order to keep foreign status the boat had to leave after six months. So there we went again, this time before any typhoon could bother us.

Onboard came Karin, a Dutch lady off another sailing boat, who’s visa was also about to run out. Since Karin is deaf, in the means that she cannot hear ANYTHING, we were constantly aware of how much you depend on your hearing. Talking with her wasn’t difficult, she lip reads perfectly in Dutch and English, but you need to look her straight in the face, so talking while doing something else was out. And we talked a lot…

We left Hebe Haven about 8 in the morning and headed out towards Hong Kong Island.

There we chose the passage between the island and Kowloon, a bustling piece of water with boats and floats of all sizes. From high-speed ferries to slow slow sampans, passenger liners, bulk carriers, container ships and tiny fishing vessels.

We enjoyed the views at leisure. Too bad the sun wasn’t out and the wind didn’t show up either; we motor sailed the whole day.

Hong Kong Island’s tall IFC building dominates the sky line.

The Exhibition Centre that is supposed to look like Sydney’s Opera House.

It’s not only high rise on the shores of Kowloon.

We split the 60 NM trip to Macau in half by spending one night on anchor in the harbor of Cheung Chau, a tourist island without high rise and without cars and where we caught up with friends on an Aussie boat. We all had dinner ashore followed by an early night and the next day we left again around 8 am.

Cheung Chau

The weather was not bad, but the winds were light and again we couldn’t sail much. So the Yanmar worked overtime.

Close to the entrance to Macau a huge cloud came rolling in and looked enormously threatening, but didn’t bring us any wind.

Macau approaches are exciting with lots of traffic, again in all shapes and sizes. We followed the flow in, under the 3 bridges, up the river towards the yacht harbor.

Some huge bridges connect Macau with the islands of Taipa and Coloane (part of Macau SAR) and mainland China.

River scenes. Mainland China is just a stone throw across the water.

Upon entering the yacht harbor we had to negotiate a huge mass of floating plants, water hyacinths, which I think should be the flower in Macau’s flag, rather than the lotus, which we hardly saw at all. Slowly motoring we pushed the green islands back and forth and maneuvered in a small berth. From the wobbly pontoon it looked like Alishan was parked in a garden.

 The yacht harbor was a big disappointment. Showers were barely existent and electricity not available “just that week”. We abandoned our plan to get diesel after inspecting the fuel jetty. What a mess. You can understand we didn’t like having to pay 300 Macau dollars (30 Euro) a night. But anchoring out was not an option, since the immigration and custom officials wouldn’t deal with us anywhere but in this stupid harbor and apart from that, all the land claiming on both sides had made the river too narrow. We didn’t want to risk a thousand dollar fine for entering Chinese waters!

Why doesn’t anybody cleans this up?

Again we walked, walked and walked. Ate bacalhau (Portuguese dried fish) in various ways. Toured the 2 islands Taipa and Coloane by bus, visited the goddess of the sea at the A-Ma temple, and cleared out 2 days later.

Stokvis as we say in Dutch.

An old wall on Taipa.

Macau was originally built on 3 islands: Macau, Taipa and Coloane.

Dried fish and street scenes.

More temple stuff including a detail of a sacred wall hanging.

Ma Kok, a temple for A-Ma, a goddess of the sea is our favorite. Despite all the attention we paid her we never got any good winds on the way back…

Our old anchorage of 15 years ago.

We anchored in the river in front of the temple and next to the Maritime Museum in 1992. Now there is a new road and a parking lot. The hills across the pond are mainland China.

Karin took the ferry back to Hong Kong, she had commitments, but we sailed. Eh, motor sailed. Stopped for the night in Cheung Chau again and rounded the south of Hong Kong Island the next day on the way back to Sai Kung.

Entering the harbor we felt how much Hebe Haven had become our home for the last six months. We loved Macau (Except the yacht harbor) but were happy to be back in Hong Kong.



One of our daytrips was to Lantau, the island to the west of HK, where the new airport resides. Apart from this airport and Disneyland there isn’t much there but green hills, a few clusters of high rise and some villages.

We took a ferry from Central HK and a bus to Tai O, one of the small villages on the west point, also known as the Venice of Hong Kong. The name already says it: waterworks. Just a few, but very picturesque.

In HK wherever you go you’ll find a market selling fish, even in this sleepy town.

On Lantau we saw bicycles again. Ohisashiburi!

Another small village harbors on a hill top the countries biggest Buddha statue. The hundred something steps were a good remedy for our lazy legs.

Ocean Park

Ocean Park

Now that we’ve been to Disneyland we could not skip Ocean Park. There are lots of other things to see and ride and so on, but the one thing worth seeing is the giant panda habitat.

Hey kids, what's up?

 We saw 4 giant pandas and 3 of them were NOT sleeping. Very unusual, apparently.

They really are quite cute.

 There is also a pretty good aquarium with lots of big fish and a dolphin – sea lion show. Combined. That was a first for us.

Boats & Floats

Boats & Floats

Hong Kong lives by and from the sea, so……ACTION!

Slow: What else to do on your day off. Go fishing right down town harbor, and yes there is fish, but we wouldn’t eat it!

Fast: Smuggling business is BIG (from HK to mainland) Hence the officials have some floats to challenge the smugglers.

All sorts and shapes, in HK and Macau

Working the nets

Parking , city style and more “rural”

Other & Shopping

Other & Shopping

We spent many hours walking through Kowloon and the New Territories. This is what we found:

Another Chinese opera, this time on our own yacht club’s car park! We could hear the “music” in the cockpit, all the way across the bay.

A performer getting ready for the night’s show and paper roosters selling in front of the theater.

Dim Sum or Yam Cha for lunch.

Markets are everywhere. What can you buy there?

Fruit, like mangos, papayas, pineapple, lychees and….

Veggies of course and fermented tofu. Specially the smelly kind.

Marijke’s favorite fish: Tomba!

Frogs and meat. Who’s favorite?

Ladees peeling shreemps in Aberdeen.

Sai Kung, our hometown here once more. I can’t get enough of that place.



Karin from Holland. Normally she cruises on board sy Amber Nectar, but this time she joined us for the trip to Macau (visa run). Nice to have you on Alishan, any time.

And here is Janice.

Janice and her staff at Sing Kee sail and flag co. did a Super Job on the upholstery, cockpit cushions and blinds for Alishan.

Together with her and her friends we enjoyed one of the big fireworks displays in HK

Thanks Janice!

Meet Peter.

Peter Hansen, to be complete. Cruiser for many years!

Lives on board his catamaran LAMBADA here in in HK. We had met in 1992 during our first visit.

Okay, okay, Peter is a bit older now but still has the same spirit.

Hey Peter: “Hope to share an anchorage with you and Lambada one day, away from the city!”

(photo taken during a Hebe Haven Yacht Club outing)

Some “Hollands Glorie”. Ine and Bregje made a stop over in HK on their way to NZ. The story is to see the city, but we think they have been sent by the Dutch Foreign Affairs to spy on us. Anyway, thanks ladies, we had a great time in the city….Specially the street-markets!

I think we set a new record in how many/hour.

Mena from Fukuoka, Japan and George from England.

With them we finally did our sampan tour around the islands of Sai Kung. Of course followed by a super meal at one of the Sai Kung fish restaurants.

Thanks Mena for the updates on our hometown.

This is friend Jaap.

On his way from Holland to Osaka he made a stop-over at Alishan (and HK). Jaap sailed his yacht Boris B. way back in ‘84 half around the world to do the Melbourne ~ Osaka yacht race. Ever since he has kept his yacht in Japan.

Good on you Jaap, to get Boris B. shipshape back to cruising.

“””””Now the unbelievable: Mena (see above) and this Jaap had once met in ‘85, never since and now here in HK they miss each other on board of Alishan by a few days!””””



Are you still with us??

Hmmmm, he can probably only read Chinese….

Where the hack is this? (answer: macau)

Road construction at the sidewalk to Sai Kung. The red sign asks the pedestrians kindly ! to use the opposite roadside…

To safely cross this road you’ll have to use the pedestrian crossing at the traffic lights…. once you successfully climbed the fence ;-))

Seen from the Big Buddha statue on Lantau Island.

What to do now?

Now you know where (not) to go for some pork.

Mid summer , busy Hong Kong street.

This very young office girl takes her notebook where it’s cool to do her work.

 Have you seen this fellow lately?

He must be cruising out there somewhere….

That’s all for the moment, see you next time.