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Welcome to sailing yacht Alishan

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

Last Days in Hong Kong

After 7 months our stay in Hong Kong had to come to an end. But not before Marijke had been on yet one more photo trip in and around town. See here some of her digital results:

Trees that grow on walls… only in HK could something like that happen.

The main reason of course is the incredible land-price in this city;-))

These kind of look-a-like, right? But I think the purpose is different.

Fire crackers…???

Puppets on the market in Catstreet.

All sorts of door decorations and paint brushes from the same market street.

As well as Mao’s people.

The weather conditions were not good to leave HK on the day that we intended to, and neither the day after, nor the next, or the following… So we ended up helping out at the Hebe Haven Yacht Club 24 Hours Charity Dinghy Race on October 7th.

Every year the HHYC organizes this event to collect money for the Children’s Cancer Foundation. This year there were at least 20 teams that went around and around the course for 24 hours. Team members took turns and Jaap got involved in a few laps, from 4 am~6am. What a time! Luckily those were the few hours with wind.

During the 1 am~3 am shift we both helped out with lap counting. By times not an easy job as sometimes all the dinghies tried to cross the line at the same time.

Early morning. Pretty shot, isn’t it?

One money raising event was a raft race and this silly team of cleaning staff signed up. They had a lot of fun and so… finished last!

Who did not finish last was the accounting staff of the event as a new $$$record was set during the 2007 HHYC 24 Hours.

End of the 24 hours: 'Mum, can we sink the boat?'

Our last weekend in HK was shared with Janice and friends. We took Alishan for a “shake down” sail. All went well and though it was quite windy, nobody got seasick.

But only just!

Bye bye Hong Kong, see you next time.

At Sea

Look at this weather map: 2 full blown typhoons.

These things were keeping Alishan locked up in Hong Kong the first 2 weeks of October.

Hong Kong is located at 23N, 115E and our goal Tioman Island is at 3N, 104 E.

Not a pretty picture when you’re planning a major passage departure date.

From Hong Kong to Tioman Island is about 1400 miles, right smack through the middle of the South China Sea. There is always a “typhoon concern” this time of the year, but we timed the jump well and didn’t get into anything nasty. Half way there are 2 sets of island groups (Parcel Islands and MacClesfield Bank) and our course would take us right between them. Those island groups are “No Mans Land” and law and order are made up on the spot.. in other words: Pirate Land. Not advisable to stop there. Too bad as from the chart they look like good cruising grounds. And it would cut the trip in half.

The first days were rather bumpy, with 20~30 knots NE winds, and according seas. We did not always feel too comfy, but Alishan was moving well. Those new Lee Sails did a good job and they looked so good! And all other new toys on board made the rest of the trip a pleasure.

But, however good your passage is, something always breaks down eventually. This time it was the radar. AGAIN. And of course just at that crucial moment: Lots of ships around us in visibility of less than half a mile due to pouring rain. NO FUN. It’s a busy body of water this South China Sea, with traffic from and to Singapore, China and Japan. Never ever on any trip did we have to change course due to the shipping so many times. At one stage I counted 6 vessels very close by and us in the middle. Nearest land? 600 miles away.

Halfway the trip we got this little visitor. Nori and Wakame got all excited! Somehow we managed to keep the cats inside, so this exhausted Vietnamese boat-bird could get a good rest and free lodging for one night under the dodger of Alishan.

Always something to look out for: Fishing vessels. From China, Vietnam, Cambodia Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. They all looked different. Luckily they were all lit up well at night. (See also Floats section)

This was our first time at sea with email-on-board and it proved a real asset. It’s great to be in contact by email with family and friends and to receive Grip Files (weather info) etc.

Hardly any boats make an effort anymore to check in at the SEA Ham-net (14323 Hz, 0030 Z)

Ham radio is definitely on its way out: EMAIL KILLED THE RADIO MAN.

Sun set and moon rise.

Hey! We managed to catch some sashimi!

Nori as well: he breakfasted on the little flying fish that Wakame found for him on deck in the mornings. The lady cat herself would not touch them and seemed happy to watch her buddy munch away.

The second half of the trip was one with light NE winds and the odd grgrgrg thunder storm: wind around the clock and heavy, heavy rain, but they never lasted long. With poor visibility, a dead radar and still in or around shipping lanes this was no fun. But after a few hours we would be back on course again.

And then, on the 11th day, we reached Tioman Island.

Tioman Island

To our biggg surprise there was a marina at Tioman Island, opened only a few months before. Instead of having to anchor offshore in a by times bumpy bay the marina was a welcome P for Alishan and crew.

The $$ deal was very good and we decided to stay at this lovely island, until it was time to sail the last 200 miles to Sebana Cove, where Jaap’s family was getting together for the Christmas and New Year holidays. The NE monsoon hadn’t reached this part of the South China Sea yet, so the west coast of Tioman was generally nice and calm. We did get some pretty hectic Sumatra thunder storms on a few occasions, (one just 2 hours before landfall on the day of arrival) but the marina is well protected.

Tioman Island is a tourist island and the main attraction is snorkeling and diving. There is also a golf resort, but that’s about all.

Oh yes, it’s a duty free port… one reason for cruising boats to stop here.

A morning hike through the rain forest to the top of the island,

Over the top and to the other side.

There is some wild life around: Lizards in all shapes and sizes.

A noisy bunch of …..............…………………..bats

And some of Tioman Island monkeys.

One day we took Alishan for a snorkel trip. See here the remarkable peaks of Tioman Island on the left and the crew for that day: Marijke & Nona on the right.

In November we took the ferry to Mersing (mainland Malaysia) and from there the bus to Singapore. The trip took about 4-5 hours in total, but wasn’t expensive at all; less then 10 euro pp one way.

We saw a bit of Malaysia’s country side, mainly palm oil plantations and just a little bit of Singapore since our aim was to meet friends Dave and Marcia on s/y Strider, who we knew from our first years in Fukuoka, 1989 – 1991.

Sy STRIDER with Dave & Marcia

We ventured into Little India at night, and had a taste of the Deepavali celebrations there.

After 4 weeks on Tioman it was time to move on. The FAMILY was coming!

We made an anchor stop at Aur Island. Beautiful location but sad surroundings due to a huge oil slick. Where from??

Going for a walk on the beach was a disaster, our feet and shoes (copy crocs;-) got covered in thick black tar. Alishan ended up with fat oil marks on the hull. As officially the NE monsoon had started, all the tourist resorts had closed down already and the deserted resorts made it even more “spooky”.

Diving at Tioman Island

Tioman Island is the place for diving in Malaysia. We hadn’t done any scuba diving for at least 13 years and decided to take a refreshment course so we signed up with Tioman Reef Divers, see

Rino and Akemi run this professional set up. Akemi is Japanese and we were happy we could use our third language again… Hmm is this a sign of being homesick?

Soon memories of Palau 1992 came flooding back. It really is like swimming, skating or riding a bicycle. Using a dive computer was a first for us. How relaxing not having to use your own internal calculator! We enjoyed this and the close encounters with small marine life again. 

Yes, that’s us.

And yeah, we found him.

Long leggy spider shrimp and dancing queen. Or whatever their real names are. (Our 200 or so books on marine life are still in NZ)

Isn’t she an angel?

Diving at Tioman Island is popular because of its coral. Due to the ever present ocean current, the water is clean and healthy, fish abundant. Malaysia declared Tioman (and neighboring islands) a Marine Park, so hopefully it will stay that way.

Fish, not big but plenty around.

These pictures were taken by our 2 buddy divers who came of all places, all the way from Russia. They live at least 1500 miles away from the ocean. Knockknock, funny guys those Russians: they are so used to the cold, they were wearing only shorts…. while we needed full wetsuits.

Sebana Cove

Sebana Cove Marina is on the Sungai (river) Santi, about 4 miles upstream.

Its secluded yacht harbor, surrounded by mangroves, gives optimal protection. The shore power and Wifi internet make it a lucrative place for the yacht crew who need a break from the heat and a rest from island hopping.

AND for the active: there is a tennis court, a swimming pool, a gym and a golf course…all to be used.

Outside the holiday season and weekends the cruisers are the only customers in the resort so there is no queue for the pool;-)

The marina is good for about 75 boats. Some stay for a few days, most for a few months or even more… The deal is good.

Marina and resort buildings from across the harbor.

The main building with the restaurant on the right.

Every Saturday night it’s THE cruisers-feed-up-buffet!

Note: Sjak and Sjaak under the Dutch and Marleen under the Kiwi flag.

See here Wakame and Nori. They had a great pontoon time here at SC.

As you remember they both carry an International Boat Surveyor License!

If you ever need their services, drop them an email at: mailus (at)

The swimming pool with the ladies team practicing for Bejing 2008

Will they make it to the first round?

Once more the swimming pool. All’s looking good from this point. Too bad a closer look will show you that the maintenance of the various parts of the resort is way behind. ( e.g. no hot water at the lady’s showers). But you won’t hear a complain from us cruisers, after all staying here is a good $$deal and generally it's a good place to be.

With brothers-in-law Sjaak and Loek doing a round of 18

Oops where did that grgrgr little white thingy go?

Our stay here was not only work and play! Having lunch at the SC Golf club with the family.

See here some of the waterfront with the apartment units. Again looking good from far but a close-up reveals things in- and outside are falling apart. Nevertheless, for our family reunion it served its purpose perfectly.

One thing is for sure: At Sebana Cove the variety and care of the trees is superb.

YES those flowers in the pond are sprouting golf balls while we managed to dump them there,

and NO those lobsters don’t come from that same pond.


When we first got to Sebana Cove, we still had some time to explore before the family arrived. So what to do, where to go?

The resort is kind of isolated. There are no shops in the area, not even a mini market. The nearest town, Sungai Rengit is about 12 km away. 4 times a week a shuttle bus runs to “town”, for only 6 Ringit (About 1 euro 20) pp. The restaurant at SC sells bread, veggies, eggs and a bit of meat etc, so one trip a week a trip was enough.

Then there is the ferry to Singapore which costs about 50 Ringit (10 euro) return. It goes 3 times a day and the trip takes about an hour. Handy, the ferry terminal is in Sebana Cove. Then from the Singapore terminal a 45 minute taxi ride to downtown S’pore cost about Singapore $15 (7.50)

We took the ferry to Singapore a few times to do some shopping for fancy food (e.g. cat food!!) and boat parts.

And those times we saw a bit more of this interesting city. (mind you after all those months in HK, we think S’pore is just a village..)

 The Sultan Mosque at Arab Street and another sample of fantastic architecture that impressed me so much that the name escaped me... O yes, Abdul Gaffoor.

Little India.

We saw the fire-eaters of Borneo at the night safari (a Must Do) and the enormous Christmas decorations at Orchard Road.

Fountain of Fortune in Fingapore…


In Tioman Island we met Martin and Nona of sy Dunwurkin.

We did some fun things together, like a snorkel trip to Coral Island, a boat ride to the waterfall on the other side of the island and of course we shared a couple of meals.

Hey Martin & Nona, when we get back into the South China Sea and we share an anchorage , can we come over for one of those nice Indonesian meals again???

And in Singapore we met up with Dave and Marcia of sy Strider.

Back in 1989 in Fukuoka Japan they were with their boat Manana

more or less our neighbors..

So good to have this One Big Cruising Family.

Our jaws are still sore 'cause of all the talking.

Then the big reason for us being in Sebana Cove:

The Family.

Papa Jacques, Hessel jr, Sjaak, Sjak, Mama Hessel , Marleen, Loek and us.

By the way, can you tell the yachties from their outfit?

In this photo the land-lubbers seem to like more shades of gray and black.

Brother-in-law Loek is kind of a doubtful case.

Early morning with some of the Sebana Cove Runners:

Kari, Heather, Asluag, Irene.

Sebana Cove resort is also perfect for running, as long as it’s not done in the middle of the day. Flat course, with the odd “hill”.

No traffic to mention…(1 car every 10 mins or so) mind you, some cruisers got run over while going for a walk, resulting in a broken tibia bone and some nasty bruises.


This time not many pictures of floats around. Just forgot to take pictures of the zillion ships that are on anchor in the eastern part of the Singapore Straits.

These 2 we spotted close-by in the middle of the South China Sea.

Sometimes I think: How on earth do they dare to go out to sea with such floats?

And what do they think of us?

Malaysian fishing boats. These vessels are clearly designed for calmer seas. Malaysian waters are below the typhoon belt. The “only” hefty blows are the Sumatra Storms that come in from the mainland: Heavy thunder storms that last for around an hour (on this coast of Malaysia) with winds up to 60 knots. The reinforced NE Monsoon can whip up a decent swell though, reflecting in a warning for all marine activities, including the oil drilling platforms.


Nori in his favorite possy: On top of the fly screen, airflow and sunshade to keep the head cool.

It actually looks really funny from inside the cabin.

This is the inner part of Alishan’s radar antenna.

It’s a Not-so-Funny story as this is the 2nd time we had this problem in less than a year. The location of the motor that drives the belt ( and thus the antenna) is a few millimeter off, causing the belt to slip and the antenna to stop rotating. Wich leaves us with a blanc radar screen. Funny??

There is a reason for this to be in our Funny Chapter:

Hi hi Furuno-tSo-Good, the maker of this radar is well aware of the problem with this model, nr 1715 and all future repairs will be done under warranty. As long as the machine shows signs of this failure.

We talked to another cruiser with the same radar model and he too came up with the same failure story. Anyway, Rico Marine the Furuno dealer in Singapore took care of it. Now let’s keep our fingers Xed I don’t have to take that thing off the mast again.

The small note in the middle on the transom door says: No Shoes !

Okay, but will you wash my socks?

What ever happens: Don’t panic.

This note we found inside the ferry that runs between Singapore and Sebana Cove

Now listen, once on the ferry, there was a power short in passangers cabin TV. The smell came before the smoke. We alarmed the cabin crew (didn’t panic of course) and they solved the problem quickly: Pulled the power cord and applied air freshener from an aerosol can.

This is Camiel from sy Al-om

He and Esther are sailing somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean…where they meet up with the people of sy Fulmaris, who happen to have copies of old charts with JAN HARING’s name on it. Hmmm our Jan Haring?…

Yes this is a (copied) chart from our JAN HARING.

It took some thinking, but we figured it out: We had met the previous owners of sy Fulmaris in Japan in 1989. This was all way before C-map etc so cruisers were always swapping and coping charts from each other.

Good old time!?!

Bokitoproof gate?? Looks like it.

Oops, Not So!!

 AND did we have a Super Fun Time with the family!