Pangkor to Penang and a Distress signal received!

December 12th: Departed Pangkor at 7:00am for Penang, we were going to go to Georgetown as Per and Elizabeth from Oda had emailed us to say we can get an extended visa for Thailand there which will save us having to exit Thailand after 30 days to get another 30 days. Anyway we couldn’t get in to any of the marinas there and we decided as it was going to be late Friday night when we got there and we wouldn’t be able to do the visa until Monday anyway, we would bypass Georgetown and just anchor on the West side of the island and head straight up to Langkawi.

We had a brilliant trip, it was glassed out for a lot of the time, very pleasant motoring for us, not so for our sailing buddies Steve and Clair on Almacantar unfortunately. This means they have to motor, no wind for their sails. All was going well until Robbie got a S.A.R.T. alarm from the A.I.S. on the plotter. This is a search and rescue transponder alarm for a vessel in distress. It was almost right in front of us, and there was a vessel a couple of miles ahead of us and he was drifting. We can see this as the AIS shows us his speed and direction. We decided to go and check him out. We made a call on the VHF radio channel 16 for any vessel in distress and got no response. As we got closer we could see it was a fishing trawler and all the fishermen were on the foredeck manoeuvring a huge tree stump that we presumed had got caught in their nets. We tried to speak to them through the loudhailer but they did not respond. They obviously didn’t know that they had set off the distress signal, which would have gone to every vessel in the area with an A.I.S.

We couldn’t communicate with them and it was obvious they didn’t need our assistance so we continued on.

We arrived at the North end of Penang Island around 6:00pm and as we headed towards Monkey Bay where we had decided to drop anchor, a small fishing boat came tearing towards us at high speed, he was waving to us not to proceed. Sure enough, he had fishing nets set across the whole width of the bay. We slowed down to tick over and slowly proceeded, with him just staying on our port side. As we got closer in we could see he had a flag up and small floats on the nets. There were also a few other small boats around the area with nets out. We finally got into the protection of the bay and dropped anchor at 6:20pm.

In between admiring the stunning sunset, and I apologise , but I just can’t help but take photos of these, I made a spaghetti Bolognese using up the last of my NZ beef mince and some of the carrots, mushrooms and zucchini that I needed to use and then we watched the Australian movie the day the war began, it was quite good actually.

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