Singapore… the first big city since Sydney was only about 20 miles away. But before exploring this city we had to cross the busy strait between Batam and Singapore. We felt a bit like a rabbit, crossing a busy motorway. We first motored along the traffic separation scheme, observed speed and course of the numerous cargo ships and tankers and then chose the right moment to cross. We found a good slot and made it safely to the other side. We headed towards the quoted area for clearance. Our anchor was not even down yet, when the Officials came sideways in a speedboat to pick up our papers and passports in a plastic bag with a fishing net. It was about the fastest clearance we ever had… cleared in before we even had set one foot on ground. The process was finished a little while later by another boat coming alongside, taking our passports and doing the visual check by calling every one of us by name through a loudspeaker, comparing photo and reality. That was it! Passports were stamped and we were allowed to proceed to the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club.
We passed an incredible amount of cargo docks. We have never seen that many before… and finally made it to the marina. Our friendly agent John came to say hello as well as the Yacht club manager. We could’nt believe our eyes when we saw the big pool area with warm shower facilities. Close to the marina there was a park with a bicycle rental place and big playgrounds. So whenever the kids would be tired of city sightseeing there were alternatives just around the corner, perfect! The same evening we met up with Jeremy at the restaurant. Jeremy and his family crossed the Atlantic also with Jimmy Cornell’s Odyssey on the catamaran INFINITY. We spent some time together in French Polynesia, Niue and Tonga. Jeremy had sold Infinity in Noumea and was back at work in his former hometown Singapore. He told us about many nice places to visit in Singapore.
The next day we were invited at Martin’s place. Martin was André’s boss at Crédit Suisse many years ago. He lives in Singapore with his wife Sandra and his son Maurice since 9 years. They live in a modern apartment complex with a huge pool area where Maurice and the girls could play. In the evening we went to town together, enjoyed the fantastic view of Singapore skyline and ate delicious dumplings in a cool restaurant downdown.
The following days were spent with sightseeing and meeting up with our local friends again. The girls were happy to catch up with Quentin and Theo, their friends from INFINITY. We invited Martin and his family to our boat and slowly but surely Martin got hooked by the idea of joining us for the passage from Thailand to Sri Lanka.
In the meantime the first of our buddy boats had arrived. ALKYONE was going to stay a while in Singapore as Hans flew to Germany to work. The kids enjoyed playing together in the great pool and Amina made good progress in her swimming skills. We enjoyed our time in Singapore a lot and would have loved to stay longer but as we had booked a flight home to Switzerland from Phuket early December we had to move on. Because of a broken starter battery we could not leave Singapore on November 25th as originally planned. André bought a new battery and POLARWIND arrived. So maybe a lucky coincidence. It was nice to spend the afternoon together with POLARWIND. We had not seen each other since Lombok.
On November 26th we said goodbye to our friends from ALKYONE and POLARWIND left Singapore towards Malaysia and the busy strait of Malacca. We tried to keep right of the traffic separation scheme and left of the uncountable fishing boats… not an easy endeavour. This was by far the most uncomfortable cruising ground that we have encountered on our entire trip. We had to be constantly vigilant and in addition got hit by very strong thunderstorms. In addition it was also by far the most polluted waterway. There was floating plastic everywhere. We were very happy to reach the beautiful island of Langkawi for s short stopover. Phil from our sailmaker zoomsails lives in Koah and we met him and his family for dinner on our arrival day. The next day we checked in and out on the ferry terminal and Phil took us to a beautiful restaurant of a golf club for an early dinner. Phil suggested that we bring the broken code zero sail to their factory near Colombo, when we are in Sri Lanka. There they could have a look at the sail and we could see where our sails were made. This seemed to be a good plan and we promised to come to the factory in Sri Lanka.
On the first of December we left Langkawi and had a beautiful sail to Koh Lipe. Welcome to Thailand!