Port Dickson

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From Singapore we motored….We had waited in Raffles for the promised North-east monsoon and the wind change to that direction, it would give us good sailing up the Malacca Straits. It was due about the first of November and arrived in the middle of the month, but only for a couple of days; to be replaced once more with northwesterlies, squalls and thunderstorms of the ‘in between’.
It was not what we wanted for going in a northwesterly direction up the Malacca Strait.

Time was passing, so at the first opportunity when the northwesterly died, we left, but
there was little wind from anywhere, we motored…

We were keen to avoid travelling overnight up the Strait because of the density of the
shipping traffic, the many fishing boats, set nets, lines and other obstructions, but also
because the bad squalls came through at night and we’d prefer to be anchored for them.
Our strategy worked to an extent, Pisang Island was the first stop, about 35 miles from
Raffles Marina and was a reasonable anchorage, but when the anticipated squall came through in the early hours of the morning, it was rough, with wind from all directions and a lightning show all around, although fortunately, not close.

As soon as that had passed and we could see, we left and motored all day again, for the next 70 miles to get to the Water Islands, just off the city of Melaka.
That was a very pretty anchorage, with comparatively clean water and nice beaches, we could easily have stayed longer, but time was against us.

It was only about 30 miles from there to Port Dickson and we were able to sail with the morning breeze off the land, that made a pleasant change for the 2 hours it lasted!

The Admiral Marina in Port Dickson, like others, is attached to a resort and ‘club’, the buildings are new, grand and seem grossly under-utilised.
Only a few years ago Port Dickson was a little seaside town with just a few holiday houses for people from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, but with the Asian boom there was massive development with many resorts, hotels and holiday apartments built, or in many cases, only half-built, the subsequent Asian ‘crash’ putting an end to that building activity.
It was similar to the situation we had found at Nongsa Point in Indonesia.

This very grand building contains a club-house, marina office, restaurant and a lot of open
space…To us, the marina and buildings over-cater for the patronage, we question the
profitability, but it continues, apparently to everyone’s satisfaction, with many staff and that it can do so, is probably a reflection of the low wages paid to them.

We made use of the excellent facilities.

The town of Port Dickson itself is about 10 km away, there’s not much of a port for shipping
other than an oil terminal

and the town itself seems to be somewhere that grew rather than was ever planned.

Its business is functional, not aesthetic and just to serve the needs of the community

based mostly on the oil and power industry.

But it’s not totally undecorative, the Hindu Temple a refreshing change in muted, monochrome rather than the usual exaggerated colours

and this small cafe owner has shown artistic self-expression in building the Petronas Towers from used plastic water bottles, -in direct competition with nearby Kuala Lumpur!

The Malaysian rubber industry has died away as rubber products have become increasingly synthetic, most of the plantations are replaced by less labour intensive oil palm farming.
However, inland from Port Dickson there are small holdings of rubber trees

and they are still actively ‘farmed’ the sticky latex continues to drip into the bowls,

congeal and smell of a nasty old surgical glove…

About 40 knm inland is the town of Seremban, the capital of the Negeri Sembilan province. It’s a busy place and not particularly attractive with a lot of road redevelopment going on

currently, but it’s main claim is to be the centre of the Minangkabau culture, characterised
most obviously by exaggerated ‘water buffalo-horned’ roof-lines.

The old roof style has been incorporated in several of the modern civic buildings and the
pavilion in the Lake Gardens.

There’s another Hindu Temple worth looking at too.

Other than that, Seremban is a place to go to catch the train, -unless you want shopping of

which there is plenty.

South of Port Dickson towards Melaka at the southern end of the ‘holiday strip’ is the Cape
Rachado Lighthouse, on a point overlooking the Malacca strait.

Sumatra is not far away and is said to be visible on a clear day…

Further south over the river which borders the Melaka Province are small towns, as yet

untouched by the resort industry and there are many good examples of old Malaysian homes, on stilts, with high pitched roofs and using wooden shutters rather than window glazing.

We visited both Kuala Lumpur and Melaka from Port Dickson, enjoying both for their own
reasons and will tell their own stories….

As seems to be the usual, we liked the place and it would have been easy to stay longer in Port Dickson, but Christmas in Langkawi was the next immediate goal; we had to move on.
The next stop of any duration was to be Penang and which we were looking forward to.
Our first leg however was to Port Klang, a convenient place to anchor for the night. It is the port for Kuala Lumpur so is a very busy place with a large container terminal

and other freight facilities.

The port is built on a collection of islands and the docks are in the main waterway

we anchored just over in a designated anchoring spot. It was well sheltered from the sea and a pleasant place out of harm’s way, watching the many ships pass in the channel just over from us.

It was also interesting (and a little alarming) that as the night fell, we saw the thick black inversion layer develop over the distant land,

we presume that the city of Kuala Lumpur is beneath there…

It was a restful night, but we made an early start the next morning, before daylight, we had
a long way to go to Pangkor, the next possible place to stop.

It was a long day, the motor was on for all of the 70 miles to our anchorage at the nearest
point on Pangkor, a nicely sheltered bay at the southern end.

which we shared it with the local military out on an overnight camp.
We took the chance to rest the next day, Pangkor seemed an interesting place, albeit ‘over

But we felt we were in good company as the Lonely Planet Guide informed us that Luciano
Pavarotti likes to stay in his personal villa at the top of the island in the resort right here…

so it wouldn’t be right to rush on.

We moved to the north end of the island and enjoyed the day, swimming in the first really
clean water for a long time and catching up on other neccessary boat jobs.

We became a turning point for the jetskis from the nearby resort, like everywhere else,
Malaysian jet-skiers are easily bored…

The next morning we made another early start,

there was a good offshore breeze and for 3 hours we sailed without engine, weaving our way between the fishermen and their nets.

However, the wind died, we had to motor almost all of the rest of the way to Pinang Island,
but it had been a pleasant interlude using the breeze in what is still really, the doldrums.


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