We visited Penang 25 years ago on a family holiday, but the Penang we found this time was very different. Most of us anchored outside the small but lovely Straights Quay Marina as on our first night we were treated to a party on the dockside. The marina complex itself is wonderful with many different bars, restaurants and shops so we ate at the Irish bar for lunch and enjoyed wandering around the shops all afternoon. The next day Kim (Magic Bullet) and I went into Georgetown to explore. Its such as great place – famous for its street art, it is a labyrinth of small lanes where you can find the paintings. We only found a few – as we only had the one day.
There is an Indian section and a Chinese section like so many other Asian towns, and both have their own definite characters.
We met Doris (Muck) and Karel (Tehani Li) for lunch. They had been at the hospital having Karel’s foot Xrayed. They confirmed it was broken, so poor Karel is now hobbling around on crutches…
One night we all went to a street hawker and had our hands painted in henna. It was supposed to last for a week but mine came off after only a couple of days. The girls who painted were highly talented and many of us got a henna tatoo.
We spent the next few days sorting out boat chores – finding a boat lifters, organising long-term storage etc. We want to go back to Australia for a few weeks early next year and so we need to find a good secure place to leave Indian Summer. I would like to leave her here in Penang but there is not space in the Marina, so we will keep looking.
On the last day we were back on board unloading the provisions when I noticed that the boat next to us was a lot closer than it had been that morning. Sometimes, just the way you sit on your anchor can determine how close you come to another boat so we just kept an eye on it. About 20 minutes later I looked out and yelled to Ian that I thought it was dragging. The wind was up to about 25 kts but we relaunched the dinghy and Ian raced over and somehow managed to climb aboard this dragging boat. I would never have been able to do it – the dinghy was rocking up and down and the transom of the boat was moving in all directions – it was a dangerous time and I was just sitting on our engines waiting to move. I put out a call on the VHF for some help and our friend Robbie from Mersoleil came over and between them the guys managed to steer her away – at one time we were so close I had to rev our engines into reverse. I eventually got hold of the owners and they gave us the location of the key so the guys motored her away. The very grateful and happy owners rushed back and all’s well that ends well. A bit of a scary moment, all being done in high winds and rain but luckily no damage. The next morning we got out of there – not a good anchorage we decided.