Holed up at the Hole in Wall

 

The Hole in the Wall seen from the Kilim River.
The entrance is almost impossible to spot from the ocean.

 

 

Kilim River

 

Trees grow horizontally here

 

Yana de Lys at anchor in the Kilim River

 

Yana de Lys close up

 

The other captain, driving the dingy

Continuing on we rounded the eastern corner of Langkawi to arrive at the Hole in the Wall anchorage on the north coast, at the mouth of the Kilim River.   Apparently this is where the pirates used to hide out before Langkawi was settled.

There are monkeys in the mangroves and lots of monitors swimming in the river.  Around one bend I counted 14 sea eagles feeding.

We visited the Gua Kelawar (Bat Cave).  At the end we realised we hadn’t seen any bats though, so we started again from the beginning,  and there they were, hundreds, maybe thousands of the cute little critters hanging up right at the entrance.  We’d been too busy marvelling at the stalactites and stalagmites to notice them before LOL.

There are a couple of fish farms and a floating restaurant just round the corner from our anchorage.  When we dropped in to the restaurant for refreshments, Rod asked for a couple of Tiger beers to begin with.  “No thank you sir, we only have Skol” was the waitress’s terminally polite reply.

Electricity wires going to the fish farms

Those places get their electricity via cables which snake through the mangroves and over the limestone karsts to a jetty about 20 minutes by tender down the river.  At high tide some of the lines hang in the water.

Oh, and now it’s started raining again.  We could be here a while…

Wet wet wet

We ended up staying at the anchorage in Bass Harbour for a few weeks rather than the few days we had intended.

 Firstly it was the social life in Kuah.  Who’s going to say no to an invitation to a seafood barbeque, I ask you? That was so much fun, we made new friends and it was a hell of a delicious spread.

And how could we resist the free cocktail party put on by the Indonesian organisers of the Sabang rally at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club?  It was actually a sit down dinner complete with Indonesian dancing girls in traditional dress performing an elegant sort of haka, all the wine and beer we could drink, endless food at the buffet.  It was very well attended by the local yachties, surprise surprise.  I’m not sure if anyone actually signed up to join the rally, but there are a lot sailors walking around in the free T-shirt from the show bags we were
given.

Then it started raining.  And didn’t stop for six days. Forget sailing in torrential downpours and associated white outs during the sumatras.

Finally when the weather cleared it was the end of Ramadan and Merdeka (Independence Day) holidays.  All the shops were closed for more than a week so we couldn’t buy fresh provisions.

Finally we weighed anchor on 4 September. We spent the first couple of nights at a beautiful anchorage on the north side of Pulau Bumbon, just around the corner from Kuah.  A magic spot with a sweet little sand beach and oh joy a fresh water well.  I love swimming in the ocean, but it’s always lovely to rinse off the salt at the end of the day.

Pulau Bumbon

It was a change waking up to bird call rather than the call to prayer.  And eating plain old home made steak and mash rather than spicy Malaysian and Thai food.

Top five things I loved about PDR of Lao


Eating Korean in Vientiane

We began this year’s adventures with a couple of weeks exploring Laos. I loved every minute of it, but here are my hitpicks:

1. Tubing in Vang Vieng – floating downriver on a tractor tyre tube for five hours of doof doof bars, free Lao whiskey shots etc then nothing but jungle jungle jungle on both river banks. You gotta love eco tourism in Lao.


Chill out cafes in Vang Vieng 


2.Road trip in a 4WD pick up – 900 kms, two barge Mekong crossings and 237 hairpin bends in eight days.


4WD pickup


On the barge (looking over the bonnet)

3. Volunteering at the Big Brother Mouse literacy program in Luang Prabang. I may have learnt more from the students than they learnt from me. (First question “Can you explain what the English word ‘bribe’ means?”).



4. Drinking BeerLao with the locals in Pak Lay despite severe language barriers. Laughter is a universal language.

5. Two hours in a tiny boat up the Mekong to visit a wat with over 10,000 Buddha statues.

The boat which took us to the 10K Buddha statues


Just a few of the 10,000 Buddha statues