Posted by: powellpjc | March 25, 2012

Kuching, Sarawak. Cat City, Malaysia, Borneo.

Had a lovely exit sail from Kota Kinabalu with the wind in my favour for once. In fact it got a little strong for my headsail so I decided to furl it in some and in doing so I made a mess of things. Couldn’t furl it in, couldn’t let it out. As a result the sail was a’flappin’ and soon a’shreadin’. The sail is about 10 years old and has seen some hard use and 3 repairs so it’s time to retire it. Will order new headsail from Hong Kong right quick.

Was not really planning to stop here at Kuching but when in Kota Kinabalu I decided I needed new house batteries (4) deep cycle types and there is a factory in Kuching that makes what I need so placed the order in KK and stopped in here enroute to Singapore.

There is a little government marina (among 10 built in Malayasia and white elephants all) which is about 10 miles up the Sarawak River. Anyone who has read any Harry Flashman will know what I’m talking about.

Navigation up river was simple and I arrived close to slack tide. There is a 3 metre tide hereabouts and the ebb and the flow get nasty. There’s room for about 20 boats here and we are 5. Nice building (empty) good docks and showers but almost no one home. Berthing costs $10 per day with free water and electricity. One of the better deals I’ve come across.


Nice place but not too busy. The Marina Kuching, 7 miles up the Sarawak River.


Marina HQ. No one home. Clean showers and washrooms, nothing else.

My batteries were ready when I arrived and a couple of strong lads hucked them aboard, at least into the cockpit. The rest was up to me. Removing the old batteries and lifting in the new ones (each lift 35 kg) had me sweating like a canal horse, as my cousin Pete Ritchie likes to say.

Took me all day to de-wire, re-carpenterize the compartments (no new battery will ever be the same size as the old one) fit and re-wire the new batts. All good now.

Out with the old...

Clean up battery home...

And in with the new. My little toes were crying out every time I hefted one of these 35 kg babies. One broken handle and 25 broken bones.

My AIS (automatic identification system) failed me on the way into Kuching so I spent the next day tracing down that problem. Turned out to be a tiny, and I mean tiny, wire with a little green corrosion on it. The guy who installed it didn’t use proper connectors so I went into town to the local computer shop and bought the right stuff. Works like a charm now and it’s a very important piece of kit for a fella heading to the Singapore Straits with its bumper to bumper ship traffic.

Yesterday took a river cruise up the Sarawak in the Sarawak Queen to see the wildlife. The crocs, the monkeys, the hornbills etc. Saw nothing except one crummy white egret.

Our ride for the afternoon. The Borneo Queen.

A fisherman not catching fish. Just like me.

A crab man hanging his pots from the palms.

And a successful crabber at that.

The highlight, though, was stopping at the skipper’s village and getting the tour. Everything built on stilts as the tide comes up to the floor boards every once in a while and over the sidewalks every day. Kindly, friendly folk, of course, and no English spoken.

Tide coming in, boss.

This little fella wasn't too sure about me. That makes two of us.

The gals fixin' to cook up a mess of palm heart.


Named after the French navigator, de Bougainville of 1811. Now I've given away the answer. Thanks, Tigs.


The famous Nepa Palm, used for sweeping streets and roofing your digs. And likely a thousand other uses.


Kuching means cat in the local tongue and there is a cat museum. Now, that I don’t get. Ok, I’m not a cat lover, but still.

I wanted to see the Orang Utangs but the closest place is a simple zoo type deal where you can see the critters when the rangers put out their food. There are better things to do.

Some nice little street markets, the kind I like.

Tasty fruits and veggies at the open air.

Don't try and tell me these aren't hot hot hot.

Smoke'em if you got'em.

And after the smoke clears the mouth waters.

A lot of flotsam and jetsam in this river, including your own island.

And after a short visit, the island moves on. Tide waits for no island.

I’ll check out of immigration tomorrow and leave the next day with the early tide, enroute to Singsingapore.

North Americans don't like their seeds in their G+T's. So one buys a tea strainer and one takes care of that problem. Just a small tip to make your life more pleasant.



  1. Looks lovely and idyllic bro. Keep in touch like. xo C

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