The Pregnant Maiden, A Waterspout and boarded by the Malaysian Navy

We headed out of the eponymous Hole in the Wall and motor sailed a little further round the island of Langkawi hoping to find a quiet anchorage where we would be well protected from the South West Monsoonal winds. 

The weather forecast was predicting high winds and rain so we wanted to tuck in somewhere for a couple of nights and decided that an anchorage between Teluk Dayang Bunting and Pulau Gubang Darat might fit the bill. 

The anchorage was close to the enticingly name Lake of the Pregnant Maiden which we were keen to visit. 

As I reached down for the winch controller to anchor, a dazzling Red Legged Kingfisher darted across our bow. There wasn’t another soul in sight. Yes this must be the right place!

We hadn’t been at anchor long when we heard the sound of engines and lo and behold a line of six jet skis entered our private haven. At a signal from the tourist guide they all came to a halt about twenty metres from the boat and again, taking their guide’s lead, started whooping and hollering. 
Yes, if you’re in a space surrounded by cliffs and you shout, there is an echo. We hoped this wasn’t meant to be the highlight of the tour!

Several more groups of jet skis came round and all stopped and all yelled and yahooed but soon the weather started to close in and we were left in peace – only broken by the serenade of an unidentified but heartbreakingly tuneful song bird. 

Later the weather broke and in the distance we saw a massive water spout – it made its spectacular way across the ocean before disappearing behind a headland. 

The weather was quite “woolly ” when we went to bed but at 3am we were suddenly woken by a terrifically high wind whistling down between the two islands. 
Bali Hai bucked and reared like a crazy bronco and then the rain came. Buckets of the stuff. 
Eventually the weather settled down and we were able to go back to sleep again. 
The next day we had a slow start and were enjoying our second cup of tea in the cockpit when our isolation was once again interrupted – this time by a naval launch. 

We watched with interest as a large rubber ducky transferred its female passengers to the launch. Food and drink was produced and it became apparent that the crew were entertaining the officers’ wives on board. 

Suddenly the rubber ducky was on its way to Bali Hai. “Oh dear” we thought, maybe we were anchored in an area reserved for the military and they were on their way to tell us to get lost. We prepared for boarding. 

But wait, one of the crew had his hands full – it very much looked like plates of food! Next minute two white China plates resplendent with the Malaysian Navy crest and piled with noodles topped with a fried egg were being passed up to us. 

The food was very good, although incredibly spicy, and we enjoyed our impromptu brunch. 
Jonathan washed up the plates and took them back to the Navy launch with our thanks. 


Minutes later he was back with the plates courtesy of High Admiral Rosli who wanted us to keep them as souvenirs and who invited us on board for photographs! 

After much good natured photo taking by an official photographer and the presentation of any official naval cap to Jonathan, we departed the launch with First Admiral Rosli’s contact details and an invitation to call on him if ever we needed a hand in Malaysian waters. 

I hope we never need to accept this kind invitation but it feels very good to have the offer!

Before leaving this beautiful spot we wanted to visit the intriguing Lake of the Pregnant Maiden. We set off in the dinghy but the sea was still very messy and choppy from the storm the previous night. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valour, we decided to leave that adventure for another day.  

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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