Gone 'Walkabout'  (19-22 March 2004)   Back to Valhalla's Adventures

'Walkabout' is an Australian Aboriginal term that means to go wandering.

While Rose went to the Philippines for a home visit (and to renew the one month visa each ASEAN country allows the residents of member countries!), I went walkabout for a few days from the glamour and glitz of the marina life in Sutera Harbour, Kota Kinabalu (KK).

I daysailed the 30.9NM west from KK to the island of Mangalu, in light winds and motor-sailing at times to average 4.8 knots.

The CMAP4 electronic charting program tracked my progress to the island and later when I looked at it I was surprised to see that I had anchored right on the charted reef!  Fortunately, the chart is in error as this was the comparison of the electronic chart and reality ... a clear, unobstructed stretch to the beach.


I dropped the hook (anchor) in a depth of 32 feet and discovered later I could have gone much closer to shore ... but that reef outline on the chart made me nervous.

Here's a panoroma from the beach.  (Use the slider at the bottom of your browser to see to the right)

The above photo was taken the morning after my arrival when I went ashore for a walk around the island.

That's VALHALLA in the center with a couple of fishing boats then you should see the dinghy GECKO near the beach.  The night before I was able to assist the fishermen by replacing their contaminated fresh water with 100 liters from my onboard supply.  We had a great fish barbeque ashore that night ... and since they are Muslim I was the only one drinking beer!  But I brought the rice ... much nicer than what they had and I was not too keen on rice that smelled like diesel fuel :-)

The beach here would be a good source of lumber!!

The trees, stumps and logs marooned here at high tide are what make night sailing in this area a bit hazardous.

See that dark cloud formation in the distance?  Before I could finish my walk around the island the front arrived.  I jogged back to GECKO and had a wet and vigorous row back to VALHALLA, which now was on a lee shore.  On the row out to VALHALLA, I wished I had anchored closer but with gusts of 25-30 knots directly onto the beach I was glad I had stayed out that far in case of dragging.  Safely aboard I wasted no time in getting underway .. and sang praises to both the electric windlass and the autopilot which kept me moving slowly away from the beach as I weighed anchor.

Once underway I decided to sail the 44.1NM to Ambong Bay, on Borneo, north of KK.  The winds were very good for about four hours thanks to the front that had rolled through then they moderated and went right around the compass.  After a bit over 8 hours (5.2 knots average) I entered Ambong Bay.  Fortunately a friend (Noboru Kanada) on RAH 3 had previously anchored in this bay and had given me the GPS coordinates.  He was very good at finding the best location in the bay.

Here's what the electronic chart shows at the anchoring position (the cross):

And here's what it looks like facing the entrance:

So, after a couple of nights here, listening to music at hull-shaking volume and learning a new (for me) naval architecture program, I had enough of my cooking and made the 32.2NM daysail back to KK.

Now I see why the Aboriginals go walkabout ... it's a way to reconnect with your inner self ... but I was out of fresh fruit so came back much sooner than they would, I'm sure!