We left Nongsa Point on early Wednesday morning to cross the infamous Singapore channel and take Tahina up the river between Singapore and Malaysia to a marina called Puteri Harbour Marina on the Malaysia side. It is about 5 miles up the river from Singapore’s Raffles Marina.
Our crossing went surprisingly well. Weather was very nice during the crossing, and, thanks to tips from the staff at Nongsa, we had a following current of about 2.5 knots the whole way. There were ships in the channel, lots of ferries went past us as we made our way west on the Indonesia side. We saw a few fisherman, and had a few smaller ships to deal with along this part of the trip. Once we were to the south west of the main Singapore port, we started on a diagonal across the channel towards the river. We had two ships crossing from the west to worry about, but once they passed we had no ships coming from either direction during our crossing. There was a tug boat with a barge as we approached the far side, but we easily went parallel to him and were 2 knots faster. We caught up to two cruising sailboats headed to Danga Bay where the Malaysia Rally is gathering. One was s/v Errance who we had last seen in Sydney. We passed them and made the turn to go up the river. There were dozens of ships anchored off the SW corner of Singapore. We threaded our way up and into the river mouth. We only saw a few fisherman on our way up the river.
Just past Raffles Marina there is the Second Link Bridge that allows vehicles to go between Malaysia and Singapore. This bridge has a 25 meter vertical clearance at one point. We were approaching at near high tide, and Tahina has a 22 meter vertical height. High tide was 3 meters. So we were a bit concerned. The vertical clearance normally is given for high tide. But, we slowed Tahina down to .1 knots and approached very carefully. As always, it looked like we would hit. Especially to me with one working eye and no depth perception! But, we were fine and went under without our higher VHF antenna touching.
At this point, a rain squall was following us behind. It was moving in our direction. We had 4 miles to go to our marina, so we kept our speed up. We arrived at Puteri Harbour to find a nice new marina. They directed us to a nice slip and we were soon tied up with the rain squall about to hit. They told us to come to the office after the rain. Sure enough, the skies opened up and dumped on us! And there was thunder and lightning as well. Within an hour it passed and we had pleasant cool weather after that.
When we arrived, we found our friends on s/v Migration parked right behind us. They had just arrived as well, but were just staying for one night. We visited with them for a while to catch up. Then the marina took Karen and I to Malaysia Immigration to get ourselves entered into the country. We wanted to leave the next morning to go to Singapore.
The next day, Thursday, we went to Singapore. This involved taking the marina van to a bus station, taking the bus to Singapore with a stop at Malaysia customs to clear out of the country, a stop at Singapore customs to clear in, and then finally arriving at a metro station in Singapore. Each stop at the customs stations took us longer than the other passengers and our bus left before we could get back on. We had to wait several minutes each time for another bus to take us to the next point. It took about 2 hours to get to the metro station.
Our plan was to go to a hospital where a friend of ours was recovering from surgery. I also wanted to go there to visit their eye clinic to see an ophthalmologist . The Raffles Hospital is an outstanding facility with amazing service. Our friend, John on s/v Sea Mist, said the hospital food was good! I got an appointment just 2 hours after arriving and saw the doctor. He told me I’ve made good progress, and gave me some interesting insight into future treatment (a few months later) to get my vision back. More on that later. The price was not cheap, but not terrible either.
Given the amount of time to go to and from Singapore, we should have made arrangements to just stay at a hotel. We decided we would come back the next day and stay over the weekend in Singapore so we could do some sightseeing. Also, the doctor wants me to come back for another examination.
More updates to come.