[OcelotNews] Ocelotian Website Updated!
KD7NDG at Winlink.org
KD7NDG at Winlink.org
Mon Nov 1 05:31:00 PDT 2010
Dear Friends & Family, 1 Nov 2010, Labuan Marina, Malaysian Borneo
We've FINALLY published our first swing at Nepal. See http://svOcelot.com/Landfalls/Newsletters/Nepal/Nepal.htm
This update focuses on the 11 newsletters that we sent out while trekking. They're all illustrated now, with over 100 photos. Sorting through 12,000 photos has been a monumental task (& there's still LOTS to do) but this is a start. We hope to add more as time allows.
For the first time we've also put on some interactive Google Maps. Jon built very detailed maps of Chitwan, our Langtang/Gosainkund/Helambu trek, & the Khumbu (Everest area) trek, as well as a general overview map so folks could get a feel for where they were. Clicking on a pin or even a trail segment will bring up a description. The pins are usually where we stopped for the night, passes, or other points of interest.
The detail on the Google satellite imagery is unbelievably good, even in the Himalayas. Not only could we see our guest house & even our individual rooms, but we could often see our trail, even though it was often less than a meter wide. Very impressive. It means that you can zoom WAY in. Under each map is a link which will bring up the map in a new full-screen window.
We'd also suggest trying the Earth mode (button in the upper right corner of the maps). This is MUCH faster than the other modes, & also shows off the 3D effects of the terrain very well (heights of the mountains, depths of the valleys, etc). With Earth mode you can fly along above our trail (or anywhere, really). Earth mode requires a small browser plug-in that Google will offer to install for you if you don't already have it installed.
We've also rearranged our Home Page somewhat to try to showcase some of the rest of the site. Descriptions of the various sections are now down the left, under the Google Ads. As always, comments & feedback are very appreciated.
For Cruisers, we've updated our AIS page (http://svOcelot.com/Cruise_Info/Equipment/AIS.htm) with some screen shots of our AIS system as we crossed the busy shipping channels NE of Singapore. Not a place for the faint of heart. AIS looks to be the best thing for marine navigation since the GPS.
On a more personal note, I think our last newsy-letter was as we approached Miri. We've actually been having some fun since then. We came up the north coast of Borneo with our Aus friends Suzette & Sandy. But they ran out of time (only 2 weeks) so we left Ocelot in the Miri Marina (about half way up the coast) & flew to Kota Kinabalu at the N tip of Borneo for a night & then SE to Sandakan, where we took a powerboat 90km (55 miles) up the Kinabatangan River to a rather swank eco-lodge arranged by Suzette. Blew through $1000 in 3 days, but it was fun. River trips 2-3 times a day to see Proboscis Monkeys with their huge noses, lots of other monkeys, wild orangutans, crocodiles & LOTS of birds, especially colorful kingfishers & huge horn bills. Meals were out on their deck, overlooking the river. Our room was more luxurious than we're used to, especially for the jungle.
After Suzette & Sandy left us we continued sailing NE up the coast, stopping into Brunei briefly to extend our Malaysian visas & to pick up some cheap fuel. The Sultanate of Brunei sort of splits Malaysian Borneo in 2. Nothing much there except fuel - drilling rigs & etc are all over just offshore, making a bit of a hazard to navigation at night. Both diesel & gasoline were US$0.20/liter or about $0.75/gal. So we took on 350 liters (95 gal) of diesel & 80 liters (22 gal) of dinghy fuel, all for only just over $100 when you add in the $20 taxi van. Should last us a while.
We're currently on duty free Labuan Island, 20 miles off Brunei on this northern (Malaysian) coast of Borneo (Google Earth: 5°16.35'N 115°14.95'E). It was here that we met our dear friends on Vamp, who've sailed some 4,000 miles(!) up from Brisbane to meet us. Our first few days were a bit dodgy as this marina is not well constructed - like Malacca, the breakwater is just a series of pilings placed close together. This knocks down the waves but doesn't really stop the swells. We had a couple of good squalls (35+ knots) & found that the marina was coming apart! Several of the docks did not have pilings on their ends, so they were just cantilevered from the main dock, & the 1" stainless steel bolts holding things together were popping under the pressure of the boats tied to the docks. We were pretty protected (our dock had a piling at the end so was not dependent on bolts) but Vamp spent a couple of nights on the other side of the bay, on anchor. Safer & more comfortable that way
We've spent several days exploring Labuan Island. The Japanese surrendered to the Aussi's here, & we visited the big memorial & cemetery, filled mostly with unknown Aussie soldiers. We found the botanical garden but still have to explore it more thoroughly.
Jon also found a dentist to deal with his teeth, 3 of which had started falling apart in the US. Our dear US dentist, warned that we had no insurance, recommended that we have the work done here. So Jon's had 3 new crowns installed, at a total cost of about $600. Such a deal. The dentist here, recommended by the first 4 folks we asked, is very Muslim but after talking to her about why we're out here (educating our children & promoting peace by trying to understand the different cultures) she feels we're "good people". I guess you want your dentist to approve of you.
A few days ago we decided to take both boats up the Klias River, just across the bay to the north. If you bring up Google Earth, you can check it out yourself at 5°20'N 115°24'E. A bit hairy for Vamp (who draws 2m) getting over the bar but with us in front they knew they'd be warned of any problems. Then we spent the next 5 days slowly wandering 25 miles up the river to where some power-lines & a bridge prevented us from going further, & then back down again. The river is all ~30' deep & winds around a lot, so every twist & turn presented new possibilities. Again, we saw lots of Proboscis Monkeys, Silver Langurs, & other monkeys. One night was punctuated by lots of screaming & crashing of trees. Presumably some monkey troops were having a bit of a party. We only saw 1 croc, but that was enough. Saw several raptors, some with fish in their talons, but no horn-bills. The river was surprisingly bug-free & was wide enough that we could anchor anywhere. Each morning & afternoon we took our dinghy up several side streams, exploring places we can't take Ocelot.
Since Labuan Island is nominally duty free we're having several boat bits flown in: low-power LED lights from China, an AIS transceiver from Seattle, a NZ feathering prop to replace the one the whale bent, & a new Profurl roller gear bottom bearing unit. As soon as they arrive we'll be making our way back down Borneo towards Singapore. In December we hope to take another inland trip through Cambodia, Vietnam, & possibly Laos. You'll no doubt hear more about that when the time comes...
Fair Winds & Calm Seas -- Jon & Sue s/v Ocelot
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