Hijacks Jewel of Muscat stopover
The Jewel of Muscat actually arrived on Tuesday afternoon, under tow (No wind) organised by committee member Capt Kumar's ship forwarding agency SEACON and where expertly escorted by Cdr (Rtd) John Ferguson through the tricky strong river currents and comfortably berthed alongside the pontoon in front of the yacht club. The skipper Saleh Al Jabri and crew were greeted by a line of young Malaysian women dressed in traditional costumes and the sound of beating drums to announce their arrival and initial welcoming ceremony. (See latest images on the J of M Website at: http://www.jewelofmuscat.tv/image
That night the crew earned some valuable rest and recreation, up at the Crystal Crown (Best hotel in Pt Klang) at least for shower and a soft bed that is not moving all over the place. Captain Saleh Al Jabri and up to 18 brave crew members have spent long periods at sea, crossing the Indian Ocean to Cochin and experienced tropical cyclone strength conditions for four days in the Bay of Bengal on their way to Penang. (Goto AY-CM YouTube Channel for Penang interview with Capt Saleh plus take a Historical Tour and catch up with the building and launching of this amazing project) This ancient vessel does not have an engine and solely relies on the wind and currents to push her along. It also does not have refrigeration, air conditioning or any other creature comforts that modern day yachts have filled their interiors with. When they departed Muscat there was a pen of live chickens stashed on deck and the staple diet of rice and dried fish or squid with fill in biscuits has became the crews routine daily intake.
The next day a worthy reception for these brave sailors was arranged by the RSYC committee for club members and media to welcome everyone to Pt Klang and in particular the club for the duration of their stay. The Project Advisor Nicolas Swallow, Project Administrator Helen Kirkbride and Project Director Dr Tom Vosmer, who coordinated the construction of the ship are along to help with the crew change over and swelled the ranks to fill the Kananga Room to overflowing. The Oman embassy in KL, sent Deputy Chief of Mission, Ali Ahmad Al Shanjari and Counselor Zakariya Al Saadi, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to present framed photographs of the Jewel of Muscat under sail to Commodore Dato Alex and Commander Zaharudding bin Hj Mohd Maideen, RMN, Director General of the National Hydrographic Center and thanked them dearly for their assistance. Captain Saleh and Bosun, Said Mohamed Al Tarshi also presented them with original engraved wood turning blocks in exchange for the club burgee.
Formalities over, it was makan (Food) and chat time which also is a great Malaysian tradition. Now! Your talking? Who is in for some sambal fish, noodles, chicken korma and spicy taufu, topped of with crushed brown sugar banana sweets, soon got everyone into the swing of things. Mustering all the crew onto the floor for a group photo completed the official duties. The International crew and club members were then asked to mix amongst the tables to encourage discussions and learn more of there adventures. New crew member Capt Kumar spent time chatting with Capt Saleh about his local knowledge role to Singapore and meeting fellow crew members before the six day voyage, begins next week. As everyone settled into the friendly atmosphere, it was not long after, that Commodore Alex led the crew in karaoke singing and dancing that looked destined to go on for some time, so I made my humble exit.
The crew will now rest up for a few days and have drawn up a public viewing schedule for inside the ship. Other activities this weekend include racing against the RSYC team, on one design Platu 25 yachts before setting sail on Sunday 27th or Monday 28th, for the 200nm last leg of her remarkable voyage. This only gives them 6 days to arrive in Singapore, where literally a big song and dance is coming together. Oman drumming bands are being flown over and both Prime Ministers will be there for the handover when they arrive on July 3rd.
However, all is not lost for Malacca, as the route down the Straits takes them directly past Malacca and what wind we have had this month has come from the South East and directly on the nose. If they need to shelter from the afternoon and early morning local thunderstorms, perhaps the new marina may well afford them some safe shelter on the way past. Anything can happen in the Malacca Straits and usually does. As they averaged less than two knots all the way down from Penang, it will take most of the allocated six days to sail to Singapore. To avoid any delays Capt Kumar has stationed his motor yacht in Singapore, just in case a tow is needed for the last remaining miles. Whatever is the case, we will be watching out for them as they come past PD by following their Tracking Route at: http://www.jewelofmuscat.tv/en/route and wish them a hearty "Bon Voyage!"
Saleh Al Jabri
Captains and one retired Commander
Commander Zaharudding bin Hj Mohd Maideen, RMN, Director General of the National Hydrographic Center with Captain Saleh and Bosun, Said Mohamed Al Tarshialso presenting the original engraved wood turning block.
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