Setting Sail in Malaysia
Malaysia, being a country located in South East Asia, is considered to have the world’s highest marine biodiversity; Aseanarean is the name coined to describe the seas around South East Asia and the wider ASEAN hinterland, an expansive vicinity that has all the geographic prerequisites and natural attributes conducive to cruising.
Both the Mediterranean and Caribbean boast 1200 species of flora & fauna, the Aseanarean itself has 2700 species. This makes many destinations in Aseanarean waters great for diving and fishing. It is the last frontier of cruising grounds, and its vast diversity of traditions and culture is well poised to interest even the most experienced of yacht owners. The Malaysian luxury yachting scene in particular first casted off late during the 1980s, when the government removed import duties for luxury yachts. The move contributed greatly to Malaysia’s quest in becoming a worthy Maritime Nation. We at Pen Marine were a part of it early on and now, over 30 years later, we are greatly passionate about growing it even further.
In partnership with Autogridz, Pen Marine will be sharing the many pleasures and privileges yachting entails. Destinations for cruising, diving, fishing and yachting – this monthly feature will seek to present the best of them, in an effort to acquaint the unacquainted with the limitless maritime joys.
Unsurprisingly, Malaysia lags far behind in comparison with more developed yachting nations, where the recorded boat:population ratios are much closer. For example, the figure in New Zealand is 1 (boat):3 (persons), while in Perth the ratio is 1:7. In Malaysia, only 1 in every 10,000 Malaysians enjoy the affiliation. However, Yacht ownership here and in our neighbouring countries is poised for maturity.
The main difference in Asia and the more developed yachting nations is the advanced development of facilities – marinas, for example, where there are shopping centres, eateries and other attractions befitting a things-to-do list. In Sydney, one can travel from one marina to another via yacht and enjoy a day’s worth of accessible activities at each stop. Then of course there’s Europe, where there are sophisticated marinas and ports that a yacht owner can visit within short distances, all of which possess almost every amenity one would require. Again, Malaysia isn’t as well equipped when it comes to yachting infrastructure, but it is rapidly growing out of its adolescent phase.
The proof is clear to see, from Penang to Langkawi, where marinas such as the vibrant Straits Quay offer a vast array of eateries and shopping spots. Several more of such marinas are already being developed in other parts of the island. In Langkawi, you will find the Royal Langkawi Marina, Rebak Marina and Resort, and the serene Telaga Harbour Marina; all are built to satisfy the needs and wants of yachting aficionados. Look towards the eastern coastline and there is a marina in Johor, Sebana Cove; along with one in Pulau Tioman; and the Monsoon Cup Marina in Pulau Duyong, Terengganu.
It is often said that owning a yacht is like “standing under a shower”, with the water being a metaphor for money, flowing out quickly. Of course, yacht ownership does require a deal of financial maintenance, but then again, the same can be said about all of life’s finest pleasures. For yacht owners, having the freedom to traverse crystal clear waterways and explore exotic islands is well worth the admission fee.
Among the highlight destinations that we have sailed to are the southern islands of Phuket, where diving and fishing spots are in abundance. Another group of islands is the Anambas, located 220 Nautical Miles east of Singapore. The water clarity in these truly exotic locations is beyond pristine. “Nature’s swimming pool” some call them. Arrive at such locales and it becomes easy to forget the life in the fast-lane that’s left behind after stepping aboard the yacht. As frequent seafarers ourselves, we often find unequalled joy in getting back to the basics of life; climbing coconut trees, having a barbeque on the beach and indulging in other such activities that urban life doesn’t offer.
Pen Marine occasionally organizes convoy cruises to such destinations, frequently arriving at nice marinas in places like Phuket, Pak Tolam’s resort in Anambas, Jakarta and others. We are here to help new yacht owners discover the experience of coastal cruising in the best way possible, by learning everything from voyage planning, coastal navigation and the practice of good seamanship.
Yacht manufacturers the world over are already recognizing the potential of the Aseanarean waters, and Asia as a whole, as a market to cater for. More and more of these manufacturers are incorporating features that suit the tropical climate conditions of this area, including features such as stabilizers that dramatically reduce rocking in rougher waters, higher capacity air conditioning for the warmer weather, and generators to suit the higher power required for these equipments. Even utilities such as water makers are being improved to provide more water storage in accommodating the longer travel distances between marinas in Asia.
Do watch this space over the next few issues, as we will be providing even more insight into the world of yachting – yachts and boats especially – and how to choose one that suits your desires. We will also look to introduce the various marinas and their facilities, because we intend to whet your appetite and inspire your love of exploring the open seas, as much as you love exploring the open road.