The Cruising Adventures of Seventh Heaven with Charlie and Betty

Cruising on Seventh Heaven

The last 30 days, Years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 or view the entire archive.

12 Jan 2011
Queensland Floods
The rain over Queensland was relentless and with all the dams full from heavy rains in November there was no way to stop the flow of water down through the river systems.
The devastation was on a scale not before seen and bought the state to a standstill and affected every Queenslander either directly or indirectly.
Tragically lives were lost and homes, businesses and crop destroyed. It will take a long time for recovery. Tourism a major industry in Queensland was already going through a difficult period due to the strong Australian dollar enticing people to take holidays overseas.
Fortunately we were unaffected by the floods except for the cancellation of the train to the Gold Coast from Brisbane on our return from Airlie Beach.
Emma our youngest daughter who lives in Toowong an inner city suburb of Brisbane had to evacuate her unit and the power was cut off but thankfully the water only came up to the end of her street.
Photos:
Flooded homes in Brisbane
The big cleanup








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03 Feb 2011
Cyclone Yasi
Just when you think Queensland has had all it can take from Mother Nature along comes cyclone Yasi the largest and most powerful cyclone in living memory to hit the Queensland coast.
Although communities in the cyclones path had plenty of warning to prepare when it crossed the coast south of Cairns it left a trail of destruction behind with houses and businesses destroyed or badly damaged and Port Hinchinbrook marina in Cardwell literally turned upside down miraculously no lives were lost.
Thankfully the Whitsundays and Airlie Beach our home town only had minor damage to some properties.
Photos:
Satellite image of cyclone Yasi crossing the coast.
Port Hinchinbrook marina destruction








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26 Mar 2012
On The Hard
The plan a quick haul out to antifoul then spend a month cruising the west coast of Thailand.
Why would we think this was not possible?
Five weeks later we are finally back in the water with a full osmosis protection barrier applied, boat polished, new main sail drop bag, new cockpit cushions, anchor chain re galvanised, forward storage locker modified etc...
Fortunately Phuket Boat Lagoon marina has excellent maintenance facilities and also incorporates a resort hotel so no need to stay on the boat while the work is being carried out. A fully serviced studio apartment cost only 10500 baht per month ($330)
The good news is that Seventh Heaven is now in A1 condition for the two year passage back to Australia.






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27 Mar 2012
Our plans of circumnavigation have been put on hold. The Somalia piracy problem in the Indian Ocean has escalated to point where it has become too dangerous for us to contemplate going any further west.
Many yachts are taking the South African route or are shipping from Thailand to Turkey by container vessels. Neither of these options is acceptable for us. The Mediterranean Sea via South Africa is too far and would take two years plus and two Atlantic crossings. Shipping Seventh Heaven to the Med will cost $1000 per foot-that means $41,000, money, we do not have. Also $41,000 equates to a lot of charters or land travel we can do some other time.
After three glorious years sailing the waters of West Malaysia, Thailand and The Andaman Islands we are headed east this year joining the Sail Malaysia - Passage to the East Rally to Borneo.










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25 Dec 2012
Christmas time in Australia.
It is this special time of the year that we lock up Seventh Heaven and travel back to Australia to be with family and friends.
We celebrated Christmas Day with lunch at Pepper Resort with our friends Terry and Anita.
Ken, Kathryn, Mia and William arrived that evening staying for a week in Airlie so Betty and I got plenty of time with the grand kids.
Photos:
Charlie & Betty
Fun time in the pool  












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27 Jan 2013
Slow Travel
As we make our way towards the Philippines the NE winds keep coming.
We left Miri in nice calm conditions but all was to change dramatically as we rounded Batang Baram some two hours out. We found ourselves punching into a two meter sea and twenty knot head wind not what you really need on your first day out. We arrived in the safety of Jerudong Harbour well after dark tired and hungry. Next morning conditions had improved so we made for Labuan to stock up on essential duty free supplies (beer, wine and rum).
After three days holed up in busy Victoria Harbour with water taxis buzzing all around and dueling Mosques we finally braved the conditions and headed for Tiga Island.
The anchorage was calm and quite. Tiga Island is a national park and was the site of the first survivor television series.
The island is covered with rainforest with many maintained walking tracks and an abundance of wild life. In the centre of the island there are volcanic mud pools where if you wish you can take a mud bath Betty was not to keen on this.
We stayed here for two nights enjoying the serenity.
Photos:
Tiga Island
Mud pools










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06 Feb 2013
With the wind more from the north we managed to sail for a few hours on the way to Kota Kinabalu.
Sutera Harbour Resort Marina in Kota Kinabalu is the most luxurious marina in Malaysia and is connected to a five star resort. We were allowed full access to the resort amenities including pools, gym, Wifi etc. and this was all included in our $25 per day berthing fee.
Our water maker had given up and we required a new membrane 10 days and $1200 later we were again operational.
Photo:
Sutura Harbour


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17 Feb 2013

The sea conditions had improved so time to go. Spent the first night anchored in Ambong Bay 30 miles north of Kota Kinabalu with majestic Mt Kinabalu in the distance. At first light we motored towards the Tip of Borneo where again condition deteriorated and it was hard going to round the cape once around we had a nice reach down to Kudat.
Kudat Marina and Golf Resort have a small harbour and marina surrounded by the golf course. The marina has no power or water though you can use all the facilities at the resort which is only a few minutes walk and it is free.
Though the Philippines are only 50 miles away the wind and sea conditions have been adverse so we have settled in here spending time with new and old friends while we wait for our weather window.
Photos:
Mt Kinabalu at dawn
Kudat marina







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21 Feb 2013
The Philippines
After two weeks hold up in Kudat waiting for a small cyclone to pass over Palawan (hopefully the last for the season) we finally had a favorable forecast to make our passage across the Balabac Strait.
We departed Kudat in a light norwesterly navigating through the passage between Balambangan and Banggi Islands as we exited the passage we were confronted with a one meter swell and torrential rain which lasted for over an hour (tail end of cyclone). With twenty miles to travel the wind increased to 20/25 knots making the seas stand up and very confused giving us a fast but very rough last few hours. We anchored in Clarendon Bay at the southern end of Balabac Island although it had a slight roll it was well protected. There were small huts scattered around the bay and a few locals came out to trade bananas.
The wind had eased overnight but the forecast was 15/20 knot noreasterlies for the next four days (on the nose) so we decided to do a sixty mile day and head for Tuba River. We motor sailed through the small islands and reefs between Palawan and Bugsuik Island protected from the swell. Fortunately we had been given tracks of other yachts and finding the entrance to the river was very easy we anchored upstream from the village and settled in to sit out the adverse weather.
Photos:
Tuba River
Bangka's (Spider Boats)  





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27 Feb 2013
Our time in the Tuba River was spent relaxing with the occasional excursion ashore. The village was compact and dusty party due to the nickel ore being loaded onto barges at the mouth of the river.
Though off the beaten track and referred to as ‘the home to smugglers and modern day pirates’ by travel guides we found the locals friendly if not a bit shy and inquisitive.
There were plenty of small shops selling an assortment of goods including phone and internet cards and the small market had plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
We caught a tricycle into the town of Rio Tuba which is about 3 klm away which consists of small dirty and dusty shops along both sides of the main road for about ½ klm. To our surprise there was a franchised BBQ chicken outlet which looked way out of place which we now know are found all through the Philippines.
Photos:
Tuba River Village
Tircycle
Dinghy Dock



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01 Mar 2013
The passage from Tuba River to Puerto Princesa was 130 miles which we completed over three days.
Leaving Tuba River the wind was light but within an hour had picked up to 15/20 knots with lumpy seas. Despite this we decided to push onto Brookes Point. A long day motoring into a headwind averaging just over four knots.
Brookes Point has a small port that services the south east coast of Palawan. We anchored off the jetty protected by a small sea wall. There was a village ashore but we had no visitors.
Better conditions greeted us next morning and we headed for Rasa Island passing many fishing Bangka’s along the way. The anchorage on the western side of Rasa Island was very peaceful and uninhabited.
Light conditions prevailed for the final leg to Puerto Princesa.
Photo:
Fishing Bangka




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09 Mar 2013
Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan with a population of 200000 predominately Christian (catholic) and very clean compared to other SE Asian countries. As a tourist destination Puerto Princesa has not much to offer it is more the stepping off point for other parts of Palawan.
Puerto Princesa Bay is a large deep natural harbour accommodating  large cargo ships, cruise liners, naval base and many water villages.
We anchored off the Abonica Yacht Club two miles past the town. The club is basic and very laidback run by John and Cissy who go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable. The club has all the usual facilities bar, restaurant, library, WiFi, showers etc. Every Sunday Cissy does a splendid buffet lunch or dinner and sundowners are partaken each afternoon around 5.30 very easy to get trapped here and not sail on.  
The major mode of transport is the tricycle (motor bike with sidecar) and there are literally thousands of them. There seems to be no limit on the number of passengers or goods as long it can fit in or on. A ride into town from the yacht club which takes about 15 minutes cost 50 pesos ($1.25) for two people.
Shopping comes in various forms from modern western style shopping malls to traditional produce and wet markets (meat and seafood) with everything except fuel being very cheap.
There are also a large variety of food outlets the national dish being ‘Adobo’ (meat or seafood stewed in vinegar and garlic) unfortunately it is not quite up there with Thai and Malay cuisine though they do bake better bread. For those who enjoy a drink wine is around $5 a bottle rum $4 and beer $12 a carton.
The one notable difference when shopping in Puerto Princesa is all the larger stores, banks and restaurants etc have armed guards even the traffic enforcer at the shopping mall was armed.
Photos:
Abonico Yacht Club
Singing traffic enforcer
Tricycle




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14 Mar 2013
Puerto Princesa to El Nido
The weather forecast for the next five days was for NE winds 5/10 knots so finally raising the anchor and made for El Nido in company with ‘Two Up’ and ‘Wings & Strings’.
Day 1.   Distance 22nm
In calm conditions we motored out of Puerto Princesa Bay and north to Snake Island in Honda Bay. This was a small uninhabited island with a sand spit that went to the north for miles. We anchored in the lea of the spit in 20m of clear water after which we gave the hull a scrub and went off exploring the spit.
Day 2.   Distance 50nm  
Flat seas and clear skies ideal for another day of motoring to our destination Reef Island in Green Island Bay.
During the afternoon we sailed through a large pod of spinner dolphins that put on a display of aerial acrobatics spinning many times as they leapt out of the water.
Reef Island is small with a reef extending to the south east and has a low key resort. We had a nice snorkel along the reef (first in the Philippines) and walk around the island.
Day 3.  Distance 55nm
Again calm conditions prevailed as we motored though the reefs and shoals of Green Island Bay to the Dumaran Passage. The passage is a navigators nightmare though the charts are accurate the passage is littered with pearl farms for about ten miles.
After exiting the passage our course was more north and we were able to sail for the last ten miles to Acadambanauan Island. We anchored in a well protected deep bay (24m) dotted with fishing villages.
Day 4.   Distance 37nm
With the wind from the NE at ten knots and our course north we were able to sail all day to Darocotan Island. The anchorage was tricky to approach and had a bit of a roll but it was an attractive island with a neat and tidy fishing village and backpacker facility for overnight stops. Bangka’s do five day budget cruisers from El Nido to Coron and vice versa stopping off at islands for the night on the way.
Day 5.   Distance 29nm
The weather remained light and we motored around the tip of Palawan and down to El Nido greeted by spectacular scenery of limestone islands. The anchorage at El Nido was a bit rolly so we went around the head land to Corongcorong the protected anchorage on the southern side.
Photos:
Reef Island
Seventh Heaven under sail
Anchorage at Corongcorong





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15 Mar 2013
Something I forgot to mention the sky is very clear in Palawan and the sunsets are stunning as are the stars at night.
Photo:
Sunset in Palawan



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06 Jul 2013

10th Borneo International Yacht Challenge
Time to race.
The race from Miri to Labuan is always interesting we started with a lovely reach at 7 knots for the first four hours then as the wind lightened we were ghosting though the Brunei oilfields. Midnight thunder storms all around us tacking backwards and forwards early hours of the morning nice land breeze reaching to the finish line. At dawn with the finish line only eight miles away becalmed such is yacht racing.
The Labuan bay races were held in light conditions and Seventh Heaven and the crew performed well gaining a 2nd and 3rd place.
Labuan is a duty free port and our last chance to stock up on vital supplies such as beer, wine, rum and gin for the passage back to Australia so we were a little lower in the water for the race to Kota Kinabalu.
The race to Kota Kinabalu was a mixture wind, storms, no wind though we managed to keep Seventh Heaven moving and picked up another 3rd place.
The bay races in Kota Kinabalu were cancelled due to lack of wind.
We had a great time racing our home and were a respectable 3rd overall.
Photos:
The windward mark ahead of Bewitched though not for long
Seventh Heaven’s pretty sail
Dinner Labuan to KK in light conditions




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07 Jul 2013



10th Borneo International Yacht Challenge
In SE Asia they have fantastic regattas and the BIYC is no exception.
The regattas are truly gala events with fantastic dinners and presentations by dignitaries and VIP’s all being followed by the mass media. Even the humble cruising yachts are treated like super stars.
The regatta starts in Miri (Sarawak) to Labuan then onto Kota Kinabalu (Sabah). There are six races two passage races Miri to Labuan (105nm) and Labuan to Kota Kinabalu (70nm) with two bay races in both Labuan and Kota Kinabalu.  Seventh Heaven was entered in cruising division A and this year we had the luxury of crew our new friends Ray and Patsy from Miri.
Photos:
Winners are grinners
Still friends (Ross off Bewitched overall winner cruising A)
Welcome dinner Miri (Ray, Patsy and Kevin)





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The Seventh Heaven Story
Click for a short history of Seventh Heaven



Seventh Heaven
Dehler 41DS

Charlie and Betty Preen
PO Box 373
Cannonvale Q 4802

Charlie: 0408 182 822
Betty: 0427 481 342
www.charlieandbetty.com

Whitsunday Guide
Visit the Cumberland Charter Yachts Site for the most comprehensive online area and anchorage guide. Second only to "100 Magic Miles".

  www.ccy.com.au/area



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