Sailing Singapore to Pulau Pemanggil & Sibu, Malaysia

9 - 12 Aug 2018 ŸŸŸ(4D3N)

Disclaimer: This is a long overdue post. To be honest, we have many long overdue posts still in our drafts. We promise they will be published soon.

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When we met up with the guests who have signed up for this trip and decided to spend their National Day long weekend with us, we instantly knew this was going to be a fun and crazy trip seeing how warm, fun-loving and cheerful they were. Well, look at the alcohol that was coming along too. (This is excluding the cartons of beer.)

Most of them were first-timers and had never lived on a boat out at sea for 4 days, so they were very excited to experience how it would feel like. (We’re glad they’re more excited than apprehensive!)

Everyone stayed over on board the night before, as we prepared ourselves for the invigorating adventure ahead.

When people think about being out in the open sea for days, many people under the influence of too many movies imagine massive thunderstorms, the boat going topsy turvy in the midst of towering waves, things falling and rolling all over the interior, Barkhad Abdi-lookalike pirates armed with guns charging towards us on a speedboat, and maybe some wild scary sea creatures attacking us. Unfortunately, this is far from the case in the sailing trips we do in our region. What we see for basically 99% of the journey is:

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Just breathtaking, unobstructed daily views of the sunrise and the sunset in the horizon. Blue skies, fluffy clouds, and calm waters. Nothing else!

Occasionally, we came across schools of tuna in the distance (you can see them in a frenzy in the water), and eagerly grabbed our fishing rods for standby. Sadly, we didn’t catch any fresh fish this time (according to Darren, there’s a curse on Gracefully because there hasn’t been a single fish caught on this boat, despite having sailed many places and in convoys with other boats that have caught a haul). We were determined to break the curse this trip, but I guess, better luck next time.

Many people also like to ask us what we do on board while being out at sea for so long, do we ever get bored? I think the answer really lies in the company - who are we sailing with? We hardly ever get bored despite having nothing to do, because:

1) When else would you have nothing to do? Most of us (especially Singaporeans) are running a race in our lives, constantly doing something because we’ve been conditioned to prioritize productivity and efficiency. As a result, we make ourselves feel guilt-ridden when we are not doing something. But life is a marathon, not a race, and we need to pace ourselves, by taking some time to disconnect from the world, so we can reconnect with ourselves.

2) We’re lovers of the sea. We get excited about the slightest thing out at sea, like if the wind speed increased by a knot, or the clouds looked fluffier, or there’s a ship in the distance, or the colour of the sea transitioned from an emerald green shade to deep blue, or a flying fish scooted across the surface of the water, or the current changed its direction as the tides change, you begin to notice the little things.

3) We know we have one another. No one gets bored when he/she sails with the Ximula Sail team. No one.

4) We are blessed with the best guests all the time. The most important reason why we never get bored is because we have been treated with guests who treat us like family.

So here’re some of things we did during the journey:

 We have a good rest. (Here’s our chief engineer,  Victor , who definitely deserves a good rest after spending weeks preparing the boat for this trip.)

We have a good rest. (Here’s our chief engineer, Victor, who definitely deserves a good rest after spending weeks preparing the boat for this trip.)

 We celebrate taking time off for ourselves.

We celebrate taking time off for ourselves.

 We disturb each other.

We disturb each other.

 We take turns to helm the boat. Yes, our guests learn to steer too!

We take turns to helm the boat. Yes, our guests learn to steer too!

 We contemplate about life. (Here’s our 2 captains,  Darren  &  Ranni , sharing a moment of reflection together.)

We contemplate about life. (Here’s our 2 captains, Darren & Ranni, sharing a moment of reflection together.)

 We sit back and do whatever we’ve always wanted to do but never had time to, like wine in one hand and book in another.

We sit back and do whatever we’ve always wanted to do but never had time to, like wine in one hand and book in another.

 We cook our meals on board. (Here’s captain  Darren , who did most of the chef work.)

We cook our meals on board. (Here’s captain Darren, who did most of the chef work.)

 Then we eat together!

Then we eat together!

 We adjust our sails, from morning...

We adjust our sails, from morning...

 …to afternoon, to night.

…to afternoon, to night.

Finally, after a full 16 hours of sailing, we arrived at Pulau Pemanggil on Day 2 morning, and was greeted by the iconic Elephant Rock of Pulau Pemanggil. We anchored safely, took our dinghy to the beach, and explored the peaceful island. There were hardly any villagers around, it seemed like most of them were out fishing, so it didn’t take us very long to walk from one end of the beach to the other.

 Can you spot the Elephant Rock?

Can you spot the Elephant Rock?

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After spending too much rocking in the hammock, we head back to our boat and spent some time frolicking in the water and on our floating mat - which guests have affectionately named ‘the Aladdin magic carpet’ or ‘the lily pad’ - as the sun sets calmly in the distance.

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The next morning, we set sail for a 5-hour journey towards Pulau Sibu, a pristine island boasting soft sandy beaches and a few laidback resorts. We found a short trail which led us to the other side of the island, and ended up having drinks at a bar and rocking in more hammocks.

I’d say this is the ultimate level of relaxing.

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It seemed like we just began our journey when we had to start making our way back to Singapore. Although we barely snorkeled or did much during this trip, we had a wonderful time slowing down our pace and enjoying the discovery of new destinations, new friendships, and new aspects of ourselves.

For it is not the destination, but the journey that matters.

Ending the trip on a high, everyone started to suffer from too much withdrawal symptoms that it was difficult to say goodbye. A massive thank you to our guests for the fun and stress-free journey you guys have given us, as much as we hope it was a fun and stress-free adventure for every one of you too. ‘Til the next adventure!

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