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October 17 - Singapore

This morning we raised anchor in our last Indonesian port, and headed across the busy shipping lanes to Singapore. Normally our AIS system, which displays close-by ships on our chartplotter, may show a few ships, but today we saw many dozens, yikes! We dodged our way through the lanes, managing to avoid freighters, tankers and ferries. Whew! Once safely across, we made our way to the quarantine area where we bobbed around until Immigration boarded us and stamped our passports. This was the easiest entry we have ever done. Dave will go into town tomorrow to complete formalities. We were then free to go to One 15 Marina on Sentosa Island, where a slip was available. The gorgeous marina offers free wifi, a pool, deli, laundromat, restaurants, and a free shuttle to town. Dave will have a hard time prying me out of here.

One 15 refers to the marina’s location at one degree 15 minutes north of the equator. It is blistering hot here - even Dave (who I always thought would find hell comfortable) is complaining.

Exciting to be here. Dave says we have travelled 20000 sea miles since we left home 4 years ago, and Singapore makes our 50th country! Indonesia was great, culturally fascinating with the most welcoming people we have met. But I am ready for a little western decadence.

We dodge traffic in busy Singapore Strait.

Immigration takes our passports.

October 21 - Singapore Tourists

Singapore is a country, a city and an island. One 15 Marina (named after its latitude) is actually on Sentosa, Singapore's holiday island that dangles off its south tip. The marina is gorgeous, and we feel lucky to be here. A few more rally boats pulled in, then they were full.

Dave joined Bill of Airstream for an easy port clearance while I checked out the laundry and pool. The next day with Airstream, Tin Soldier and Linda, we took the free shuttle to town and touristed around. The men went to Sim Lim, a high-rise mall with hundreds of electronic stores, while the ladies found Marche, a yummy Swiss restaurant atop Vivo, and did a little shopping, or at least looking. We were told eating is Singapore's national pastime, and shopping its national sport.

We joined the men at Raffles Hotel Long Bar, where we enjoyed the signature Singapore Sling. Just one though, at $25! We caught cabs to Little India for dinner at Banana Leaf Apollo, where you select from displayed dishes, which are then plopped onto your banana leaf/plate at the table. We soon had a messy mound of rice, chicken, prawns and veg in a delicious, spicy pile. We walked off dinner exploring Little India, lively and colorful at night.

There are some boat projects to be done, and more exploring to do. We will stay here another week.

The Bingtang Bunch visit iconic Raffles Hotel.

Gorgeous Raffles lobby.

Fresh orchids in the lobby.

We slam back Singapore Slings in its birthplace, the Raffles Long Bar.

Airstream guides us to Banana Leaf Apollo for a messy feast.

Little India is decked out for Deepavali.

Spotless Singapore subway.

No durians, aka stinkfruit, are allowed on subways.

October 26 - Still Singapore

Dave spent 2 days under the floorboards fixing an exhaust leak on the engine, a tough, messy job. There are still a few boat chores left, though we will try to see more of Singapore. We toured the Asian Civilizations Museum, getting an overview of the peoples, cultures and religions of this area. In the news, Singapore is under a dense cloud of smog, smoke from fires in neighboring Sumatra. Farmers are clearing fields to plant palm oil trees, wiping out rainforest. The smoke pall covers SE Asia, depending on which way the winds are blowing.

We cross Cavanaugh Bridge to the Asian Civilizations Museum...

...where a serene Buddha is guarded by a 7-headed cobra.

Joyous bronze kids leap ino the river.

In sharp contrast to sobering Changi Chapel and Museum.

From the top deck of Marina Park we view the Singapore Skyline...

...and the world's busiest shipyard.

October 28 - Moving on

This morning Dave did the clearance formalities to leave Singapore. We will head out tomorrow. We rode the MRT one last time out to an industrial area to purchase an air-conditioner. The boat has a system, but it is not working, and a standalone system seemed a cheaper alternative than repair. He hooked it up. Pure luxury! We can only use it at marinas where we have dock power.

I made a final run to the grocery store, stocking up on things that were hard to find in Indonesia, although we are hearing much more will be available in Malaysia than what we found in Indonesia. We spent our last Singapore dollars at the marina pool on a pizza and beer. Tomorrow morning we hand our security cards to the dockmaster, untie and head out. We have to stop for Immigration again in the quarantine anchorage, and then we'll curl around Singapore to the Johor Strait, and head for Danga Bay to clear into Malaysia.

Outside Singapore we pass this huge floating hotel under construction.

Singapore's Malaysian border is fenced and guarded, with warnings of a live firing range.

Click here for our Malaysia journal.

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