We entered the Traffic scheme in the early morning of the 8th; the west-bound lane is only a mile or so wide and as a consequence the shipping converges into this narrow stretch of water. In the ‘Google’ map above, it would appear that the Straits are wide, however the majority of the area consists of sandbanks and reefs; the Traffic Lanes wind through them.
Under normal ‘deep-sea’ situations, one has the luxury of giving other vessels a wide berth, not so in these lanes and clearances other are measured in ‘hundreds’ of metres, as opposed to miles. Adding to the concentration are hundreds of ships at anchor, waiting for berths, so many in fact that they do not have room in the recognised anchorages and instead infringe into the Traffic Lanes themselves. (This is the last thing where I would want to be; having ships passing at speed, a few hundred metres away from me, would be worrisome to say the least).
As we progressed down the lanes, changes of speed and course are frequent, adjusting for situations that we have to anticipate occurring as well as those that already are. I would have loved to send you a photo of one of our radar screens, however night-time is not the best time to take a photo; I may be able to send you one from our passage to Phuket and you will get the idea. 🙁
Our pilot was waiting at the boarding point at 0630 and he was climbing up the ladder at 0629, neat work on the Navigators part, after so many miles and alterations of speeds and courses. A 5-mile jaunt towards Cruise Bay and our berth, past scores of more anchored ships and then through the narrow entrance leading to the Cruise Terminal. All fast and gangway connected at 8 a.m., on a hot and muggy morning and our guests are more than ready to enjoy Singapore.
Late that afternoon, I took some time off to enjoy this city. First to Sim Lim Square, where Electronic stores are in abundance for I was trying to find a camera strap which would be more efficient than the standard ‘neck’ one; no success there. Then through Bugis Street market area; this is famous for we Brits, as it used to be an area where the British Armed Forces garrison used to frequent when they wanted a ‘good night out’. Now of course it is a respectable area whereas, in days gone by, it had a ‘disreputable’ reputation 😕
If one wanted, one could ride a Trishaw around the area.
Having wandered around, it was then time to try our luck in Chinatown. Again, stalls and shops galore, all squeezed into a relatively small area and yes, I found my strap, stiff neck no more!
Oddly, there was a Hindu temple within the Chinatown boundaries and the colourful trappings begged for a photo.
Then, finally, on to Clark’s Quay, a lovely area surrounding the Singapore River. Here lie restaurants of every shape and size, with almost every country in the world represented, be it Irish, Mexican, Persian, the list is endless. We were there relatively early in the evening and so the crowds had yet to develop, however by sunset it was packed with people; eating, drinking and going on boat rides.
A relatively short journey takes one to the Marina Bay area and in particular, the Marina Bay laser-light show. This occurs twice-nightly and is an attraction that draws in thousands of people, be they on the river-boats or sitting and standing in the beautiful esplanade which faces the bay. Here is the famous Singapore ‘Merlion’ and the surrounding area of the Bay is a mass of colour. I took a video, however don’t have time to process it today and will try to post it tomorrow, after we are out of the Straits and I have more time.
It’s going to be another long night for us, for we do not exit the narrower sections of the Straits until approximately 8 a.m. tomorrow morning, we have 9 more hours of it after departing here at 6 p.m.