Thursday, 19 January 2012

Pulau Pangkor Pathfinder(repost)

This is my favorite story because I wrote it quite long. Everything is accounted for. 

Day 1

We arrived at the Pangkor Island at exactly 12 noon, 1 July, 2010. The weather was sunny during that time. Our first objective and destination on the island was accommodation situated at the northern part of the island. To be specific, we went to Kem Rimba, Telok Nipah***. After arriving at the place, we take our time to rest and collect ourselves. At 3.30 pm, our first meeting took place at the diner. We discuss our next objective which involves route planning and technical aspect of the race. The race consists of swimming, kayaking, running, hiking and orienteering. At 6.00pm we try our first discipline, which is kayaking. The motive was to test the equipment and condition of the race course. The sea was a bit wavy during that time but it is still acceptable for kayaking and swimming. We paddled close on Pulau Giam area, N40 14.139’ E1000 32.573’. We finished at 7.00pm and were satisfied with our effort. Our next meeting was at 9.00pm. We make a quick post mortem and plan for complete race course. Our second day is a crucial progress on our route preparation.

  1. GPS with WAAS Mode(accurate to 3 meter)
  2. Basic compass
  3. Basic map(courtesy of JUPEM), scale 1:50000
  4. Sea Kayak
  5. Stop watch
  6. Life jacket

The plan for second day
  1. Path finding
  2. Route marking
  3. Checkpoints
  4. Timing      

Day 2

We start our day at 8.00am. Our first objective was to locate a suitable starting point for trail running. It was a big job considering that the island is a bit foreign to us. The location should be at around Pasir Bogak. We manage to locate a suitable starting point at Kampung Sungai Udang***. Please refer to the map. The time was 9.30am. The designated point was signified by an orange marker (which will be upgrade later). The path was cleared using a machete and marked accordingly. The marker was set at about 5 -10 meter interval depending on the densities of foliage and terrain surface. We use the compass and map to orient ourselves to the next destination and the use of GPS is for route odometer. The possibilities for the participant to drift far from the route are kept to the minimum. We have draft a few fail-safe systems to avoid any confusion on the day of the race.
The first 300 meter, the path is cleared moderately and the inclination is about 70% with an occasional contouring along the way. We were moving uphill. This route is given a 3 out of 5 stars merit for difficulty. There was a junction at ***. From the junction, the path will become clearer until we reached the summit. From the summit, the descend was easy considering that the path is still clear. However, we encounter a boulder area*** half way down. This area should be approach with caution to avoid any injury. There was a small creek indicating that this place is a watery lane during a raining season. The creek soon adjoins to the river 50meter below. We crossed the river and continue to the north. The path is a bit flat for about 100 meter until we reach a marsh area. From this point, we need to cross the marsh and encounter a junction. From this junction, the trail is clear and it’s heading to the waterfall***. From the waterfall, there is another junction. If we continue north, we end up at an airport. East is a path to Bukit Pangkor(the highest point). West is Teluk Nipah. Our trailblazing stop here despite that our objective has been reach. We need to head back to the base camp. We took almost 5 hour to clear up a 3km path.

At 4.00pm, we try the sea route which start from point *** to Pasir Bogak***. The sea is a bit rough and wavy in the evening. But we still manage to steer through.

Our post mortem was at 9.00pm. We have theoretically pinpointed the checkpoints base on the merit of the route. There were 7 checkpoints(refer map). However, we need to physically be at the point. This is because there are many variables that could seriously affect the race course if not coordinate properly. We were acquired to test the route the following day. 

  1. GPS with WAAS Mode(accurate to 3 meter)
  2. Basic compass
  3. Basic map(courtesy of JUPEM), scale 1:50000
  4. Sea Kayak
  5. Stop watch
  6. Machete and survival knife
  7. Marker(orange)
  8. Life jacket

The plan for third day
  1. Route testing

Day 3

We start at 8.00am. For this section, please refer to the map. The weather is clear and sunny with a slight breeze.

Kem Rimba(8.00am) – point ***(8.03am) – Checkpoint 1(9.45am) - Checkpoint 2(10.00am) – Checkpoint 3 – Checkpoint 4 – Checkpoint 5 – Checkpoint 6 – Checkpoint 7(2.30pm) – Kem Rimba(3.00pm)

Post mortem is at 9.00pm. These are the verdicts.

Overall, we were moving at extremely slow pace. The time cannot be use for reference. To make this test more realistic, we need to have two teams competing with each other. However, the good side is, we could use the test time as a cut off time. There will be no team completing the race more than 7 hours. The sea route is fair except for Tanjung Sungai Udang and Batu Orang Tua interval. For some reason, the wave is violent between these two places in the morning between 7.00am – 12.00pm. If the participants are caught in the turbulences during the race, the kayak will capsize. The only way to escape it is by paddling faster. But, we don’t want to take unnecessary risk. We need to reroute. The new path is to go all the way around Batu Orang Tua and Pulau Simpan. 
The beach run was excellent. The trail run was considerably good. Not too easy and not too difficult. The marker was visible but needed a few adjustments. On certain terrain, the rope must be provided for safety issue. However the participants have to take a precaution measure during their descend to the river. From checkpoint 7(Airport), the road can be seen clearly. It is important to note that the participants are strictly prohibited to cross the airport at any condition. Thus, the existence of an extra person in charge is a must to monitor any trespasser. 
The 2km road run must be watch carefully. The participant must abide by traffic rule at all time.

To minimize confusion and disorientation, there were a few fail-safe systems

  1. We introduce a cut off time between Starting point – Checkpoint 1. Checkpoint 1 - Checkpoint 6.
  2. The Marshal will tell the participant exactly where they should go.
  3. The participant will be provided with basic map and route with scale and information.
  4. The marker will be upgraded and we will add a direction sign every 100 meter
  5. The participant are advised to bring their own compass
  6. The participant must follow the rule and regulation of the race
  7. The participant is compulsory to attend a briefing session the day before


  1. Cut off time is introduced to minimize the numbers of team. This will make SAR easier if any mishap happen. The disqualified team will be ask to take off their bip number and ask to leave the race track. Plus, we don’t want the race time to exceed more than necessary. Only the most resourceful team will lead.
  2. According to research, human have to be remind frequently in order to make them more efficient. In this case, there should be enough people in charge to direct the participant to the right track
  3. This is a compulsory item provided in any race.
  4. Direction sign should be added mileage to boost motivation. Motivation to finish the race
  5. Compass will always pointed to the right direction
  6. This is compulsory in any race
  7. This is compulsory in any race

Checkpoints and mileage

Starting Point
VC      284421
WMR  466789
Checkpoint 1
VC      285276
WMR  466025
Checkpoint 1
VC      285276
WMR  466025
Checkpoint 2
VC      284378
WMR  466819
Checkpoint 2
VC      284378
WMR  466819
Checkpoint 3
VC      284411
WMR  467098
Checkpoint 3
VC      284411
WMR  467098
Checkpoint 4
VC      284942
WMR  467495
Checkpoint 4
VC      284942
WMR  467495
Checkpoint 5
VC      285090
WMR  468015
Checkpoint 5
VC      285090
WMR  468015
Checkpoint 6
VC      284493
WMR  468617
Checkpoint 6
VC      284493
WMR  468617
Checkpoint 7
VC      284740
WMR  469824
Checkpoint 7
VC      284740
WMR  469824
Finishing Point
VC      284421
WMR  466789


Cut off time system
The race should be commencing at 8.00am sharp. Giving the nature of the race and the test run time. I have made a determination to discontinue any team reaching Checkpoint 1 more than 2 and half hours and 3 hours between Checkpoint 1 to Checkpoint 6. The last participant to reach Checkpoint 1 is at 10.30am. From Checkpoint 1 to Checkpoint 6 is at 1.30pm.

Penalty System
Still on revision but it will motivate a team to keep moving forward.

Person In Charge
  1. Secretariat
  2. Police
  3. Navy
  4. RELA
  5. Island’s resident

As state on map

M – Marshal/Secretariat
P – Police
N – Navy
I – Island resident

After a sweaty day, I have to write a report and data. My day didn’t stop here. I was given the opportunity to explore the southern part of the island. From what I heard, the Teluk Sekadeh is a nice place to visit and people do snorkeling there. The place is partially secluded and we have to trail walking from Kampung Teluk Kechil.  For my point of view, the place is beautiful. I took a liberty to take a nap and enjoy the sea beyond.

  1. GPS with WAAS Mode(accurate to 3 meter)
  2. Trail shoe
  3. Sea kayak
  4. Stop watch
  5. Life jacket

The plan for the 4th day
1. Route testing/test run for Amazing race

Day 4

We start our day at 8.00am

There are about 16 checkpoints to complete. Each with a different task we have to undertake.


Starting point – Checkpoint 1
Business transaction (selling items)
Kem Rimba – Teluk Nipah

Checkpoint1 – Checkpoint2
Locate a person
Teluk Nipah – Seri Intan Chalet

Checkpoint 2 – Checkpoint 3
Musang Berjanggut
Seri Intan Chalet – Teluk Ketapang(watchtower)

Checkpoint 3 – Checkpoint 4
House Keeping
Teluk Ketapang(watchtower) – Pasir Bogak

Checkpoint 4 – Checkpoint 5
Pasir Bogak – Boulder House

Checkpoint 5 – Checkpoint 6
Locate and answer the Q&A
Boulder House – Kota Belanda

Checkpoint 6 – Checkpoint 7
Kota Belanda – Batu Bersurat

Checkpoint 7 – Checkpoint 8
Locate the puff fish restaurant
Batu Bersurat - Restaurant

Checkpoint 8 – Checkpoint 9
Catch the chicken
Restaurant - School

Checkpoint 9 – Checkpoint 10
Locate the person
School – Fire Station

Checkpoint 10 – Checkpoint 11
Fire Station – Pangkor Jetty

Checkpoint 11 – Checkpoint 12
Pangkor Jetty - ****

Checkpoint 12 – Checkpoint 13
Eat and drink crappy stuff
**** - ####

Checkpoint 13 – Checkpoint 14
#### - Pasir Bogak

Checkpoint 14 – Checkpoint 15
Group sing(Scout Song)
Pasir Bogak – Teluk Nipah

Checkpoint 15 – Finishing Point

Teluk Nipah – Kem Rimba


This is truly an exiting competition. I had a good time running. 

Day 5

Going home

My comment

I manage to explore this Island up to 50%. Even tough it seems a small percentage, but I have my own reason. It is worth for another visit. For my next visit, I would like to reach the Trig Admiralty located in 3 different part of the island.  This time I want to bring a companion with me(kucing).
I manage to run, hike, trekking, pathfinding/trailblazing, swim, kayaking and cycling all in one visit. My compass and map reading is improving and I have the confidence to try it in more elaborate location. But, I still fail to pinpoint the exact location on the map. I still ignore the declination value of the earth magnetic field, which is crucial for accuracy in a long range path finding. The map I used is 10 – 15 years old. Earth magnetic coefficient has shifted every year. I also fail to convert the North. There are 3 different north. The True North which is aligning with the North Star, Magnetic North and Grid North. When using a compass and a map, the bearings we acquire on the map have to be adjusted so the Grid North and Magnetic North agree with each other. I will discuss this matter on my next blog post.  With this set back, I must admit that my accuracy is questionable at best.
My trip odometer is 110.03km

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