Cape Rachado and Port Dickson

21 August 2014

Lantana flower

Cape Rachado. How's it? Doesn't it sound like an exotic city in Europe? Or a cool captain in Sci-Fi called Rachado. Cape Rachado actually means broken cape in Portuguese. The Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511 and they soon realized they needed to build a lighthouse to guide their ships. Tanjung Tuan was selected and given the name Cape Rachado. The lighthouse (pictured below) was built between 1528-1529.
In 1606, it was the Battle of Cape Rachado that made the cape famous an important historical site. The Dutch and the Portuguese fought which then led to the conflicts between Dutch-Johor coalition and Portuguese Malacca. In 1641, the Portuguese surrendered. The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1817, 1863 and 1990.
A pondok in front of the lighthouse, with Yiing Yee.
Walking up the staircase we could see the lighthouse clearly. Behind the lighthouse it's a cliff overlooking the straits of Malacca. Blame me, I edited the photos with filters they look jade-green here. With my naked eyes, when I was standing right there, the sea was blue, different layers of blue. We could see waves and currents, which makes the cape a dangerous place to swim or sail.
The area was gazetted as a permanent forest reserve in 1921. But in 1969, a big chunk of the forest reserve was degazetted for public use. I suppose that means 'you are allowed to build some hotels and resorts here'.
Entrance fee: RM1 per person
Note: Bring mosquito repellent and apply it on your body generously. The mosquitoes are pretty desperate here. 
Toilets are available near the entrance. 
Wear comfortable shoes and bring slippers along for the beach.
As a forest reserve the plants are allowed to grow freely here. Trees reach an impressive height and other plants grow in bigger size that we normally see. Bees were buzzing around and occasionally we can hear birds singing sweetly. Mid February until April are said to be the best months to visit Cape Rachado as the lighthouse is open for the public especially avid birdwatchers. Raptors will stop here while migrating from the warm Indonesia to cooler places.
Trekking down this 'road', we began our journey to the beach on a muddy, slippery and bushy path. It rained heavily earlier and made the path extremely wet. Did I mention path? Yes because it's hardly a road. Trees fell down and we had to slightly climb and bend our body to pass through the obstacles, leaving the forest as undisturbed as possible. We felt like tumbling over as the path was slippery, leafy, muddy and rocky all at the same time. But it was okay. It was all worth it when we came to a beach, quiet, rather untouched, unpolluted. Nobody was there, we owned the beach for one afternoon.
The water was clear. The sand was the finest I'd touched on the west coast. I used to say Pantai Bagan Lalang has the finest beach but now allow me to rephrase that. This beach was clean and soft, and gentle. We climbed up a gigantic tree, though fallen, it still grows majestically. How impressive!
I wished to explore more of the town but time was limited. The next destination was Pantai Cahaya Negeri. Forget your old impression about PD, the dirty dark beach was gone. It's clean and good now. This beach is popular and picturesque, and we could walk to the mangrove forest here.
Sea, beach, sunny day, perfecto!
He was catching beach worms. I read in the internet that catching beach worms is easy but technical. He needs to observe the waves and movements of the tides, swiftly targets any worms that stick their heads out a tiny bit and gently pull them out of the sand. Beach worms attract big fish. I see why he had been squatting down under the hot sun.
Photos by me and Yong Hao

Zero expectation to Port Dickson but the short day trip turned out to be fun.
Life is good when you step out of your comfort zone. Expect the unexpected. Good luck.

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