Skip to main content



The Red Buoy

On a recent visit to Penang, our cruise ship berthed at the Georgetown passenger ship terminal, beside Fort Cornwallis.
As we arrived I noticed a red buoy a hundred metres or so east of the berth. My knowledge of navigational buoys being somewhat rusty, I couldn’t recall exactly what the mark signified. Closer examination (having taken a photo with the zoom lens) revealed a buoy with a black body and a red top, on which was mounted a latticework pyramid painted black and red. Atop the pyramid were two vertical black spheres. It took subsequent reference to my old seamanship books, purchased during my oh-so-long-ago cadetship, to confirm that it was an “isolated danger mark.”
But what danger did it signify? As usual, a very good friend of mine, and ex-merchant marine captain knew the answer.
“You obviously don’t know about the Battle of Penang,” he said.
Of course I knew that Penang had been overrun by the Japanese in mid-December 1941, after extensive bombing and the destruction of …

Latest posts

A Skeleton in the Closet - A Tramp Ship Tale

The Royal George Hotel alias The Slip Inn

Messing About In Boats

We Will Remember Them All

The Best of the Canal du Midi