Well Alec’s bout of food poisoning kept us on the boat for a couple of days not really being able to venture very far. We did do a couple of small trips ashore to the Bali Yacht Club to check the emails and to fill the jerry cans with diesel. One morning as I was sitting on the terrace of the Yacht Club having a semi real coffee, the local ‘gang’ came down for their morning wash – yes in that filthy harbour! A small girl of about five and four boys between three and four. Granddad came along to watch proceedings. After a time of splashing about and trying to drown each other it was time to see what they could find in the small fishing boats which were anchored just off the beach. Plastic bags were the order of the day this morning which had been neatly folded and stowed away under the seats. They were dragged out, taken into the water and partly filled, then the end was screwed up and it acted as a float. Once that sank they just filled another. More rubbish added to this horridly polluted harbour! This kept them occupied till Granddad had had enough and wanted them out of the water which turned into another fiasco. No way were they ready to go home. Granddad was not going in and had no power over them. They were still debating the matter with him when we left quite some time later.
The sailing up from Kalimantan ( Borneo ) to the Island of Batam ( just across from Singapore) has been a hard slog. This is where we clear out of Indonesia . A cruising guide we have mentions the Nongsa Point Marina and it sums up our passage rather well. “The Nongsa Point Marina is an oasis for those boats heading north. Especially after what can sometimes be a taxing ( fickle winds ) passage from the southern islands where the iron sail often dominates ( diesel ) Use the Marina as a chance to degrime and unwind.” Yeah right on !!! can’t wait. It has taken us just on a week and we are not quite there yet. We have stopped off at an Island for a good night’s sleep tonight. We also spent a couple of nights anchored off an Island called Serutu, only about 40mn off Kalimantan but 266nm out from Kumai. The night before we had been in the most horrendous thunderstorm I hope we ever encounter. There was no way around it and we had four hours full on of fork and sheet lightning,(JG and Charlie I did not have my jandals on!!!) thunder and rain just coming down in sheets. Thank goodness for this thing we have called an AIS which shows us all the time on our chart plotter where the big ships are and the direction they are going and the distance they will pass you at. It is a real life saver in these waters I tell you. The ‘local’ fishing boats were out as well but they have lights which are quite amazing as I think they are fishing for squid and they seem to light the sea for miles around. More than once on my watch I would have to get Alec up just to double check that we were not going to be run over by one of these super tankers. They are huge and at night one mile looks horribly close!!!
We have arrived at the Nongsa Point Marina – Batam, and as I said this is where we will clear out of Indonesia. It is lovely as it is a resort with all the wonderful facilities. We can see Singapore across the water only 7 miles away. The only trouble is we can also see ALL the shipping which we will have to negotiate around as well. They say that these vessels are less than 12 minutes apart as they pass through this narrow body of water.
OK this time I really have gone on and Alec is adding his bit, so will sign off.
Again a big thank you to all who have sent us emails. Hope this finds you all well and not getting too stressed with Christmas coming up. Remember everything does not have to be done just because of a certain day!
Lots of Love from
The Admiral and The Captain
Rant, rave and ramble. BY ALEC
On the Island of Bali 95% of the population are of Balinese Hindi descent. Balinese Hinduism is half a world away from that of India. They have the traditional caste divisions but there are no “ untouchables “ nor is there separation of labour based on caste except for the Brahmana priesthood.
The cats and dogs are in a relatively good condition in Bali ... I have a saying just look at the condition of the local cats and dogs and one soon can tell if you are in a third world country or not. The local cats and dogs clean up the prayer offerings ( food and flowers on a little woven basket ) which are left in front of shops, homes, temples, shrines and our tour guide even had one in his car. The Balinese will give a prayer offering to both the good and bad Gods. ( we call this back in N.Z. “ having a bob each way “ (Arjang a credit card each way )
Although comprising less than 3 % of the population the Chinese are the wealthiest ethic group in the country. This causes resentment. Whenever there’s unrest in Indonesia the Chinese are often singled out. In 1965 they were killed for being communists and more recently , during the 1998 riots, it was because they were capitalists. Bali became the scene of some of the bloodiest anticommunist killings in Indonesia. The brutality of the killings was in shocking contrast to the stereotype of the “ gentle “ Balinese.
The annual Indonesian Yacht Rally is very popular leaving Darwin in July. We missed this year’s one as we arrived too late in Darwin.
Two years ago after a big farewell by the Darwin Indonesian Consulate at the Darwin Yacht Club about 200 yachts arrived in Indonesia. A bond was requested for each yacht and would be refunded again at the port of arrival ( how convenient if one was sailing on to Singapore etc. ) The Rally came to a grinding halt for a couple of days until this problem was sorted out. No bonds were paid.
This year the Rally received permission to enter Indonesia at a non official port of entry. The officials did not arrive to process the yachts and they were told to sail to another port 150 miles away. Everyone refused and only one official finally turned up to process 130 yachts which took two days.
This year there is a new twist to the “ Bond “ one now must have a Yachting Agent for a fee who will be your guarantor to Customs ( no bond payable ) but that your yacht will leave the country on time. Of course the Yachting Agent will never be liable and all he is doing is collecting the kick backs for Customs, Quarantine, Immigration, Harbourmaster and even the Navy in our case in Kupang.
Next year the rumour is the Indonesian Authorities want all yachts to rent a transponder at US $ 9 per day. This of course is for security. Got to make some money out of these rich yachties somehow.
Now for the good news. It only is going to cost 25 Singaporean dollars to depart Indonesia . Once we entered Indonesian and paid the Yachting Agent we have had no hassles or additional kick backs to pay. Nobody has ask for our paper work. We were suppose to visit the Harbourmaster at each port and obtain a clearance out bound but did not bother. This has cause no problems on departure.
The water maker is going great, I would never leave home without one!!! The AIS ( Automatic Identification System ) for those pilots out there a TCAS, will come in handy crossing the Singapore Strait and later sailing up the Malacca Strait.