10th August 2013.
We had a motor sail from Lembongan around the east of Bali and up into the Java Sea. It was not without incident, Jen woke me around midnight and said a boat was up ahead, by the time I got to the helm we were going to run it down, the steering didn’t make a difference, I am not sure but I reckon we were in a net as we had no control, still wonder what happened. Put the boat in neutral and the other boats kept going and we stopped and all was good, buggered if I know.
We made it through a channel full of fissing boats at sunrise and ducked behind a small island called Gili Vang. Tried for some sleep but inundated with visitors, got some limes and paw paw but ended up pretty expensive, 4 lures, 4 old shirts, an assortment of hooks and a cap. Jen was standing at the door not letting them pass otherwise there wouldn’t have been anything left. They were amazing, they saw the Fissing rods and wanted them, same with my sunglasses, favorite shirts, iPad you name it they wanted it. We told them we had to sleep and they got the message and left us alone.
Tis is a full Muslim island with little interaction with others but they were very inquisitive and friendly. I had been wondering what it was going to be like meeting all these village people as we don’t speak a word of their language but they are quite happy just to sit back and relax and be happy with where they are.
We bolted at 1600 and headed north for Bawean Island where a couple of other boats were headed, Sutamon and Steel de Breeze. It was a good overnighter with current and wind in our favour and we arrived out the front of a bay at the top of Bawean and entered through reefs and these bamboo fish attractors that are tidal, they are always there only sometimes they are a meter below the surface. Anchored in crystal clear water on hard sand, took me to push anchor in as Captain Jen reversed, she’s getting there.
The water was almost cold, excellent as it took your breath away for a sec which had us swimming and diving the most since Busselton in the summer.
We went to town and had the locals amazed all shaking our hands, kids afraid of us whilst others wanting photos. Only one restaurant, sold steamed tuna balls which were not my cup of tea, got phone credit and ate ice creams pretty much. Found a market selling fruit and bought a pamplemouse which the lady peeled, it was quite good but a bit piffy. We were being followed by a mob of kids so handed out 2000rp notes to them all, they loved it. Went diving that day and found a nemo and his folks swimming in coral that looked like it would sting the crap out of us mere humans. The coral was good but it was a bit hazy from the surface. Sundowner on Steel de Breeze ended up messy, red wine was the culprit although the dozen beers during the day probably added to the fuzzy head next day. The next sundowner ended the same, culprit this time was Stones green ginger wine, and with a farewell to the Sutamonsters who upped anchor at sunup next morning.
We prepped boat for next leg then went with the Breezies on motorbikes around the island. This was horror, it took 5 hours and all you saw was road made of rocks, mud, old bitumen with boondies sticking out everywhere but then you came to a brick paved section which led to high speeds to get the circumnavigation over and done with. It also pissed down for most of the day and we were freezing, hands were pins and needling and when you got off the bike it took a while to be able to move properly. Frostbite in the tropics.
We finally got back to the boat, the dinghys were left on the beach all day, the Breezies had lost their flares, had there yacht entered and phones stolen, wankers. We had footsteps on our back deck but the doors and windows locked so lucky there. The evening drinks was a much subdued gathering as we were all rooted from a very tough day.
We all left next morning at 0730 with Steel de Breeze heading north to Kumi River and us to Semerang, which soon changed as the wind was 30 knots plus and the down wind run to Jakarta was the easy choice. With jib furled to about half we sat on 7 to 8 kts all day and night. Jen wasn’t having to flash a time with a crook guts but toughed it out as the wind dropped to a steady 20kts and with the spinnacker up we were gliding along doing 8kts and up to 12kts, if the wind hadn’t died we would have clocked up a 200nm day, still 187nm is pretty good. We motorsailed into Jakarta along an imaginary no go zone line where the oil platforms and bunkering facilities are located. Once around the corner of the line we headed for the marina, still 20nms away. Ships everywhere, a huge container ship flew past us doing 16.8kns, the new AIS is great as you can see the type of boat, name and speed it is travelling which is pretty handy when they are coming at you in the middle of the night. Still lots of big ships in Indo don’t have it though.
We drove straight into the marina and rang them, Erin informed us that there was no room, turned on the sob story of being exhausted and needing sleep and we were given a berth which is right near the entry which is going to be handy for loading the beer on for the next month. The marina is very tidal, there is evidence of sea levels rising here, the jetty is a foot under water on high tide, to get to the office is a low tide job and to get to the restaurant is a walk along a wall, jump to a bench seat then onto another then on to the land. Everyone here live on the owners boats, they clean them everyday, the dust that settles in one day is amazing and if it rains a black stain appears, but they all take it in their stride, work is work and I think working on a boat is better than working in the city.
Had my first experience of Jakarta yesterday looking for boat parts, ended up finding all sorts of stuff but on the way back we were pulled over by a gang pretending to be cops, they just wanted cash but Syamsul, our bike rider and neighbor who is not very big just kept at these blokes refusing to pay, pretty heavy shit, they finally gave up and let us through, I was spinning as I had 3000000rp in my pocket to pay for our spirits. In Jakarta it is hard to find spirits or wine, Bintang and Anker beer is everywhere, doesn’t really make that much sense but it seems we have got around the problem.
We met a bloke called Hans Otto who has lived here for 42 years, he is going to come down to Krakatoa and guide us up the son of Krakatoa, which is growing daily.
We have now completed our shopping, 2.7 million rp, everyone was looking at us as per usual, got 3 pairs of excellent shorts for $16 as well. This next part of the trip might be a bit more less occupied so stocked up pretty well. Our neighbours, Oki and Windy, took us to a bakery and bought us bread, cakes and all sorts of stuff and then finished up having satay on the street which was really good for Indo food. When we got back to marina Syumsul was whipping up a sauce for deep fried fish, good chilli, the fish were fresh as and I reckon I have had my best meal so far.We have moved into new technology, Skype, rang Mollie last night, now all we need is our own wifi and we will be up with the moosekateers and the sutamonsters, I can’t see it happening as we leave at 1100 and it’s already 0730, the stress of it all we may have to stay another day.
16th August 2013.
Sumatara, watch out for tigers.
Well we find ourselves at the Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation Park, this was by pure chance as the wind has gone NW at 20 knots, and on the nose. We left Jakarta last Wednesday at 1230 and headed for the 1000 Islands in Jakarta Bay, which includes islands where Captain Cook careened his boats as he was not allowed to enter Jakarta, Sick Island where they used to send the Dutch who believed they were contagious with some mystery disease which in the end was the Indonesians poisoning them with the needle like hairs off a caterpillar, killed hundreds of them. Snake Island where nobody goes due to a serpent and many more. Hans gave us a running commentary as we passed them by.
We had a full on send off from the jetty with all our new mates, everyone was waving it was excellent, said to Hans is this normal and he just shook his head in disbelief. Syamsul, Froggy, Alec, Benny, Slamet, David and Captain are just the ones I still remember their names, we’re all friendly and helpful, they would drop everything to help fuel up, take us to the Mall, you name it. Jen has a new name, Mummy, which is a major show of respect from all the boys, by the way they range in age from 20 to 35.
We had our first engine problem, a fan belt on the Port engine, sorted pretty quick as we have spares. The weather was calm so we kept on going and before long we were in the Sunda Straits heading for Sevesi Island, Hans’s Island. We had the moon and the tide dragging us straight there and arrived in the anchorage as the moon disappeared, pretty lucky as it went pitch black but we were inside the reef in the channel anchored up at 0330 all safe and sound. As we were anchoring a big gardy skipped across the water and slammed into the boat, the new torch is so bright it must have blinded it as it went doong when it hit.
Later on we went onto the island and saw Hans’s treehouse and met the owner of the island, Hans called him the King, but I think Usman is happy with just his name. He is a very nice fellow who has a serious family tree. His great grandfather was killed in the Krakatoa explosion in the 1800s. Everyone treats him like a king which is fair enough because a more humble man would be hard to find. We had dinner with him at his house, I pigged on the Sambal, took a couple of days to get over it, bloody hot. We had fish, green stuff, eggs and tempeh all cooked in the warum up the backyard. Excellent.
Next day we had asked Usman if he would like to come to see Krakatoa which he seemed pretty happy about, so off we went. It is only 12nm to where Krakatoa used to be. The amount of rock and stuff that was exploded into the atmosphere back then beggers belief, we are talking 3 huge mountains, the remains are massive, and in the middle is the Child of Krakatoa which has grown from 10 metres to 200 metres in the last 30 years. We climbed up to the first ledge, high enough to see the heat and steam and all the different types of rock. It looked like you were on the moon, well how I perceive the moon anyway. I had to do a couple of runs to the boat as Hans reckoned we shouldn’t pay, much to our disgust, but hey Karma always gets you and it was only 10 bucks, geez.
We returned to Sevesi and had a cook up fit for a king, literally, Jen found some duck and whipped up a worthy meal that we all devoured after the exercise we achieved for the day, plus the Bintangs and vodkas. We all slept on the boat and in the morning we dropped Usman and Hans off and then we took off headed for the west coast of Sumatra.
We motorsailed with jib and port engine but getting on to 1500 the NW came in at 20kts so we headed for the coast and found an unreal little bay tucked away from the wind and swell. We saw a couple of locals who were checking us out but only waved so I went for a paddle on the point which had a good little right hander, bloody had to be quick or you ended up in 6 inches of water on a coral reef, spent a bit of time there, but no injuries which was pretty amazing. Dived on anchor, 8 metres and sand with the anchor dug in good, relaxing night coming up.
Back on board hooked into a couple of Ankers and that was that. Woke up a with the fishermen, you can here the tonk tonk of their diesel engines from miles away. We upped anchor at 0630 and headed for the SE tip of Sumatra and what looked like a bay with protection from the crappy north westerly that comes in in the arvo. Heaps of wrecks along this 10 mile section, we stayed wide and once round the huge lighthouse worked our way into the bay. First thing I saw was a large stink boat then another, not the Indo type more like Rotto, so we made our way slowly in through the reef and waves.
We were not unnoticed and we had people in boats, and others on boats telling us where to go, none in a bad way, which was promising so we picked up a mooring and had some beers, it was 1000 and we had only just done over 10nms.
A boat came out and took me ashore with our paperwork but once they realized we had already entered Indonesia the pressure dropped.
We were then taken on a private tour of the Tambling Wildlife and conservation park. We climbed the lighthouse, built in 1889 by the Dutch, some of the steps were dodgy but we made it up all 17 levels and 300 steps. The view was cool. We had a look at new chalets and stuff, they offered us accommodation but I explained it would be hard not to stay on the boat, alls cool.
They dropped us back at the boat and would pick us up at 1600 to go and see the Sumatran Tigers in the care centre, I had said to Jen the previous day that knowing our luck we would come across a tiger, that is good luck by the way, and what do you know the next day we are standing next to them, bloody strong fence between us though. There is one female, Sharma, who has killed 9 people from a village where her cub was killed, she is here for rehab, the way she lunged at the food dipenser thing I reckon its going to take a while, her eyes are evil, scared the crap out of Jen to. They are fed pigs which they catch and munch away. When you are up close, they are an awesome animal, they look at you like they have got you Sussed then when you move closer they seem a bit sort of nice then they spring, horror. You dont want to come across one of these in the wild. There are 20 of them in the park wandering around, we went to a village of about 500 people who live in the park, Jen reckons they had pretty good doors on their houses. The kids are once again smiley and wave at you, the young girls, early teenagers are beautiful that is Jen to not just me, and the teenage boys were hanging out at the shack with their mates.
By the time we got back to the main area for the park, offices, security, airstrip, hospital, almost finished restaurant and accommodation for close to 100 people we got to see the moon rise, it was full and special for some reason last night,23/6, but it was big. We had dinner with the boys and met the chef, Lena and her husband Micheal. She cooked the most superb meal, I thought it was meat Jen reckons it was chook but whatever it was it was good.
Spent all day on the boat then signaled for the boat boys to come out and with permission from the boss, William, took them for a sail, gave them a beer, and had a ball. They were grinning like dead foxes, I let the ex navy bloke who looked like a kid drive, he loved it and was soon showing off his skills. Lena and her husband also came and would you believe it we are having beef rending for tea, Sumatra style of course.
Captain Rod and Mummy.