5th June 2014.
Had made appointments to see the quarantine and health dude, Hadi, so went ashore and this time with the help of a fisherman dragged the dinghy up the beach, not getting caught by the tide again, then off to find the Quarantine office. Not to hard, green building with dark green roof right next to big white shed with blue roof. A stroll down the main street was an eyeopener with people milling around unloading trucks with fruit and veges, T shirts in boxes that sort of stuff. Found Hadi sweeping out his room and down to business, sign and stamp, sign and stamp over and over, all up it cost 85000rupiah.
On the way back to the boat I just stumbled upon a bloke making a huge wok of meat curry, at nenong cafe, nongnenong in Acehnese is woman, Rudi the harbourmaster had great pleasure in teaching me this, I videoed it and I reckon I could make a series bit like Rick Stein with my new iPhone. This guy had heaps of bags full of powders, herbs and spices which he added by just cutting the bag in which it had been stored and pouring it in, heaps of stuff goes in. It was meat of some sort and after I had gone through the meat animals with Baa, Bleet and Moo it was as clear as mud but I think it was cow. I watched him stir it all up and get the kero burner pumped up then lit to the good old smell of kero in the morning. After sort of negotiating a time to come back I left him with it. He finis 1 o’clock. Not sure if curry done or shop shut but hopefully I would be back.
Back to the dinghy and alls good then back to the boat starving, ended up with sardines on toast, superb, especially with the grain bread in the green bag from Langkawi, the red bag is sweet white bread foand not real flash. Then the heavens opened up and the wind blew like the clappers and we just sat around doing the usual.
Went back to shore to complete our formalities with Customs and hopefully get some curry, grabbed a tuk tuk which ended in disaster, big circle but no customs, Imally came to the rescue and we were soon on our way. Riza, Imally”s boss, also became involved and eventually we were all sitting in the customs building only 15 minutes late. The customs building is on the wide one way road up on top of the hill, the building is blue and pretty flash and once you see it you will go, oh here is Customs. Pretty much met everyone including the boss who were all very helpful and friendly, young Greg who did the paperwork was excellent. More sign and stamp. All in all the process of clearing in is simple and no one was on the take. The only bummer is no dinghy ramp. I used the fishing village beach next to Navigasi, by the way this is where we anchored, about 100 metres out from the Navigasi jetty in 23 metres and pulled back with 80 metres of chain and we haven’t moved, good holding as we have been hit with a few squalls of 25kns. The fishing boat beach is a bit grotty but an old guy there, couple of lumps on his face, will gladly tend your boat, I gave him 5000rupiah and at first he didn’t seem to want it, at least he wasn’t expecting it anyway, but he was very happy to receive. The boat was safe and floating when I returned so it was worth every cent.
Riza has also allowed us to use the ferry jetty to tie the dinghy up, in front of the white shed with the blue roof, this is easy, you just need to pass through the gap between the ramp and the first jetty and tie up to another boat inside the protected area. It is easier to jump from boat to boat to get to a boat with a high bow then an easy climb up to the top of the wall, may sound gobbledegook but when you see what I mean you will get it. To get to town either walk to the main gate or skirt around to the right and shimmy around the wall, climb down 1 metre, jump the drain and you end up out the front of Quarantine, easy. They are planning a marina to be constructed in the next year or so. It would make life easy and a good place to come and hang out thats for sure. I was asked about the marinas we have stayed in and which ones we liked, even got to meet the big boss of Sabang, Mr Fauzi Husin who is a really nice bloke, he could not believe we were in a 43 foot boat and only the two of us.
You can buy most things you need here, haven’t seen a pharmacy though, mechanical shops along the main street, mainly for motorbikes but well set up. Good fruit and veges and canned stuff, dunny paper for the non hose users, ME, good savoury crackers and milk all on main street. We bought a kilo of limes for 6000rupiah, lucky your not a lime farmer up here Brownie. If you want diesel it is not easy, I know you can buy it by the ton at the airport dock, we didn’t go there, 100 litres will have us topped up. I spoke with the boys on Beachhouse today, they got 40 litres but a bit begrudgingly from a service station somewhere. I have to pick Mo up at Medan airport on Monday night so hopefully I can get some then.
These couple of kids, pinched an esky lid off an esky on a boat and paddled out to us, they were very entertaining trying to climb the mooring line on the bow of the Navigasi ship. They ended up with all the cans and bottles from aboard, I also took them for a spin in the dinghy and they jumped off happy as Larry.
We have moved, first to behind Pulau Klah, on a big swell there is meant to be waves, I saw one break yesterday but none since, I was hoping, anchored in 18 metres then we did a tour of the island and bay. We then moved on to Pulau Rubiah where we have a mooring, the water is cool and crystal clear. Good spot to check out, lots of diving around here and lots of coral growing by the locals after 2004. Same as the rest of the Pulau Weh, everyone is friendly and will try to talk to you, if you say hello. So make sure you do and you will be surprised how well the Acehnese speak English.
Still parked up behind Pulau Rubiah at the moment, good swimming with fish around the boat, you can clearly see the mooring we are tied to from the surface, it is 12 metres deep. Have teed up some fuel, finally found someone who will supply, bit expensive at 10000rupiah a litre but delivered to the boat it will have to do. Better to be looking at it than wishing you had it. The beach at Oboih is really nice, food places along it, have found a roti cannai shop so there is breckie tomorrow, feeling pretty relaxed might be time for a beer.
Mo has her travel plans now, ferry from Langkawi to Penang, spend 6 hours there, then fly to Medan and be picked up and taken to the Citi International, an hour and a half from the airport, then be dropped off again and be on the 0930 plane to Banda Aceh next day so we can pick her up and hopefully the weather will be good, the tide is perfect as you need a falling tide to pass through the Aroih Raya Pass out into the Indian Ocean so we can get going down the west coast. Lots of water moving here so should be good. But as Hubert often reminded me on Rebak, no rush.
We have now circumnavigated Pulau Weh from the inside, the roads are so good, Jen jumped ship this afternoon and got a lift with the guy who hired the bike to us, 70000rupiah per day, this only made the ride back so much more fun, just glad I quit motorbikes for a yacht, these roads are enough to get you back on a bike, Penang was unreal this is hooting. We have seen the east coast now, gets pretty hammered from the sea compared to the other side. Had our first look at Banda Aceh across the strait today from up in the hills, flat as. Look forward to actually visiting.
It is not hard to get most things here, just ask at the main beach and I am sure someone will provide. I have now got my own loop on a mooring rope which I can tie to when ever I like. Met this guy today but buggered if i can remember his name, have asked him 5 times, he doesn’t really care to much, told him he has great English so he is very happy, his English is 1000 times better than my Acehnese, I think I have left it to late to try to learn another language my brain just can’t keep up. I was pretty keen on just sitting down with him and having a yack but enter 2 young nongnenongs, a Yank and a Argentinian, so I was dumped like a turd, got to laugh, they wanted to hire a motorbike, goes a bit like this. Key in here, turn then push this button and bike starts, automatic so easy, brake front, brake back, flickers left and right, ok your friend get on, turn throttle, feet up and drive slowly, see you soon. As they drove off he said to me, hope not first time, You would have to be dead from the neck up not to realise she had never ridden a motorbike before, but it was pretty funny, another 100000rupiah thank you. I am going to make sure they made it, I almost feel responsible.
I met a bloke on land the other day and when I got back to the boat from my snorkel this morning he was there, on the steps of Boomerang. His name is Paul and he is hanging out writing a book, poor bugger, blogging is much easier. Ends up he is a Queenslander and a pretty relaxed sort of a dude, we had lunch on the beach with him, Roti without the curry, not quite the same, Jen even had it with sugar. Yesterday I had noodles in soup and put a bit to much of the chilli in, horror, so today I was holding back with a bit of a drizzle, tastes so good but it is dangerous.
Our time on Pulau Weh is at an end, pretty blowy night but the mooring hung in there, it is a bit suss, needs a new rope from a few metres down, I have tied one of our mooring lines on as well just in case, better to be safe than sorry. So off to Banda Aceh we go.