Friday 13th June 2014.
Due to the unforeseen circumstances and not being able to read into the future yet we missed our window to get out of Banda Aceh by half a day. In hindsight I should have left as soon as Mo was on board, but in the end she has been crook and has been to the hospital, Jen reckons great doctor, spoke English, needed a big clean up though, but hopefully she comes good. Seems better already. Rizal, our driver, dressed in his new Boomerang T-shirt and Ray Bans took me for a drive down the coast to check the conditions, it blew me away, it is calm 20miles from here, we had a great time and stopped for a coconut at a little spot up on top of a cliff, there are 4 or 5 little restaurant cafe jobbys. just as we were leaving the one we were at a big black monkey jumped out of a tree, flew from way up above and crashed into a tree above the restaurant, he was then followed by mum and the kid. It was a pretty good leap by all three of them, they then climbed down into the restaurant and straight into the kitchen, then out to meet the patrons, unbelievable, they were really fluffy black critters and just hung out eating noodles from some blokes fork and then dad got up and shot around the corner, opened up a plastic box and pinched a packet of noodles which he opened and shared with the kid, unbelievable. I have it all on video but I can’t get it to load on the blog, spewing. I am not giving up Mo will find a way. A funny thing happened to me yesterday, the girls came back from town and gave me a call to come and pick them up, I put the dinghy in and headed in to the beach. There was an unusual amount of people in lines out in the water but I didn’t click then all of a sudden the penny dropped, HORROR, I was in the middle of a fishing net being hauled into shore by about 20 fishermen, Jen and Mo reckon they were going off, jumping up and down, yelling, screaming, killing dogs anything trying to get my attention, My side of the story is, I was woken up with a phone call, “come and get us, it is low tide so what shall we do”, start walking, seemed obvious. No mention of fishermen pulling nets, so out of my broken slumber I lower the dinghy in alone, it is blowing 25kns and there is a wind wave coming from the shore of about a foot, I got it all together and then headed for shore, It was blowing straight at me so just chugalug in I go when I see the lines of people playing some game on the beach, no one was to animated, then as I approached them I realised, HORROR, I am in a net, but as I got even closer in there was another boat in the net and it was being dragged out of the way so I did the same, it is shallow and the bottom is sand with weed, bit like the Mandurah Estuary, the fishermen let me out and smiled at me, I said to them, you could have caught an Australian, they all cracked up and we all shook hands and did the intro thing, The most common lucky lucky, male, name is Rizal. We are fully loaded now although another bottle of Laphroig wouldn’t go astray, but not likely from here, the fridge has been defrosted and is working like a trooper, the freezer is cranking, all possible storage holds have got stuff in them. That bloody bilge alarm came back and once again go through the unloading, this time Mo was here to help so it wasn’t to bad. The engine well was chocker so drained it out and went looking, found 3 hose clamps that were loose and below one of them my new engine mount from last year is rusty, Rod is a limpwristed tosser, so I got about checking every clamp on the motor, then we ran it for a while and no more water. Our attempt to hit the Cut was aborted at the last minute due to a wave breaking across it and a howling wind, we were about to just turn around but we kept heading west and had a look at the next passage, a lot wider but out to sea was just whitecaps everywhere coming from where we are headed, horror, so we moved on up the coast of Pulau Breuch. We had a choice of pulling into one or two bays but in the end it was decided that Ibioh was the go so back to Pulau Weh it was. Set the jib and off we went and once out of the lee of the island off Boomerang shot. 25kns wind at 120 degrees with a following sea had us sitting on 8kns and hitting 10 sometimes. We jibed about a mile out from the northern tip of Indonesia, Ujung Bau, and set ourselves up for the current which was against us. Started both engines and stayed in close as out wide had pretty big standing waves, we got onto a wave and went with it I reckon for about 10 seconds, highest speed 14kns, before we fell off the back and then onto the next. I looked to my left and not 100 metres away was a bloody big wave breaking top to bottom, Horror. After seeing that I thought concentrate, stay as close in as possible and with the motors at 2500rpm and the wind at 90 degrees we slowly got through. Boat speed 9kns SOG 3.4kns, but we were making progress and the water we were in was smooth on the surfase of the waves. The girls were out taking photos, I wish I had the GoPro on the roof going down two waves in particular, it was an adrenalin rush. Once we were out of the current to some extent we got the jib furled and I asked Mo for a beer, she gave it to me and said drink it slowly it’s the last one but it was already gone, want a wine Jen, I do, we were all buzzing, what an excellent feeling. We have our mooring back and here we sit waiting for the wind to bugger off, Mo and I have done a lap on the motorbikes, Mo got a flat but we were nearly back anyway, I ran over a really long snake at the tail end, the monkeys were well behaved, last time they ran at you and had a swipe, wankers. Old mate Jefri scored us some more fuel, dark diesel, but no floaties or water in it and the motors are going OK. We test all the diesel we get with the genet first, so we get a good session of TV and Air Con. We started watching Breaking Bad yesterday, ended up watching the first series in one arvo night, pretty blurry, had a few Frogs, as we have now named the whiskey of my choice, geez it wipes you. Today is Tuesday, I was waiting for the sun to come up, in the end I got Jen to shine the torch into the water so I could swim down and undo our safety rope I had added to the mooring rope. This mooring, just out from the big double decker boat which is owned by a Frenchman, is getting close to being rooted, the top section of rope has unravelled, I was a bit gutted as I left heaps of rope back at Rebak that I could have used to replace the dodgy bit, on the upside at least I won’t have to go to bed wondering if I tied a good knot. Once done Jen was straight back to bed, I got the engines going and let the rest of the mooring go and we left this time heading NE and around Pulau Weh in a different direction, ended up being 7 miles longer and once we were out of the lee of the island it was horror, had 20kns on the nose, current against us and the swell as well, ripper, another dickhead move, said to Jen,” I just can’t pick it up here”. In the end we just plodded along and made it safely with no broken bits and the crew are now prepared for what is coming up, probably on Thursday.
Now back at BA and safely anchored up. Setting the anchor was pretty loose, we had gusts of 35kns as we were dropping it in, had to drive forward to go back at a safe rate but all went well. Checked bouyweather today, Thursday is the first green day since the day we arrived, come on Hughey give us a break, we have been pretty well behaved and we need a bit of a change mate.
Had a great day today with Rizal, he took us to the moneychanger, two reasons I reckon, one to change money and two to find out our expected itinerary for the day, it worked well. We went fruit and vege shopping in chinatown, you should have seen the prawns, they were in plates, in the sun, in no ice and in no way suitable for consumption. Stuff that. We scored well on the fruit and with Rizal doing the money bit we didn’t get ripped off so pretty happy, found a hooting piece of Edam cheese, mozzarella, tuna, olives and ready to cook baguettes at a little shop called the Linda’s Mall. Chinese run and well stocked. The bloke even gave us a water each for free, unheard of.
We then went to KFC, never again, we then went to the Tsunami museum, Rizal really wanted us to go but I felt so sorry for him having to go through that again. He pointed out his house before and after. I thanked him for taking us and then said sorry as it must be hard for him. he just smiled and said “yeah”. Mo and Jen were like moviestars, everyone wanted photo’s with them, the young blokes were setting Mo up with long shots, pretending to take a photo of something else but their mates had moved in behind her, that sort of stuff, they give it away every time with the young bloke giggle. We watched the doco and it was time to leave, poor buggers, that is all I can say. To be smashed with a horror earthquake then one hour later smashed again like you can’t believe by a Tsunami, we do it pretty good in Australia.
On the way back to the Linda’s Mall, the western shop, I saw some pineapples and watermelons and told Rizal to stop, not 10 seconds before I was saying that is it, no more food, but these looked special, so poor old Rizal has pulled over on a corner and I have bailed and run back to the wagon to quickly get a melon, a pineapple and hopefully a green papaya, don’t ever say pawpaw, which I succeeded in doing and just as I had finished the transaction, 27000IDR, Rizal comes up to me looking a bit flustered, I didn’t take to much attention and we headed back to the car, but half way there I saw a shop that sells everything and they had loaves of bread on the shelf, we are down to 6 slices and sardines on their own are pretty crap so I was drawn to this shop, poor old Rizal was already back at the car, which I had noticed had shifted but I went for the bread. Rizal then realising he had lost me again went searching, Mo reckons he had his hand up above his eyes trying to scout me out like pirates do. I had to go through the usual with the people trying to sell me the bread, I don’t want sweet, no sugar, “Only little bit” How little? Fingers close together little, “I don’t like sweet”, Not sweet this is our new bread, “Alright give me two”. Came to 7000IDR pretty good I thought. Then I walked back onto the street and here is Rizal spinning out, he has been searching for me, I was hidden in the shop.
The top 2 photos show the destruction at Banda Aceh..
.A good little story really starts when I jumped out of the car on the corner, A policeman has come up and grilled Rizal for parking there, then the parking attendants joined in, you can not park in Banda Aceh without paying 2000IDR, You can drive on the wrong side of the road, no license and no skills but parking on a corner, watch out, all this has happened without me having a clue. When Rizal found me at the melon truck he thought the ordeal was over but then I disappeared again, he is parked with some bloke breathing down his neck. Finally I got back to the car and started copping it from Mo and Jen when I noticed just over the road is a flag shop, just what we need, our Indonesian courtesy flag is in tatters, so out I go again this time Rizal is with me and lucky to he saved me 5000IDR. Funny looking flag though, red material must cost more than white as the white is about a quarter bigger, it will have to do and as Jen said I should have bought two. I got back in the car feeling pretty happy with myself only having failed on the green papaya, got a nearly ripe one though, when they have given it to me, Police this, parkin guys this, white bread oh horror. Rizal seemed ok so who gives a shit, I had no idea. Sorry Rizal.
Well we leave tomorrow, the weather has calmed down heaps although the swell is coming up, but we have got to get out of this place.
My thoughts on Aceh, well everyone smiles and says hello, they are a resilient lot thats for sure and I just love their attitude, lets get on with it if we need to. The fishermen sit out in their boats rain or shine, they always wave to us, wish we could talk to them, there is a pretty relaxed feel to the place with no evidence of nastiness. I hope that Aceh never experiences what they have been through ever again, they definitely should be given a break, they are a wonderful people.
RIP Aunty Elsie. We would have loved to have been there to help send you off. My early memories of Port Gregory and of a house with a shed with a really old car in it and a swimming pool are still with me. The last time we saw you and you wanted to know what we were up to? How was everything going? Tell me about this, tell me about that, all in an excited way really put you up there with the rest of them there Sweetmans. A pretty lofty pedestal I reckon.
RIP Jim Keyes, from the bloke you waited to see out in the crowd yelling, yeah do it now, I had just come back from Julan Peel after scoffing 40 satays, before you started,” Its Because I Love You”, thanks for that mate you are a legend too.
So to end this “Do What You Want To Do Be What You Wanna Be Now”. It is a pearler statement, what do you reckon. I dare say it will be going off as we pass through the Aroih Cut tomorrow, ooh yeah.