12TH September 2015.
By Christ it is good to be back here in the Bay of Plenty, the serenity of it all, the friendly faces and of course the waves but lost a bit of bark to go with it.
We ended up leaving 0630 from stinking Sibolga. I had the taste of the smell in my mouth for two days, poor buggers who have to deal with that on a day to day basis, I cant see how you could get used to it.
We took a direct route back to Calm Bay, there are a group of islands sort of central to this route, as we were going in daylight and pretty light winds I reckoned it worth a shot, it was and now we have a route saved, don’t know what we were worried about there isn’t much danger amongst that lot, even with the visibility down to one mile due to the smoke coming from the rainforest fires and a volcano down south, more likely the rainforest though, idiots.
After a day of full casualness and with Calm Bay twelve mile off on the plotter, the wind picks up. Time 1830, sundown, check the radar and we have two big fronts coming our way and one huge one over Pulau Tuangku. The wind changed in an instant from a pleasant ten knots at sixty degrees to thirty on the nose, got the sails down just in time.
It all ended good as they passed just south of us, once they passed the wind came back to sixty degrees but at twenty five knots, out with the heady and a pretty hooting little sail for the last hour and a half, the storm in front was going off but passing just north of us, the lightning was horror, only good thing about it was it made it possible to check your surroundings, we were passing through islands and bombies and shit just following an old track, we followed it in to be greeted with a party on Navistar, it was going off, Frederick tried to lure us over but to rooted for that. Had a couple of beers and carked it.
Next day down to the bay, The Beachouse Boys are here, yewww yewww, small one to two foot waves but only us out, oh dear. They went fishing and come back with Green Job Fish, it is the equivalent to Dhufish, trust me. I really can’t come up with a reason for going south, don’t know what got into me, so much more fun to be had here.
Our old mates, Allie and his crew came and visited us with lobster and fish, then the next morning they rolled up with twenty Udang Kipas, bugs, unreal, they chucked in a few lobsters but wanted to know if they could cook on the boat as they had nowhere to cook. We went one better, we cooked for them, BBQ fish, lobster, giant seven egg omlette with corn and chilli, they smashed it and we were left with nothing.
That night they came again, along with the BH Boys, for mashed spuds, guacamole, boiled lobster, fried fish and rice. Jen made them eat with a fork, pretty funny. They then took me night diving for lobster, first time for me and it is a piece of piss, the kipas are hard to see, they really blend in but just for a moment there eyes give them away so you know approximately where they are, then on closer inspection they are simple to catch, the other lobsters stand out like dogs balls but can be a bit harder to get hold of, donged my head, the boys laughed their guts out, wankers. I ended up with three and three and one of them caught a bloody big squid by hand. Next year I am going to get into it for sure. Back at the boat we had coffee and Allie bought out some food he had made, he said now you eat Indonesian, it was filthy, fish sambal and rice, spewing I didn’t get a bigger serve to start with.
Surf was small but the day the BH boys left we all had a great time, only us out so no real hassle, just sharing. Good going away pressie for them.
Moved back up to Calm Bay, big party on Gator, Frederick made a speech which we all toasted and then came the singalong, slept like a log, it is an unreal anchorage, Captain R’S came to visit, his heart is stuffed, no smoking, no drinking and no diving, he now nets for mullet.
We had a few arvos out at the Bahamas swilling a bintang or two. The surf for the last three days was hooting, bit less wind would have made it perfect, got slammed on the first day, lost a bit of bark, then hassled and then I couldn’t give a shit. The next two days is what it is all about, got some rippers, good crew in the water and had a ball. The last surf was close to my best surf all season, no fear, sort of anyway, scored a hooting barrel that got me grinning and even a few hoots from the crowd, what a way to end a surfing season, grinning like a dead fox.
Went up to the tree of knowledge in the arvo, got the weather and emails and football results. Go Dockers. Jen and I said our goodbyes to Tony and Blackie, the much more friendly camp dog now he doesn’t have to fend for himself, follows Tony around where ever he goes, reckon he is probably allowed to sleep on a bed as well. Tony got the best barrel the day I got cut up, it was a beauty. He goes hard.
Then said our goodbyes to Uncle at The Floating Surf House, give him some beer, rice and The Persians donated some coffee stuff, he was grinning one tooth style.
Back up the bay we had our last trip to Bahamas, beers all round and then a quiety, readying ourselves to leave next morning. I had the perfect preparation for the trip, ten hours of unbroken sleep, woke up to the VHF, everyone is pulling their anchors, not sure why the hurry it means we will arrive at Pulau Raya in the dark. Oh well see how it goes.
We had a nice departure up the east coast of the Banyak group, it is lovely, white beaches with blue water, got to do some exploring next year that’s for sure. Had the tide against us as well but we also had some wind and off we went. All day nothing really to talk about but then that night the call came, there are logs and shit everywhere, shut down one motor and just cruised along with Jen and a torch up the front shouting at me as logs and trees floated by. Horror.
Finally one of us hit a log, it was Lara Pinta, damage was done and they can no longer use their engine. Frederick dived over and found one prop blade badly bent, amazingly he wasn’t to fazed, got his sails back out and off he went. In the morning we were able to assess the damage, bit more than first thought but not insumountable and a plan was hatched to sail until the wind blew out then Hubert was to tow him in the Gator.
Put your astro boots on, we have just jumped in time, it is now Saturday arvo and we have arrived at our Indonesian destination point , Teluk Kruengraya, can’t see bugger all because of all the smoke, wankers burning down rainforest, it is shocking this turtle seemed to swim into the parked boat.
Back to the story of the log and the prop, we motorsailed our way up the coast with Frederick and Rosie sailing and keeping up mind you, fifty three foot Lara Pinta is a sprinter, but the wind started dropping, just after I got all the sheets out, set up the spinnacker and hoisted it. Got twenty minutes of ten knots then over the next hour it turned to four, bugger. Hubert bought the Gator in for hook-up and off they went with The Persians to port and the Rangas to Starboard, would have scared the shit out of all the poor fishermen out there with their nets, Persians had a close call but avoided one and then we had boats going all ways, then it got dark and then the first storm hit us, got up to twenty knots but manageable for the Gator and the Pinta’s, this one passed after a couple of hours or so, bit of rain and a bit blowy.
The next one was a beauty, it got up to twenty five knots and rained its arse off, stiil the Gator came, we were by now getting close to our destination, Suedu, a hooting anchorage but one which only Fred and Rose had been. We came around a headland and hoped that a bit of protection was coming but another mothertrucker of a storm came through, thirty one knots top speed, it was starting to wear a bit thin but what can you do. Started trying to find my best option, we had three and a half hours to sunup, twenty plus knot winds, good swell with the tops being blown off every now and then so I embarked on a mission. Got Boomerang pointed into the wind and set the autopilot with the engines just tonking over, we slowy started to head back the way we came and after an hour I thought ok now drift back to the beginning and do it again, as soon as I changed course whammo, blowing back up in the thirty’s, took about five minutes to eat up all my ground, by this time pretty tired and pissed off so just sat there for a while and turned the wheel all the way to winward, all of a sudden we came up into the wind and then back we went then back up into it again, the fishing boats all of a sudden, I forgot, there are fishing boats all over the place, big catamaran gondolas with a work platform up top, they seemed to not fly past anymore, the world had slowed down, the wind was going off but now tucked up in the saloon all was relatively peaceful. Told Persians, he told me it is called hove too, it is an awesome tool, wont be forgetting that one.
Well we hove too for a while, the sun came up and I was ready to rock and roll, almost had enough, so we headed in and found Fredericks waypoints spot on, chucked a bit of anchor chain out and waited, a tug and barge were leaving and the local fishermen were towing their cats in, could have got three towing scenarios in one photo but alas not to be. Then with Hubert up front, fifty hours with no sleep, Frederick giving directions, in they came anchored up and we all went, FARRRK, and hit the sacks.
Slept all day pretty much, then went ashore, got sorted for fuel, one hundred and seventy five litres at 8000idr a litre, good looking fuel but a bit of shit in it, lucky Fred gave me some Fuel Doctor, that shit works. We had drinks on Lara Pinta then bed pretty early, woke up 1000hrs, what a sleep.
Everyone is over at LP checking the problem, got over and the job is just about done, test drive, no good, spew.
We went to lunch at some mates of Fred and Rosie’s, good feed, although cold was very nice. The young daughter didn’t know what to make of me but once everyone else went for a tour of the property we got stuck into the language book and tried to communicate.
She is a little beauty, her older sister came over to help when needed and we had a ball. In the end she had me going through the food tasting what she reckoned was bagus, low and behold we came across the shell things Dr Libra introduced us to, these were even better. We scoffed a few spoon fulls, by now she isn’t scared of me at all, just thinks I am a dumb whitey, I am happy with that.
We left the warrang and headed back to the boats, checked out some local boat building, how cool are these boats?
Back to work on Lara Pinta but no joy, so off with the prop and repairs organized.
Bit of a shindig on Boomerang as we are leaving tomorrow morning some time and heading back to Langkawi on Sunday.
Got a couple of loaves of bread, one is green bread the other white, buggered if I know, didn’t mean to and they came in the same wrapping. We departed 0900 and headed out to farewells from the crew and hit the Aroih Cut, flat as a tack and max speed over the ground 8.2kns, all a bit tame. We headed around to Lampageue, where Linda and Rizal and Bewan were snorkeling, they rocked up and we had a great old yack for a couple of hours. It is great when Linda is there as we have a translator which makes life easy, she also fills you in on all the happenings that are going on around Banda Aceh.
Well it is back to the real real world, good sleep tonight and off we go, Langkawi watch out.