Here We Go.

26th June 2014.

This last week has had it all and quite often a bit more too.

Before we left Banda Aceh I had my first opportunity to have a swim around the boat and see the reef that Linda and Adi are protecting at Lampageue close up, it is excellent, there are more fish there than in Sabang, all types as well. Good coral too and well worth a look.

Next morning the Aiorah Cut looked calm compared to the other times we had looked at it, tide was running out, wind although up to 25knots, mainly caused by the topography of the place and we are going for it. Once committed it was to late anyway as there is no way back against the current, we shot throught the entry all smooth as, then the first standing waves start happening, there was a 3 metre swell running but we passed through them quite easily, then you just have the lumpy swells and side swells coming from all directions and up ahead you have dark sinister looking water and just to port it is lighter green, at first we stayed in the middle following our course but it was like a washing machine so I edged us over to the edge and out we go. It is still rough, still blowing but the uncomfortable feeling in my guts has gone. You ripper, well done Boomerang.IMG_0113

As we motored further south the wind just continued to drop and once under 10kns it was plain sailing, with motors, every now an again a big swell would come through but by this stage all crew were quite happy. Still had the questions thrown at me, How long to the next stop? Where are we stopping? This was until I dropped the bombshell, we are going all the way to Pulau Simeulue, this was met with looks of disgust, “what an overnighter”, I just smiled and said yep an overnighter.

By sundown we were progressing nicely, 1 knot of current with us, pushing into a 6 knot Southerley and looking pretty good doing 6kns and the engines just purring away at 2200 RPM. We had a shift change, Captain Rod 12 hours, one of my crew 3 hours and guess who is back driving. The Boomerang crew have gone soft and if you ask me, very demanding.

Coming on midnight and all of a sudden, CRASH, I slammed the boat into neutral then a quick shot of reverse then run forward where there is a couple of fisherman climbing aboard in panic, I helped them up checked they were ok then checked their boat and other crewmember, as well as possible in the light, their motor was running and they had a pissy little light on a stick, we were lit up like the Taj Mahall with nav lights and a really bright new steaming light. One of the blokes just jumped from our deck and landed back on his boat in a method that blew me away, he leapt up, over our safety wires and flew through the air and landed two feet together on the deck of his boat, I helped the other one back on and asked if all ok and I think they were, they were nodding but also one was yelling at me, it only then dawned upon me that he was getting pretty aggressive so I hit forward and moved away from them, he was going off and tell the truth I was shitting myself, after a few minutes I settled down a bit, went up and checked our boat, paint and a few scratches but nothing to bad so I told Mo we were turning around and going to make sure they were ok.

When we turned their light was so hard to see but I just followed our track back and at about a quarter of a mile away from them their light became visible again, I think they saw us as off they went, they didn’t want a bar of us, which at the time was good as there were 2 other boats a few miles to the east which was where they headed. I said to Mo and Jen their boat seems fine and we won’t be able to catch them, lets get out of here. This decision has been playing on my mind for days now, I just really wish I knew if their boat was ok.

How is it though, that in the middle of absolutely nowhere, you can possibly hit another boat bow to just about bow, unbelievable. Thank god they were not a metre east or we would have run them over. I also hope it was an accident, the looks on their faces weren’t menacing, just frightened probably just like mine. HORROR.

We had fishing boat madness a couple of times during the morning but managed to avoid all of them, big boats with lots of lights but they always crank it up and head your way, just checking us out I guess. Mo did a shift then I made it to sunrise and then we just motored on.

Had a big fish take a lure and by the time I got to the rod there was bugger all line left so did it up hard, Mo stopped the boat and we slowed whatever it was up for about 3 seconds and then off it went with our brand new Indo lure for lunch. Set up again but nothing, it would have been the first fish we have caught for a long time. Should have done this, should have done that, spewing.

Decided to go down the west coast of Pulau Simeulue to Pulau Lekon, the boys from Beachhouse suggested it, we rolled up and dropped the anchor in a nice little bay at approximately 02 42.863N, 95 43.609E in 10 metres on sand, after 33 hours at sea it was a nice place to be, the water was cool and it didn’t take long for us all to be swimming. We went ashore in the bay, excellent beach, no rubbish and no bugs. Mo and Jen walked to both ends of the beach, I just wallowed in the shallows, bargain, we have finally got here and about bloody time too. We carked it pretty early and slept through a pretty good storm but very good holding and no worries.IMG_0140

Next day on to Pulau Simeulue Cut, had to navigate the channel between Lekon and the mainland, our Navionics on the Raymarine is about 100 metres out East so we were sitting pretty close to the edge of land and sea, on the screen anyway. The iPad version is a bit more accurate so have both running in tight spots. A bit of swell running and looking good for P.SCut might get a surf. We just tonked along, light SW and about a 2 metre swell with the current with us again for 4 hours and anchored up in another stunning little bay, 02 32.347N 95 56.591E in 11 metres with a sand bottom, the anchor grabbed big time and we put 80 metres of chain out to. Then once again in for a swim and a cool down, it is bloody hot, sweating like you know what. There were a couple of fishermen in the bay so I dropped the dinghy in and went over to see them, asked if it is ok to stay, mimed it anyway, but got the thumbs up and then they wanted to come out and check out Boomerang, so what else could you do and out we went. Their eyes lit up when they saw fishing rods, lures squid jigs, but my sunglasses really got them going, so down stairs and out with a couple of pairs of Ray Ban’s and they think they are pretty cool. Had a water with them and dropped them back to their boat where they traded me half a dozen dried fish. It was nice of them and I took them but they were pretty pongy. Sad to say they ended up as food for another fish. We had a nice dive with the coral at the western tip quite good especially the ones that look like yuppy lettuce. The fishermen left and waved as they went by both wearing their new sunnys, good to see. Had an uneventful night and up in the morning heading for Lugu Bay about 25 miles south, easy little day sail and very relaxing. Few beers along the way and straight into the bay, dropped anchor on the coordinates the boys gave us but a fishing boat came over and pointed in further so up with the anchor, it was 13 metres deep, and in closer to 8 metres, sand bottom and once again really good holding, 02 23.255N 95 19.885E. This location is about half a mile out on the iPad and on the Raymarine we are on land so there you go, trust nothing. Can get a bit rock and rolly but if there is a bit of breeze to keep the boat straight it is fine, not to sure about a monhull though. There are squid, chumi chumi, off the boat and hooting waves here. I went out to check them and a boat rolled up with three Australians aboard, Dave, Tai which is not a good name in Indonesia and Matt who would you believe it comes from Margaret River and ends up being mates with heaps of crew we know well. The people you meet. The surf looked pretty good, bit intimidating to me, first surf since this time last year, but the boys were just what I needed to get me into action. Back to the boat, new board out, where are the fins, where are the fins, oh here they are, dickhead, bit of wax and Mo dropped me off.

I went in in a pair of boardies, new rashy and my new FCS hat, looked like a dick, but got a wave quite quickly, although I felt like a granddad getting to my feet, very slow and so heavy, next one was just the same but a better wave and a couple more and I was rooted. The boys were all getting the big ones and charging, Tai is a paddling machine which just doesn’t stop, Dave picked up a beauty and Matt got his fair share, what a great way to get back into it. They invited us to join them for Bintangs later in the arvo, sounded pretty good to me.P1020995

We got in touch with Ranu, who runs Ranu Surf Camp, ranusimeulue81@gmail.com, which is right on the point, the boys from Beachouse reckon he is the man and they were right, nice fellow. He came and picked us up from the little wharf just tucked in behind a island near us, it is safe to leave your dinghy there although I think my fuel was probably used to fill up a couple of motorbikes during one of our expeditions. He took us out to his camp and we watched a bit of a crowd surfing the point, the boys were there and bintangs were flowing. We had excellent Nasi Goreng, in fact really excellent. Can also get chilli chop and salty soy sauce which is now a must with just about anything I eat. Ranu happily dropped us back off to the wharf and we were sitting back watching Breaking Bad by 2100. Good Arvo.

I got to surf first thing, got one really good one and a few not so flash, my ribs are killing me, paddling is almost not an option. After the surf we went for a tour in Ranu’s hire car, 350000IDR, for the day, we found our way into Sinabang which is the main town, good fruit and vege market, long beans, eggplant, tomatoes and onions in good supply and very fresh.

I had to find the Harbour Master to clear in and finally I did, just past the bank and down to the end of the road, through the steel gate and go left until you see an official looking building which means you are there. Harbourmaster is Syahbandar and sounds like Sub/an/dah. On arrival I introduced and shook hands with everyone, Syumsul then went through my paperwork, offered me kofi and a ciggy whilst we waited for a photo copy of our CAIT, I paid 100000IDR, and walked out the door in under half an hour. Good people and very friendly even though I forgot my stamp, of all the things to forget.

We then did a bit more shopping, new internet card and out of there. We missed our turn off on the way back but ended up past the airport so we kept on going for a look, nice tidy little houses and villages and friendly as. On our way back we stopped for a coconut, ended up getting four young ones off the tree, over the road we got some nice pineapples as well. This ended up being a great little sojourn as the daughter spoke a little English and took us on a tour of her farm, pineapple plantation, fish ponds and tropical fruit trees it was awesome. They are right next to the powerhouse, noisy joint but it was one of those unexpected bonuses.P1020990

Back at the boat the fuel had arrived so another mission syphoning the 30 litre containers into both tanks, chockers again now.

We went back to shore for dinner at Ranu’s camp and we had filthy mie goring, these guys are onto the cooking, then off down to Daves place, which is another camp down the road for a few bintangs, blurr.

The boys came past in the morning and gave me a shout so off we went, good waves, got a couple of ok ones then got a ripper then got drilled big time, snapped my legrope and had to swim back out through the break, not to bad though as you get pushed down the reef into nice deep water, the bottom is hard but flat, glad I had the wetty on. Dave got smashed as well and had ear problems, back to Boomerang and out with the drops and he’s ok. The afternoon session was pretty good as well, another flogging but with the new legrope all was good, to slow kook, that’s me. Tai wouldn’t let me go in on a flogging so back out I go and scored a pearler but went to far and got another flogging, by the time I got back to the dinghy I was stuffed.

We all headed back to Boomerang for a few beers, turned into a bottle of Jacks then off to Daves, http://www.simeulue.com, for an unreal BBQ for tea, the fish still had chewy skin and was cooked to perfection, Jen made a papaya salad, which was pigged on, and we got on it, again. To come across these guy’s has been so good, they make you want to go do something and having someone to surf with has made a huge difference. My ribs are only sore now so I can’t wait to get out again. The swell has picked up to 4 metres but the wind has stuffed it up, very rolly in the bay but safe I reckon, our anchor alarm has not gone off once. Well we were going for an AFM but it has just been blown out of the water, not sure if 1530 even equates to an AFD. Nice wine though, some Chilean sav blanc, 18 ringotts a bottle in Langkawi.IMG_1405

Tomorrow we leave for Treasure Island, about 50 mile away, I have got a bit of fitness happening and am looking forward to getting into some of the best waves in the world, bring it on.

We didn’t go, there was a 4 metre swell running, blowing its arse off and its Friday, I have told you about Friday’s before. So more fun at Daves. This post has been quite difficult to get together as the internet here is not so flash, hence lack of photos and I had a few links to throw in but sadly, it aint gunna happen, sorry about that.

 

 

Here we sit.

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.IMG_0090 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.IMG_0120 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.photo[3] 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.IMG_0063 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.photo[7] 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.IMG_0130 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.IMG_1339

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.IMG_1348

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.IMG_1343

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.IMG_1331

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.

It is now 2230 and it is blowing its guts out again, I will be spewing if we should have gone today. AHHHHH.IMG_1315

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.

Whose been to Banda Aceh?

9th June 2014.

We have and what a spin out. I was kind of thinking a flat barren area about the size of Kuah, I couldn’t have been more wrong, it is huge, something like Penang, awesome a few days of investigation is required.

Also something for consideration, THIS IS BLOG NUMBER 50!, Hope you enjoy, I reckon its time to bring on some pirates and another bottle of Laphroaig, my new nightcap. Although, we bought a few of bottles of Ferngrove Cabernet the other day in Langkawi, it is not to shabby either. Well done guys. One of the favourite clients when I used to work.IMG_0049

We started today like most others with a cup of tea, then got about getting ready to drop the mooring and head to Banda Aceh. It blew it’s arse off last night and as we approached the most western tip of Indonesia we were confronted with some heavy duty slop and 15kns on the nose. Our first attempt was aborted as the port engine room bilge alarm went off, just a short ping but enough to get you wondering especially as I thought I had vacuumed all the water and crap out of that bilge in particular. We ran the pump in manual and a litre or so came out then stopped, I was about to say stuff it and then, Ping, so it was run the pump again and about another litre came out. You wanker bilge alarm, the next five minutes is spent unloading the shed so I can get to the engine room hatch, this job is heaps more of a pain now as we have all the spare sails in bags stashed in there as well, due to the extra 40 metres of chain  we now have up front, poor old Boomerang was leaning forward so anything that could be shifted was. Add to this a tool box that is stupidly heavy, needs investigating, spare parts box which is purposely full, fishing tackle box, a bucket that weighs heaps as it is full of sinkers uncle Alf gave to me a couple of years ago in Dongara, socket set, buffer, cordless drill and an ice cream container full of diesel and oil with some tools in it soaking, which is now less full as it tipped over when a wave hit us, then once the cover was up there was not much water in there anyway, it certainly wasn’t obvious, wanker bilge alarm. I just left it all out, climbed over it and went back to giving orders. Wanker bilge alarm.IMG_0087

About 5 miles east of Pulau Weh you start to get some protection from the other islands a bit further south, which made for a pleasant little twenty mile jaunt. With five to go we even got the jib out and with the starboard engine at 2000RPM we were doing 7.8kns on really nice flat water sailing at 50 degrees to the wind. The next thing was where to park, everyone says they didn’t stop long, they just anchored out near the pass waiting for the right tide, which is a falling tide by the way, so we motored up to the shallows, it is blowing now, 15 to 20kns, anchor sets perfectly in 6 metres of water and I set about cleaning up the shed. I have climbed all the way back in and have got my head in the bilge when I hear, Hello, then Jen, get back up here some people want to meet you, spew, but up I come to find a small boat with 4 friendly looking dudes on board. Linda and her husband Adi, Bewan and Rizal, they had just stopped by for a chat, oh well why not. Glad they did as we were anchored right in the night time fishing zone so up anchor and move a mile or so, there is a foam buoy with a blue flasher on it, just east of that. A fair bit more protected but Windy is loving it, she is loving life at the moment lots of spinning and howling, I just look at her and think go baby, something for free on a boat. That is Windy the wind generator I am talking about.

Linda turns out to be a marine park advocate, I hope that is the right term Linda, one of the  good guys anyway, looking after the turtles, sharks and the reef and has set up funding for the area and is implementing her plans, nice person as is Adi and with Linda as translator this made conversing to easy. In no time we knew heaps of ins and outs for the area we found ourselves in,  I negotiated a motorbike from Adi and we are once again styling.  Bewan and Rizal both went through 2004, Rizal is the only remaining person in his family, makes you feel very sad. He is just coming to grips with going back into the water, luckily I didn’t give him a shove while I was mucking about with him on the back of Boomerang. We left our dinghy  tied to Bewan’s boat, safe as houses, he owns the warrang on the beach and has a lovely wife, Nora, and beautiful young daughter named Camelia. Linda and Camelia snorkelled out to the boat, not a bad effort, a couple of k’s no worries. We bought all of Bewan’s new coconuts off him for the trip.

This is when our next new acquaintances come to play, I had instructions to just follow the road, over the bridge and turn left to town. Luckily Deddie and Eddie, both survivors who also lost all their family, were at the warrang when we were leaving, I as usual was shaking hands with everyone and these guys indicated they were going to town and we should follow, next I had them taking us to Telkomsel and then a practice run to the airport for tomorrows big adventure, pick up Mo. After about half an hour we pulled up at the service station and I asked how much further, another 15 minutes, there was no way I was going to be able to find where we were now never mind another 15 or 20ks away, there are no signs with big planes on them, nothing but packed roads with bikes and trucks and cars, the usual rules are apparent, if light goes red, keep going until you can’t, all the lights are countdown lights which is handy for some reason and if you stuff up just say sorry and you will be excused and let in. Banda Aceh I love you. We bought the boys a late lunch, Nasi goreng and a carrot juice to wash it down, then back on the bike to get back to the boat before dark, which only just happened. They were superb young blokes and they never stopped smiling, Thanks guys if you ever read this, LOST is the word if it wasn’t for you.IMG_0063

Today I went to shore once again, this time to top up our internet, get fruit and veges, a couple of soccer balls and eventually pick up Mo from Banda Seafood in Ule elheue, which I had been advised is a place most taxis would know. When I got to shore, Rizal was there and helped me tie the boat up. We then piled into Linda’s car and off to the airport we headed, I can’t start to tell you how happy I felt, no worrying about Mo and taxi’s, just be there and pick her up and away, thank you Linda and Adi for your generosity, you are absolute legends. Their website is: lamjabatfoundation.or.id if you have a spare truck full of cash.

There is another story here, Mo’s trip from Langkawi to Banda Aceh. I think she might have been suffering a bit right from the start, drinks at the Pier then on to Raffi’s with the gang can get a bit messy. Anyway she has made it to the ferry 0900 and off it goes to Penang, then half way it breaks down so back to Kuah on one engine and onto another ferry, this one makes it. At least the wait in Penang was cut back a few hours, then board a plane to Medan, arrive there and no bus to pick her up, was organised I promise, so off she goes to get phone card and some Rupiah then back to airport then calls me, using a taxi drivers phone, then gets a cab to the hotel I booked for her, two and a half hours later with her own sim card now, taxi cost 250000rupiah and gets there after midnight, not too bad, I must admit I was wondering how this was going to play out by this stage, stayed in a nice room until 0500 then the hotel take her out to airport, this time only 40000rupiah, and a bit of a wait, 3 hours, then onto the plane and arrive in Banda Aceh an hour late, then a tour of BA, a dinghy trip back to the boat and she has nearly travelled about 350 nautical miles in 30 hours. We took 44 hours to do the same journey direct, 270nm in the boat. It was a great effort with an excellent ending, you have got to be happy with that. Father like daughter you might say.IMG_1276

Rizal gave us the full tour of BA today, showing us where the Tsunami hit, where he and his family ran to and where his house used to be, both Mo an I were just about balling, it is too sad and I found it very hard to take any photo’s. Very easy to give him a hug instead and say how sorry we feel for him and his fellow people, not sure how to say it. Rizal wanted me to take a photo of what remains of his old house. It is just about centre of this photo. He now lives in a district that was donated by Taiwan.IMG_1280

It is hard to believe it is 10 years ago, and I can’t imagine how it must be. Thank god for people like Linda.                          We had a Boomerang shirt handing out today, these are very much for the special people we meet, we are saving one for Sofea at the Adina Motel in Cenang, Rizal and Camelia are both worthy recipients. I taught them the best thank you I know, “Cheers Mate.” So if there is a young girl at Lampageue wearing a purple Boomerang T-Shirt you know what to say, I bet her eyes light up.IMG_0064

Woke up this morning to 25kns on the nose, not real flash to be heading out to sea.  So we wait, Mo has been shivering and aching, first on left side now all over, googled it, I reckon dehydration, but I am a dickhead. We had a storm come over the hills today 35kns, it was amazing, anchor held well. Wish the wind would blow the fly’s away, shocking, apparently from a chook farm, another reason to not eat it.

11/6/2014.                                                                                                                                                                                                              We received some bad news today, my mums sister Aunty Elsie passed away this morning, our thoughts are with all the Sweetman and Whitehead clans. Auntie Elsie was a beauty.

This could be the last  post for a bit, we possibly head around the top of Sumatra tomorrow, if this wind buggers off, had 36kns on the wind indicator and Windy is going off. We Will then head South  and a bit of east to get to wherever the boys on Beachouse are, watch out I reckon they might be hanging for a beer. As soon as we get to a place with Telkomsel we will be sure to get the wifi happening and fill you in on whats been going on.

Seeya,

Captain Rod and Crew.

Pulau Weh, Hey this is alright.

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.IMG_1247

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.IMG_0040

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.IMG_1266

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.IMG_1257

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.

 

Back from the future.

4th June 2014.

I woke up to a noise I hadn’t heard for quite some time, the sound of an engine with no exhaust but when I got off the couch and investigated the source I had a double blink. Was I in the land of Gullivers travels or perhaps H.R.Puffinstuff. These fishing boats are like gondolas with a very proud bow and squared off stern, almost like a Genie’s shoes. Nah can’t be so back to bed. Welcome back to Indonesia.P1020838

We headed out of Telaga Harbour at 0900 with Mo and K&K seeing us off, still drizzling but ok. Once out on the water we had a slight breeze and sea right on the nose so set the engines to 6kns and here we go. No need for any adjustments until 1600 when the wind had finally swung enough to be WNW at just on 10kns and we set the jib, shut down the port engine and all of a sudden we gain a knot. Sailed like that into the night until we had our first run in with ships. Out in all this water if two big ships are going to cross each other what are the chances of a 43 foot catamaran being in the middle of it, I would now say extremely good.  I called them on the VHF as we had all their info on AIS and indeed they knew we were there but only from radar, into the Raymarine menu and find the AIS settings, sure enough we are in silent mode. Once we sorted it we got back in touch with the ship and he confirmed this for us. Trick for beginners like me, thats the second time. Nothing else was spotted for the rest of the night and we just motored on. Jen was Captain then I was Captain throughout the dark although not in regimented shifts. Just when you needed it.

Next day found us in the shipping channel of the Melaka Strait proper, we passed an oil and gas platform off to the south and ships were continuously approaching from the south but as we were going the same way it was all pretty easy. There was one big bugger that was just coming straight at us so on the blower and the Captain says back “Where are you”, I replied right in front of you, “Hold On”, ” OH Yeah see you, goodbye.” Jen and I cracked up and cracked a bottle of wine with lunch, one kilo of boiled endami beans sprinkled in Himalayan rock salt.P1020843

Our original course was to cross the shipping channel early and follow the Northern Sumatra coast but with the traffic coming head-on or stern-on it was pretty easy going so we stayed out there. Put the fishing lines out read some book, new Nelson DeMille, bit like his real old ones but too much going on to get into it. We pretty much motored with a good current helping us on our way all day long. The tides didn’t seem to make a huge difference. We had a large storm cloud to port and we seemed to be going the same direction and speed as it was raining 3 miles from us for most of the afternoon, we were in light SE breeze and checking it on the radar. It started to move towards us as the wind dropped to nothing, I was in two minds, do we keep going like this or do we cut across the skinny bit, the cloud looked like a bridge you could pass through to safety on the other side, by this time thunder and lightning are going off a mile from us, then the wind picked up to 20kns up our bum, to late that will learn me, then it was pissing down and we just sat inside hoping for no lightning. Within a couple of hours it was gone and off we motored again. We had a visitor, a tiny little bird that sat in the saloon as the storm hit. Wasn’t LFB.  We skirted another storm out of which popped a fishing boat in the middle of nowhere.P1020845

Just as it was coming on dusk we had another ship versus catamaran episode, They were going in the same direction but to a slight angle to us, I gave him a call and his reply was “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” We just about pissed ourselves, I asked if he knew we were in front, “Of Course, we are having dinner”, I asked what are you having for dinner? Caught him by surprise, “Chicken, rice and beer goodbye”. I replied, have a safe journey but nothing heard, beer sounded like the go though, mine was empty. A few minutes later, either he scoffed his food or sculled his beer, he came back to us with “Have a safe  journey too.” My reply ” Cheers Mate, Boomerang standing by” was met with silence.

As the night turned to early morning we were down to one motor doing 1500RPM and a current that kept us at 5+ kns, no wind and oily sea, the moon was a sliver and was gone early, not that you get to see it that often up here anyway. Jen gave me a good break and slept on the bed for the first time for this passage, excellent nap. Our only problem was our speed, it was hard to not look and you were back to 6 knots, no point getting there before the sun comes up, with one engine just about on idle we were still doing 5 knots and I wasn’t real keen on idling it for 6 hours but you do what you have got to do.P1020853

The lights of towns are seen to port and the glow of Banda Arche, about 15 miles out you start seeing the yellow flasher from Sabang. By now we were on 1000RPM to keep us straight and still doing 4.5 knots but the equation of time and speed was dead on, at 0630 I shut down the engine and had a sleep only to be awoken by one of the noises of Indo. Pretty lucky really we had drifted 2nm west and 1nm north.

We are now anchored in the Port of Sabang, there must be more officials per population here than anywhere on the planet, everyone has a uniform, we ended up with 7 onboard but it went smooth as silk, cost us 8 beers and 6 cokes. There is no dinghy jetty here so we tied up to a stern line of one of the fishing boats and climbed ashore. Mr Chan, a mate of Ray who is married to Dewi who we got to know in Bali had a couple of his mates, Fauzi and Mardi were there to greet us and Mardi offered us his motorbike for the afternoon which was unreal. We rode all the way to Iboih and the furtherest western tip of Indonesia, it was the most awesome road.There should be the Sabang GP for scooters, you climb mountains then drop down the other side all on perfectly smooth bitumen with tight sweeping bends.P1020859

The western end is called 0 Kilometer Indonesia and is quite impressive with high cliffs down to the Indian Ocean. Bit more impressive than the Keys. By the time we got back our bums were aching and the dinghy was on the rocks, spewing, I will never listen to anyone again. This is where it turns to shit though, Jen had baled the water out and I needed to get a little further out to drag it off a big rock when whatever was under my foot collapsed and then stinging pain, then straight into the dinghy and off. I trod on a sea urchin, one of the spines went through the side of my little toe and about 4 others in the toe, we hit the internet to google some advice and found it best to piss on it or boiling vinegar and water, Jen didn’t seem keen on the first option, bummer that sounded the go to me, so we went the boring option and will have to wait and see. We got the bad one with the help of a stanley knife and tweezers after soaking for an hour or so. Doesn’t hurt at all so with a bit of luck they will just fall out at some stage.P1020855

Sabang is hard to explain, there are really flash buildings, there is the main street not unlike Little India in Penang with stuff going on all over the show then you have the suburbs which are very like Bawean, Mosques everywhere. The streets are home to motorbikes of all ages and types, one I have never seen before must be from a Soviet type place. Heaps of young people everywhere. They seem like they all have jobs but they don’t get up real early, our appointment, first of the day with Customs is 1400. It has been raining most of the day so hopefully I make it.

Hows this for my first photo with the new SLR, slow learner rod, camera, I like it, this guy was working all day on the engine of his dads boat, with him of course,  and the young fella was all smiles whenever I came to and fro through the fisherman’s beach area, we gave them a 7UP each, then this smile, pearler. Seeya

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