Beat the Visa.

September 2010.

We had a ball at Tambling, ate like kings, drove around the park, didn’t see any roaming tigers, although Micheal and Lena have come across 2 of them, Lena said she told the tiger to shush and be quiet, had a pray and it left her alone. She is a special person, you can just sense it, she has all the boys learning to cook, teaching them English and how to serve up. She has cheffed around the world and Micheal goes with her. 

William was the boss while we were there and went out of his way to make sure we saw everything, wifi you name it and the boys at the wharf were unreal, they liked beer that is for sure. When we left, once again the jetty was crowded and hugs and kisses all round with another new mob. We have been invited to the opening of the Park next year, we won’t miss it.

We set sail at 2130 for Java, Panaitan Island and arrived as the sun came up, perfect timing. We checked out the so called anchorage, bugger that, waves feathering and then breaking 100 metres past it. We needed sleep so we headed to a small island closer to the coast, Pucea, anchored up and went to sleep for 12 hours. Bargain.

After 4 days of getting up going surfing then trecking we took off in the tender to see the oyster eating Maccau’s. This little journey started out fine as we cruised along the coast  but once we got to the end of the island and turned around all we could see was black storm clouds approaching from out of nowhere and of course every window on the boat was open. By the time we got back there was a swimming pool happening in the lounge room and everything was drenched, horror. I was lucky as my bedroom window was shut but it turned into a huge clean up task.Next day it was just getting dry with the AC going flat out for 24hrs. Shocker.

In the end we went ashore to give the locals a soccer ball, clothes and coloring in books and we came across some Poms who were there for the trecking but they had been left on a beach for the night. Their guide assured them the tide was high when they set up, but in true Indo form it wasn’t, one of these guys was still shivering mid morning. They all woke up to find their tents floating, all their gear, including the shivering blokes suitcase which had a couple of bottles of scotch and a bottle of vodka in it, we’re gone. Jen shed a bit of hope on the situation when she said she had seen a box and drinking bottles floating past  the boat earlier on, but it wasn’t theirs. Then to add to their despair a monkey came from nowhere and pinched their jam, which they could not open but the monkey had no problems, then all the pigs came out of the bush for a feed. Good time to leave and we bolted.

The wind had picked up from the South East around 15kns, so we were out of there. If there is wind in Indonesia you should use it, as sure as eggs it won’t be around for long.

We had an excellent sail, 47nm up the west Java coast, top speed 10.8kns, where we found a nice looking bay and anchored up. The fishing boat activity here was unbelievable, thought it must have been a ceremony or something but it was just everyone going to work. They stayed away from us even though we had pressies to hand out, they are definitely shy to us boule’s.

Next day motor sailed around the NW tip and headed east for Jakarta. Can’t get enough of the place, I was keen as on hitting the seafood stalls along a street we came across last time. I ended up taking the boat boys out for Padang sate and about 4 kilos of boiled prawns all covered with salt, the boys were a bit dubious at first but once they Sussed you could either peel them or just bite the tails off and ditch the heads they all got stuck in. Cost 164000rp about 20 bucks. Good value. The ride back to the marina was not for the faint hearted as to cut about 10 minutes off the trip, we went the wrong way across a one way bridge then cut across everyone, horns were going and Froggy was singing away as if nothing was wrong. I got to admit it, I just about shit. We stopped at Syamsul’s mates warran for beers and long beans then headed home.

While in Jakarta this time we found a new shopping centre called the Emporium, had everything even a bottle shop so we bought all the casks of white they had, rum, vodka, beer and a bottle of Moët for the equator.

We found a hooting Yumcha restaurant, May Star, the best so far. Went there twice, the first time they would have thought we were pigs but we got through it, just.

Fuelled up and got the hull washed, diesel was about 80 cents a litre, went up 15 cents in 2 weeks but good quality, yellow so better than the coffee we got in Bali. Apparently everyone had dramas with fuel from Bali, we haven’t even changed a filter since leaving  Freo.

We departed Jakarta at 0430 and headed NNE for Bangka motorsailing at 7 kns all day and got our first real taste of a Sumatera, tropical storm, it got up to 30kns, pissing down rain and choppy as for 3 hours, then it was gone, thank god. We had a ship come at us from starboard and if we hadn’t slowed down it would have T-boned us, amazing really 

out there in all that water. We set our sails and headed for Leper island which is just that  and anchored up. A fisherman came across and held up a beautiful probably 5kg Goldie, like a large finger mark brim, it smelt like the sea, eyes were jet black and was definitely the best fish we have eaten in a while. 2 meals for 100000rp, next morning he bought a couple more but we didn’t bother but accepted the bag of squid he wanted us to have. He got some coloring in books and pencils for his kids, beers and a new squid jig.

We left there and headed west to a spot that The Breezies had gone, some flash restaurant but were pretty buggered so just chucked the anchor in and crashed.

We were getting close to Steel de Breeze and arranged to meet on a island called Cebia but it ended up being 20 miles to far and with no idea where to anchor we sailed on into the night towards the next island. All we needed to do was 6 kns but with jib up only we were constantly doing 7.5kns so at around midnight we pulled up dropped the sails and drifted until 0300, that takes a bit of doing just bobbing around in the middle of nowhere trying to sleep. We got going again after drifting 5.8nm in the right direction only had 15nm to go. We circled the group of islands and found a couple of fisherman and with sign language we anchored up in a safe spot. Had a bad feeling about this spot but as the chain wouldn’t budge in 17 metres from the moment it went down. At least I was confident we wouldn’t drift, but getting it back up might be a different matter. 

The Breezies come round the corner just before lunch and anchored up near by. We had a  relaxing day swimming, coconut gathering and setting up a big bonfire for the night.

The afternoon drinks was a beauty and went into the night, after that I can’t really remember, although I do know we didn’t venture back to shore to light the fire.

At 0300 I heard the fisherman start their motor, you can’t miss that sound, and found the boat to be rocking badly, lots of wind and rain. Got the torch out and checked Steel de Breeze, horror, they were rocking and rolling with waves crashing on deck but their anchor was holding, ours was good too and if it made it through this storm and didn’t want to be pulled in, so be it, it would have done its job. The radar showed the storm passing over us, slowly,   but the wind direction changed and had us running parallel to the beach and not directly at it, that was good, although it took another hour to start to settle. That was a pretty crap 3 hours but both boats came out unscafed. Brian and I had sat up through the storm and when the wind had dropped to bugger all a quick sleep was possible.

When I woke up I got Jen in to gear and we tackled the anchor. It took a bit of ginning around and quite a bit of chain tension but after a few minutes up it came, stoked. We  circled the Breezies and got them up and into action, the radar showed another storm about 6nm away, I was pretty keen to get as far away from it as possible. After a bit of chain and anchor torment they were also free and off we went.Unknown-4

Had spinnacker up same as the Breezies then to tight so tried main then it  changed back, couldnt win a trick and we motored the rest of the way but in the end found an excellent anchorage on Lingge Island. Calm and balmy, sparked the AC up and we had a BBQ on board with the Breezies and their fillet steak that they had watched be butchered. Tough as an old boot. We had the yabadabadoo’s from Freo, I overcooked them, dickhead. 

The daily afternoon drinks are becoming more and more dangerous with a few sore heads the next day but at least all you have to do is point the boat in the right direction, cook an omlette and eggs for Madam, sit on your arse and keep it straight. By 1100 it’s beer o’clock, by 1300 it’s time for a nap then up again around 1500 for some pre sundowner beers and then it’s time to go visiting or be visited. The Breezies are good value, excellent travelling companions so we have been very lucky to catch up with them again.

We are off to Nongsa Point today, we spent yesterday arvo on an island handing out gifts and stuff to the kids and some sewing packs that Jens’s mum made up for the mums, they were so funny as they couldn’t make up their minds which pack they wanted as they were all different colors, superb idea Marls, they loved them.

No wind again so a motor all the way, back to the big smoke, might even get a hotel go for  the air conditioning and channel surfing.

Until next time, Seeya.

Captain Rod and Mummy Jenny.

Going West with a bit of North and then South and North again.

10th August 2013.

Well we are happily parked up in Pantai Mutiara Marina, Jakarta, amongst all the mansions owned by the rich buggers, it is a bit like Peppy Grove but the houses although flash are also pretty daggy. Unknown-3

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.

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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.

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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 later given Nasi Goreng, mashed potato which Jen reckons was hooting, and a bowl of soup, Jens had the chooks shin mine had the foot, ate it but only because they were looking.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Seeya,

Captain Rod and Mummy.

 

 

Meet the Cala’s, another 50th.

15th July 2013.

Bali, Gili, Lembongan.

Hey how’s it going?

We have just left Lembongan for the third time, this time not to return for a while. It is a great place, so laid back with no hassle. The surf is average but pretty easy to catch and ride. We left Bali 3 weeks ago and have covered all the small islands within 100nm so I can tell you the stress levels are very much diminished, main problem bothering me at the moment is the current is against us and we may arrive an hour late although we don’t really have a destination as yet, Java somewhere.

Gili Air is superb, dirt roads, horse and carts, Bintang large 25000rp, excellent surf, friendly people and noticeably cooler than Bali. The water is even refreshing. It is a place where you can be all ready to go and the swell will pick up a bit so you may as well stay another day which inevitably turns into another. The Pamplemoose’s, we named them moosekateers, are probably still there making up their minds. All the young kids surfing with me called me Captain Fissing Rod which is better than Ron, rod as in fishing rod. These guys have no wax so surf the best they can without it, I gave them some wax and would bring them back to the beach, big paddle, doing wippies in the dinghy, the whole bay could hear them squeeling, unreal.

We went back to Bali for Maria’s birthday, stayed in the Grand Mirage for a night, pretty much stayed in the room with the AC on as cold as possible, dooona on and channel surfing. Went to the Jimbaran fish market, got prawns, squid and snapper to cook. Left the boat up a creek with a village called Sarangan which is between Benoa and Sanua. Awesome place, friendly people, it is amazing it is so close to all the other crap that is Bali.

We spent 2 nights there, Neuman waxed the boat, fuelled up and had beers with them. I nearly mucked up the days which would have had us leaving port on a Friday, so we got going on Sunset to Lembongan. It was as black as when we arrived but found a mooring, Cala and Jimmy got a shock when they arrived on a boat from Nusa Dua to find us there. Spent day doing the Lembongan pub crawl on scooters. Tooting at everyone and handing out cash to the kids trying to sell shells and stuff. They can’t believe you don’t want a shell but you paid for it. 

Well we are now doing 5.4kns so the current is easing with the tide, should be in our favor in a couple of hours then you can do 8 kns with only one engine.

When we left this morning we couldn’t do much better than 3.5kns with both engines going.

See what I mean, thinking about the current again, geez I might have to hit the medical cabinet if my stress levels keep rising.

Alls good.

Captain Fissing Rod and Madam.

A breath of fresh Air

1st July 2013.

Well we had good times in Lembongan, surfing, bike riding and checking out the sites, then sailed to Gili Air where we are moored up in the local harbour. There are 2 surf breaks within paddling distance and have been doing 2 hour sessions twice a day, getting heaps fitter and not puffing so much, feels good. Everything is pretty cheap although the food in Indo is pretty average, same taste no matter what you get.

This place has bars and restaurants running along the edge of the water, no cars only little horses and carriages and sand tracks. No bugs which is good since I didn’t get my needles, but we have heaps of rid just in case.

It costs $5 for the mooring per day which is pretty good considering the location, lots of coral so lots of diving although we haven’t got to that yet.Unknown-5

Another Cat called Pamplemoose have been travelling with us which is cool as they are not in a rush either. Have been trying to get their diving tank compressor going but failed they will just have to hire tanks. They enjoy a few beers and gins so pretty good partners in crime.

Well we will be here for a while yet then who knows where as long as there is wind it will be OK although fuel is cheap 70 cents a liter but it is dodgy looking. I checked our filters the other day and they don’t seem to bad and we have had genset and motors going for a few hours now without any funny stuff.

It’s about to rain I better get back to the boat and shut the windows, Jen getting massage.

Seeya.