Holidays are over, those ones anyway.

21st September 2015.

Its time to get up, the time is six o’clock.

Its time to get up, the time is six o’clock.

Its time to get up, the time is six o’clock.

Floundered around in a blur then finally found the bastard and went back to bed.

The Sandy’s anchorage is safe but bejesus it is rock and roll all night long. A huge lightning storm hit around 0330, lots of lightning and it pissed down. The thunder was like in the Telos, it sounded distorted it was so close.

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We hung in there till 0700, knock off time for the fishermen I reckon, they were all coming past yelling and carrying on.

An irritating one foot swell at about three seconds is sweeping into the anchorage from the east, a light five knot SE breeze which is not making things to bad, no sideways action but lets get out of here.

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We had anchor up and everything stowed by 0730, then it was hobby horsing out of the place around the port marker and guess what, it got far worse. To sail our course is impossible, fully on the nose, so Penang it is. The bloody autopilot is playing up or it may possibly be the plotter, that is twice now it has needed to be reset. Along the coast fishermen come over to see you and wave, my standard line now is, Aceh bagus, Jumpa Lagi, which they all seem to like. One boat came towards us and they are very animated, I waved back but they more like waved their arms in a Hati-Hati kind of way, I looked where we were headed and be buggered there’s a little wave breaking dead ahead, all the charts say ten metres, we were in thirty and I didn’t wait around to watch it rise, apparently I did good as the waving and yelling stopped.

We set the sails and sailed between thirty and fifty degrees, motorsailng, doing four to five knots, big time current against us, not much you can do, we aren’t going back.

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Got Boomerang balanced up and sailing, which improved our situation ten fold, pretty ugly conditions, but Penang is not a bad spot. Mid morning we had some favourable wind direction and were just about able to head for the bottom of Langkawi, things are on the up, plus we are up in the high fives now. By lunch it was all ok, heading for Telaga Harbour.

A ship passed us from behind, I had no idea it was there, checked the AIS, amber light solid, normally green or blue, out with the book, not a great deal of info, perhaps bad area, GPS not working, that sort of stuff. So disconnected everything, checked all leads, opened up the AIS, ah shit, it has the burnt electrical smell, now it’s rooted for sure, this is not really going to plan, we are just about to cross the Straits of Melaka, one of the busiest passages in the world, now with no B class AIS, I dragged out the spare and plugged it in but even though all the indicators are correct there is nothing displayed on the plotter, a real case of the thick plottening. Out with the books, laptop and special lead but don’t really reckon I need to be bothering, it is not going to work but persisted for a couple of hours then spat the chips and had a beer followed by a stiff JD and coke, that’ll fix it. Nope. It is getting on now and the sun is going down, turned on the radar just to check. I was checking the screen and noticed these purple arcs, thought it to be waves but then looked around and there are none, oh shit we are almost in the strait, they are ships and it looks bloody busy as well.

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The first one was a beauty, came up behind us, had him sussed, called him on the radio to no avail, he tooted his horn as he went past. From then on it was game on, I was wondering when I was going to get tired, not tonight that was for sure, they started coming at us from all directions although most were heading east to west or close to it, at one stage we had one slow down to give us room and then they all started doing it so you couldn’t just run up the front work out which way they were heading by their nav lights then back to the wheel to make adjustments, reckon they were thinking what’s this stupid prick up to. A couple of hours and perhaps fifteen boats I was rooted, me brain was fizzing, even had the doubts coming on, but they stopped for almost an hour, what a short lived fantasy that was, the bastard things then came at us like there was no tomorrow. At one stage I called on the VHF, all ships, all ships this is sailing vessel Boomerang we are at such and such and heading on course 082 degrees to Langkawi, can you please avoid us, not one of them replied, but they definitely saw us with every light on our mast on. About 0200 they started to slow down, thank god for that, hooked into a couple of beers to settle the nerves. They were still coming but one at a time now with heaps of gap so even allowed myself fifteen minutes nap with the phone on my chest, It’s time to get up, the time is 0230. Back to life check the surroundings and have another go, added up to a couple of hours in the end, plenty, when you know, just make it to daybreak and it is bedtime. The crew doesn’t want anything to do with nighttime and ships, don’t blame her either. You don’t realize how much you can miss something till it’s gone, the AIS gives you the ship that’s bearing down on you’s name, once you call it they are obliged to answer but if you are calling someone, like merchant vessel x 3, this is sailing vessel boomerang x 3, they don’t give a shit about you. They don’t need to give a shit is probably closer to the point.

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Well the sun rose, I have sussed a comfy posy on the chair, the morning is startling, beautiful clear sky, an ocean that is so calm and blue as blue, nice, last night was horror, today is like you won and here’s your prize. We had the current with us and engines just tonking along to get 6.3kns, the risk of shipping has gone so iPad is showing the way, given up on the other gear and the autopilot is manageable but needs constant attention, we are going a bit fast as we don’t want to get to Telaga to early, although Jen did suggest the fuel dock, that is a good option. Dropped one engine off and lost a knot, it can stay off.

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Saw a whale today, I thought I saw one about half an hour earlier and was thinking, as these Thai fishing boats, ones with the net between them, I imagined what would happen if they caught a whale and there you go one pops up and we both, sitting up the front sipping Anchor beers, saw it, be buggered hey. Yesterday I saw a pack of dolphins, they were going off up front, heaps of them, that was pretty cool too.

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We have sat and watched the horizon for the expected 0 – 5 knots of WNW breeze, not happening, so time for a snooze, good one to, woke ready to go which was good as the wind has arrived, ten to fifteen knots at 120 degrees and all is good.

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Had a funny thing happen, a boat came over for a look, cut me off to start with, then they just took off, the strange thing was all the dogs barking on it, guess it was someone’s navy but not sure whose.

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The going was good so I had another snooze but a storm was headed our way, Jen give me a shake around 2300 as the wind had come around on the nose at twenty knots, it then moved to beam and eventually back to 120 degrees, so much for taking our time, we were flying, by this stage all the squid boats are packing it in for the night and heading for cover, we just ploughed on Langkawi now a glow on the horizon. About 0200 and it has passed but the lightning show we got was superb, full horizontal stuff, looked like it was joining the clouds together and then the occasional direct hit on the ocean, spectacular, our conditions continued to improve and I set about getting the fenders and ropes ready. As you come into Telaga there are some bamboo posts that are bunched together at the top and a few metres above the sea level, it might be a FAD not sure, but I know they are there and approximately where they are so I was looking out for them, you wouldn’t want to hit it as it would skuff up the gelcoat pretty badly. I quizzed on whether I had passed them and decided that I had and moved up front to tie off a fender, this is when I saw it, it went sailing past and all I could do was just watch it as we missed it by a couple of metres, just goes to show after all the crap with the electronics, the ships and the weather when your lucks in it is in.

Dropped anchor out the front of the marina as it was pretty calm by then, I had a shave for my appointments with Imigrassi, Harbour Master and Customs officials in the morning and hit the sack, slept in in the end but we were safe and sound in berth A34 by 0930. Had Cath and Gary help with the ropes, then we helped another boat come in and finally kicked back for a bit. All things considered it was a good sail, 250nm as the crow fly’s, not sure how many miles we actually did, in forty three hours, pretty much the standard.

All the paperwork over, with no dramas, we were welcomed back by the Imigassi boss and the Harbour Master, that to me is way cool. Came out of there with a spring in my step. Up to the Marina Office, cleared with them and we are back home.

BRING ON THE OCKWOLD’S, sorry Ockwells..

The Rangas would like to thank, Hubert, the lone sailor, party organiser and constant backup for ciggys, lighters and red wine, The Sandy’s for I am not sure what, but it is always good fun when you guys are around, Fred and Rosie, our live entertainment and a constant smiling face, The Persians, what a big effort to get there, Bailey and Erwin and Uncle and Goddy at the Floating Surf House, BengBeng for services done under extreme corruption, Dr Libra Christian for being our mate, Firman for his driving skills, Allie, Anaren and Nabahan for the Udang Kipas, Mangrove Jack, taking me diving and just being good dudes, Marcus for the fins, Mick for the JD and Ballantines, perfect timing, Paul the photographer for my Barrel shots, Uni and the kids at Lagundri Bay you are rippers and we really hope CaptainR’s is there next year.

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We travelled approximately 2180 nautical miles, we used 1620 litres of fuel, we made 13000 litres of water and including getting the boat ready up in Thailand, six grand, we spent right on $15000 over five months for everything, to do a 12 day charter is close on five grand each, lets say four, so looking at it that way, I saved $35000 dollars and Jen got hers for free. Geez with calculations like that you may as well just go surfing, eat lobsters and drink heaps of piss.

 

 

 

Bye Bye Banyak’s

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Everyone is over at LP checking the problem, got over and the job is just about done, test drive, no good, spew.

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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.

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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.

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We left the warrang and headed back to the boats, checked out some local boat building, how cool are these boats?

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Back to work on Lara Pinta but no joy, so off with the prop and repairs organized.

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Bit of a shindig on Boomerang as we are leaving tomorrow morning some time and heading back to Langkawi on Sunday.

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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.

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Well it is back to the real real world, good sleep tonight and off we go, Langkawi watch out.

Its a good life but some times it’s not right.

25th August 2015.

Farewell Fonz we are going to miss you.

Geez we usually look forward to getting internet and phone coverage but this time it sat us on our arses. Our good mate Les, Barrow Island name Fonzy, has been killed in a motorbike accident, horror.

I first met Fonz on Barrow Island in 1991, a bearded, cruisey sort of bloke who was interested in what you had to say and had only good things to say himself. The environment of Barrow Island was one of his loves, the way he got going when he talked about it, although in his low key manner, even Harry Butler could be upstaged.

On Barrow Fonz was often our photographer, he would find his way out to the spots and sit there in his truck or grader and film away. One epic time we had T-Trees going off, Robo and myself out, Fonz sitting on the roof of the grader getting some of the best Barrow footage I reckon that was ever taken. It was a perfect day, we all knew it. After I left Barrow I kept in touch with Fonz through the grapevine and for the last few years Fonz and Amanda and one of the times, Shantelle, came and sequested our tinny, the first two days was spent cleaning it, crab season was usually on so it more times than not stunk with the occasional missed crab or a chicken wing gone septic, I am sure that our dinghy loved Fonz, he even got new numbers put on it, the dodgy texta numbers were getting a bit hard to see. It was good to see it being used and appreciated, he and Amanda enjoyed Augusta, it can do that to you, not much happening but plenty of time and space to do it, but you need a boat.

Fonz loved bike riding on his Harley, he even shipped it to America and rode around the USA, he had some funny stories about that trip, one being chased by the most vicious dog on earth and others about how many people he met just because of the Western Australian number-plate on his bike. I am pretty sure that was only part of it, he was such a likable bloke, shit we are going to miss you mate.

Amanda and the girls please know we are thinking of you guys.

We left Padang and made it to Tabekat Bay just on dusk, anchored up and kicked back. Tim caught a sail fish on the way, 40 kgs, then released it, we got nothing, all our lines are rooted, they have all twisted up so will need to get that sorted. We made our way over to Tanahbala and hit monkeys straight up, got some waves, the first ones since we left, don’t know about the Mentawis, probably just not mentforme. Next day was bigger and a lot of fun and then it was off again, heading north, this time we went through the cut between the islands, it is not much shorter but it feels like it is, such a nice sail and cruise up the channel, anchored in a pond and slept like a beauty.

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We stopped at Sopika to say seeya to Mark and his boys but he wasn’t there, visa run, another thing we noticed that wasn’t there was the big Indo boat that was anchored up out the front of the surf camp, thin as the tide dropped it started to appear, about a foot of the bow broke the surface, the bloody thing sank, it is a big heavy prick of a thing, reckon it may become a reef.

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We hit Telos Town, had a feed at Warran Raza, topped up the phone and had a beer, Jen got a bit of stuff as well. Later that day the local fish market came to us, the snappers were so fresh and we got three for fifty thousand, cant go wrong there, had them filleted up in no time. Good feed.

Next morning we left for Nias, great current with us, got the headsail out and we sat on seven and a bit knots most of the way. We stuffed up, we crossed the Equator and didn’t even realize, dickheads, we missed out on having our last bottle of champers, now we will have to wait for next year to crack it. Although Kazza and Muzz are coming soon, chances are it will be scoffed probably on their first day.

We pulled up into Lagundri Bay, dropped anchor, had a few beers and carked it, swell tomoro.

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It picked up over night and out I went in the morning, first wave was ok, even though I dropped in on a bloke, the next one was a ripper, but four weeks of getting pissed, eating bacon and eggs for brekkie every day and bugger all surfing, had me way to late on the takeoff, got to my feet but just crashed and burned at the bottom, just about ripped me head off, then got the rag doll treatment, then wore the next one on the head. Paddled over to the boat feeling a bit like the Coyote after one of his many misadventures with TNT. Got me act together and went back out for a few more but called it quits once the wind came in, geez my neck is sore.

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Next day was Baileys birthday, we hit the local BBQ pork restaurant, bloody nice babi and juices. This is possibly the best pig I have eaten, the skin was like give me more, we had four serves.

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On the way back we stopped at a roadside fish market for a butchers, I opened the door and what do you reckon was hanging from a nail in front of me, five muddies, two good size but who gives a shit, a muddie is a muddie. Not much else took me fancy so off we went.

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We got back to Rahoul’s place, then went for a walk which wasn’t real long, made it to Uni’s place and once they all realized it was Baileys birthday it was dingin Bintang king browns all round. It was an excellent session, Uni actually met the first surfers to ever come to Lagundri Bay, they had wooden boards and were scared shitless of the locals and the locals were scared shitless of them too. These couple of blokes lived on bananas and coconuts for their stay, but surfed the place with style by the sounds of it. I asked Uni when this was but he could not remember a year, not that far back. It was a great story, he needs to get it down proper as it is local history.

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We went for a walk up the point and got hammered by the kids, I had been wondering where they had got to but once they saw Papa and Mumma walking towards them, with the birthday boy Bailey, who is a bit of a celebrity around here, it was on.

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I nullified the hoardes by letting a few know that there was a free feed and a drink and a book and a pencil if they were at the boat 0900 next morning for a bit of work, washing Boomerang. It turned into every kid was coming, they were frothing. Next morning the first guys swam out at 0800 and wanted jobs, got them starting at the top, they got to it in a flurry, had to get them to be a bit more subdued as I wanted some gel-coat left.

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By 0900 there were thirteen of the little buggers all going Pappa what job for me, papa want cloth, papa is this good, geez I looked at Jen and thought this is a bit to much like having apprentices running around out of control. They actually had a ball, parts of Boomerang I am sure got washed over and over but Dutchy and his mate gave the whole boat a covering in wash and wax and she is gleaming.

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I then had to take them surfing, another workout for poor old Pappa, they all wanted to go on the first run, then we went to Uni’s joint for Mie Goring and a drink. I handed over a bloody great jar of dinosaur eggs, bubble gum in the shape of eggs, these were a real hit, the smallest one in the pack was sitting sheepishly at the end, mouth shut which was unusual, asked him to open up, he had four eggs and a great big wad of gum stashed in there as well. At least he didn’t have to share them with the big guys. They ranged from seven to fourteen and they all swam or paddled out just to do something different, plus a good feed and that’s what they got, huge plates of mie goring vego and a drink. I also handed out some exercise books whilst we waited for food, had them drawing moons, stars, earth, Boomerang, their houses and of course waves. Tell you what it shut them up. They all pigged out and it was over, we said our goodbyes and they all shook my hand and that was that, they all went their way and a couple came and helped me do the dinghy. Then along come Lucinda, she wants to see Mumma, so Frapa, short for Frapachino and his brother Ary, called Harry Potter, had to come back out. These kids are unreal and I need to think of something good to bring next year that they can all get into, they all surf like demons so something down that line would work for them I am sure.

We left next morning, the surf was pretty good but I just needed a break and we headed around the SE corner and up the east coast to a spot we all anchored in when we first came to Nias from Sibolga.

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This place is good holding in six metres but this time we had a two metre swell running, spent all arvo wondering what happens if the swell picks up. They were ominous just coming at you, needless to say they didn’t break. We lucked in also with a fishing boat, he come past for a look and I yelled out if he had ikan, fish, he shook his head and held up two filthy udang, prawns, we bought the lot, cooked them up and scoffed the lot, best prawns I have had in Asia.

The night was spent up and down as the boat went up and down, at night with the full moon blazing away it was heaps more spooky as you could sort of see the swell coming but then it was on you, they were seventeen seconds apart, I counted heaps, so a good swell is happening.

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We left at 0600 and headed out into a stormy looking day, managed to dodge most of it and were anchored up seventy miles away at 1745. We actually got good wind for the last twenty mile, so made up a bit of time.

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I had Being Being under contract, fuel, paperwork and shopping, this is just after the fuel contract was finished, we amazingly achieved this all in one day and now we are ready to get going and at 0400 that’s us, well done crew and of course Beng Beng.

Padang sounds like Pardung.

17th August 2015.

Up before sparrows this morning, 0345, got all the things happening and we went up the front to get the anchor up. Lots of grinding of chain on rock but eventually it was up, not bad as it has been down there for a week and we have been pulled tight in just about every direction so I was expecting a bit of grief. Fifteen minutes was cool.

We then had to motor towards the town and then set a course to the southern tip of Pulau Setan, avoiding a five metre reef if possible although it didn’t really matter that much, still you have the sick hungry feeling in your guts when you are doing it, I forgot, its pitch black as well. There is a starboard marker flashing away and a yellow one as well that are not really located on our charts but once we were out in the deep it was a huge relief. Set a new course for Padang, 75nm away, now where is the wind. Had good current with us, rising tide current heads north, almost half a knot but up ahead is looking a bit sinister, whacked the radar on and sure enough there is a storm about six mile ahead but passing us to starboard, I hope. It did, we got some wind, 18 knots on the nose as always, from it and the sea went from pond like to disturbed for about an hour.

The next milestone is sunup, it makes a huge difference, when you can actually see your surroundings, logs and shit like that are everywhere out here, some times you will come across a patch of ocean where the current flow must be more pronounced and you will find thongs, logs, plastic bags and always the good old foam noodles cup, you see those cups everywhere.

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Pretty much set and forget the autopilot and motored to Padang. Pretty easy trip, a couple of hours snooze on the way, cooked up an omlette each, read my new book, , and in the arvo got into some Bintangs, dingen.

Knocked off a few jobs as well, replaced the cords used for hoisting courtesy flags on both sides, got rid of a piece of rope that was not for marine use, it just fell to bits, you can buy it at Bunnings, comes in bright colours, it’s crap.

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We made Padang at 1630 and following the waypoints from Tim and Megan we came into a beautiful, protected bay, Teluk Bungus, anchored up and carked it.

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We got up pretty early 0700, a squid boat pulled up next to us, right on top of us really but then they did a bit of this and that and alls good, the captain yelled out, you want chumi chumi, “Yeah”, next thing a blokes rolling up with three kilos in a bucket, 200000idr, we have had three meals and still have a fair bit left. Jen has got the poaching down to an art, there is no need to stuff with it at all just clean it, even that doesn’t have to be over zealous, then Jen does her magic and eat it with chopped chilli and light soy or if you are feeling fancy, wasabi and soy, it is filth.

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We have our driver, Feiman, a good dude, he has got the place sussed, we have had to make three visits to Imigasi, but it has gone smoothly and we needed to go to town each day anyway. Bought Jen a new camera, found a minimart, it is called Bintang Timor, got just about everything you need except they only sell Anker Beer. The wet market is pretty good as well, some of the best limes, just like Brownies, juicy as.

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We also hit the Plaza, good shopping for gas and dunny paper that sort of stuff, had a couple of meals around town, still can’t work out why Beef Rendang is cold, if everything was hot it would be so much better, coming from where we do, this is one of the things I really do not get, but one of the best places was Charlies Place, a bar in the old quarter down by the river, had a few beers there, dingen to the max.

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We got back to Tin Tin Losmens a bit early one day to find the tide miles out, so we headed up to the waterfalls.

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Heading up the path we came across all these young fellas that I got into a convo with, they ended up all coming along for the trek and provided us with some excellent entertainment, jumping off rocks, doing backflips you name it, it was great to see.

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We fueled up this morning and washed the boat so we are ready to go tomorrow, also went to a local restaurant with all the boys from Tin Tin, you know what, hot fish-head curry, hot beef rendang and filthy chumi chumi and boiling hot rice, the best meal I have had in Padang. You had to sit on your arse and eat with your hands, classic as I ended up with shit every where plus I was using both hands, not the done thing around here, the boys didn’t give to much of a stuff so kept at it and had a full guts by the time we left.

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We are ready to go, 0400 come on, back to Telos we go.

Pulau Siburu – No waves but 4 Bars 3G.

13th August 2015.

Aching all over, must have been that dinghy ride as besides the right elbow not to much else has been happening, except the squid off the back and straight into the pot, changed out the primary fuel filters, geez pretty bloody dirty, then had a rubbish burn on the beach, a good little fire and a well cleaned up beach, you got to do something otherwise you might end up bored..

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My iPhone 5C has taken a turn for the worse, it is getting bigger and bigger as the days go by, have tried to correspond with Apple support but they haven’t got back to me so taking photos daily at the changes it is going through, its kind of alive. I tried gluing it down but it just popped those in a day, looked up on google and it is most likely the battery has crapped out, apparently I should get a new one on warranty, hope so as it is a bloody good phone, you can use it for hotspot where no others fear to tread plus the camera is a ripper, really notice not taking photos now. Could have had some goodies, Jens red one has shit the tin as well.

Had a dive on the anchor, it had shifted so decided to try getting it up, piece of piss, then put it back down and checked, should be good. I’ve got a stick in the water that I use to tell me if we have moved, it is pretty good as we move heaps, fifty plus metres on each tide but it is always in the same place.

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Sitting here now at 0430, storms all around, but hopefully they miss us this time, at least if I watch now I can sleep in, in the morning cool time.

We went for another trip into town, the weather was balmy with a slight southerly blowing, topped up Jens phone and internet, got more corn flakes, they are really good, and went for a walk uptown, had a look at a church and then come back and found a Nasi Goreng outlet, in the end I went and sat next to the cook, she had all the bits that go into my nasi goring at her toes, she sat on a wooden box, the cookers, kero powered, were no more than a school ruler above the ground, on you Sabrina, one wok for the omlette and the other for the rice, a cup of spring onions sits idly by, some sachets of stuff and some bright red chilli paste in another cup thing. Jen looked and bailed but then ended up eating all of her Indonesian muffins and a donut, not bad for someone who wasn’t hungry.

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I sat next to my new mate as she cooked away, giving me a try every time she added something new to the wok, the kero cooker gives an unusual taste, but one you can live with, at that moment her husband comes in to pray, I watched as he didn’t seem to mind and it was pretty well over before it began. My rice is now getting the real treatment, rubbing it into the wok, no lumpy bits here and also getting every last bit of flavor out of the old wok itself. Finally it is finished, I added a few fresh chilli’s, which came out on a sheet of bunched up newspaper, chopped them up with my spoon and chucked them on, first taste was tentative but it was really, really good. Jen even tried the omelette and gave the thumbs up. All up, four muffins, one dohnut and my nasi goreng came to 21000idr, two bucks, we gave her a tip to make it up to 30000idr and we are now family, there you go, something from nothing, I can tell you if I hadn’t been so hungry we might have not even tried it out.

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The corn flakes taste good but not too much get up and go in them, could be bacon and eggs for brekkie tomoro, something with a bit of oomph, down to three packs of bacon, they have lasted so long it is amazing, seems like we must have eaten a pig by now, one pack gets you five bits each, they are actually thicker than the Thai bacon and with some eggs what more can you ask for.

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It has been pissing down, for the last hour, the gensets running so at least we are cold, we have a nice big bag of ice, all Jens buckets are full and now we are filling the port tank up, showers all round for the next few days, usually have three or four a day, got to get the salt off.

It ended up being a wild old night, NW winds up to 30 knots, thunder that was making the boat vibrate and full on lightning but a bit off from us, we are fully safe here but you can still hear it, set the anchor alarm, the track just goes back and forth now so we are probably hooked around a boondy, its just on 12 metres so if you have to you can can get down there for a glance but if it all turns to shit there is always the hookah.

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Went into town to pick up some beer, this young kid leans over the wharf and says, “miney”, looked at him and shook my head, but as I walked away I thought, I’ve got a job for you, so I went back, his old man said it was ok so I took him and his mate uptown then loaded them up with a carton of beer each and sent them back to the dinghy, the poor buggers had to walk past the Moesque with them, right on 1300 on a Friday no less, place was packed, they were wrapped with the 5000idr each and a bengbeng. They had packed it all aboard, good value and perhaps if in future they come up to you and say can I carry for you they might get some miney. They get bugger all begging for it. I will look out for this young fella now, although I reckon he’ll be looking out for me. Won’t be going to the butchers though, chicken is their specialty, and I am not real flash on it, unless it comes in a box and is hot and spicy.

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Surf is nonexistent, have printed out all our letters etc for the visa extension, the last 2 pages are a bit light as the ink was running out but they are Jen’s so not my problem, hahaha, I would get my arse kicked, but we are looking good. Listen to the derby on Sunday, Go Dockers, then Monday morning head seventy odd miles to Padang, looks like 10 to 20 kn SE most of the day so could be a hooting sail, reaching all the way with the swell up our arse. I will believe it when I see it.

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Tim and Megan are back and we look like catching up with them tonight at the local nightclub, bar and bistro, I would believe that when I see it as well.

A dinghy ride to remember.

11th August 2015.

Holy crap, we have just been flogged, Jens spun, my legs are a bit wonky, well a bit more than normal, we only went to get some phone credit and some milk and its turned into a do or die mission.

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As we were leaving the Ranga I was looking to the north, balmy conditions but a bit of dark cloud moving in from that direction. I ummed and arrred for a bit but we went, famous last words “it cant be worse than the other day”. Flew over to town and parked the dinghy at the wharf this time, easy as you like and headed uptown to have a bit of a look around. Theres a festival on, wish I had have got a photo of the banner, perhaps tomoro if it didn’t get blown away, the first thing I noticed was “free sex” but this followed by HIV Aids, so we bolted.

Found a phone shop, got 100000idr credit for the phone and another 3.5GB of data, easy as you like, all for about twenty bucks, we then proceeded to go for a walk up the street and ended up buying some milk, corn flakes, shapes and some choccy. We came out of the shop and it was like we were in a different world, all the corrugated iron, that the shops are made of is banging and clanging, people are running for cover and the first raindrops are splattering around us, shit, c’mon lets get out of here. As we got to the wharf it was pretty bloody obvious that this was gunna be an all out adventure to get back to the Ranga. I was keen, Jen just obeyed orders, lucky for me, where we got in the boat was tucked away and calm but once we got out of the lee of all the ferrys and other boats, holy crap, about a metre wind wave with who knows what wind, had to put my sunnys on to be able to see, could have, should have turned around but I felt pretty confident we would make it. Plus it was the first real NW blow in the anchorage and you always want to be aboard for that, even if it is only to drink beers. Once out of the harbor we then followed the backs of houses and shops around the last point and be buggered it is now blowing it’s arse off. You have to cross a really bad stretch of water where current and wind really combine to throw up some shit, we were about half way across this when a twenty metre Indo ship appears out of the white we have found ourselves in, the bloke spun out, just gave him a wave and we powered on, but he threw me off my course and we just headed to where I thought Ranga would be, then we saw land, bit to soon for my liking, took a bit but Jen saw the Telkomsel Arial, we are now on the wrong shoreline to where we want to be and now it is going to be head on into it.

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I contemplated hanging about but as we got close to the shore it may be sand on the beach but its coral up to it, out of there. Took a bit of a gamble, I knew about where we needed to go and I also knew if I missed we would hit land to the west and a reef to the east, so getting my bearings with the coast and the wind direction we headed off into it, straight into it as best I could, within ten minutes I spied the point out of the white that we were now engulfed in, I then knew where the Ranga was, plus the bonus was she hadn’t come drifting past us so pretty sure she was still where we left her. Once past the point we copped the biggest waves of the mission, the dinghy is chockers, fuel tank floating around in the bottom, milk and corn flakes and all sorts of shit with it but we just plodded on, I saw the Ranga for a sec then it was gone, we were heading in the right direction, then we got hammered by the wind and rain, thought the dinghy was going to flip over backwards, almost said to Jen to sit up the front a bit but she was in no mood or state to be letting go of the hand rail thingys. The last hundred metres was out of control, I started thinking what happens now if the engine stops, so close but no way of getting there, it didn’t and we finally pulled up, Tohatsu, thats who, Jen clambered out and made it to the steps and sat down in the rain, I chucked all the stuff aboard, tied off the dinghy, got out of me gear, opened up the boat and grabbed a beer, that was one well earned beer and it settled me down big time, the second one was better and now the storm has past and we are into a bottle of some Kiwi Savvy Blanc. That was definitely a GoPro moment, but it is flat as usual.

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I checked our location on the GPS, we are 182 ft from where we were, the chain is tight but now pulled in a completely different direction. This boating lark, god you gotta love it.

Mentawi’eeeees if you pleeeease.

7th August 2015.

Up at sparrows, Yanmahs on, instruments on, window out, anchor up, said seeya to those who were awake and away we go, the mythical island chain called The Mentawi’s our next destination.

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Got good current but as usual a bit of breeze on the nose, only ten knots so not to bad. It is only thirty five mile to the NE tip and another ten down the east coast to our anchorage for the night at Tabekat Bay on Pulau Siberut.

Came into the anchorage and decided to make a track out the back door of the island while the sun is up just in case we have to bugger off before sunrise.

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Good little anchorage, bit deep, twenty metres, but it feels like good holding, hope we can get the bloody thing out of the mud tomoro morning. Heaps of mangroves, probably heaps of muddies to, that would hit the spot. Must be some spot where they cut down trees, as there is a big barge chocker with tree trunks, just being in touch with the environment that I find myself in.

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Have had a couple of storms go over but nothing to get bothered about and the locals seem to keep to themselves which is a welcome change although they have got to pass within a couple of metres as they fly past, long canoes here, but no outriggers like in Telos and Nias.

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Once again up with the birds, used our track and off we go, the wind is a bit from the east so sails up and doing quite well, six plus knots all the way until around midday when we had to tack East for a few miles then back and almost made it to Siberut Bay, down sails and arc up the yanmahs, way to much South and getting up there. We followed a ferry into the bay but got hit with a rain storm, white out and not much point trying to go into somewhere we have stuff all info on and no vision so we headed out again and headed south a bit more to what looked like a bit of a protected bay, the screen showed a narrow channel into the bay between a couple of reefs, ended up a piece of piss and a local, Ujung, guided us to a good spot to anchor, once again bit deep, twenty two metres, but he gave us the thumbs up once we were all done.

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He came back a bit later on with half a dozen Coral Trout in his live tank, a partition made into the hull with a couple of holes drilled through the hulls side to keep it fresh, I picked up the biggest one, what a beauty, easy a couple off kilo’s, he couldn’t understand a word we said, beside namesaya Rod and Jenny, but asked me to jump aboard and we went to see his son, Anton, geez when I got in his canoe, long with no outriggers, we almost went over, I don’t know if he shit himself but I did. We made it over to his floating house and I got out of his boat quick smart and sat on the frames of his fish tanks, much more stable, then the bargaining began, I was pretty keen on the big CT and a smaller one for 100000idr, it went backwards and forwards for ten minutes, they just couldn’t do it so I reckoned I was close to the mark, so asked them if they drink Bintang, Oh Yeah, so my last price is 100000idr and three tidal dinged (hot) Bintangs, shook our thumbs and a high five, Anton then chucked another fish in my basket and had me thinking, does anyone know what I agreed to, I put the fish back in their tank and they were most happy, not the fish it probably didn’t give a toss who ate it by then, it all worked out well and I reckon we ended up mates.

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Stormy old night, decent Sumatra with 35 knots, but anchored up safe as houses in here. Checked our position this morning and we are 480feet from where we were last night, got ninety metres of chain in so figuring we are easily in our safe working distance.

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Kicked back for a relax day, had a few visitors but did stuff all else, suppose listening to the footy on 15.415hz is doing something, Roozen’s mob kicked arse.

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We hit the road 0700 and made our way to Pulau Sipuru, easy going with heady up and one engine keeping us at seven knots. Had some concerns coming through a couple of islands but a ferry came through and showed us the passage, we just followed him and alls good, it was excellent of the guy to show us the way, we then found a spot Tim and Megan gave us and anchored up, checked the bottom, bit boondy like but I don’t think we will be going anywhere, no matter the wind direction.

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Yacked to the folks and Mo which was good value, we have 3G so we can do anything, it is good to have fast internet for a change. Just watched the Dockers flog the Saints, sort of anyway, second game I have watched for the season, had a few Binnies and in a pretty good space.

Tell you what, Bring on the derby!!!!