Big and Bad on the Bay Of Plenty.

3rd July 2015.

Happy birthday Teniele and Penny.

 Another week gone, that’s nine since we left, it is pretty amazing how quick they go by, although the moon is more noticeable, we are now in total full moon and if we were sailing it would be perfect, Ramahdam is half over, the full moon proves it, so hopefully our mates Danny and crew will have some fish and bugs for us soon. They haven’t been around since the beginning of Ramahdam.

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The Bay is pretty much deserted with only Investigator, The Sandy’s and us anchored up, Frederick and Rosie are clearing in, in Sibolga, we are waiting for the Persians to arrive, we had radio contact at 1900 tonight and they had ninety odd miles to go to Banda Aceh, blowing 25kns on the nose though, poor buggers, at least they are in a Perry 43 so you would feel confident with the boat.

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The waves have gone as well plus the wind is SE and just enough to stuff any chance of a surf. We have just about run out of veges, one cabbage left, got heaps of tinned stuff, a dozen eggs and plenty of meat. Had a hooting potato pie the other night, hit the spot nicely, used the powdered potato that we got from Sailors in Langkawi and pretty impressed. Hubert is in the same boat when it comes to food, although he was telling us about his sausage kebabs and his chicken kebabs today as we learnt how to play poker, sort of anyway. Old mate Ali keeps us with food on the table though, he is a beauty.

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Had a visit to the tree of knowledge and got a weather report, bit of a blow coming and you’d reckon some rain so looking forward to a bit of a drenching. Need some water in the creek system, bit dodgy washing clothes as they pong a bit from the water, which has a real sulphury smell to it.

There’s a turn up for the books, Imigrasi just paid us a visit, checking visa and stamps, all was good but just goes to show if you were doing the wrong thing they could catch you out anytime, not sure what would happen but I don’t want to find out.

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One of the local charter boats, captained by Aswin, has pulled up and with him are the same guys as last year, a couple of Germans Johannes and Jenns, good blokes and as they were going for a surf I went and got me board also, knew it was to shalla being low tide, dickhead, now got a couple of ripper cuts on my foot and knee, dickhead. Back to the boat for liberal splashing’s of the Chinese version of Betadine, Die Da Yao Jing, stings like buggery when you put it on a new cut but it dry’s them out in no time, the one on my knee wept for two days, not a good sign, even stayed out of the water as a result of it, but it came good just in time for my best session so far this season at Gunters. Could do no wrong for a few hours, got my best barrel, then got a bit of a pounding but got back to the boat frothing, siick. Had a few beers with the boys staying at the FSC, Zac, Des, Duck and Justin and recanted the day’s happenings, frothing. One of the boys that moved into the new section of the FSC came back with a suspected stonefish spike, but ended up being a hoax but better than actually getting spiked out here. Remembered Thomo’s at Dirk Hartog Island, he had to dunk his thumb, which looked like a bloody great sausage, into boiling salty water, bloody painful but he toughed it out and survived, this young fella squawked first go and then they added cold water to his bucket, I walked away in disgust and had another beer.

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The Bay has been devoid of Charter boats and if you wait till around 1100 all the guys from the camps are back in bed leaving the place deserted, perfect way to spend the middle part of your day, surfing and singing by yourself or with a couple of Germans, doing it tough.

We went to the opening of the new accommodation at the Floating Surf Camp, Dave and I pulled out the fireworks, Bailey supplied the speech and the coca cola, we the JD and voddie and with a bit of rope we tied down the 4” bomb, it went off, got to buy a few of them in Phuket next time we are there. Jesus wept, the noise was scary and the result was awesome with the sky above lighting up big time.

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It was a lay day next day, blurr.

Another big swell is coming, time to shift as the winds will have us facing in the wrong direction for the swells coming through into the anchorage, gets a bit rock and rolly, so we are up in Calm Bay again, like a millpond here.

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The Persians have arrived after a harrowing voyage, well done guys, and we celebrated their arrival with a good sundowner up at The Bahamas, which is what we call our old swimming hole now, a pretty apt likeness if you ask me.

Next day was Pen’s birthday, big lumpy waves and first out in the water for a bit then got bombed with the crowd, didn’t take much to get me back in the dinghy and out of there.

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We went down and said our goodbyes to the crew at the FSC and the boys, who ended up being rippers, well, really must have been rippers before they got there as they were rippers.

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1630 and it’s over to Persian Sands for an excellent evening of food and song, Frederick and his guitar were going off and everyone had a ball. We had chicken, bugs, fish and a huge bowl of salad, yews yews, it’s been a long time since we have even seen green veges, it was superb. Happy birthday Pen you are a pearler.

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Hubert and I ended up frogged, which also ended up with a few bruises and a pretty funny departure from Investigator into our dinghy, all done on hands and knees if you don’t mind, I certainly didn’t, bit sore now though. Look out Sibolga here we come, reckon even Blackie wanted to come too but bugger that, he bites.

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Beat the Visa part 2.

9th July 2014.

Bloody Bouyweather has let us down, but luckily we turned back and holed up in the bay at Treasures.

We came around the southern tip of P. Tangkura on a falling tide and had 1.5kns of current with us and up to 12kns breeze at 60 degrees so set the jib and doing 7kns heading for P. Babi or P. Lasia just depending on time of arrival.

We made it to the southern tip of P. Bangkaru and stuck our nose around the corner, not real flash, NW at 15kns and lumpy as so we turned around and headed back to Treasures which was a pretty good decision as boats started arriving and anchoring up everywhere. A tug and barge combo even have pulled up in the bay. Come six oclock we upped anchor and headed further into the bay to get more protection in the night. I was a bit baffled as to why everyone, all four charter boats included, were heading in, we had spent a couple of nights out last time we were here and no problem, the forecast on Bouyweather was for up to 10kns NNW and a building swell. Nothing to get to worried about.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Let me tell you, after watching the tug and barge anchor up, then Dream move down into the bay I thought why not so up with the anchor and in we go, Jen said check out all the boats and when I turned around the rest of the fleet were heading in, why I asked myself, although quite happy to be a sheep. Later on it started to rain and then it started to blow and now it is still blowing, good call turning back. The wind is slowly swinging to the south so here we sit, 02 2.236N    97 7.338E, waiting for it to bugger off. Made the call on the Iridium sat phone to Captain Mike in Langkawi, cut in and out but we finally got it, to check the weather for us, Passage weather has it exactly as it is, 25kns SW tending south and should be clearing by this evening, good really as it is Friday and you know what that means.

We spent all day day doing nothing, it was quite nice, the bay filled up with fishermen, charter boats and a couple of cruising yachts all getting tucked up out of the wind, blowing 20 to 30 knots, must be good sand, we were in 18 metres, had 90 metres of chain out and swung in a 90 degree arch throughout the night and day and the next morning we pulled her in no worries. The new chain is a bargain, if it is going to get windy, chuck it all out and don’t think about it hopefully. The old saying, chains not much good in the anchor locker just stick it all in, is absolutely true here. The weather can change so quick.

We left our anchorage 0700 on Saturday and headed around the Northern tip of P. Bangkaru this time, sussed the tide on our way across and we flew around the island, incoming head north and outgoing south. Really nice way to go as well, it is an awesome place, wild as. They even still have crocodiles, one big mother if you listen to the stories, someone should just shoot it, I reckon they are the scurge of the earth.

Once around the tip we had light winds on the nose and pretty bumpy seas which calmed down after 5 miles and it was just plain motoring once again headed for P. Lasia about 5 hours away. I was having a well earned snooze when Jen wakes me up and says there is a storm coming, up I get and horror, the whole horizon is black as, Lasia is just getting smashed and fishing boats are headed there for protection, changed course a bit and copped 27kns for an hour or so but snuck up the middle of both fronts but then once the initial storm passed the weather behind it was shit. 20kns and a couple of metre seas and slop. Lasia was out and so was Lugu, down to 3kns heading there and still were 20 odd miles out so another change of course and we are now headed for, Labuhanbaja, which is a bay right down south of Simuelue, approx. 02 23.705N 96 28.563E, on Navionics you are on land again. We anchored in 20 metres and has good holding.IMG_1446

This place is pretty cool with fishermen everywhere, got started on lightening the load by handing out a few of uncle Alf’s sinkers to the more inquisitive ones who came by to say, helo. Had a BBQ so now all the porterhouse steaks from the grocers at KLIA2 are gone. Big bummer. We have now used all the pies and snaggers that we got from Sailors as well. Not much meat left, it is now becoming precious. It was a great meal, steak and mashed potato with brown sauce, Worchestershire, no scraps in fact finger licking, plate licking and saucepan licking good.

Woke to still conditions and got everyone up and the anchor and away we go this time headed for Sinabang. It rained once we started working our way up the east coast and didn’t stop until we were right near the harbor enterance. As we passed an island on the way I did a measurement on the GPS, the Navionics charts are 348 feet out to starboard, in the rain it was a worry as you could only see about 20 metres around you and I knew this island was there somewhere, the radar picked it up spot on so at least you can rely on something. We had a ship go past the other day, good size with no AIS, back in Indo I guess, bargain.

Followed good port and starboard markers up into the harbor and anchored in 7 metres out the front of the mosque. It gets shallow quick close in.IMG_1466

We sat around doing stuff all, backgammon championship between Jen and Mo, I think Mo actually won, although I also reckon Jen was taking it easy on her.

I have got a book that is set in the 50’s in Malaya, learning some new words and phrases, the best so far is Tida apa which means I don’t really give a shit, whatever or like the French go phhhh through their lips, I like it and will try it out on someone today, add this to the other three phrases I have and quite a few words now might mean the end of the charades that have got me through so far.

 

Matt from Lugu gave us a contact, Seriti a charter boat which is here in the harbour so I went over and saw them last night to say gidday, Mick and his wife Coco and their son and also their partner Suzuki were there and made me very welcome with Leo beer from Thailand and I even ate oxtail soup Sulawesi style, bloody beautiful. Ended up Mick had to put the spot light on our boat so I could find it as the girls had gone to bed without leaving any lights on, it was black as and pretty late, excellent night, the girls missed out big time.

Once back on board I sat back and listened to the harmonies coming from the mosque and decided that’s enough for one day.

It is Rahmadan here now so the mosque is playing their tunes much more frequently like every few hours, last nights catchy little number was a siren screaming, sounded like the ones out of the battle of Britain, Jen got me up going what is that siren for, the only explanation to me was Tsunami warning shit horror. Pulau Simeulue is where the 2004 earthquake and Tsunami happened so you cant blame me, but when we got up to look no one was running around yelling and screaming, then the usual old wailing tune broke through the siren sound then more sirens and then to end it, a big scratch as the needle was roughly removed from the record as it was being recorded, DJ Sinabang.

Mo and I did a bit of walking around town to top up phones and wifi, she got stared at, I just said helo to everyone, it was good fun. We went to the market, good but better on a Tuesday or Wednesday was the word.

The supermarkets are pretty strange, they will have powdered milk, chocolates, soaps and stuff but no real milk or noodles or rice, that will be someone elses domain, like the phone shop sells phones but not the Telkomsel chips, that’s next door. You can buy filters for the water maker, 5micron for 16000IDR and a carbon filter for 22000IDR, they are even the same USA brand that came with the watermaker. You can find this shop on the right headed for the markets, it is the supplier of treated water, you can buy 25 litres of water for 5000IDR from them as well.

We bought all the kids at the jetty a soccer ball yesterday, it turned into a fight between the older ones and the younger ones and of course the older ones won, so today I gave the little dudes one, Ken, the guy who looks after the dinghy at the jetty for us, explained to them to share it but superman, due to his outfit and he is my favourite, he spends all his time fishing off the jetty with his best mate and grabs the rope off you always, was the carer of the ball. They all stood there and said thankyou, it was great, they are all pretty poor I would say, so any gift seems like Christmas to them, I don’t even know if they have Christmas, they have Ramahdam that’s for sure and certain.IMG_1454

We were leaving but the forecast for Friday and Saturday is pretty full on, normally if Buoyweather says 8 to 10kns you can double it if it comes from the west through to the north, Friday is expecting 25kns so who knows what to expect. We are sitting on a mooring in the bay at Sinabang safe as houses, have to service the engines so good time to do it. We saw 35kns the other day on the anchor, hate waiting for the anchor to drag, especially at 0300 which is the normal time for anchor alarms to go off, it has not dragged yet but you never know when it might, the joys of being a skipper.

Mo left on the single prop plane, she ran into Aaron, off Beachhouse who is off to Jakarta for knee surgery, in Medan Airport, then flew to Penang and then a ferry to Langkawi where Michael and Captain Mike picked her up so she is in good hands. She beat the visa by 1 day so all was good. We had a run in with authority over her on the boat but it sorted itself out we hope.IMG_1457

Hired the car off of Ranu for half a day, 200000IDR, so hit the markets, heaps of good stuff, found some good long beans but then found some ripper long beans so gave a young woman the 2nd grade ones, she was absolutely blown away, “why you give to me”, a gift gratis, she finally accepted them gratefully. We scored some spring rolls, only warm, but they were hooting, went into the fish markets pretty average but we were a bit late. We also went to the place where we bought our pineapples, sugar nanis, last time and were met by a really sad story as the girl who took us for the tour of the family farm’s mother had just died the day before. We bought heaps of pineapples off her and we both gave her a hug which she was happy to receive, not like the last time I tried to hug a lady up here.

Ranu and Uncle Louis organized fuel, bread but forgot the butter, never mind, so we loaded that all up and are pretty much waiting for the storm to bugger off and away we go. Still having internet problems but it might be the location, not going to help much where we are going back to anyway.