Friday, 28 December 2012


'They're funny things, Accidents. You never have them till you're having them' - A.A. Milne
After an enjoyable leisurely breakfast overlooking the marina, we headed back to the boat; just as Keith said ‘...hey look at that yacht coming in...’, I looked up instead of down and next thing found myself flat on the ground, after hitting my head on the wooden bench seat.
Then my gaze fell on my wrist just as I was surrounded by staff and a group of American sailors, one of whom was a doctor. ‘Your wrist is broken’; ‘no shit Sherlock, I don’t need a medical degree to see that, I thought’ A van immediately appeared to cart me off to the Rumah Sakit (hospital), after the lovely doctor organised ice, and the driver was so careful to avoid potholes, and so very slow. The emergency room registrar asked if I wanted to go to Singapore...another oh shit! Medical Insurance expired yesterday!...if you want to go under anaesthetic, we will have to bring in specialists. By this time all I wanted was my wrist fixed so I agreed to local anaesthetic and it was manually manipulated back into place and plastered. A heady $120 later I was back on board and we were off to Malaysia.
Indonesian flag down
Malaysian flag up
With a few major storms enroute we cleared into Admiral Marina, where Anne and Rob took off for a Malacca visit, and then off to Pangkor for a few days. Unfortunately Lea was confined to the boat  (wet plaster is not an option) whilst Keith, Rob and Anne enjoyed the water and beachside restaurants. This was to be an annoyance as we visited other beautiful beaches on the way north.
Constructing the new bridge at Penang
When we arrived at Straits Quay Marina on the 4th November, it was up to see the orthopaedic surgeon at the Penang Adventist Hospital. He said it was a really good job, come back in 6 weeks and we will remove the plaster. He did comment that 'at my age', they would have pinned it, but hey I really have enough scars already and it works again anyway. Rob and Anne left us here; it was sad to see them go after our amazing adventures.
On the 2nd December, we left Tientos at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club and returned to Penang on the ferry for the removal of the plaster, which by this time was very hot and itchy. We returned to Langkawi to spend our quiet xmas once more at Eco Beach.
What an eventful 2012!
May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A West Indonesian Odyssey

'Good times + crazy friends = amazing memories' - Author Unknown
We departed Lombok at 1630 on the 16th September for a 98nm overnight passage to the Kangean Islands. Like us, Rob and Anne had a t-shirt from Bali and new exploration was the order of the day. Much as our passage from Bali to Raas in 2006, we again faced confused seas and erratic wind predominately on the nose.  Hmmm, seems that yellow sacrificial strip is working again; indicating the direction from which the wind will come. 
The Kangean Islands is another archipelago of 60 islands, with the largest known as Kangean, rated as the third best snorkelling spot in Indonesia. However we saw no sign of tourists. Arriving at first light, we motored slowly around these quiet islands finally anchoring at Saebus, an island of white sand and coral reefs, in 17m. Swim and snorkel time with pizza dinner along with Gin and Tonics to enjoy the view.

Another foray saw us anchored on Kangean at the western end where we were to stay 2 days until the winds eased. Keith caught up on the ice-cream supplies, mixing another batch with his drill.
More Ice-Cream
After anchoring at Raas, sailing along the Madura and Java coasts offered a complete juxtaposition in a single day; fishing villages, colourful boats and sandy beaches of old Indonesia to oil refineries and drilling rigs in the modern world. 
The fishing boats are an amazing array of design and colour
Car carrier islander style
It would be interesting to know why the different styles
Lots of rigs along this coast
and refineries

We had some lovely sailing along this coastline marveling at the differences, and enjoying the day sails with the knowledge of anchoring late afternoon to enjoy a good meal and sleep. One can anchor anywhere along these coasts watching for oil rig restrictions on the charts. We anchored in the port of Kurimunjawa on 27th after a 12 day meander.
The Port
This is a very popular area for tourists and divers; the name Karimunjawa means 'a stone's throw from Java'; and this National Park is home to many protected species of coral, shells, marine life and birds. 

Entering the Port
Our 2 day stay here consisted of market shopping, fuel and water provisioning and dinners at the welcoming Amora Restaurant. 
Dinner view
Market shopping
Amora Restaurant
Given the number of popular islands in this area we thought we would motor around to find an anchorage before heading to Belitung. Rob, with the help of Google Earth, unearthed (pardon the pun) a tranquil little paradise (Pulau Parang) about 17nm away. 
Rob as the Explorer of the day

Unfortunately for this National Park, along with crystal waters, vibrant coral and white beaches was the ubiquitous rubbish. But it was heavenly to relax and swim followed by a BBQ on the patio. 
A little piece of paradise
BBQ on the patio
Ah well, time to set sail for Belitung on Wednesday 3rd October. So, what does one do on passage? Keith made bread, Rob made pancakes, the Genaker was raised and watches were kept. And lots of reading and games. 
Genaker up
Keeping watch
Keith's bread was reduced to crumbs
Rob making pancakes
After a 194nm passage, we anchored on the south side of Belitung just on sunset and then day sailed around the island to anchor at Tanjung Kelayang on the 7th. 
Granite boulders
Kelayang central

This island is known for its pure granite boulders, fine sand and sparkling water. The anchorage however can be a lee shore in north-westerlies and becomes very uncomfortable. The lighthouse we passed on Pulau Lengkuas is over 120 years old. Shipped from England, under Dutch rule it was used as a prison for captive Indonesians.
The lighthouse island is a hit with tourists
Beachside cafe

We left Kelayang heading for the Riau Islands on 17th October; our visas were running out of time. Squalls and storms were coming in with the change of season and as we sailed past a number of islands, we also picked up hitchhikers. These birds showed no fear and even sat on Keith's hand.
Pulau Gelasa
This stowaway was aboard for a couple of days
The Equator swim became a non-event as large jellyfish were spotted in the water, so Neptune had to suffice with Chivas Regal. 
Rob ready for the Equator dip
Jellyfish in there - no swimming here
On Wednesday 17th October, Tientos berthed at Nongsa Point Marina. Our Indonesian odyssey was completed.

                               May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Fast Track to Lombok

'To rush is to miss the experience' - Aniekee Tochukwu
Despite wanting to linger at Kroko, Lombok, and our friends Rob and Anne, were calling; we needed to make haste...
An overnighter (change of plans when the wind would not allow us to enter Maumere) saw us anchor at Mausambi behind the rock wall and then straight through to Labuan Bajo where we anchored in 8m just off the Eco Beach Resort. 
Sunset on passage
Got to love the entrepreneurial young guys in long tails; no sooner is the pick down they are alongside: solar? telur? roti? a veritable treasure trove of goodies waiting to be selected and returned by these guys. Obviously you are paying a little more but we didn't want to bother dropping the dinghy to go ashore (and we have to stimulate the local economy).
Big Bandicoot, a very large catamaran we had first seen in the Multi-Hull Association yard in Darwin, was anchored further in front. After a visit by Phil, the owner, it was agreed he would accompany us - he was also in a hurry. Given Phil was technically a solo sailor, we agreed to stopovers each night; mind you Big Bandicoot is fast!
Big Bandicoot can anchor closer
The wind was fickle (yes we are back in Indonesia Toto) so our sail configurations were mostly iron topsail. We anchored the first night at Gili Lawa Dawat. 
Missing more exploring
The following day we anchored just inside the entrance to Bima amongst the fishing fleet who totally ignored us. You would think a couple of yachts, one the size of a small nation, would cause a diversion in their daily lives.
Bouncy anchorage at the Bima Fishing Basin
We were planning on heading to Satonda but the south-easterlies kicked in with a vengeance so a 2 day layover was required at Kununga. The fishing vessels operating out of here are so colourful.
The next fast passage saw us anchored at Karamat in 16m virtually on the sand; one of the most stunningly beautiful beaches anywhere. This is a tiny little island, just a dot on the chart without tourists or locals; just the occasional lonely fisherman.
Anchored off Karamat
Lea time
'we can't stay...' was our mantra, time was marching and so were we! Heading through the passage and across to Gili Lawang, we anchored on the Lombok side for our last night of the passage. Leaving at 0530 the following morning, we finally moored on our pontoon at Medana Bay Marina at 1315 on Friday 7th September. 
Tientos at the end
View from the starboard side is better
We had made it with 2 days to spare. So off to Immigration at Mataram to renew our visas and the supermarkets to re-provision. 
Lea has a chat with Ronald in Mataram
Rob and Anne arrived on Sunday 8th, just as the Rally yachts were arriving and the champagne started at 3pm. 
Rob and Lea preparing for champagne

 We were ready to slow down and enjoy the festivities.
Music with dinner
Rob and Anne check out the kayaks
Sailfish Cafe
Tropical dining
Life continues amid the Rally

May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked! 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Troubles in little Kupang

'There are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems' - Henry Ford

Kupang had not changed since our last visit; bad holding, a floating parade of rubbish as it is all thrown off the cliffs and a lee shore. 
The normal clear in process for the Rally was fast and furious with 133 boats vying for the service. All done by dinghy with the CIQP officials (all 8 of them) coming to each vessel . But eventually it was done and we could go ashore for the next round of paperwork. In the meantime, a yacht had dragged toward the rocks but between the Customs boat and lots of yachties, she was re-anchored.
Customs to the rescue: but had to be rescued when they broke down
Yachties to the rescue: the owners were not on board

Going ashore is interesting to say the very least: being a lee shore it can be a little bouncy, then you have to navigate the traders tied up. The service of the dinghy boys takes away a lot of the stress particularly when you have a 'big' tinny. For the heady sum of about $4 a day, they haul it up the beach and return it to the water when you are ready to go home.
Along with the crew of 'Babar', we took a taxi to the Telkomsel office for some serious data and mobile phone packages. For about $10 a month, local calls are free and data availability about 1.2GB.
We met Dr Made, the Port Doctor, during our clear in and he was to become a good friend, often coming to Tientos for dinner. He had been posted to Kupang for 2 years but had to leave his family in Bali. 
Dr Made aboard Tientos
Keith was checking the motor ready for our departure on Saturday 4th August and discovered BAD NEWS!  Our fuel injector pump was history! Dead, deceased, expired! This was confirmed by Matthew, mechanic extraordinaire in Kupang, and he was unable to source another for our 80hp Perkins 4.236. Lots of phone calls later, a pump was located at Fremantle Injection Service in Perth Australia and flown to the Darwin Sailing Club. Now the fun began...there is no flight or barge from Darwin to Kupang, but we knew yachts who were heading to Kupang from Darwin. Keith's investigative skills in tracking down these yachts would leave Sherlock for dead. Finally, a yacht was found and the part would be here in about 10 days. 
Bouncy anchorage as we wait
We watched as the Rally yachts departed but enjoyed the company of other visiting yachts whilst we were waiting, waiting, waiting...watching every yacht that appeared around the headland. 
A deserted anchorage at Kupang

You know that adage about not making plans to meet a boat? We had friends booked to fly to Bali to meet Tientos; change of plans. We will collect you at Lombok and we will short-change our planned time around Komodo!
Finally the part arrived on 20th August; Matthew installed that morning ($200) and we weighed anchor at 1315.  An overnighter saw us entering Boling Strait at first light on top of the tide and a heady 9.9 knots saw us spat out the other end in time to anchor at Kroko, one of our favourite spots. Oh Bliss! 
Stress release

 May all your bars be wooden and well-stocked!