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!

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