|Malaysia and Singapore|
|From Lingga we motor sailed for a day to reach the Lingga Mesenak anchorage. During this passage we crossed the equator for the second time. We were not the slimy pollywogs from our first crossing, we were trusty shellbacks. Being the Sons of Neptune we did not hold a large celebration, however, we did offer some coins and liquid refreshments to King Neptune. Then we got hit by a squall.|
|October, 2007: From Kumai, we originally planned for an overnighter to an small island then to Belitung, which was the next stop for the rally boats. There was no wind and flat seas, so we decided to keep going and miss Belitung. We motor sailed for three nights until we anchored on the south side of Pulua Lingga. It was an exposed anchorage and a little rolly, but the weather was calm so we had a good night sleep. Sailing these waters at night is exciting, you definitely don't fall asleep on your watch. Being 120 miles from the Singapore strait, there are freighters and tankers going in all directions. Local tow barges have dim lights on, sometimes. The radar was on all the time. At one point there were a few ships approaching each other and a local played a recording of a chicken!
|The passage was hot and we were tired of being on the boat for four days. Lingga Mesenak had a nice beach for the children to run around on and swim, so we stayed two nights.|
|The sunset was beautiful and that evening we saw St. Elmos fire in the sky. From Mesenak we had to decide where we needed to go to check out of Indonesia. The usual Marina, Nongsa, was destroyed in a storm last year. Reading our guide, Cruising Guide to Southeast Asia Volume II, Tanjung Pinang on the island of Bintan is a clearance port. This could be an adventure as we were with no other rally boats. The day we left we experienced our first rain since leaving Australia.|
|Tajung Pinang is the Capital of Bintan and is partly built over the water on stilts. Two other sail boats were there and paved the way for us. The officials were not used to checking out cruisers, so two hours later and no charge, Jim had our documents in order. The boats that checked out with the rally paid $30 and had to wait two days. The anchorage marked in our guide was crowded with all types of ships, so we anchored near the pier in nine feet of water, we draw eight. Finding a place to dock the dinghy was a challenge, however, we found a restaurant on the water, the Hotel Melia, where it would be safe. Two days was enough for us to buy duty free beer and fuel up. Saturday was the last day of Ramadan and we wanted to be away from a big city by then.|
|At low tide all your senses come alive with the punjent smell of the open sewers and trash under the buildings on stilts. Throughout Indonesia the garbarge was amazing, floating plastic bags in the clear blue water. The villagers traditionally would sell and eat their food from banana leaves, which they would just throw on the ground. Now everything is wrapped in plastic and they still just throw it on the ground. There are no garbage trucks or city dumps, so trash is burned, left on the street or thrown in the water. One cruiser once paid a local to take his trash ashore to dispose of, the local emptied all the trash into the ocean and took the plastic bag. After hearing of this we would just have bon fires on the beach and burn our trash, we felt it was better to do that than have it end up in the ocean. Every CEO of a plastics company should visit Indonesia.|
|It's advantageous to time the northerly current correctly up Selat Riau. This is the strait between the Indonesian Islands of Bintan and Batam. To do this we had to leave Tanjuung Pinang at 04:00. Leaving the anchorage this early, and making our way through the shallow, dark harbor was un-nerving. This paid off as we made about nine knots of speed with the current and by day light we were able to see the East/West Singapore Strait. From the south we crossed the east bound lane. We were clear, except for a cruise ship that decided to turn and stop near us. It was waiting for a Singapore pilot to come out and guide them in. The west bound lane was different. There were four ships heading our way, and two were passing each other. It was then we saw a new ship coming from the west toward us. We aimed for the stern of the last westbound ship in order to cross the shipping lanes as fast as possible.. After clearing the lanes, (traffic seperation scheme) we approached the enourmous commercial Singapore anchorage. It was filled with hundreds of tankers, freighters, barges, tow boats and container ships either anchored, moving or bunkering (fueling). Once we navigated through this, we were near the entrance of the Sungai Santi River. Our final destination is the Sebana Resort and Marina which is located four miles up the river. The sailing directions mention that the river is buoyed right to the entrance of the marina, we did not see one marker. The river depth was approximately 20 feet most of the way, except at the entrance. There is a sand bar at the head of the river. We timed our arrival with the high tide and made it over the bar with several feet of water to spare. After securing the dock lines and putting up the awning, we headed to the restaurant for a cheeseburger by the pool. (The pool even has a slide!) Blue Sky was plugged in, however, the step down transformer we bought back in Bundaberg, Australia was not working properly. (Electricity here is supplies at 240 V 50Hz vs. the US where it's 110V 60Hz) It was showing reverse polarity and it was becoming hot. (Not good) The next day Jim was on a ferry to Singapore to buy a new transformer. The ferry ride is an hour and then a half hour cab ride into town. After a full day running around, Jim was home in time for dinner. It is very hot here so Jim was on a mission to get the air conditioner working. The previous owner installed one, and of course the pump is in a very difficult position to get to. Once we had the electricity sorted Jim figured out that the air conditioner salt water pump had seized. After removing, cleaning and re-installing said pump. It was determined that we needed a new one. Jim was back on the ferry to Singapore the next day to get a new 110V pump. Once we installed it, we could not run the air conditioner with the new transformer as there was not sufficeint power to run air conditioning, refrigeration wi-fi on the computers etc.. Bummer, so what would a hot cruiser do in our situation, we went to town and bought a window box unit and installed it over the center hatch and it's wired directly into the dock box. Ahhh, cool air.|
|The water is brackish so the mixture of salt and fresh water really helps keep the marine growth off the boat. All the salt water creatures that like to attach themselves to Blue Sky can't take the fresh water. The fresh water slime can't handle the salt, so we are in the best shape "bottom wise" that we have ever been. The topsides are taking a beating for the constant humidity, sun and rain. We have removed almost everything that is stored outside which makes washing the boat quicker and more efficient, we even have all our cockpit cushions in the v-berth, otherwise they would become very moldy.
Sebana Marina only had a few boats from the rally in it when we arrived. Our friends on s/v Good Hope showed up a few days after us. Also Liz and Hans from s/v Reve De Lune, were there and it was Hans' birthday. We had a donut on board and the Drake, Phoebe and Jack surprised him with a candle in it and sang Happy Birthday. Everyone has to blow out a candle on their birthday.
|A few days after, we celebrated another birthday, Matt was turning eight. There is a nice bakery in town where his parents bought him a cake. Center photo from left to right are Dare and Tatyana from s/v Gwendolyn, Jack the Lad from s/v Good Hope, Phoebe, Matt, mom Georgie, Drake and Fletcher from s/v Clare du Lune (his mom, Lisa, is standing). Matt is pictured with his mom, Georgie and his dad, Brad. A good time was had by all.|
| Every Saturday night the Resort has a BBQ buffet that has a huge variety of food. One of the crusiers arranged with the management to set up a long table just for the sailors. This allows us to bring our own beverages and pot luck our resources with each other. Tom and Amy from s/v Sandpiper are pictured with us above.
Here at Sebana we met s/v Surrender. Surrender's owner's, Ann & Less have a rescued cockatoo on board named Rocky. Ann brought Rocky to the swimming pool one afternoon. All the children were given an impromptu education in cockatoos. They require about the same time & effort to develop as human children. Phoebe & Tatyana were very excited & even had a chance to hold him. (Excellent Boat School Opportunity).
This time of year, most afternoons, thunder storms roll in. Sometimes they are directly over head and occasionally the lighting is so close, it "crackles" just before it strikes. (Very scarey) Other days, it just rains. A couple boats have been hit by lighting in Indonesia & Singapore. Not a very pleasant experience as most, if not all, electronics are destroyed and have to be replaced. From the begining of our website and our re-fit, we have learned that it is not the price of the instruments that is the most frustrating, it is the time and aggravation it takes to install them.
When it is not raining we spend as much time at the pool as possible. Sophie, Phoebe and Amy plan attacks against the boys. During the week the pool is quite, on the weekends, it can get very busy, with families from Singapore. During the week I have been playing tennis with Duncan and Irene off s/v Moose and Liz from s/v Rev de Lune. It is fun to play again as it has been a while and we are all well matched. After tennis I give Phoebe and Drake lessons, they are both naturals. Jim plays golf with Hans from s/v Reb de Lune, the course is very nice, you just have to keep an eye on the monkeys. The monkeys are mischievious and will grab anything they can get their hands on in your cart.
|Halloween boaters style. All the children in the Marina came over to Blue sky to make decorations for Halloween, they cut out paper bats, ghosts and pumpkins. There were no pumpkins in town so we carved out a watermelon. At night it was very cool because it is red inside and looked like blood glowing in the candle light. Below is our epitah that we hung it read "John Amos Once Famous, Saw a Ghost now he is Toast". It was wonderful to see how creative the children can be with their costumes, as we did nothave access to a proper costume store.|
|Drake was a Dementor from Harry Potter and Phoebe a ghost bride. She felt so scarey that she decided she wanted to be pretty next year. The trick-o-treaters from left to right, Tatyana the cheerleader, Sophie the fortune teller, Jack the pirate, Dare the soldier, Matt, Drake, Finn the pirate, Phoebe and Salame the diva. The other children were from New Zealand, Australia and Belgium so Phoebe and Drake taught them the ropes. Jack the Lad was very ambitious and grabbed the biggest box he find to fill it with goodies. His opposite brother, Matt, had a small treasure chest. They all enjoyed some goodies after trick-o-treating around the boats in the Marina.|
|Rene and Steve from s/v Shiraz were in Singapore for a few days. Jim and I took the ferry over for a night without the children, as we had not seen them since Kupang. We stayed at a back packers called the Mt. Emily Hangout, which was pretty resonable for Singapore. Team Sandpiper came into town as well and we all went to the Raffles Hotel to have a Singapore sling, only one drink allowed as it was $18.00 for a beer. From Raffles we took the MRT. (Subway) Below is everyone's reflection in the clean glass and waiting for the train. (We did see a piece of trash on the ground). Next stop was Little India to see the Festival of Lights, Deepavale, which is a Hindu holiday. They celebrate the triumph of good over evil, the victory of light over dark. It was very crowded, however, we found a great Indian restaurant called the Lagnaa Bare Foot Dining, it appears I had a great time there a couple years ago. There is a large store/mall called the Mustafa Center, we went there at 11:00pm and it was packed. I am glad we went because I found Honey Nut Cheerios, for the first time since Tonga.|
|The day after Little India, Jim and I ran around Singapore buying boat supplies. To the left is Doreen and her associates at Yong Seng Hardward LTD, they have every size stainless steel nuts and bolts you could ever imagine. Next my camera had some parts break, so I dropped it off and they were able to fix it at a resonable price.|
|In Sebana, the resort has shuttles that take us to the nearest town twice a week. We always find time to have a snack while we are there. One day we had lobster at a great fish restaurant, Amy is holding up lunch. Lately our favorite is Roti (Indian bread) with Curry.|
|On Thursday's the meat man shows up. He sells fresh chicken and pork from the back of his car. At first we were apprehensive, but the meat is delicious, and it is very fresh. You can not get any meat or dairy products in the local town. So we stocked up on those products in Singapore.|
|I bought a fresh chicken from the meat man and Team Sandpiper came over for Thanksgiving dinner, we even found a jar of cranberry sauce in the fridge it was yummy. One of our last dinners with Tom and Amy. They have decided to sail up the Red Sea at the beginning of next year so we don't know when we will see them again. It has been great cruising with them the last two years. To the right Phoebe and Drake are saying good-bye as we toss them their lines.|