Thursday, October 17, 2013

Belitung Island to Bintan Island

We were relieved to get out of Kumai and delighted when we found enough wind to be able to fly the spinnaker for most of the afternoon. As evening set in, the wind died and the engine came on - it stayed on for most of the 300 miles we traveled to get to Belitung Island. A good percentage of the participants in Sail Indonesia were there when we arrived and it almost felt like a reunion. Our anchor set deeply in a good sand bottom which is always reassuring.

The beach was lined with warungs which is almost like a restaurant. Its usually a tin roof over some resin tables and chairs, the 'kitchen' is sometimes nothing more than a wood fire in the back. We have had some very good meals in some warungs but also some lousy ones. The cruisers all seem to gather at a particular one which meant the poor staff there was going crazy trying to fill the orders from the Demanding White People Who Don't Have Much Patience. At least they had a good inventory of cold Bintang beer, Indonesia's equivalent to America's Budweiser, so even if a cruiser had to wait an hour-and-a-half for his plate of nasi goreng (fried rice), he would have been kept quiet by pounding down a few of the 650-ml bottles.

Its easy to drink a lot of beer when its as hot as it is here. With daytime temperatures in the mid-90°F and humidity somewhere around 95%, any physical exercise more strenuous than drinking a beer will produce enough perspiration to completely soak through a t-shirt. It was close to midnight a couple of nights ago when the wind shifted so I decided to pole out the genoa; by the time I got back to the cockpit after just a few minutes of working on deck, I was in bad need of a shower. The benefit is that it makes the perfect excuse for procrastinating any project. All you have to do when work rears it's ugly head is say, "Its too hot." and everyone around will nod in agreement.

The small village we had anchored off of was just too small and didn't even have a small grocery store. A few boats got together and hired a small bus with a driver to take us into the nearest town - about 30 kilometers away - so we could do some provisioning. It was a bit of unusual luck when we discovered that the bus had air conditioning and we all sat feeling very regal as we watched people on their motorbikes struggling in the pouring rain. As it turns out, the joke was on us as we discovered that the entire town was shut down in observance of a Muslim holiday. Nothing was open and the streets were deserted. We found a few items in a convenience store but no produce to speak of and that had been our main objective.

We left Belitung the next day, hoping our meager supplies will see us to Singapore. Since we left Darwin we have covered 2,900 nautical miles and still have another 300 or so to go. By the time we get to Malaysia, its quite likely that our odometer will show over 20,000 miles sailed since we left San Diego.
At 10/17/2013 4:41 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 01°20.65'S 105°51.50'E

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1 comment:

  1. I like the sound of 20,000 miles. God for you and Ruthie. I very pleased and a little jealous. Rolande