Crossing the South China Sea
We happily left Pontianak behind – without a backwards glance – as we begun our journey across the South China Sea. We soon arrived at Pulau Pengiki-besar.
We arrived late in the day and were promptly visited by the local village people and invited ashore. We were tired, hungry and just wanted to rest so we told them “besok pagi kami pergi desa” – tomorrow morning we would visit village.
We got up early and begun our chores thinking we’d get them done before heading to the village. No sooner had I begun the washing the first, of many, visitors arrived. They kept coming all morning in twos, fours and in the end we had a group of twenty children! Chatting with all the visitors slowed down getting our chores done, and we ended up having a bit of lunch before heading over to the village in the afternoon.
Once ashore the children took us to their teacher, who spoke some English (she was learning English as she taught it to the kids). The teacher, along with all the village children took us to the school for a look. We were then invited to play volley ball and swim (which they do every afternoon). Neither Dwayne or I are very good at volley ball so we watched instead.
The next day we continued our journey across the South China Sea towards Batam. Once we crossed and had reached the area around Pulau Lingga it was just day hopping from island to island and we enjoyed the water, the islands and the snorkelling, knowing that soon we would be back amongst the brown waters of the built-up towns and cities. Our best snorkelling was at P. Penohlaut and a tiny little cay not far from it. Heaps of clownfish!
We spent a couple of nights at Pulau Benen. This place has a small village and accommodation (they called home stay) which is popular with people from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. There is a great little warung on the wharf where we ate dinner and chatted with the proprietor, family and friends.
We spent some time exploring the island on foot and that is when we met Mr Johnny and Unis. Mr Johnny worked in Tourism at the “home stay” and Unis was in the Navy. Unis had an office on the wharf. Neither could speak English so I was translating for them and Dwayne. We asked Unis what he did at work… what does the Navy do on this little island? I’m not sure that he could understand what I was asking and we could not understand what he was saying so we still have no idea what he does all day. He did say he watches… Watches what, I don’t know.
Mr Johnny and Unis wanted to visit our boat so we took them out to Thorfinn for a coffee before heading back to lunch at the warung where Mr Johnny joined us for some nasi goring.
As we got closer to Batam we decided to spend a few hours on the beach, and cooking up the last of our Aussie sausages and sliced potato we enjoyed a traditional Aussie BBQ complete with coleslaw, beer and bubbly!
We stopped at a few more places before finally reaching Batam. Our last stop was by a tiny little island near P. Bakau
Next up… Batam and we get to catch up with some Aussie sailors!
Home Stay Pulau Benan – Cottage accommodation, snorkelling, diving, fishing, canoeing. Contact person – Bapak Sahlan Ph: 0821 7349 9130
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