The year 2016 was a busy one! We managed 4500 sea miles, 603km by train, 14700km by plane and 3115km by automobiles (including 1065km on scooters!) Have a look at our journey in photos!
The snorkelling and diving in Pulau Weh, and the other islands of the Sabang area, was outstanding! We were truly astounded by the amount of fish, variety of marine life and the size of some of the fish we saw… We saw a manta ray, sharks, nudibranchs, frogmouth fish, ribbon eels and a gargantuan sweetlip. We also saw lionfish, scorpionfish, shrimpfish, long-horned cowfish, peacock manta shrimp, painted lobsters, sea snakes, and the entire star-studded cast of Finding Nemo!
The Sabang Marine Festival – 2016 – was extremely well organised, a lot of fun, and facilitated the healthy and happy mixing of many different cultures. 18 boats from all around the world participated and the visiting sailors included Australian, Swiss, French, American, Canadian, Malaysian, Thai, English, South African, Zambian, German, Italian, Czech, New Zealand, Swedish and New Caledonian. The participants, of which we were two, enjoyed many organised activities such as cultural performances, a tour of Banda Aceh and the Tsunami museum, as well as interactive games including tug-of-war, greasy pole climbing and canoe races.
Our first year cruising outside of Australian waters has included Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Some countries we sailed to and others we flew to; we even rode into one and caught a bus into another. This blog is a recap of our journey in 2015….. Thank you to all our followers. I hope you will continue to cruise with us in 2016, and that I will be able to carry on entertaining and informing you about the wonderful, exciting and sometimes bewildering places we visit.
Clearing in and out of customs, pirates, transport, phone and internet, cheap food, shopping, fruit and veg, fuel, hardware, bartering, trading and gifts, as well as some basic Indonesian words to know are covered in this post. It also includes a link to a google map of the anchorages we used which includes information about the holding and the depth of water.
We finally arrived in Batam and grabbed a berth at the Nongsa Point Marina next to fellow Aussie sailors Gary and Libby of SV Aquarius. It was nice to talk to fluent ‘Aussie’ speakers. Finally I didn’t need to think about what I wanted to say and how to say it! We also met another Aussie couple, Mick and Janice off SV Zoa. WHY DID IT TAKE US A WEEK TO CLEAR OUT OF INDONESIA?
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… This trip was delightfully packed full of visits to villages, schools, local restaurants as well as many local visitors to our boat. We barbecued on shore and enjoyed a bit of snorkelling.
Pontianak… I promised you pirates! In this case we thankfully didn’t meet our pirates but the act of piracy that befell us went like this….
After a 24 hour, overnight sail, we arrived at Pontianak in a torrential downpour. Pontianak is about 10 mile up river and, once there, we anchored, had some dinner and fell promptly to sleep. We woke the next morning to find our newly acquired (and near new) motor had been stolen. The pirates had pinched our little putt putt and we were not happy! The day didn’t get any better…
We discovered a paradise of sapphire blue seas, palm fringed islands and white sands as well as coral gardens over run by Nemo and his mates. It was amazing and it quickly went to number one on our list of favourite places in Indonesia. This tiny archipelago of little islands is a conservation area and although its hard to say exactly what that means in Indonesia the area has certainly benefited from it. The snorkelling was amazing; by far the best we have done in Indonesia so far. Hardly any dead coral, no rubbish to swim through and clownfish by the hundreds.
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