Selamat Jalan BELITUNG

Belitung was Sail Indonesia's last rally stop.  Saying "Selamat Jalan" (good-bye) to Belitung and Indonesia would be difficult. 

We had just come from the muddy Kumai River in Kalamantan Borneo Indonesia  and sailed 274nm into the middle of the Java Sea to the little island of Belitung off the east coast of Sumatra.


Lighthouse off island of  Belitung

As we sailed in, the water turned a deep blue and the contrast with white limestone boulders and white sand beaches were sparkling. 

We found the people of Belitung very friendly with welcoming banners everywhere. Some featured our own boats like the one above that s/v Zarafat and s/v Kirsten Jayne found in town.

Crowds gathered to watch us bring our dinghy's into the special sectioned off beach area.

Gayla meets the headmaster of the school and his family.  Our arrival was one way for them to practice their English.

                                      s/v Strider and s/v Ariel

Once again we felt like movie stars as the locals took photo's of us on their cell phones..... even while we ate!
          s/v Sundance           Dave and new friend                    s/v Circe and the British/Aussie lunch

We were treated to a lunch, picnic style, on colorful tarps while local dishes were brought to us on huge platters.  Each couple was positioned with an Indonesian dignitary

      s/v Circe                  s/v Icicle I                      s/v Ariel with 2 economic dignitaries from Jakarta


  We were not sure what this all meant but it involved a chicken being put in a boat  then carried down to another boat to be sent out to sea. 

We could not always understand exactly what was going but we tried our best. 

For us it meant getting involved and having fun

  Last Gala Dinner in Indonesia

  Our last gala dinner was a big event.  Raymond and Dewi got up and thanked everyone and one of the young cruisers from s/v Phoenix did an amazing job of translating a speech into Indonesian to thank our hosts.

           s/v Phoenix

Rayond and Dewi saying good-bye to cruisers at last rally event in Indonesia

s/v Sundance accompanies our Belitung host singing 'Green Green Grass of Home'

s/v Phoenix - s/v Chez Nous

s/vBriana-s/vBlue Moon of Oz

s/v Akama
s/v Strider
s/v Ariel

Receiving gifts from the locals on the occasion of their Birthdays.

                      But that party is yet to come!!!

The evening ended with one last attempt of cruisers entertaining the locals in dance and song.

s/v Ovation for one last ovation

           A Pre B-day bash for Marsha & Gayla         Steve s/v Ariel gives a final toast
Now, we have still not found my Birthday present which Steve hide somewhere on Ariel.  He knows he hid it in a place I would not look.  So I have been in the computer closet, the engine room even into the bilges, but no luck.  Some of the guys thought this was a brilliant excuse so beware!!
But I did have one of the best B-days (the big is party planned for Singapore) when I got a Happy Birthday wish over VHF from s/v Strider and before long half the cruising fleet had chimed in, one after the other over VHF,  to wish me a Happy Birthday.  I will treasure those memories forever.


Now it was time to get back to work, preparing our boats for another leg of the journey.  We moved s/v Ariel up the river to the town of Pandan for fuel and to wait for our exit stamps out of Indonesia. 
The river mouth was wide but the channel very narrow, well marked but confusing markers.  We never saw less than 2.8m depth but one huge boat was aground  in the middle and we had to go past

We anchored next to s/v Mico Verde and s/v Blue Tango.  While visiting aboard s/v Blue Tango the current changed and the wind blew the two boats together.  s/v Ariel had to re-anchor. 

To get ashore we had to climb over the decks on a row of fishing boats.  We were impressed by the beautiful painted masts

The town of Pandor seemed very prosperous and we assumed it was due to the huge tin mine.  It seemed like everyone had a motorcycle and the market well stocked. 

Some things seemed a bit out of place.  Then again they must see our ways very different also.

Toy guns on sale at the market                  s/v Ariel's banana supply        Young Muslim likes Mickey

Getting fuel was another story.  Steve had borrowed jerry cans to get fuel but ended up only getting half of what we needed,  280 liters at 4,300rp per liter or $130US dollars worth before they shut down the station.                     Fueling up thru Baja filter into Ariel

 We ended up going back to the beach and commandeering an entire 200 liter drum full of fuel where it had been transported to the beach and sold to cruisers at the higher price of 6000rp per liter.   We paid the price and got our tanks filled up. 






Oct. 21, 2007
At 5:20PM we crossed the equator from the Southern Hemisphere back in to the Northern Hemisphere.  s/v Ariel had not seen this side of the world since the Galapagos Island in 2002  We poured a glass of Gran Mariner and dumped it into the sea to appease the sea gods and bless King Neptune for our safe passages


We had been guests of the government and separate island regencies for over three months.   Our extended visa's had run out was time to move on to Singapore.   It had been a long trip, very difficult for some as monsoons seemed to be setting in.

We had good mornings then stormy, violent thunderstorms in the afternoons coming later each day.

One of our friends got hit by lightening outside of Kumai and although there was damage to their boat they were fine.  Cruisers are survivors and the fact that they are Aussies made it even more so.  Their courage gave us all the more strength in getting through the rough times. 
Before the completion of the rallies, five boats would be struck by lightening in this area.

Crossing the shipping lanes anywhere in the world can be very nerve wrecking.   But Capt. Steve has had so many of these experiences in his years of sailing, he was totally un-phased by the thought.  He worked out a plan.  We entered the first separation channel with one barge being towed in front and one behind and a small traditional sail boat squeezing between us as we crossed.  We started into the main channel at 12:15PM and at 12:19PM were well into the main four way channel for almost 10 minutes before reaching the Sister Islands.  A huge VLCC (very large crude carrier) crossed behind us which dwarfed our tiny vessel but even smaller local boats were also crossing among these behemoths.   

Singapore is a parliamentary democracy situated at the southern tip of the Malay peninsula and consists of 63 islands including mainland Singapore.  It has the busiest port in the world in terms of tonnage shipped and the worlds' fourth largest foreign exchange trading center.

It is also a major transport hub positioned on many sea and air trade routes.  It is the world's busiest port in terms of shipping tonnage and containerized traffic at 23.3 million - 20 foot equivalent units.  (TEU's)
Oct. 22, 2007, we arrived in Singapore after 2,479nm sailing three months from Darwin Australia. 

Within hours we were safely tied up in slip B08 Raffles Marina, Singapore

PREVIOUS                         NEXT