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Borneo!

June 14, 2016

We are sitting at anchor in the Sungai River at the base of beautiful Mount Santubong in northwest Borneo after crossing the South China Sea.

We last posted from Terengganu where we checked out of peninsular Malaysia. We then spent a few days at Pulau Redang where we anchored off the Coral Redang Resort. The resort manager graciously gave us a welcome reception and the run of the place. They have an excellent dive center, wonderful swimming pool, and a terrific restaurant overlooking the beach. We ate, dove, and relaxed by the pool for three days.  We were living large.

We backtracked south to Pulau Kapas to get a better angle on the wind for crossing the South China Sea and to shorten the first leg from a 2-nighter to a 1-nighter. We left Kapas early in the morning and had a great sail albeit hard on the wind.  By dusk the wind was on our nose and we motored the rest of the way into a pounding sea. In the morning we found that the forward hatch had not been properly dogged down and we had 2 inches of water sloshing around in the forward head. Brian’s bad.

We arrived in Anambas the following afternoon and anchored off the village of Tarempa where we checked into Indonesia. This is a quaint village nestled between two mountains at the head of a protected bay. The shoreline is heavily forested with large granite boulders which makes building difficult and much of the village is built out over the water.  There are no cars but hundreds of motor bikes congest the narrow streets. The arrival of the rally boats was a big event and we were given an official welcome by the regency and invited into the homes of the locals.  We were pleased to find a number of restaurants serving great food; probably the best we’ve seen in Indonesia.

The ministry of tourism provided boats and transported all of the yachties to a distant island for a bar-b-que and snorkeling in crystal clear waters. One of the yachties brought his drone and flew it off the boat before crashing it into the bush where a local was able to recover it despite the spinning propellers. Once freed, the drone knew to “fly home” autonomously and nearly hit a few beach combers along the way before successfully arriving back at the boat. It was great fun to relax after being at sea.

We and several other boats decided to not continue with the rally to Natuna and checked out of Indonesia in Tarempa.  We then backtracked through the western islands of the archipelago for some exceptional diving.  We eventually made our way to Pulau Bawah where Sandie was struck by a large log while snorkeling outside the atoll causing a nasty cut on her head. We decided we needed a rest from diving and left for Borneo.

The fishing has picked up and within a few hours of leaving Bawah we caught two tuna and a mahi-mahi. The sailing was some of the best we’ve had and we made good time overnight to the island of Serasan where we met up with our friends on Pikuditu. This island is known for its turtles and we could see turtles mating from our cockpit. We invited our friends over for a fish dinner after which we went ashore to see if we could find any turtles.  In no time we found two females digging nests and laying eggs before returning to the sea totally exhausted. What an experience.

We spent yesterday morning in the city of Kuching checking back into Malaysia after our brief visit to Anambas. The city is very modern with all the western conveniences; Starbucks, KFC, McDonnalds, traffic jams.  It is beautifully positioned on the river with colonial style architecture left over from the British.  Afterwards we visited the wildlife reserve to watch the feeding of the semi-wild orangutans. Malaysia has signed an agreement to protect all endangered species that are recognized by the US, New Zealand, and Australia.  Good on them!

Today we visited the Cultural Center that depicts the living styles of the seven major tribes in the state of Sarawak. There is much more to see but we feel that we need to keep up with the rally and plan on heading for Miri tomorrow.  Maybe we will come back this way after the rally.

Pulau Redang

Tarempa, Anambas Archipelago, Indonesia

Diving Anambas

Outer Islands of Anambas

Pulau Serasan and Turtles

From → Travel

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