Blog 74. 27 Oct. Bangka to Pekacang, South Lingga and Kongka. O.04.55S 104.51.56E

David Batten
Sun 27 Oct 2019 14:39
Another bus ride back to the resort to pick up the brave souls still at anchor there and then on to the Chinese Temple of Puri Tri Agung, a very peaceful place of worship after the mosque’s and their call to prayers and loud speakers.

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The temple with the 3 gods representing the 3 religions of the island, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism

Then it was all about tin, the Chinese who settled here to work the tin, the Malaysians, the tin pirates and how the chain works. From every organisation or individual, and it really is individuals like the guy we saw on the beach, to the “bosses” they sell to the company that does the smelting and the exporting.

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Local fishing boats in the foreground. In the background, a huge number of tin mining vessels, mostly from Vietnam

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Rally members standing on the lip of a man made lake, the result of a now finished mining operation and one of many.

We learned more about Bangka from Toto the guide on this city tour than we have learned about any of the other islands we have visited. It makes one wonder what the future for the fishermen holds as their water is full of sediment from tin extraction, which will no doubt kill the coral and the fish stocks. It was completely opaque everywhere we went on Bangka, which is supposed to be dive haven, so if they want tourists, they need to take action fast. Plus the soil is very acidic, vegetables and fruit is important, anything they grow on Bangka is sour and most of the adults have teeth destroyed by the acid, although the Government are trying to do something to protect the children. Aqua water, the main source of bottle water, is expensive, which means the children of poor families are at risk. Mechanical mining operations are prohibited more than 300yds from the road, but this does not include mining by shovel, so there are hundreds of informal mining operations. If you are poor, tin is the way to go at the moment! What Toto didn’t say, perhaps because his mother-in-law is Chinese, is that the Chinese mining company, Mikgro Metal Perdana, is behind much of the tin mining activity and there is ongoing legal action to preserve the environment. Our experience was money was talking and the environment can go hang.

After a somewhat frustrating afternoon at the Resort when the buses we were travelling in were co-opted by the mining company to collect some workers. Being Indonesian, they had simply cut the program short and left us to “enjoy” the Resort, (we had had quite enough of it yesterday) and a barbecue we did not want to attend, so we could be picked up at 7.00pm. 20 very disgruntled sailors eventually persuaded the powers that be that we would hire taxis, as we all wanted to get back to the boats. Eventually, Raymond produced a bus from somewhere and we did get to the boat before dark to get ready to go to sea the following day.

As we are getting nearer the equator, the winds are dying and we have been motoring almost all the time. We did have the sails up getting to Pekacang, but it was mainly motor and a frustrating time trying to get the auto helm to steer in a straight line. The skipper did achieve this by changing the source of data and the deviation from the route.
Pekacanag was very satisfactory in the space between the little island off the main island and the reef behind apart from the rumble from the anchor when it first settled.

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The anchorage at Pekacang, facing South. After a snorkel over part destroyed and part good coral, we scrubbed the hull, a never ending task as the copper anti foul has clearly stopped being effective.

Most of the yachts were anchored in a bay to the north and most were gone by 05.30. Skipper’s wife insisted the crew get up at 5.00 incase the chain was round a bombie and we needed Windancer’s help again. As luck would have it, the anchor came up reluctantly because it was well dug into sticky sand/clay and not round a bombie, so good holding in this anchorage. Then a motor to South East Lingga and another lovely anchorage off the South East corner by Sunsa Island, with Bounty and Pecadora.

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Bounty in the channel between Lingga and Sunsa.

From Sunsa, an easy 20nm to Kongka Besar, by motor to anchor at about 11.30 and in time to do some washing. With 11 other yachts in the anchorage including Windancer, Entice, Sky Blue Eyes, Time Bandit, Osprey, Cheeta, Stella Australis, Tululah Ruby, Windrose, La Pecadora and Kitty Hawk, we are planning a barbecue on the beach behind the Stilt Village, weather permitting.

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Squall approaching from the north, threatening plans for a BBQ, Stilt Village just visible on left of photograph.

Tomorrow we hope to anchor on the equator and swim across from South to North. For us, maybe a celebration of half way round the world and a shorter flight home!


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