Blog 82. Nov 12 2019. Goodbye Indonesia, hello Malaysia. 01.37.68N 103.00.504E

David Batten
Fri 15 Nov 2019 08:06
Nov 10. No excitements on the way to our last Indonesian anchorage, just a mass of shipping in the lanes on the south eastern corner of Singapore. We heard Sky Blue Eyes being called up by the Singapore Port Police to ask them who they were and to tell them to stick to the authorised channels. We imagine they were just inshore of the inshore shipping lane and we had been warned that yachts were chased away if they strayed into Singapore waters.

We stopped on the Indonesian side in what we thought was a lovely anchorage between P Lengkana and P Tolop in 14m between the north reef and the pier off P Tolop.

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Anchored off Pulau Tolop, looking North with a local fisherman pulling in his net in the foreground and Singapore and the shipping in the background

Some very charming local boys in a big local canoe came to see us and as they were clearly keen on fishing, we gave them Bill’s light rod, left behind for such an occasion and 2 “T” shirts. We have quite a number of Rally “T” shirts that are either too big or too covered in plastic decoration to be appealing, so were looking for recipients. Perfect.
They tried Stella Australis when she came to join us, but Pat and Bronwin were too busy anchoring to be able to pay them any attention.

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Delighted local boys off to experiment with Bill’s rod and one is already wearing a new red “T” shirt

Stella was followed by Usquabai of Fife, so we invited both crews for a sundowner on Alcedo. Pat and Brownyn kindly provided some bubbly to mark our last Indonesian anchorage. Alkina and Penn Station came into the anchorage as well but too late for them to join the celebrations.

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Early morning departure looking South with Alkina in the centre and Penn Station anchored off the pier and one of the many other islands in the background

Sadly, what we thought was a fairly idyllic anchorage turned out to be not so. We heard via the Rally WhatsApp the following day that Alkina had her dinghy stolen during the night and had discovered a rat on board. Mark slept in cockpit and woke at 2.00am to find someone had boarded Stella Australia. Mark yelled at the person and eventually frightened them away with the noise, but not before he had to avoid a passing swipe by an oar. All very unpleasant and apart from a tool kit stolen from another dinghy earlier in the rally, the only incident of such kind we have had in Indonesia. Sky Blue Eyes found a rat on board in Tangjung Pinang and are still not sure of its whereabouts, there being no evidence of it since chasing it round the deck and closing all access points to the interior of the boat. Otherwise, cruising has been pleasantly safe but we have had police and or coast guard vessel support in many of the official rally stops.

Nov 11. We set off at first light, 06.30 Indonesian time or 07.30 Singapore time, heading for the designated shipping lane crossing area to the north bound lane on the Singapore side. This required certain amount of heading close to the stern of one large vessel in order to cross safely before the next was upon us, but all good and we joined the north bound traffic without too high a heart rate. We were carefully monitored by a police boat each time they thought we might leave the inshore shipping lane, but as we were following in the wake of a large tanker, they left us in peace.

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Passing Raffels Light House, the marker at the bottom of the diamond of the shipping lanes around Singapore and the turning point for going north to Malaysia

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Just some of the ships anchored in Singapore waters, waiting for ?? There was a yellow/brown haze shrouding Singapore, suggesting heavy air pollution, which would have discouraged a visit even if we had planned one.

We had a lovely squall in the middle of the shipping lanes, bring heavy rain and head winds, thunder and lightening, oh joy! The weather did cheer up to virtually no wind and sunshine until we were near our destination Pisang Island, when a sailing wind came up from the WNW. As the wind is so unpredictable and was meant to be dying, we stuck to plan A, which was to anchor off the northern end of Pulau Sauh in about 7m where the holding was reported to be good. As we approached, the echo sounder went on strike and defaulted to its favourite 2.4m reading. More joy. Out with the lead line to discover nice sticky mud and more than 10m before the echo sounder recovered and we could relax.

We did have a relatively peaceful night and this morning finds us motoring into the wind and against tide in the early morning with over 65nm to go to the Water Islands, hence starting with a contrary tide. It is very murky and muggy and our arrival time is currently 8.00pm, not good as the Water Islands have lots of rocks and reefs around them and daylight approach only is recommended.

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