Kumai River 4

Fifteen Miles Up the Kumai River
 
 
 
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I went on duty at two to find the sky bright white with lightning on three sides of the girl. Bear nodded to the left and reasonably assumed things are moving further to the left. Just then, he couldn’t see directly behind him, but I could – what seemed like twenty feet to the right of Beez a single, fat, painfully bright zig-zag of harsh white leapt from the sea................ I’ll just put some stuff in the oven then........ Much as I love watching lightning I have a dislike of it threatening the girl, ever since I heard the fizzing just a few feet from her off the Toms River in New Jersey and then again sailing toward the narrow, dark gap in the constant flashes en route to Guatemala. That was amazing, both sides of the dark bit were matching flashes going across the sky above the rain forest canopy.
Everything now unplugged, not touching metal except for what was rapidly housed in the oven, I went back to my duty. We had to go very slowly to make sure we arrived at the entrance to the Kumai River at five o’clock, daybreak. Then the rain fell, great big dollops that required full volume in the one ear to hear Alan Titchmarsh narrating The Haunting. Bear of course slept like a baby but stayed in the cockpit as the rain necessitated all the windows had to be firmly shut, meaning the bedroom was like an airless box. No sooner than the torrent stopped than it became quite cold and the wind kicked in. Mmmm. The IPad and the chartplotter were in agreement and with nine metres below we began the journey up river to the anchorage under such a grey sky.
 
 
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As luck would have it, a local girl became our guide.
 
 
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A fisherman waved enthusiastically and then colour me happy................
 
 
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............a chum coming toward us.
 
 
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Port to port. Who would have guessed but Kumai is a very busy port.
 
 
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We waved at Samugara 27, the skipper toot-tooted and came out of his office to wave back.
 
 
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Behind us another chum.
 
 
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Ahead a tug and tow.
 
 
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Heading into a cul-de-sac.
 
 
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More waving as this working girl passes with her tow.
 
 
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Watching these ladies pass each other was pure joy, better than any television program.
 
 
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Then Seroja X overtook us.
 
 
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Incredulity as we saw someone in the tender doing a bit of engine maintenance.................
 
 
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Another tug and tow. When we have seen these girls at sea the tug is lit like a Christmas tree but the tow appears to sport a single candle. Note to the wise – always go around never between............
 
 
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Our guide pulls off to the side and prepares to drop her hefty anchor.
 
 
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A local girl on her way out.
 
 
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We see our first big girl dock.
 
 
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A coal loading dock.
 
 
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Big girls parked.
 
 
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More docks on the left............
 
 
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............on the right is National Park – orangutans live here and our reason to visit Kumai.
 
 
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The town of Kumai is dominated by big, grey, square buildings. We could see hundreds of swifts darting about accompanied by tape recorded calls to encourage these tiny creatures to build nests in the huge ‘factories’. A major source of income sold to the Chinese who cannot get enough of birds nest soup.
 
 
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Up ahead we see the anchorage.
 
 
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We pass Soul and see her babysitter waiting to be picked up to go ashore for lunch. No sooner than we had the anchor set than a speedboat pulled up. Herman introduced himself as our guide saying he would pick us up at nine on the morrow for our four day trip to see the orangutans. Alam, the driver said he would bring his two sons to look after Beez Neez (five pounds a day - a bit extra as they will clean our stainless, sleep in the cockpit and keep an eye on her). All settled, time to tidy up, pack and get excited.
 
 
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ALL IN ALL A BUSY AND ENJOYABLE RIVER
                     AN INTERESTING AND BUSY MEANDER