Well its back to the more mundane world of
civilisation as we are currently in Singapore.
After our visit to Kalimantan (Borneo) to see the
Orang-utans we left to sail to a place called Nongsa Point on the Indonesian
island of Batam.We left Kalimantan in the company of another yacht for the 4 day
journey of some 500nm.All was well for the first 3 nights except for the total
lack of wind until we received a call from the other yacht to say that they had
gone aground on their rudder at an anchorage that we had previously agreed to
meet up at.
As we were about 2hrs behind them we increased
speed to close in and offer assistance,on arriving we despatched our dinghy and
all crew except me to the other yacht to offer help.
As the tide was still falling the skipper decided
to lay an anchor out, all 80 meters,at the bow and using our crew and dinghy
wait for morning.The anchors and chain of that length are very heavy and had we
not had a solid bottom to our dinghy to take the weight it may not have been
possible.The idea being that as the height of the water increased the boat
could be floated off using the anchor to pull the boat forward off the
rock.Which is what happened.
We then proceeded to Nongsa Point in company and
experienced the most tremendous downpour the rain was like stair rods and the
wind went from 5knts to over 35kts and we could not see the bow of our boat it
was exciting and very wet but it cleaned the decks and we didn't bump into any
Nongsa Point is a modern marina and as such a
direct contrast to Kumai but it gave
everybody a chance to feel human once again with showers that don't move and
water on tap and of course electricity.
You have to remember that when we are underway we
are constantly preserving our essential requirements of food,water,fuel and
electrical power.Many of the communities that we go into do not have running
water let alone water that is safe for us to drink so we supply our own and
their electricity if they have it comes from their generator.
Batam does not have a lot going for it except that
it was our departure point for Indonesia regarding customs and
immigration.We did however go to one interesting restaurant where we got to
choose our fish directly from huge tanks set into the floor and the
choices went from shark to prawn the food was excellent at £10 per head i/c
There was a lot of building going on mainly
apartments as holiday homes for nearby Singaporeans (half hour by ferry) and
cheap golf courses.We left their after 3 days R&R to cross the shipping
lanes to Singapore.
The straits between Indonesia and Singapore are the
most crowded with ships in the world,we think the Dover Straits and the English
Channel are crowded but the traffic here is twice as dense with wall to wall
ships with a distance of 25 nm to go we left the marina at 0700 with
the tide.All was well as we kept along side the Traffic Separation Zone where
all the large ships were located rather like a motorway which we were going to
cross at right angles through the traffic rather like a calculated
As we approached our crossing point the skies
opened up as they did on the way to Nongsa,its monsoon time,we could not see a
thing beyond the boat so we proceeded very slowly in between the anchored ships
after it passed we proceeded to enter the shipping lanes at right angles and
although you need to have a good eye for the approach angles and speed of the
ships coming at you from both sides it wasn't to bad really .The passage up the channel into Singapore container terminal
was interesting for the number and type of ships that were anchored ,I don't
think I have ever seen so many ships in one place in my life it was
Arriving at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club
was disappointing as the location is in the middle of the commercial docks
dwarfed by the container terminal,the water is filthy,its noisy with small
launches going backwards and forwards day and night,it boasts a 5 star hotel ,I
don't think so and its a long way from town,its not good place but we will make
the most of it.
For the first week I have been a constant visitor
to the Singapore General Hospital as I have a problem walking due to some
trapped nerves in my back.The hospital is absolutely "state of the art"
clean,efficient and friendly mind you as an overseas visitor I have to
pay.I am still in pain and cannot travel yet but with rest hopefully it
will ease until I return to the UK and can see the consultant.In an effort to
ease the pain I was seen by a healer yesterday who happened to be on one of the
other boats sailing their yacht with the rally it was quite a unique
Now I don't know if you know about Healers but I
have known 5/6 in my life who at various stages have worked on me with quite
remarkable results all of them easing my pain and helping the problem from my
knee to my slipped disc,from a young person to a granny.All of them are very
different it is a gift that they have developed and use to help others
anyway I have been worked on yesterday so we will see what happens now you never
I haven't seen as much of Singapore as the others
but I know my way around the hospital very well but what I have seen of
Singapore does not impress, it does not seem to have an identity other than the
pursuit of wealth and the spending of money in the not so cheap shops.It is
modern, very clean and efficient but it is also a one party state that does not
seem to believe in a heritage or cultural identity which is a shame,it is almost
sterile in its manner,mind you its possible to sample every cuisine in the
world there are restaurants and stalls everywhere but they are without the
character of the "Roach Coaches" of Indonesia and the eating houses of the
Balinese Islands,even Hong Kong keeps its character.Perhaps I haven't been out
enough yet,we will see.
I will write another blogg with more details on
Singapore as soon as I can.