Kumai, Kalimantan

Mon 23 Jan 2017 09:25
02:45.26S 111:43.569E

Somehow it's a much longer way to Singapore than I had thought it would be. Something to do with getting blown back each time we heave to in a storm, I expect, and to do with current and wind against us, so we have to tack our way along, zigzagging our way. It's a three steps forward, one step back sort of affair. We've been having to motor lots, even when we can sail the current and waves against us slows us right down so we end up helping with the engine.

However, we managed to cross the Java Sea and decided to nip into Kumai, Kalimantan to get more fuel and catch some sleep. We figured that if we didn't go ashore we were still on passage to Singapore so shouldn't be in trouble with the officials, having checked out already. Happily, as soon as we anchored, Adi came out in his motor boat to offer to take us to see the orangutans. We so wished we could have gone - it's a two or three day trip into the jungle up a river. But we couldn't risk it. The fine for stopping when you're checked out is the value of your boat - we couldn't risk Lochmarin. Adi was very happy to arrange for fuel for us though and within an hour he had it delivered, by dark we had half in the tanks and he arranged to come back in the morning to finish off and take away the containers.

When he left we were able to sit on the side deck and enjoy that anchor beer we'd been promising ourselves whilst we took stock of our surroundings. Above us swifts dodged and darted in their evening dance, the air was full of their cries. To the East stretched the forests that the orangutans live in, smelling wonderfully green and earthy, with a bird of prey wheeling above. To the West lies the little town of Kumai. I say 'little town' but it appeared to be full of huge grey concrete blocks of flats, with tiny slit windows - what could they be about? It turned out that they are apartment buildings for swifts, made of corrugated steel not concrete but three or four stories high. Thousands of swifts build their nests there - encouraged by tape recordings of their song played daily, and the nests are gathered to send to china to make birds nest soup. The swifts build the nests using strands of saliva which dries hard, to form a ball shape, about the size of a cricket ball (you can get Christmas lights in strings that look a bit like them, but coloured). Incredible.

We slept 10 hours last night, we finished getting the diesel in, showered, checked over the autohelm as it had been leaking hydraulic fluid a little, slept another hour, then, at the turn of the tide we pulled up the very muddy anchor and set off again... back to three steps forward two steps back.

Passage Food

Day 6 - Lunch: instant noodles and peas; Supper: bread, cheese and green tomato pickle.

Day 7 - Breakfast: cereal, yoghurt, mango and coconut water smoothie. Lunch: ricotta cheese and spinach ravioli in a tomato and vegetable sauce - from a tin!

Well - we've been busy! Gotta eat easy food sometimes...

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