Passage to Tanjung Kelayang, Belitung
Sunday 1st October 2017
Distance run: 305 nm
We lifted the anchor at 0500, first light, on Friday, and set off back down the river. We had the ebb tide with us and were easily making 7 knots of speed under very few revs, making this reverse trip much quicker than a few days ago when we were fighting the tide the whole way. The weather forecast was once again for very little wind, but by mid-morning it had picked up and we were comfortably sailing at 6+ knots on flat seas.
The sun went down as we approached an area of shallows on the corner of the island, but it was like daytime with the lights of what seemed like hundreds of squid boats. We ran a slalom course through the middle of them, which was interesting, and luckily they all stayed put.
Once out into the main shipping lanes we could relax a bit as it was unlikely we would find fishing nets here. Commercial shipping passed by in both directions but gave us no problems, equipped as they are with proper navigation lights and AIS.
Once we had crossed the shipping lanes we expected to meet fishing boats again, but were surprised to find hardly any. One that did appear close to Mawari seemed to do a dance around them, coming close, then moving away, then running alongside, then eventually driving ahead and stopping right in their path. Mawari changed course to avoid them and called us up to warn us of this strange behaviour. We had been watching from a couple of miles behind them through the binoculars, wondering what was going on, and when they called we increased our speed to catch up with them in case it was trouble. It seemed that the fishermen had had their fun though, as they now seemed to turn their attention to fishing. We kept our speed up and gave them a wide berth, and fortunately they paid us very little attention.
After a surprisingly easy night with only one or two lights from fishing boats in the distance, we arrived at the anchorage mid-morning.