Day sail to Nongsa Point Marina, Batam
Sunday 15th October 2017
Distance run: 24 nm
A short trip today, in very similar weather and conditions as appears to be the norm for this time of year. What was different was the amount and type of traffic, and the amount of AIS targets on the chart plotter! As we headed north up a fairly minor ship channel, we saw lots of fast ferries (no AIS!), several big ships, tugs, local wooden cargo boats, and to our utter disbelief, in the middle of the shipping channel tiny one-man fishing boats with their owners totally unconcerned about the mayhem carrying on around them!
Glassy sea and blue sky as we started out.
In all of this we were impressed with the way in which the local skippers of boats of all sizes avoided and gave way to others irrespective of their relative sizes. We never had to take avoiding action – except if a little fishing boat happened to be directly in our path, but even then they seemed to move aside if they saw us coming. The radio was alive with ship-to-ship calls checking intentions and whether they would pass port to port or could do starboard to starboard. We even had a huge ferry hold station in the middle of the channel where he had already missed a little fisherman by a whisker and a large cargo ship by a slightly bigger one, until the gap between Mawari, who had slowed down, and us, who had sped up, was big enough for him to change course and pass through! Not a hooter was sounded in all this mayhem and everyone went on their way.
A fast ferry crosses our bow.
When we were abeam a large tanker anchored at the edge of the channel, I thought I heard “Scott-Free” amid a stream of Indonesian on the radio. When, ten minutes later, the same ship lifted its anchor and started to move into the port, I realised it had probably been telling port control it would need to wait a bit until “Scott-Free” got out of its way! Such fun!
Once that excitement was over, the inevitable storm cloud appeared right over Batam, complete with thunder, lightning and rain (but little wind), and we were treated to a white-out that prevented us seeing anything that might be in our way.
These are not ships, but oil or gas platforms (we think!)
Eventually it all settled down and we found our way to the channel markers for the marina. Ucek guided us to our berth, C3, and with two of his colleagues dealt with our lines in the most expert and professional manner that we have seen in a very long time. With a huge sigh of relief we settled back in the cockpit with an anchoring beer (well alright a mooring beer) and looked out of the marina entrance at the big ships anchored off or passing by Singapore, just across the Straits. It was good to be here.
Dinghies sailing in a row out of the marina entrance – reminded me of Cherbourg!
We left Thursday Island, Australia on Sunday 16th July and arrived here at our last stop in Indonesia exactly three months and 3,091 nmiles later. It has been a memorable trip and one that we would not have wanted to miss. Indonesia is a huge archipelago, stretched out over thousands of square miles, and every island that we visited had its own identity. The people were, to a one, the most friendly and welcoming we have ever come across. Some have so little and yet are so pleased to share what they have. We are privileged to have been able to visit so much of this beautiful country and to share in the lives of its people and learn a little of their culture.