Overnight to Parai Beach, Bangka
Saturday 7th October 2017
Distance run: 109 nm
We set off from Belitung just after midday for the overnight sail to Parai Beach on the island of Bangka. As we left the anchorage we passed between two Coastguard boats that seemed to be on exercise. It’s the first time we have seen any official Indonesian vessels – in fact we weren’t sure if they even had any – but they gave us a friendly wave as we passed by, clearly with no official interest in us at all. They did take a photo of us though, presumably for their personal collections!
To our right, coastguard vessel in blue sea and sky. To our left, coastguard vessel and tenders, storm clouds gathering.
We managed to sail for about an hour, and then the wind died away and pretty much stayed away for the whole trip. We had a short period when it picked up to 16 knots under a black cloud and we put the genoa out, but the sky was so thunderous we didn’t want to get caught by a squall with full sail up, so played it safe.
We love this photo of Scott-Free motor-sailing under an enormous and very black cloud, on passage from Belitung to Bangka.
Taken by Sue on Mawari. Thanks Sue!
We managed to stay just ahead of some nasty storm cells and got rained on only once. Mawari were half a nmile ahead and to starboard at this point and they called us up to say they were bone dry but could see the line on the water where the rain stopped, and we were the other side of it! We took Bob’s suggestion to change course a bit to starboard, and very shortly we were out of the rain too.
Radar image of storm clouds surrounding us. This one passed behind us, then grew an arm back towards us!
By night-time the bad weather had passed behind us, the full moon was shining brightly, the sea was flat, and there were only a few fishing boats out which actually had lights so the night passed uneventfully. One of the lights behind us actually had an AIS and appeared to be a passenger ferry. As it passed us, however, it turned out to be a small cruise liner, something we have not seen in Indonesia so far. It was going to the same place as us, so we hoped there was going to be plenty of room!
L’Austral, a 469ft cruise liner at anchor off Parai Beach. Its AIS data shows it has a 4.9 m draft, so behind him we were in safe water!
On the approach to the anchorage at first light we could see huge structures in the water which we thought at first and from a distance were oil rigs, but as we got closer we could see that they were actually huge wooden fishing platforms, the like of which we have not seen before.
These huge fishing platforms have been built out of wood in 25 metres of water.
We made our careful way towards the shore, and after a radio chat with a rally boat that was leaving, about a good spot to anchor, we made for a point off the beach and dropped the hook. And then, the rain that had kindly held off all night, began in earnest, so we kept the hatches closed and settled down to catch up on some sleep.