Michael Hughes and Ger White
Sun 25 Sep 2011 00:52
We cleared out of Indonesia and crossed the shipping lanes from Nongsa Point  to Singapore yesterday--and boy, are the shipping lanes busy!  Makes a Channel crossing seem like a walk in the park!!
And what a difference a 20 mile trip makes--from the third world to the first, regrettably with prices to match. We are now in a modern marina--One15 marina--on Sentosa Island. Lovely facilities, swimming pool, gym, restaurants etc. Very modern. And a short courtesy bus ride into the centre of Singapore where pretty much everything is available--including decent cheese and dairy products, which are unavailable in Indonesia---not to mention spare parts for the boat. And the cleanliness--for which Singapore is famed, whereas Indonesia is NOT!
But our memories of Indonesia are very positive--a country of great contrasts. Beautiful scenery, mountains--many volcanic and some still smoking and lava. Dirty, dusty overcrowded towns and villages.  Lovely bays and beaches--the Gili Islands off Lombok were a highlight.  Strange animals--Komodo dragons, orangutans.  Some great snorkelling--Komodo Islands a highlight---but many places where the coral has been destroyed by man's actions.  Poverty (daily wage of the unskilled is about $5) and riches. Rainforest jungle to rice terraces worked by peasants in funny hats!  The mystical scenery and temples of Bali---which is overtouched by tourists, whereas many of the places we sailed to were untouched.  And very friendly people with whom one could establish a dialoge without language!  Smiles and sign language go a long way!
And while it's still only 20 miles away, it seems more like a million miles from sophisticated Singapore!
Plan is to park Simanderal here for some weeks, while we pay a brief visit to Oz--and a longer one to UK/Europe--then late November sail from here up to Malaysia and onwards to Thailand.