Thursday, 22 December 2011


Well Singapore was a great place for taking in all the things we had been deprived of for sooo long! skyscrapers....fancy name a few.
Umbrella is great for stopping us overheating as well as for the afternoon downpours!

We also got a few things for the boat as this part of Malaysia is not so good for getting boat stuff.
There is a hotel and casino in  the building with the boat on it, costs 20bucks just for a view from the top!
If you like your brands then this mall is the place for you, I think it was called marina bay sands, some fancy pants name for a fancy pants mall, nice touch don't you think with the boat going down the river with nice blue water haha
all very la de da
 We also checked out Sentosa Island just off Singapore and went  to the Maritime Museum, which was really cool,  our mate from Belitung in Indonesia has the treasure from a ship wreck he discovered displayed here.
Replica of Bakau Wreck Found 1998 in the Karimata Strait between Sumatra and Borneo
This ship is a replica using traditional methods of the Bakau, the ship wreck was dated to the early 15th century, carrying diverse ceramic cargo from Thailand, China and Vietnam. Personal belongings of the crew were also found such as copper coins, bronze mirrors and even tweezers. This 600 year old ship is the oldest known ship to be equipped with cannons. The ship you see in the picture above was actually sailed to Singapore, the voyage that it once took was recreated I cant remember the route it took..
The boxes on each side of the ship is where the crew do their 'natural business'

Dudley being studious, learning about the many shipwrecks in se asia

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Belitung to Malaysia

If ever you get the chance to come to this little piece of paradise(of which there are many in the world) put Belitung on your list. It is like how Bali would have been before the tourists came in and stuffed up.
We had a problem with our heat exchanger for the gearbox, it crapped itself about an hour before we came in to anchor in Belitung. The oil was a creamy strawberry colour leaking into the bilge, when the colour should have been clear pink/red. We first noticed there was a problem the day before when it was really hard to get the gearbox into forwards.
We thought we were really screwed! but the day after we anchored in Belitung we found a business that helped us in more ways than one.
Tanya, Jenny, Harun, Dudley and Nick
 Harun has live in Belitung all his life and he gave us an interesting history about his chinese ancestors, for example we got to see where they hid from the japanese in the war, the house is still standing in amoungst the bush.Harun gave us a scooter to borrow for the time we were there and fixed our heat exchanger! He also took us on a tour of the island and we got to meet his cool family.

From Belitung we took 5 days to get to Malaysia. I was anxious over what to expect crossing the Singapore Strait, as it is one of the busiest shipping ports in he world, as a wee yacht under 20m we have no rights at all in the shipping channel (I was thinking to extend our yacht by 6m so we would have some rights!!!) The traffic however was really not that bad, however it sill puts the shits up ya when a big arse cargo ship is hooning towards you and changing course to remain on a collision course!! There were many cargo ships anchored and some of them must have been bored coz they would toot at us, wave and then spy us with the binoculars, it may have been the fact that a certain crew member was in her bikini..
As much as you might not want to believe I have seen amounting evidence that China did in fact discover the world in 1421, their history as I've said before is quite astonishing. I am yet to read the book 1421 by David Menzies.
turtle from a breeding program on an island near the Belitung anchorage

up the lighthouse

view from lighthouse near the anchorage in Belitung

Local Fishing boats

Balinese temple in the balinese village on Belitung

Kayaking over to lighthouse from boat
Duds at a sand mine in Belitung

Tanya on a small uninhabited island

local boats taking the tourists (mainly Jakarta tourists) to the light house
wee island off Linga Island on way up to Malaysia

bridge connecting Singapore and Malaysia we passed under after crossing the strait, 25m high from water line
more ships anchored..
We are now in Danga Bay Marina, and have been here for the last 3 weeks. Would you believe we stroke it lucky and have been getting the berth and water for free!! How you may ask? Well there is a very wealthy Chinese businessman who decided he wanted a place to put his boat and decided to show off his wealth by making a marina, initially it wasnt so big but it expanded by two fingers because he had a dispute with another marina down the river  and decided 'stuff them I'll take away their customers that will show them!' Also the fingers are very long becasue initially he didnt want yachts to come in but big fancy power boats. So thanks Mr Businessman!! The Marina is situated in south Malaysia, to get here we motor up between Malaysia and Singapore, (the countries are so close together, there are many sinagapore patrol boats ensuring we dont get too close to their country) and between a few fish farms, we are in a city called Johor Bahru. To get to Singapore we cross a causeway by bus, and because its a different country we have to get our passports stamped, go through customs and all that jazz. It takes about an hour from Johor Bahru to Singapore city.

Governement offices in Puteri Malaysia
The above 3 pictures are of Malaysian government buildings, there was just no-one around, apart from the cleaners polishing the floors.. we visited this with our mates from Australia who are staying in Puteri Marina.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Kumai & Orangutans!!

Well hello again we are in Borneo Kalimantan Indonesia. Anchored up a river. Took us 4nights from Lombok (an island next to Bali) to get here. Even though its the wet season we have had no rain to speak of other than when we were at sea, but occassional thunderstorms in the afternoon. Managed to get the washing done while on passage, filled the dinghy with rain water chucked the clothes in, fantastic. Really hot days! Yesterday for about 35AUD each we had a full day on a speed boat to see the orangutans, there are only 4 places in the world to see them! The national park here have given 30% of it away for logging. To be honest it doesnt look like much of a rainforest. Where there is deforestation it has been almost impossible for trees to regrow due to salination and erosion, we were walking through big sand pits at times. Unfortunately we couldnt make it all the up the river due to a naughty orangutan who blocked the river while he was trying to get across to the other side when he swung on a tree he must have felled it! People from other tour boats tried to free the debris but couldnt, so we missed an excellent spot where there are many orangutans who come very close so you can touch them..
 Because the orangutans are in a rehabilatation program, there are set feeding times where a ranger comes with a bucket on his back full of bananas. The king Orangutan bashes and crashes through the trees to meet the ranger. The ranger calls to the orangutans wooooooooohoooooo wooooohooo and they all hang around the feeding platform awaiting their bananas. I got too close to the king and he grabbed a tree and started shakin it at me! So I backed off.
Heading up the River on a beautiful morning

My name is Ben Muirden haha

Yes guilty ...

A crazy fungus that grew overnight, -it wasnt there when the rangers were walking the previuos night

Hooning down the river yeee haaa

Local boat riding our wake

Yoga is good first thing in the morning
Waving to a local boat

If i can grab just one more bunch ill be set!

King of the jungle looking down on his relatives

See the king wranger ? He's just siiting there eating his heart out.

How many bananas can i fit in my mouth??

Many people taking pics

View up the river to see the orangutans

Whole rainforest on a barge
While watching the sun set the other night, the pleasant view was disrupted by an ugly site, a barge heavily laden with rainforest! It takes 50years for one tree to grow and they go in to rape what looked like a whole fucking forest in a day!While we were coming up the Kumai river, we saw a police boat, who had their indonesian flag up, dudley rushed forward to dip our flag as a sign of respect and then he watched with much excitement, to see the man on the police boat rush up the steps and pull his flag down, to acknowledge we dipped our flag.
Police boat who dipped their flag

Little village by a creek in Kumai

They do their washing in the dirty water and it comes out clean

Anchorage on the Kumai River

Next stop Malaysia but we will go to many small islands along the way, so Ben and Lea when you coming to visit??? And anyone else? Bye for now... Take care Love Tanya and Dudsooooooooooooooooxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


Greetings everyone
9 days from png to indonesia,we had a good sail for the first few days but as we left the torres strait the wind dropped off so we were floating along at 2 knots and weren't pushing it too fast as we didnt want to arrie on the weekend, we ended up getting to saumlaki on sunday afternoon and what a suprise it was to see our friends we met in port moresby, a french and venuzualean couple. So we have been cruising in company these past couple of weeks.
The sailing in indo has been anything but pleasant,already we have done 100hours motoring thats 500 miles.. lucky diesel is cheap here. about 70cents a litre delivered to the boat. laptop is stuffed will write more when i get new keypad currently we are at an island a few miles east of Bali, just ate a yummy seafood mie goreng for 3 dollars, fantastic
will add more photos later gotta go snorkelling
clown fish and friends
 Arriving in Saumlaki on a sunday we organised to clear in the next day, little did we know just how corrupt quarintine were going to be.The official decided  that we had to clear in and out on the same day and it was going to cost us 300,000 rupiahs (30AUD) we decided to pay him 250,000 rupiahs to take our paperwork back that we had given him the previous day  so that he did not ever meet us. We left to clear in at flores island, thus giving us a couple of more weeks to travel the long distance across this country without starting our 60 day visa !You should of seen this guy though,when we first met him, he was sweeping the floor and made us wait for like half an hour, then he went behind a door to put on his very official looking uniform with polished buttons and turned into an asshole! Several anchorages and 2 weeks later we arrived on the west side of Flores (Google earth it) Labuan Bajo where we enountered some very nice officials,we paid only 7AUD for everything. And then we all went out for nasi goreng (fried rice, egg and some yummy seafood) to celebrate. Yeah baby this really is kiwi heaven. The islands so far have been baron, arid, rugged savannah land with volanoes. We sailed the next day to Rinca, a national park island with komodos and more corrupt officials who wanted to charge us harbour fees and a fee according to the size of the motor in your boat a fee for ourselves,our camera, the government tax. oww yeah and pay to snorkel and kayak pretty much everything.The offiial said, 'how did you get here, by boat?' (well yeah its a friken island) 'oh weeeeellll tut tut tut (as he pulls out a invoie book from his drawe) that will be more money'. So our french mate got feisty with him, 'what, so now you want us to pay for your chair, this desk, your pen, your shoes it never ends does it!' this made for an entertaining show as he went around the room picking up things that we should pay for. While this was going on I snuck outside and found a tour group looking at the infamous komodo dragon, and proceded to take photos with my camera that 'shock horror' i didnt have a permit for. A few minutes later I got yelled at by the asshole himself, 'you dont have a permit for that camera you cant take photos!!'.... so we all walked back to the boat with the tour guide leading the way, ensuring we asked him as many questions as we could think of about the komodo dragon. We then spent a quite night in an anchorage further away from 'officialdom' snorkelling for free, spotting water buffalo, monkeys, deer and komodos on the beach and surrounding hills.The next day we found the komodos ourselves and took lots of photos on our cameras with no permits.
. The Indonesians are generally very nice people when they arent trying to sell you something. On our journey west along the archipeligo we spent an hour or so snorkelling at south komodo and did a 2 night sail to Lombok where we managed to watch the All Blacks win against France at a resort. We also got a surf in at ekas bay which was fun, we saw monkeys everywhere. All the straits between the islands have fierce currents, boils, eddies, and overfalls which we experienced a few times motor sailing at 7knots through the water and only doing 0-1 knot over ground! frustrating. It is hard to pick which way the tide will flow as the tidal overflow often lags the high or low tide by 2 sometimes 3 or 4 hours?!!? The local fisherman (and theres a shitload of them!) know, so we ask them. We have been very unlucky on the fishing front, the last one we caught was on our way into Indo, and that was a small mahimahi. We have had to resort to BUYING fresh fish off the small fishing boats that ome upto Baikal. 3dollars for a mediu size fish. We were anchored at a quaint wee fishing village yesterday.  It was like taking a step back in time, children carrying the washing on the heads, men on horses going to get water,one is only reminded that its 2011 when you hear the sound of the motorbike hooning on past. In most of the villages there are motorbikes everywhere - maybe only one or two pushbikes. We are now at Lembongan island a few miles off Bali. This is a place where tourists come in by the boatload during the day and leave in the afternoon. But there is also accommodation aplenty here so there are a few that prefer here to Bali. There is surf here but at the moment its not happening so we are off to Bali today to have a look around, running low on cheese so hope to find some good western supermarket there.And some nice cheap clothes.
We have tried the local beer bintang -definately not anywhere near the alcoholic content of our home brew. Just put another brew down the other day, this time its apple cider...
We are also running low on water so hae been making some at 6l an hour..slooww. No more fresh showers for us, its a tough life. Its a great change to have the water temperature down to 26degrees instead of the bath water 30degrees, you actually step out feeling refreshed!


fisherman in flore
We arrived in Bali, Serangan Island, where we stayed 3 days. We hired a scooter and went with our friends from Colourazul to the rice paddy fields north bali (Ubud) and tried to go to Kuta but got lost in the afternoon traffic! We went to a monkey forest that was so much fun, a monkey climbed up Dudley's bag to try and get his drink bottle, cheeky things.
We had a mission trying to get diesel, apparantly its illegal for us to get diesel in large quanties. We put our jerry cans into the back of a bemo (van) and we had to bribe the man at the petrol station to fill up our tanks, in the end we gave him an extra 5 dollars so we wouldn't get in trouble with the police. We hired this bemo and driver for the day on an agreed price and at the end of the day we paid the man what he wanted and he wasnt happy. In Bali we tended to get this alot.
We went to the local market in Bali and the people were trying to sell us things at ridiculous prices. One lady said its cheaper if we go to the supermarket to buy fruit and vegies. And when we did buy mangos again at an agreed price the lady was pissed off when we said thank-you (in indonesian) she said yeah yeah yeah and waved us away.  So stay away from tourist centers! I think the locals have all had enough of us tourists!
At present we are in Lombok again further up on the west coast anchored in Sengigi, right by a whole lot of resorts. We hired a scooter for 6dollars for the day.
I am sitting in Mc Donalds, where there is free internet, so much easier to type than on our shitty laptop where some of the keys are stuffed. We have just had a strong coffee (waiting for the mall to open) so forgive me if my writing is crap, I'm buzzing off the coffee. Our friends from Colourazul are now on the norht coast of bali, so we are on our own again.
Today we hope to see some local basket weaving, around here is where they make it and then take to bali and sell it for heaps more..
On our excursion the other day I got some rip curl togs, for 30 dollars, (the same ones but different colour for 90 dollars in Australia) and hooning round on the scooters there are many many many shops which sell goods that you see in shops in New zealand for shitloads more money, there are white people with truks outside some of these shops, and you just watch them load it up with statues, carvings, bowls, and i bet its all coming to a shop near you!!!! Poor kiwis getting ripped off big time in their own country. Tomorrow we will be heading for the three gili islands (we got acosted this morning walking down the beach -'you want ride to Gili?' by about 10 different people) there is supposedly good snorkelling here. Until next time Good bye!
Labuan Bajo West Flores

Currents in the Lintah Strait between Komodo and Rinca

Rinca Island
Getting up close and personal with the Komodo dragon

Snorkelling Komodo

Armada of local fishing boats, these are everywhere we have to watch them when we sail

Bat cave Labongan

Underwater world at Labongan an island next to bali

Baikal sailing (one of the very few times)

and yet another beutiful sunset