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