Monday October 5

I woke up thinking we were being hassled by Hawkers again as speedboats were buzzing around close by. Went out for a leak then back inside again but something was not right. Went out again and out of the thick smokey haze the riverbank emerged and we were only metres from the houses, jetties and Klotoks. We were dragging. Called Lea up and started the engines. When we finally got the anchor up it had pierced a large rice bag. Must have snagged it on the reset with the tide change early that morning. We were about a Nm downstream. So lucky we didn't drag into the many large ships and barges anchored just downstream of us

With the anchor up we motored back to the anchorage. Spruce called to wish us a safe trip assuming we had left early to depart the river. Andy was as surprised as we were that we dragged after 3 days at anchor. Lesson learnt was always put the anchor alarm on at night.

Flomaide appeared out of the murk as we got back to the anchorage.

I still had suspicions about the Starboard prop following the net incident so we set up the video camera for a look. Sure enough there was a basket of net around the prop blades. No option but a dive in the brown muddy water with about 6 inches of vis and crocodiles.
Waited an hour for slack water then took the plunge. Fortunately the net was just around the blades, restricting their rotation and hadn't wrapped around the shaft. It came away easily and the job was done in a couple of minutes.
Our tour company provided us with a car and driver for the morning to go into town to resupply. At the harbour jetty we were greeted by. Herry Roustaman one of the senior guides in the area. He had been appointed by the local government to run a program of events for Sail Indonesia. This was news to us as Wati had informed us 4 days earlier that there was no programme this year. In a typical Indonesian way the Programme suddenly materialises at the last minute. We couldn't say sorry we're leaving now, so we all agreed to stay another 2 days to enjoy the festivities.
We went shopping anyway, heading to the new hypermarket, a large mall, all airconditioned. The supermarket was great. Wati joined us from the university next door where she is studying part time to make sure all was ok. She also invited us to join the festivities.
Back in Kumai we stopped at the wet market for fresh fruit and veggies. We noticed lots of women with faces caked with a white, chalky cream. This is to bleach their skin white, which is their idea of beauty.
Back on Gemini Lady we hosted a big dinner of roast pork and lamb, with Sue's apple sauce and Dagmar's Brochetta and desert.
Another great night with our newest best friends.

Tuesday October 6

Herry insisted we be on the jetty by 0630, a tough call after a big night. But we were all present and correct by 0630. Then we had to wait until 0900 to get going. It did give us time to chat to our 2 lovely guides, Nina and Rini. The bus finally arrived with a police escort and more entourage. We were given official shirts that we were expected to wear. Andy and Sue were distressed as the shirts didn't match Sue's fuchsia skirt or Andy's pink shorts. Nice shirts though.

We loaded into the bus and headed off to join the local Yellow Rice Festival. Sort of like an Indonesian Thanksgiving.
Police escort all the way with no stopping at red lights for us.
We marched in the parade for a while then got introduced to the Regent and his wife. I had to answer a few questions in front of microphones and cameras. It was like having Rock Star Status.

It was a huge festival and lots of work had gone into the floats and costumes.

We also met the Prince and Princess of the parade.
We branched off and did a city tour ending up on the Riverbank Market on stilts over the North River. A short walk along the boardwalks to catch a Gedek for a ride up river.
We passed boatbuilding yards where new timber was being seasoned buried under mounds of Sawdust.

Arriving at yet another wet market built out over the River.

 

Back on the bus we headed for the Sultans Palace.

The palace was not as decorative as we expected but had large open rooms with high ceilings which kept the place nice and cool. We enjoyed our boxed lunches here. I forgot to mention the we were given boxed breakfast as soon as we got on the bus. Followed by boxed snacks for morning tea. Our entourage suddenly expanded for the lunch stop. 20 people plus the 6 of us.

Back in Kumai we joined Nini and Rini at a friends wedding. It was a very structured affair with a token gift to all who came to pay their respects to the couple. invitations are not necessary and the Bride and Groom need to cater for around 1000 people during the day. Guests come and go all day and there is music and food provided. The bride and groom have 3 changes of outfit over the day and sit on the platform all day with the parents to greet guests. The bride is always heavily made up and this bride had bright blue contact lenses. The dress was very fancy and looked heavy and hot.

We stayed a short time and as we left we put some money in the gift box and paid our respects to the parents and the bride and groom on the stage. Of course more photos were taken.

Exhausted we went back to the boats with yet another boxed snack pack. Quick visit to Spruce to exchange a few photos over a beer.

 

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