West Sumatra Islands

Friday March 9

Up at 1.00am and a radar check for storm cells showed a big one close by so we delayed departure by an hour. 2.00am and the cell was even bigger and closer. Cup of tea time as we waited for it to hit us. Nothing to bad in it so  we were away by 4.00am with a good breeze on the beam. Slowly headed us until we were close hauled then died completely by daylight so we motored the rest of the way. Made lots of water and got the smalls all washed and Lea got to have a Hollywood shower with lots of water to wash and condition her hair. Luxury!

Total Glass out as we entered a shoal area. We used all our navigation resources to maintain a deep path through. The Google Earth Kap files given to us by Jon and Sue off Ocelot were invaluable again. A big surprise to us was that the iSailor Chart App that Heather and Rod off Psycho Puss were using was spot on with much more detail than our Navionics Charts. I-Sailor has subsequently consistently proved since this to be far superior to Navionics on our journey so far.

Psycho Puss broke the recently done join in their endless line for the screecher furler and had to drop the screecher onto the deck. Otherwise it was an uneventful passage to Palau Mansular 10 Nm short of the big town of Sibolga. We picked up a bit of sail assistance in the afternoon.


An abandoned looking Christian Church sat up on the Point at the bay entrance. Good anchorage in 15m at the top of the bay.

Saturday March 10

Topped up the water tanks and flushed the watermaker before entering the harbour area. We picked out a great anchorage behind Sarudut Island near the Spider-boat fleet. 5M and good holding mud. Dinghy access via the local fishing jetty. 50,000 IDR per day to have our dinghies looked after by the jetty Warung locals.

Rod arranged a car to drive us around for 2 hours to get the lay of the city. After a supermarket visit, phone top up and general look around we went back to the boats to get jerry cans for a fuel run. Ran into trouble at the petrol station as they would only fill 3 jerries. The boys who were transporting us negotiated a price for us to get all filled. There is a bit of a glitch in Indonesia for us foreigners. The price of fuel is government subsidised for locals. Diesel is around 5200 IDR and Petrol 8000 IDR per litre. We believe there is another price for foreigners like us at around 8000IDR but Stations not used to foreign visitors are not aware of it. All they believe is that it is illegal to fill more than 3 jerries. It is an issue that needs to addressed and clarified for us cruisers. On the more remote islands we have less hassle but pay both a premium and receive what we call Indo Litres which are about 10-15% short on our litres. They don’t seem to get the fact that you cant get 25 real litres into a 20 litre jerry no matter how full but they charge you for 25 litres and will demonstrate with all sincerity that you have received 25 measures of their “1 litre” ladle. One day I must take in a true 1 litre measure and verify their ladle before buying. However, in the big picture its not an issue. We are still paying around 80 cents Aussie for diesel which is a good deal. Just have to remember its low quality, high Sulphur, fuel so do engine oil changes twice as often as usual.

Sunday March 11

Ashore early to get the laundry delivered before the bus pick up for the Lake Toba trip. Martin and I got a Tuk Tuk to the laundry Martin had organised yesterday. They had advised Martin that they would be open at 8.00am. We were sceptical is it was Sunday and sure enough it was closed. The sign on the door said 1.00 pm opening time for a Sunday. Back to the dinghy where I said goodbye to Martin and Ivy who had been travelling on Psycho Puss. I took the laundry back out to boats and caught up with Rod who was busy bypassing a leaking hot water service. We learned later that the pick up for the Lake Toba trip was very late and that Martin had to get another Tuk Tuk back to the bus station to sort it all out. They finally got picked up but all during the wait they were hassled by other locals trying to Hawk their services. 

Apparently it was the 6 hour bus trip from hell in a crowded bomb of a bus with no aircon with a thousand hairpin bends. Lea reckoned the bus had been rolled over and straightened out for reuse at some time. Their were issues with locals smoking on the bus. One lady fell asleep on Lea’s shoulder and 3 near misses under heavy braking and crazy traffic. Glad I didn’t go.

The ferry ride over to the hotel and the rendezvous with Psycho Puss’ next guests went well. 

Rod and I went into town with the laundry about 1.30 only to find the laundry still not open. Our Tuk Tuk driver was great and took us all over the place to find another one.

Monday March 12

The Lake Toba crew hired a car and toured around for the day visiting:

Sialagon Stone Chairs

Beautifully decorative Minangabau Architecture with sweeping buffalo horn peaks each end of the roof line

Fine detail carvings on the building facade.

Martin and Ivy are into Geo Cacheing and found one here.

Tombs on the mountain top

Lunch on the waterfront

Naiso Gap Falls

Then stunning views on the way back to the hotel.

Dinner at the local Reggae Bar and a Jam session. Great night out.

Tuesday March 13

No more bus’s. The Lake Toba crew hired a private car for the trip back to Sibolga. Meanwhile back at the boats Rod and I had been busy getting the Laundry done. 

Our laundry lady was a real character and also did a great job despite Rod trying to convince her that Heather’s bra’s were mine. Every item had a tag stapled to it with either “Rod” or Tim”. The girls were getting stabbed by staples for weeks afterwards until they were all found and removed. Another load of fuel was organised for us by the local Warung at a good price. The people there were very helpful and we enjoyed a few cups of “coffee” with them. Rod sharing a packet of smokes also helped a lot.

Great to have the girls back and another boatload of guests on Psycho. We all went into town for dinner and sat down in a restaurant. Before we even ordered the table was filled with a banquet of dishes. We tried everything and it was all great. 

Wednesday March 14

A clear night with no squalls on the apparent on the radar. Our 4.00am departure went without a hitch. I had to call up a ferry that kept turning toward us. After turning 30 degrees to avoid him and still having him coming straight at us I voiced my displeasure and told him to alter his course to starboard. Fortunately he did. 

We arrived at the NW corner of Mansalar Island a bit after sunrise and went in close to the magnificent cascade straight into the sea. 

Then we set course for the northern end of Nias Island. At one stage we changed our mind and headed for the Southern end only to reverse that decision 10 minutes later after further discussion. We saw a group of Sea Gypsies on an otherwise boring motor.

A bit of breeze in the afternoon helped us make up a bit of time so we arrived in Silia Bay just on dusk and navigated into the lagoon to anchor just on dark.









Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s