Anambas Islands

Thursday June 28

Psycho Puss refloated a bit before 5.00am and they anchored close by. At first light Rod was under the boat to check for damage. Luckily there was surprisingly little, much to everyone’s relief. during the morning we dinghied over to check if there was much damage to the reef where Psycho Puss hit. We could hardly tell where the reef was hit. 20 m either side of the spot and they would have sailed straight over the reef without touching. Cross this place off our list as far to many reefs and bommies.

Anchor up for a nice easy sail over the top of Matak to Pendjalan Island one of our favourite places from last time. Didnt quite get there ahead of a nasty squall so had to drop the sails early just before getting hit with 25knots and heavy rain. Appreciated the extra hands to pack up the main. The weather cleared just as we approached the anchorage. Both boats went close inshore. We tried to anchor on our 2016 spot but snorkelling around showed we were too close to a bommie. We messed around for while but  couldn’t get a clear 360 degree swing. Got around that by tying off the bridle to a small bommie to reduce our swing toward shore.

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Lots of local fishing boats started to arrive and surrounded Psycho Puss. They up anchored and moved away out in deeper water. We counted 39 fishing boats with up to 6 on one anchor by dusk. They were all friendly and did not bother us at all.

Quiet night as Rod and Heather recovered from the night before’s trauma.

Friday June 29

A gorgeous day spent swimming, walking and running on the beach.

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Snorkelled the south end of the beach in nice clear water. Reasonable coral and fish life.

Dave and I went over to Psycho Puss to check their battery issues. Found one very dead one and two others well down on capacity. Not good!

Saturday June 30

Rain day today. Lots of reading and an episode of Last Ship. The rain cleared around 1600hrs but the girls were in sloth mode so didn’t do much at all. Dave and I retrieved a couple of Psycho Puss’s batteries and attempted resurrection following Nigel Caldwel’s techniques of fast and slow discharge and recharge. May have made a slight improvement.

Sunday July 1

A calm morning with dark clouds on the horizon so we got going early and headed south to Meow Riau on Palau Mandarin. We anchored deep in the bay.

Meow Riau

Everyone was soon in the water snorkelling while I took some time out to read. Water was good but there was evidence of use of explosives in the past for fishing.

The afternoon bought heavy rain so Dave fabricated a funnel to collect rainwater off the cabin top. The girls soon had plenty of water for cloths and hair washing.

A quick check around before going to bed revealed Psycho Puss’s lights well in the distance. They didn’t respond to the radio so we launched the dinghy and set off to check on them. We found them just waking from their afternoon sleep. Before the rain came we had anticipated moving again in the afternoon. Hence not much chain had been put out. They were soon reanchored back up in the bay.

Monday July 2

Off early to catch the tide but soon had to furl in the headsail as a nasty squall bore down on us. We were heading to Moonrock Bay but thought it might be a bit exposed to these NW Squalls. Looked for alternative anchorages nearby  but non were particularly inspiring. The squall soon cleared so we entered Moonrock over the reefs and settled in about 10m on sand.

Moonrock

Neither Navionics nor Isailor has any detail in Anambas so we relied on Ovitalmap all the time with reference to the Navionics Community Layer. Osbourne Star was already in the anchorage.

We were soon ashore exploring. The lovely beaches were littered with rubbish, mainly plastic and old fishing nets. Lea and I climbed an old logging track but couldn’t get to a view point. Back on the beach I collected and opened some coconuts.

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Our fresh food was getting low so the girls went through the cupboards working out a meal plan for the next 2 days. Rod and Heather both down with the flu. Hope we didn’t give them our Nepal Flu.

Fabulous roast lamb dinner and slightly burnt banana muffins for desert.

Tuesday July 3

Another wet and windy day which didn’t inspire anyone to venture ashore. A particularly vicious squall hit around 8.00am from the west but the anchorage is surprisingly well protected. Dave and I revitalised our toilet holding tank odour filters with fresh activated charcoal. These filters retail for over $150.00AUD each. A $15.00 bag of charcoal will give about 6-8 refills.

Late afternoon there was a break in the weather so we headed off to climb Moon Rock. In damp conditions we walked up the steep track  and were rewarded with fantastic views.

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Down on the beach we did a bit more of an inventory on the rubbish situation. David was documenting the rubbish and trying to work out its origins, we were horrified to find what looked like yachters rubbish with not very old wine bottles, soda cans, salami wrappers and a big zip lock bag of out of date medicines. We had been advised that Terempa Customs were confiscating out of date medicines off yachts. Is this where they end up?

Wednesday July 4

We were hoping for a clear morning to revisit Moon Rock for better photos but it was still overcast and cloudy. Another snorkel whi;le waiting for the tide to peak. We left at 11.00am and motor sailed to charge batteries. Ours was well down as we had run the inverter all night to run an independant smart charger on one of Psycho Puss’s batteries. We followed the short cut we mapped out back in 2016 cutting an hour and a half off the trip back to Terempa.

Another boat had just dropped a mooring as we arrived so we got the rockstar parking position in close. Laundry drop was no 1 priority.

Thursday July 5

A large navy vessel was in port doing cataract surgery for the locals. We did some provisioning but supplies were still scarce in town especially meat and chicken. We booked motorbikes for the afternoon. Our dinghy dock was sabotaged by a visiting General who deemed it unsafe (which it was) and had the ramp removed leaving us stranded ashore with our dinghy tied to the now inaccessible dock. I could get no help from the Navy officers so eventually we were rescued by Heather. We suspect the issue was more to do with making sure no yachties walked through the Navy Ceremony taking place.

Our afternoon ride around the Island was beautiful.

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Overcast but no rain. The roads are excellent and very little traffic. The undulating hills made Lea wish she had her push bike.

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Friday July 6

Chicken and fish were the mission so we set off at 0600 to be at the wet market early.

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It was sad to see that turtle eggs are still for sale at the market even though it is illegal.

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The locals prefer the smaller varieties of fish.

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So we found a nice small Mahi Mahi and got it for a great price. We also found some frozen chicken Maryland’s at the main market and got 5kg. All good but the laundry wasn’t ready. The lady said 4.00pm, we negotiated it to 2.00pm.

When we finally left the southerly wind was blowing hard. To save our dying sails we retreated for the night to bay east of Terempa Harbour. Well sheltered but deep at 20m. The mahi Mahi was fabulous.

Saturday July 7

A brilliant sail, close hauled SW down to Ayam Island in a 12-15 SSE breeze. The 1m swell made the ride a bit bumpy and through salt spray across the decks. Murrundi was already at anchor and John and Barb welcomed us in. On lowering the anchor Lea noticed the winch was considerably slower and seemed to lack power. Further investigation required.

Dave and I spent the afternoon removing the anchor winch and taking it ashore for the dirty job of dismantling. We found that the rear seal had sucked back in filling the electric motor with oil. Big clean up job but I had a new seal in stock.

Sunday July 8

Anchor winch reinstalled and tested. All looks good but suspect we need a new electric motor for it soon.  Ashore we explored and collected some more coconuts. Dave added to his photo collection of rubbish. The number of shoes amongst the plastic bottles was alarming.We gathered them all from a 20m section of beach.

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Monday July 9

A morning swim and snorkel. Coral was reasonable but not much large fish life.

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Then off to Padang Melang joining Murrundi and Tiger Balm. ashore we sought out the free WIFI available at the local high school. The 7km long beach is lovely and wide. No sign of rubbish as the locals do a good job here keeping it clean. People were very friendly with lots of greetings and waves.

There was a big storm that night which looked to be centred over Ayam Island, so we were glad we moved.

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Tuesday July 10

We planned to hire a couple of motorbikes to explore Jamaja. We had no luck at the local restaurant for scooter hire so we headed off to walk the 4km into town. when we got to the school we found the other cruisers there waiting for a sight seeing bus trip. We met Gusti, the local tourism go to man. We joined the group for a trip to the waterfall and Letong.

Gusti wanted to show us the new airport that has just been completed. The roads in were rough but the new airport is excellent and looks well equipped. At the moment it receives 3 regional flights per week with future  plans to take international arrivals direct from Singapore. Maybe then yachts can clear into Anambas at Jamaja.

We chatted to the head of security, obviously very proud of his airport while a squall bought torrential rain and thunder. We sheltered in the terminal building for half an hour while it passed.

Next stop was the waterfall, impressive after the heavy rain. A local family was enjoying the beautiful surrounds.

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Jamaja is not as mountainous as Terempa and the concrete roads not as smooth. Lots of small farms with lots of great looking cattle.

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Irrigation infrastructure looked a little run down and underutilised. We never did manage to find any beef meat for sale and even Gusti couldn’t help source any. Bugger!

We drove on to a couple of towns on inlets on the west side of the island. Again rubbish control was excellent with lots of bins around.

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It was a late lunch in the main town of Letong. The local restaurant service was dreadful and very frustrating. However, we eventually we got served and the food was good.  A fantastic day for about $12.50 per couple.

Wednesday July 11

We started out early hoping to do some snorkelling at Dikar Reef. We had another awesome sail covering the 40 Nm before lunchtime. Unfortunately we had to give the snorkelling a miss as the wind was too strong so we navigated up through the passage between Palau Bajau and Palau Pemutus to Pencil Dot Island. Again Ovitalmap was essential as many reefs extend out into the channel with little villages tucked in behind. Calmer conditions would be required for exploring this area further. We anchored NW of Palau Pendegung. It was too rough to venture out to Pencil Dot Island.

Thursday July 12

Anne, David and Lea took off in the dinghy early to try and find a sheltered spot to snorkel as the southerly was still blowing. They found some nice coral to the east of the anchorage but conditions were not ideal. A local known as “Eddie” was hovering around in his canoe so Lea gave him some food and a cap. He seems to be a bit simple but very friendly and appreciative of the gifts.

Disaster struck as we tried to up anchor. The winch stopped and there was a smell of overheated electricals.  We had 30m of chain still out which Dave hauled up by hand while I tried to manoeuvre the boat to keep the chain slack. We then headed back to Moon Rock Bay to rendezvous with Psycho Puss. It was a quick downwind sail. We took extra care where we dropped anchor as we did not want to have to pull it up again.

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Anchor winch was pulled out and stripped again. Analysis made us suspect the commutator so we cleaned, filed and polished this then reassembled. Testing showed it working intermittently but with lots of arking and sparks. Not looking promising.

Ashore that evening for sundowners we had a fire and fireworks.

Friday July 13

Had a more thorough go at the anchor winch commutator but even after that it only worked 1time out of 6. We worked out that some field coils on the stator must be shorted out. We reinstalled the winch with the back accessible so we could turn the stator to a live coil. Unfortunately the winch just did not have enough power to do the job. Time to work out a system for lifting the anchor manually. We were ok while Dave and Anne were onboard but we had a long way to travel on our own.

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Another walk up Moon Rock to stretch the legs.

Saturday July 14

The weather forecast was for more 20knot winds from the South so we decided to stay put. A small swell was making its way into the bay indicating it was pretty rough out there. Local fishing boats come and go en-mas leaving us wondering what they know and we don’t.

Ashore we tried the old logging track again and went further with good footwear this time. Still no view or phone service. Paul and Sue off Osbourne Star kindly sent a message to John off Murrundi to see if we could borrow his spare winch motor. Unfortunately he was using his spare and the other had a seized gearbox.

Nice afternoon on the beach with a fire to burn rubbish while enjoying sundowners with Rod and Heather off Psycho Puss, Paul and Sue off Osbourne star and Chris and Nancy off Amulet.

Sunday July 15

Anne’s birthday. Back to Terempa to go out for dinner. 50m of anchor chain retrieved by hand. Fortunately all the moorings were free in the harbour.

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Casual dinner at Poppies Chinese Restaurant on the wharf under the Chinese Temple with Heather and Rod

Monday July 16

More laundry dropped off then goodbye to Anne and Dave who took the midday fast boat to Matak and the airport.

We spent the next couple of days lazing around and re provisioning.From the wet market we bought some small squid to try. bit of an effort to clean them but they tasted ok.

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We cleared out on Friday 20th July. That took 4 stops and about 1.5 hours. Only fees were harbour dues of 10900Rup ($1.10)

We had another great close hauled sail to Jamaja. This time we put in a reef which made it a more relaxed passage. To keep the anchoring to minimum depths we headed into the beach where preparations were being made for next weeks festival. We rang Gusti to arrange hire of a couple of motorbikes. He insisted we stay for the festival. The ride around the Island was great. We stopped off at the waterfall for a swim. Some local girls were enjoying the area too.

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We enjoyed some lazy days moving between Ayam Island and the Jamaja beach. Lea and Rod took off on Mad Kitty to try some other areas for snorkelling.

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Then it was back to Jamaja for the festival.

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