Sebana Cove to Natuna Part 1

Sunday 16th June 1400 hours

Here we are sitting in the anchorage on the East Coast of Natuna waiting for our outward Clearance Documents. They were promised us yesterday afternoon, then 1000 this morning. Now 1700 this afternoon. Such are the delights of dealing with the officials in Indonesia.

Not that we can really complain, the weather is benign, the water warm and clear with turtles popping up regularly to check us out.

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The Rally events have been very enjoyable and Natuna has been a good host and destination. We touched the SW corner briefly in 2016 but the East, where we are now, has offered us much better access to the main island. Our next destination is Miri, Sarawak, Borneo a distance of about 340NM. We hope to do the trip in around 60hours. Not much wind is forecast but local cells will spin the wind instrument through all 360 degrees enroute with a lottery of rain squalls and thunderstorms.

We have used the delay to clean a few small barnacles from under the boat and of course catch up on the blog. We hope to set off for Miri early tomorrow morning. For now here is recap of the trip from Sebana Cove to Natuna.

We left Sebana Cove lunchtime, to catch the tide, on Saturday May 4 after an enjoyable few days. On the way down the river we fuelled up at the barge then headed out into Singapore Strait. not much wind but the current was with us all the way around to our anchorage at Tanjung Sepang at the bottom SE corner of Peninsular Malaysia. We picked up Psycho Puss, Delany and Pegasus as we entered the Straits.

Sunday May 5

Underway early and had to wait a while for the breeze to develop. As it was light we put the spinnaker up even though it was going to be quite shy. It took us a while to sort out the spinnaker as it had been repaired and reinstalled in its sock incorrectly. Eventually it was up and drawing and we were off at nice 7-8 knots. 1/2 hour later a gust pushed the apparent to 12Knots and bang we were trailing a stream of black and red fabric in the water to starboard. The split was central from the tack and took out the leech completely. Bye bye Spinnaker. The fabric was just too old and weakened by UV. Sad to see but it has pulled us many thousands of miles over its 12 year life.

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After retrieving the shredded sail we spread it out as best we could to assess the damage and dry it out.

We anchored at Palau Sibu after punching into a heavy rain squall. Lea and I measured up for a new spinnaker.

Monday May 6

With emails drafted requesting quotes for a new spinnaker we walked across the island to get internet access and send them. We checked with the Sea Gypsy Resort and booked in for dinner. Lea and I did a long swim to shore and back. Dinner was average but it was great to catch up with everybody.

Tuesday May 7th

The port water pump was giving trouble with continual hunting so I removed it and stripped it down. all looked fine and a thorough clean still failed to solve the problem. Will just have to live with it until we can order a new pump.

Ashore for another walk this time to the north of the island and the Rimbu Resort, a low key turtle sanctuary and Eco Resort.

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The Resort manager was delightful and we enjoyed a good chat. This Resort is well known with yachties for its Saturday night BBQ’s and Sunday Roast Dinners. Wrong days for us.

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Sundowners on Gemini Lady

Wednesday May 8

A rolly night with an unexpected SE breeze. Another walked planned for today to the South of the Island. Received quotes back for the spinnaker and began weighing up the various material options. The SW corner of the island is a Dugong Sanctuary. All the infrastructure looks new ands it great to see conservation beginning to take hold in Malaysia.

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After wandering around for 2 hours we returned to the boats and decide to move. We thought Palau Tinggi would be more sheltered but it wasn’t so we kept going to Palau Tioman. Naturally as soon as we were clear of Tinggi the wind died.

Our Port toilet suddenly decided to block so I spent a couple of hours dismantling, cleaning and rebuilding the Vacuum generator. I ended up having to use Hydrochloric Acid to get the parts clean. A yukky job but a successful outcome.

We anchored in the lovely Juara Bay on the East side of Tioman. Nice and calm here.

We spent the next 9 days her on Tioman, exploring parts we had not visited before. We got to know Lisa and Denise off Pegasus and Chris and Jacqui off Delany a bit more and enjoyed the hospitality of the Barrat Resort on Juara Beach. The head waiter, Habib, is a delightful young Bangladeshi. He is an engineering student who couldn’t afford to complete his studies. He came to Malaysia in the hope of earning more and saving enough to resume his studies but he is struggling to achieve his dream. However, he was cheerful, friendly and looked after us very well.

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We visited waterfalls and enjoyed swimming in the cool fresh water.

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Climbed to the dam of an old defunct hydro scheme which is being rebuilt.

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We motored around to the west side of the island and stopped at Teluk Salang anchoring off the little island there. Ashore we explored the little village which seems to mainly consists of dive resorts but very quiet at the moment due to Ramadan. Sand flies soon chased us back to the boat as the sun dropped.

We also visited Palau Tulia again and had a great pot luck dinner on Gemini Lady with Psycho Puss and Pegasus. We enjoyed some good snorkelling around the spectacular rock formations.

We restocked in Telek and had a couple of meals out as well as a laundry and booze run.

Another great pot luck dinner on Delany cut a bit short as a squall came through

Our genset had developed an occasional miss that caused the inverter/charger to drop the AC in. I finally tracked it down to a bit of plastic debris in the lift pump that would sometimes stop the valve rubbers from sealing. I have no idea where the plastic came from unless it was the remnant of a gauze filter. Anyway problem was solved an genset running sweet again.

After clearing out of Malaysia we went back around to Juara to wait for a good weather window to cross to Anambas. Another great group dinner at the Barrat.

Saturday May 18

0400 start with a great forecast. We lifted the main while still at anchor and headed off with Psycho Puss. A bright full moon illuminated the way. We were soon into a 12-18knot SW’ly. It was a bit lumpy causing the main to jag so I rigged an elasticised preventer to act as a shock absorber. Messy but effective.

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The days sailing improved as the wind reduced to a steady 13knots at 80 degrees apparent. We fluked the shipping lanes and didn’t have to alter course at all, arriving at Jemadja Island at 1500. 94Nm in 11 hours.

The next day we moved on to Tarempa after leaving Psycho Puss to their toilet issues and giving them our spare bellows to repair their vacuum pump. Another nice 30Nm sail.

The harbour entrance is dominated by the new Mosque under construction.

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All the moorings were taken so we anchored in 22m. We ended up 1 boat length too close to another boat. After a bite to eat we up anchored and snagged twice on underwater rubbish. Managed to manoeuvre free and once the anchor was up Lea refused to put the anchor down in the harbour again. We knew there was a mooring free in a small bay NE of the main harbour so we headed for that just beating 2 other boats coming in.

Clearing in was easy this time as we knew where to go. We ran into locals who remembered us from the Djamada Festival last year.

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We feel very much at home here and the kids are always up for a photo.

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Getting a SIM Card was a real problem as Indonesia is not allowing foreigners to activate one for security reasons. We eventually got around it with the help of an entrepreneurial local who used all his family names to activate the SIM card. We heard later that he ran out of names to use.

Nice reunion with Esoterica before the Welcome Ceremony and Dinner. Some nice custom dancing

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and the usual endless speeches that we don’t understand a word of. There were more officials and VIP’s than yachties. However, the meal was good and it gave us a chance to meet some of the Rally participants that we didn’t know.

Wednesday May 22

Early visit to the fish market for a nice Mahi Mahi and a couple of frozen chickens. Coffee with John and Kerryn. Kerryn is on a mission to get her reports emailed off to the authorities with all sorts of advice for improving the tourist experience here. The waterfront here is full of colours and vibrancy.

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Given the calm conditions we decided to sail out to Durai Island with Esoterica. This is a highly regarded Turtle Sanctuary. Unfortunately we couldnt find a place to anchor that was shallow enough without damaging more coral, so after a bit of a look around we headed across to Mubur and a known safe anchorage. John and Kerryn came over to share a great fish dinner. Another good night was had.

Thursday May 23

We are still horrified by the amount of rubbish, mainly plastic, that the fishermen just throw overboard. 9 little boats moored up close to us overnight and this morning the sea is littered with plastic bottles and wrappers from their breakfast. The service boat of a big squid platform moored nearby came over and one brazen young man came aboard, walked straight past me and sat down next to Lea.

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They asked for Whiskey which means anything alcoholic. We gave them a coke and a snack each and a packet of cigarettes to share. They promptly left and came back with a large 1.5kg bag of nearly frozen squid. Good deal all around. Waterflow through genset poor so I replaced the impeller and went back to an old hose as the other seemed to be creasing over a bend and possibly also reducing the waterflow.

Kittani and Il Sogno arrived so we invited all for sundowners. We had plenty of Squid and John had made a great pasta sauce so drinks turned into dinner. Craig off Il Sogno is a retired journalist who has spent time in many of the worlds hotspots. He had some fascinating stories and experiences to recount. Another great night.

Friday May 24

Went to visit our friend Axel whose family run a hotel in Tarempa. He is building a resort on the island bordering our anchorage. The outlook and position is stunning.  We saw the beginning last year and he now has his first guests. He has done a great job in design and construction but there is a long way to go.

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Snorkelling and swimming are spoilt by an abundance of jellyfish swarms. Lea and Peter off Kittani both ended up badly stung. Not good when its so hot and you can’t just jump in the water.

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