Crazy ships, floating Mosques, moving Islands, Whale Sharks, and last but not least, a fish caught –

Octsober 17th: This overnight passage was a bit of a shock after all our easy day cruising in the calm waters of Indonesia, we were both very tired. On our approach to Bawean Island Robbie went really close to a FAD (Fish Attracting Device) and Lo and behold we hooked up. The reel was screaming so it’s all hands to action. My job is to firstly slow the boat right down to tick over, the slowest speed. Then I race and reel in the other two rods, then go down to the cockpit to grab the rod from Robbie on the top deck. I am always nervous that I will drop the rod in the ocean, but so far so good!

It was a lovely Mahi-Mahi or Dolphin Fish. They are such a beautiful fish, yellow and green, very pretty, it is a bit of a shame to eat them but the fish are so far and few that we decided to keep it. We also share it out with the other boats so everyone has fresh fish. Quite close to the approach we were sitting up in the fly bridge and Robbie spotted fish going off just off to our port so we headed over there all of a sudden Robbie is jumping up saying “look at that fish, look at THAT fish” and, it was a huge fish swimming right in front of our bow. We are pretty certain that it is a Whale Shark. It was at least 6 metres long, maybe more. Just very gently swimming along as though it didn’t even see us. Wow it was so cool to see.

We anchored up in the bay Teluk Promahan on Bawean Island on the North side of the island, fringing reef on both sides and it was blowing about 18 knots but calmed down a bit once we were anchored. Skippers meeting was called and it was on Southern Star. Discussion over our passage to Borneo tomorrow. Another overnighter but the difficulty is that we have to enter a river at Kumai and it has to be high tide for us to navigate up the river to where we are going. We also discussed our future plans for after Thailand and Malaysia. Our current thoughts were to skip the Mediterranean (do this later in a motorhome or the like) and head up through Japan, the Aleutians and then Alaska, Canada and the USA. It’s an awful long journey and we have had discussions with Diomedea to sail together. But the Med is very tempting too, and there are a number of boats from the rally shipping their boats to Turkey, from Phuket. Leaning, at this stage, to go to the Med!!! Will keep you posted.

Cooked the Mahi-Mahi (brushed olive oil and cracked pepper and then a squeeze of lemon juice and fried in hot pan for a couple of minutes) it was so good.

Octsober 16th: Departed at 9:30am for Bawean Island, our last anchorage before Borneo. It’s an overnight passage, the first one for a while. Luckily we have had some good sleep the last couple of nights as there won’t be much tonight.

Oh what a night! Crazy ships, floating Mosques, moving Islands, Whale Sharks, and last but not least, a fish caught – a Mahi Mahi! The day passage was quiet, boring in fact. It heated up a bit around dusk – not literally – as it had hit over 30 degrees already by 7:00am. We started seeing flags, we weren’t sure what they were identifying at first, but soon figured out they were FADS – Fish attracting Devices. Usually they are made out of bamboo with some palm leaves attached both underneath the water, and on the top. These however were just flags, no bamboo so they were quite difficult to spot. We were able to identify them on the radar at close range which was a relief. They probably wouldn’t do too much harm if we did hit them but better not to. Cooked some of the last of the Blue Cod from NZ for dinner and it was beautiful. Glad we kept a lot of fish as it has been few and far between in Indonesia. The fish are just hammered here, they use very fine nets and take everything they catch. Anyway that’s another subject for another day. There was no moon and it was quite dark, Robbie went for the first sleep and it was pretty quiet on my watch. A lot of boats, some big container ships passing but no drama. When I went for a nap it all happened. Stormvogel was out to our Starboard (right) side and there was a local fishing boat coming towards him. Peter changed course to Port, and so did the boat. Peter changed to Starboard, and so did the boat. In the end they ended up very close together, so close that Robbie thought they were going to collide. Robbie was tracking the boat on the radar and was informing Peter when the boat changed course. (It leaves a track on the radar) That little drama passed and then there was a medium sized ship with loads of lights, heading towards us from our Starboard side. Diomedea decided to speed up to get out of his way. The ship was quite close but we could hear the call to prayer music and screeching. Eventually he changed course and came behind all 4 boats. Robbie went for a sleep and I took over the watch. I spotted something off to the Starboard side on the radar, it looked like two boats very close together. Then it clearly evolved, one was a flat tug and it was towing a very large barge that was loaded up high. It was hard to determine which way it was moving as it was going so slowly. But, yes it was going to cross in front of us, and yes we were on a collision course. Evasive action taken. As daylight broke, it just looked like a tug and an island, that’s how big the barge was.

 

Octsober 15th: Tony , Janet and Jordan left, at 8:00am, we were very sad to see them go. We have had such a lot of fun and laughs. After Robbie dropped them to the jetty, (they hired a car and driver to go to Ubud to see Tony’s cousin for an hour and then continued to Denpasar to fly back to Liverpool tomorrow) we departed for Pulau Rass. Flat calm all the way. Wind meter read 0.0 knots of wind when we left this morning. We saw a tug towing what looked like an island but was a humongous barge with really big stuff on it covered with tarps. Heated up two of the meat pies – steak and onion – we had brought yesterday that looked really nice, I couldn’t eat mine, it tasted funny and I couldn’t help but think it might be a dog so that put me off. Robbie ate it though!

Diomedea and Elonnisa were a few hours ahead of us and gave us waypoints for the anchorage as it was just on dark as we arrived to Pulau Rass, and it’s very dangerous to be anchoring around reef in the dark. It was quite calm, we were actually pretty exhausted so had one of our “prepared earlier” curries from the freezer, and went to bed.

Octsober 14th: Got up really early, and took the duck out a few klms offshore with all the local tourist boats to see the Dolphins. Lovina Beach is famous for its Dolphins. All the local boats head out from 5:30am every morning with 4-5 tourists aboard to try and catch a view of the Dolphins. So we headed out with them, and we saw lots of dolphins, and, were fortunate enough to see a pod of Killer Whales. Everyone was very excited. Apparently this is only the second time they have been in the area so we were really lucky. Sadly, the local boats go right up to the dolphins, and they did it to the killer whales too. So of course they dived every time the boats got near. Pretty dumb really, we always stay off about 100 metres from whales, and they usually put on a real show for you. We have seen lots of humpback whales each time we go up to the Whitsundays and always give them a bit of space.

Went back and went into Lovina and walked around the shops and brought fresh bread, long-life milk, meat pies and sausages. Stocking up the freezer for Borneo and our journey to Singapore. There wasn’t a lot of choice, most of the retail business in Lovina and in Bali that we saw is touristy clothes and souvenirs. We were able to get margarine also. We caught a “Bemo” (small mini- van, very cheap taxi that picks up lots of passengers along the way) back to the jetty and headed back to Southern Star. It was hot and we all jumped in off the back of the boat and had a lovely swim. There was already a bit of green growth on the waterline, and we had only cleaned it last week, Tony, Jordan and Robbie went around the whole boat with scourer pads. So they did it again. With the warm climate and water it won’t be too long before its back again I am sure.

Tony and Robbie actually cooked cheese and tomato on toast for lunch and it was lovely. (Won’t mention any burnt ones)

We took the duck across to the Spices Resort and had dinner which was really nice. I had Pork Belly and Robbie had Baby back ribs. It was great to have a choice of Western food! Janet and I shared bottles of Pellegrino sparkling water, still no alcohol this month.

 

Octsober 13th: Robbie, Tony and Jordan went into the city with Brian from Gypsy Rover with a car and driver, looking for gas fittings so they can empty an Indonesian gas bottle into our Australian/NZ gas bottles. Janet and Jo went into shore with Gypsy Rover’s crew looking for beauty salon/spa. We found a really good one and had an awesome facial and foot massage for 2 hours. Floated out of there and noticed a Haircut sign across the road. Wandered in, it was a men’s barbershop, but I was desperate and he offered to cut it for me so I went for it. He told me he had very good scissors from Germany, he only had the texturizing scissors, (which I love the effect they give) but no normal scissors! So I had the whole haircut with those scissors, which was a bit weird but I guided him what I wanted and it turned out, well…… it’s OK, and I was desperate. Not many female salons here – they all have long hair. We then caught a taxi back into town, which was on the back of motorbikes. They gave us helmets but we had thongs on our feet. Lucky it was only a short distance. I hoped and prayed that I haven’t caught nits from the haircut or the helmet! Janet and I had a Nasi Goreng Ayam (fried rice with chicken) for 300 rupiah each ($3) and then waved to the boys to come and collect us. I decided to put a colour in my newly cut hair which Janet ended up helping with the last bit, and did an eyebrow and eyelash tint for me. “Salon Southern Star” was in business! We decided it was far too hot to cook so took the duck into the jetty and walked into the main street and had dinner in a local restaurant. Janet did a bit more shopping in the stall across the road, she brought more pashmina scarves which were lovely.

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