Mepar Island and Lingga Island

Mepar Island

November 10th: We are anchored off Mepar Island which is just off Lingga Island. It’s a very pretty anchorage, although the water is very murky and it’s very shallow. We anchored in 10 metres of water, we had initially anchored in 4 metres but there’s 2 metres of tide so we decided to move further out. There are also Crocodiles here, there are lots of mangroves so it’s perfect for them. There was apparently an attack on a young girl yesterday, she got bitten but is OK. The crew off Gypsea Rover were swimming yesterday and I can’t blame them it was extremely hot and muggy. However I don’t think they will now they are aware of the Crocs!

Today a bus has been organised to take us into town, so we were asked to be at the big jetty at 8:00am as they were holding a Heroes ceremony and they were “Sterilising” the water, which we presumed to mean no water traffic. So we all were at the jetty at 8am, however big black clouds were looming, and sure enough a storm squall came through. Half of the group went back to the boats to shut windows and check their anchors. The remaining half got dropped off in the town and returned to pick up the others, at 10am.

Our local guides, Anna, and Kam took us into a little local coffee shop. Unfortunately we have not had much luck with coffees in Indonesia. If you ask for white, it is made with condensed milk so it is really sickly sweet. I asked for black and it was thick and awful. They did provide a plate of assorted local food. There was deep fried Banana cake, Curry Puffs, bread rolls with the bright green jam, cooked bananas in banana leaf and a few other things. The deep fried banana cake was lovely. I don’t know how the Indonesian people stay so thin, as pretty much everything is deep fried.

We had a wander through the town and I was able to purchase some professional hair colour from a hairdresser/barber. He could not speak, at all, so it was difficult but we finally got there, between using the colour chart, sign language, and Anna’s help. He initially thought I wanted him to do the colour, but we eventually brought two tubes of colour, and the peroxide for 140,000 rupiah, or $14. That is so cheap. The brand is Boya, I have never heard of it so fingers crossed it will be OK.

Anna sourced a European toilet for us in the local hotel, it was very nice! The alternative, a local toilet is not pleasant! They are basically a hole in the ground that you squat over. I have seen stickers in the European toilets that I have been to, saying “no standing on the toilet” Apparently the locals stand on the seats of the European toilets!

The rest of the crew arrived so I took Robbie back to the hairdresser as he wanted a haircut. Interesting cut, very different to Maree’s excellent cuts (and my one and only attempt) but it looked OK. Had a look around the shops but there was nothing much, except I saw black eggs for the first time ever, they are smoked!

The bus took us all to a restaurant, we were served Prawn cocktail (served in a Banana leaf), chicken and beef stir-fry with vegetables and fresh Papaya. It was very nice. Cost was 50,000 rupiah per person, or $5. The only trouble is that there is a ditch around the restaurant, and that is where the rubbish is thrown. No idea!

Back to the boat and had a rest for a while and then over to Stormvogel for 500 challenge. We swapped the pack of cards and Peter and I actually won a few rounds. Heidi and I had a few (too many) drinks, preferred Octsober to be honest.


November 11th: Very slow start this morning. We all met on the jetty again and were ferried across to Mepar Island where we had a welcome ceremony. We were greeted by beautiful women in pink traditional costumes playing a Tamborine/drum instrument, and again had the coloured rice thrown over us. Then two men performed a mock fight. We had welcome speeches and a prayer, all in Muslim that we could not understand. They had provided us a beautiful morning tea consisting of curry puffs, fish cakes, prawn cakes, prawn crackers and cakes. Also a melon drink that had cucumber and Thai Basil seeds in it. We were given a tour of the village and a walk up through the forest to the canon placements on the top of the hill. The view was stunning. We walked back down through the village and were shown how they smoke fish, a staple of their diet.

Helen from Boffin, Robbie and I found a quiet room and did our minutes silence for Remembrance Day. It was quite emotional actually.

Back on the boats and back on the bus for a trip to the waterfall on Lingga Island. The bus was struggling to get up the hills, and at one stage we all had to get out and walk up a steep hill and then jump back on the bus. It was only a short walk to the waterfall, and it was very pretty. A few guys had remembered their togs and had a swim, I hadn’t, so just dunked my feet. It was very refreshing. Back on the bus to the same restaurant as yesterday for a late lunch. Chicken and sweetcorn soup, saffron rice and a vegetarian dish and pineapple. Was very nice. Back to the boat, we were exhausted so just watched a couple of sessions of “Banshee” and into bed.



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