Benan Island to Pulau Bintan

November 18th: woke up to thunder, lightning and rain. Was supposed to be lifting anchor at 6:00am but it was still quite dark and raining so we left it for a bit and finally departed around 6.45am. It was a tricky departure navigating through some very shallow areas, and also dodging the fishing traps. Google Earth with Goops, again made our departure much easier. It shows you your position on Google Earth, and you can see the reefs and shallow areas and where you are in relation to them. A great navigational tool!

The rain wasn’t too bad, we had the nav lights on but it got better as the day went on, and it was a bit cooler which was very welcome. We arrived to our anchorage, Tanjung Pinang, on the island of Bintan, around 12:30. It’s a very busy port, lots of ferries coming and going, and unfortunately, a lot of rubbish in the water also. There were some very significant buildings on the hill overlooking the water as we navigated the narrow entrance channel, we presume one of them will be the Regents home.

We anchored in only 5 metres of water at the mouth of the river. There are ships anchored up the river as far as we can see. It’s pretty calm though, so apart from the ferry wash we should get a peaceful sleep.

We were picked up at 3:00pm by a free water taxi, provided by the local Tourism Department to go into the city. There are 11 boats anchored now and most of us went in. Typical city, it is not very clean and the people are not as friendly as the small villages we have been visiting. We walked around for an hour or so with Peter and Heidi. Lots of shops, and a small mall but we didn’t really look too much in the shops.

Robbie was gob smacked to see some pipe being laid by hand, and the tunnel being dug by hand! We eventually found a hotel to have a cold beer and some dinner. It was the hotel Melia and it was overlooking the water, the entrance was very nice but the décor deteriorated as you walked outside. We were pretty hot and thirsty and hungry by this stage so we ordered some food and Heinekens. It was a pretty basic patio, bit rickety and run down but quite pleasant looking over the water to our boats anchored up.

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There was a very ugly high-rise with a huge amount of rubbish on the waterline next to us, we just don’t get why they allow this to happen but they all just turn a blind eye to it. The food was not real good, we ordered Cap CAi which is a vegetable dish, fried chicken, and some spring rolls. Our Cap Cai never came but luckily Peter and Heidi had ordered some soup and we had a bit of that. Today was Peter and Heidi’s 29th wedding anniversary so it was lovely to be able to celebrate that milestone with them.

We walked back to the dock to catch our taxi back just after 6:00pm and back to the boat for a relax and the last episode of Banshee.

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