Tuesday, 19 June 2012


We cleared in at Nongsa Point Marina on the northern tip of Batam. Dewi was most efficient and helpfully organizing the clearances and visas. We had arranged to pick up our Indonesian cruising permit CAIT here and all the formalities were simple.  

Marina facilities are excellent with pool, laundry, restaurant, and shop within the resort. Docks are well built clean and well maintained. 
There is also a fuel service but we didn't use it.

A typical Riau Village
Sunday we went on the resort bus to the Batam Centre Megamall which is a big modern complex with a great Giant Supermarket. The bus runs on Friday & Saturday and Sunday only. If we wanted to go any other day we would have needed a taxi for the 20 min ride each way.  

We cleared out of Nongsa to Beletung , our departure port, on Monday and sailed south for a couple of hours to anchor for the night. There is a noticeable improvement in the living standard here since our last visit to the area in 2006. We are seeing better clothing, housing and the level of sophistication of the various fishing craft is generally higher with a greater number of outboard engines instead of longtails.

We decided to head west through the densely packed islands of the Riau group and go west through the passage passing under the Baralang Bridge  000'46.973N 104'10.390E. H 27M. It proved a very easy passage, well charted and with interesting traditional villages. Well worth the trip. Emerging from the passage we sailed south west to an anchorage in a deserted bay at 00'21.12N 104'19.01E . There are several stilt houses in the bay and we saw some dive boats with very large crew presumably harvesting the reefs and sea bottom. Everyone waves and smiles here. 
Traveling further south and east next day passing west of Sebanka we sailed down some very pretty channels and passed numerous villages finally anchoring at Kentar. 00'3.12N 104'44.69E. This is a well protected anchorage in the SE season. 
Linga was our. Next night stop at 0'16.01S104'58.03E yes we are in. The southern hemisphere. There is a fishing camp here and three teenage youth paddled over to see if we had any whiskey for them! After a friendly discussion and photos they paddled away empty handed! A stern anchor that night would have been  a good idea to counter the rolling. 
Baralang Bridge #3
The winds have been steady and about 15 + KN from the south east so we decided to sail west to Selat Berhala on the coast of Sumatera. This was a long but fast and comfortable day and the anchorage although apparently out in the middle of no where proved quite good. 0'59.66S 104'20.30E. 

Next day was fast but not so comfortable, making South in strong wind and short steep chop. 76nm in daylight however and an amazing night in probably one of our most remote anchorages Teluk Sekanah 1'51.834S 104'31.876E we had not even dropped the anchor when a large runabout full of people arrived alongside. Two young adult males, one older man and about. 7 young boys between 3 and 12 years. They were so excited! We managed to keep them on the deck and in their own boat but their delight at the opportunity to spy through the deck hatches into the boat was obvious. They were all very polite and well behaved, not taking liberties and most grateful for the sweets and a few shirts we found for them. There are only about 5 small houses comprising the small stilt house. Complex on the edge of the bay, all built in very traditional style. I was so surprised by the suddenness of their arrival however I didn't get any photos! 

Sunday we decided to abandon our attempt to pass south through the channel between Banka and Sumatara as the adverse wind and sea state was just so contrary to our comfort! Also if your were going to attempt this route you would be well advised to wait for neap tides.

Typical fishing platform.

We turned east in perfect weather for the direction and sailed to Tanjung Genting  1'41.468S 105'20.380E a beautiful and peacefully spot with a long white sand beach and only one or two people combing the shore at low tide. 
 David picked up a flue in Singapore and so we laid low and enjoyed the view for a couple of days after a busy week.