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Tug-n-tow the bain of our day
11/20/2012, Port Dickson, Malaysia

We are now travelling up the notorious malacca straits between Sumatra (Indonesia) and Malaysia. We are sailing (mainly motoring in fact) just outside the shipping channel leaving the big tankers to themselves!! its not the pirates that cause us grief but these tug and barge combo deals. For one, they are long with steel cable joining them and two, they continually change their course so that the barge can correct itself. So avoiding them at all cost is our daily grind especially if it happens to be raining and the visibility is low. The only worse scenario was in indonesia when we had to do some night sails and seeing these things at night was scary. Especially as they rarely had AIS (radar) and often travelled without lights. One such tug had the lights on but not the barge 50 metres behind!! Talk about flying blind!! Also just on that subject, early on when we weren't familiar with the tug-n-tows we thought from a distance that it was an unchartered island. Dan was madly checking the plotter and the paper charts only to find on closer examination that it was a tug carrying a barge with a very full load of sand!!

The triangles are big ships
10/29/2012, Johor Baru

Yesterday we crossed the infamous Singapore Straits. We left the Indonesian island of Batam where we hugged the coastline until we came to a ninety degree cut (the best way to avoid a collision) across one of the biggest shipping lanes in the world. With our trusty AIS radar system (pictured above) we could see our closest point of approach and the time we had to make a dash in front of a huge fast moving ship or to back off. Luckily we had no close calls although the entire trip was hugely stressful. The biggest ship we passed was 1096 feet long - that's 3.5 soccer fields!!

We are now in Johor Baru in Malaysia in a marina called Puteri Harbour. The marina is very modern and they are building a hotel around the marina as we speak. Coming from Indonesia a definite third world country - Malaysia is well and truly first world. The clubhouse facilities here are first rate (they even have a library) and all for appoximatley $12 australian dollars a day. Tomorrow they will take us to a night market and Thursday they will take us to the nearest town which is complete with three hypermarkets (including Tescos from the UK) and a huge cinema complex. We will also catch a bus into Singapore for a day trip next week.

We have joined the Sail Malaysia rally ( which will depart on November 8 and meander up the Malaysian coastline to Langkawi. This rally is a doddle in comparison to the Sail Indonesia rally which had distance issues coupled with time (visa) constraints. So from here on we are hoping we can kick back and enjoy the fruits of our labours thus far.

10/30/2012 | Joe Ducasse
I am missing the trip so much . I wish I was still on board . Fair winds and regards to the Doctor and all the rest of the crew from Sail Indonesia .
11/04/2012 | Jan DRURY
We will be in Langkawi on December 5th for a week then back again in the new year for two years cruising in our new boat. Hope to catch up, we'll done for your crossing! Love jan and mike
Crossing the equator
10/22/2012, Senimpan, Lingeh

Yesterday we crossed the equator after a long 2 day and 1 night crossing. Tired and wet as we had come through a massive squall overnight we took this photo of our instruments showing the line of zero's on the latitude. We have come a long way now - and gladly we have finished with the overnighters. Not only are they taxing on your body (with 3 hour alternating sleeps) but they are quite frightening. The other night just before dark we noticed a long line of unlit and unmarked small pots indicating fishing nets a mere 5 metres from us. We were literally minutes from getting completely tangled up - and potentially cooking the engine with line wrapped around the propellor.

Happily we can report we are now within a one day sail to Nonsa Point marina in Batam (just below Singapore) where we will clear out of Indonesia with one day left on our visa. To be perfectly honest this rally has been way too rushed for the time given and the distances needed to be travelled. We are all quite exhausted from long sails and not having the time to enjoy places. Even worse is that the group of islands we are in now are far the nicest in Indonesia and we just have to skip through them.

So it's marina life for us soon - it will be nice not to be on the move as well as being able to enjoy land pleasures. From Batam we will head to another marina on the Malaysian side of Singapore where we will be registering for the Sail Malaysia rally starting early November. So it's goodbye Indonesia and hello Malaysia for us!!

Tree in the way - no problem!!
10/11/2012, Kumai, Kalimantan

We have just arrived back from our trip to Tanjung Putting National Park the best place on earth to see orang-utans in the wild. We were picked up by an open house boat looking vessel - our deck was covered with cushions and there was an open view of the river on all sides. The trip up the river was about 6 hours with ever changing thick jungle and the occasional wildlife. We then walked about 2kms to the research station where they attract the wild orang-utans with daily handouts of bananas and milk. Sure enough through the canopies of trees come these amazing acrobatic swinging orangutans. Magic to watch them up close and personal as they are supposed to be 97% the same genes as humans and therefore our closest relative. One cheeky female even tried to take dans water bottle from his hand which was a bit tense.

We headed back to the boat for sunset drinks and dinner on board. Our nights sleep on the open deck with a slither of a mattress and a mozy net was a little fitful with lots of strange noises in the night. Next day after an early breakfast we again set off on the river to another research station. The humidity is high and the heat is oppressive up the river and the only time your not dripping with sweat is when our houseboat is underway and there is a cool breeze. It was however a lovely way to travel and we felt thoroughly spoilt with our every meal prepared and the guys not having to worry about any engine problems.

We had a wonderful trip and Rob and Diana were great company. On our arrival back to our yachts (which had been manned 24 hours by boys from the houseboat crew) we were pleasantly surprised that the decks had been well washed and the stainless steel had been polished. Dan was so happy with the job that we gave them an extra tip which they were glad to see.

Again we have some very long sails in front of us thankfully in company with the good Doctor. Trying to avoid two overnighters at all costs we will head down the river tomorrow and anchor at the mouth of the river then head off first light Saturday for Belitung. This is the last rally stop in the sail Indonesia rally with a farewell party on October 20.

10/18/2012 | Jan
Hi you too and well done for all the cruising, Elise we're soooo proud of you! Our boat is on the market but if we don't sell we're doing the Freo to Bali followed by Beyond Bali, starting May 2013. Perhaps we'll catch up! Say hi to The Doctor from us xox love to you both.
12/25/2012 | Jenny
Hi Lise and Dan hope you both had a very Merry Xmas in Langkawi and were relaxed, laughing lots and enjoying the cuisine
Loved speaking to you today Lise!
Happy sailing Love Jen X
10/11/2012, Kumai, Kalimantan

Living it up in Lovinna
10/11/2012, Lovinna Beach, Bali

Well quite a lot has happened since our last entry. Our visa extension was delayed in Lombok so we arrived in Lovinna Beach, Bali on the morning Dad flew in. Joe also left us in Bali after 10 weeks of sailing with us all the way from Darwin - he was a huge help and a pleasure to have on board and he will surely be missed. Our arrival in Lovinna anchorage was therefore all go - secure the boat to leave alone, get Joe to his transfer to Legian and pack up and check-into our lux accommodation.

And luxury it truly was - we stayed in a penthouse apartment with a balcony on the beach, with a gorgeous marble bathroom (with a big bath which was well used!!), a 42" satellite TV/DVD, an L shape lounge, kitchen and a huge comfy bed. Absolute bliss and all the things you don't find on a yacht!! The staff were also very friendly and hugely helpful - we could recommend this place 100%. Dad also loved it's ambience with it's beautiful gardens, cool breezes and air conditioning in the afternoon heat. Sadly dad left us after 10 days and we returned to Babar and the hot rolly anchorage to resume our sailing.

Our next aim is Kumai (Kalimantan) where we will leave the boat for a 1 night 2 day tour to see the Orang-utans in their natural habitat. We are going to be sailing in company with Diana and Rob from 'The Doctor' which is great as the distances to travel are long and it will involve night sails. In normal circumstances this wouldn't be a problem but in Indonesia there are many unlit fish traps and once the sun goes down there are fishing boats lit up like Christmas trees dotting the horizon!! An obstacle course to say the least!

Will update you after our trip to Kumai

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Who: Dan & Elise Barac
Port: Fremantle
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