29 November 2022 | Pangkor Marina, Pangkor Marina Island, Malaysia
22 November 2022 | PD World Marina, Port Dickson, Malaysia
10 November 2022 | Puteri Harbour Marina, Malaysia
07 November 2022 | Nongsa Point Marina, Pulau Batam, Indonesia
28 October 2022 | Tanjung Kelayang, Pulau Belitung, Indonesia
21 October 2022 | Kumai River, Kalimantan, Indonesia
13 October 2022 | Labuhan Beach, Pulau Bawean, Indonesia
30 September 2022 | Lovina, Pulau Bali, Indonesia
17 September 2022 | Anchored off Badas, Teluk Sumbawa, Pulau Sumbawa, Indonesia
10 September 2022 | Anchored south of Labuan Bajo, Pulau Flores, Indonesia
31 August 2022 | Anchored off Baubau, Pulau Buton, SE Sulawesi, Indonesia
28 August 2022 | Marina Togo Mowondu, Wanci, Pulau Wangi Wangi, Wakatobi NP, Indonesia
19 August 2022 | Marina Togo Mowondu, Wanci, Pulau Wangi Wangi, Wakatobi NP, Indonesia
18 August 2022 | Marina Togo Mowondu, Wanci, Pulau Wangi Wangi, Wakatobi NP, Indonesia
16 August 2022 | South Pulau Hoga, Wakatobi NP, Indonesia
14 August 2022 | South Pulau Hoga, Wakatobi National Park, Indonesia
12 August 2022 | Tifu Village, south Pulau Buru, Indonesia
10 August 2022 | Tifu Village, south Pulau Buru, Indonesia
08 August 2022 | Amahusu Beach, Pulau Ambon, Indonesia
02 August 2022 | Amahusu Beach, Pulau Ambon, Indonesia

Pangkor Island update

29 November 2022 | Pangkor Marina, Pangkor Marina Island, Malaysia
Alison Stocker | Photo: Huge statue of Hindu deity Lord Murugan at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur
On Thursday 24th November, the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, was sworn in after five days of post-election uncertainty because no one won a clear majority in Saturday’s election. The constitutional monarch, King Al-Sultan Abdullah, appointed Anwar after consultation with several lawmakers. After raising questions about missing government funds, Anwar served jail sentences imposed by a previous Prime Minister on charges that Anwar and his supporters claim were bogus. It will be a difficult time to be Prime Minister without a clear majority, with inflation rising, ethnic tensions, and the nation’s need to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

We were in Melaka, Malaysia, at the time of this important national event. While it did not have any noticeable effect there, our tour guide seemed to consider this to be a good election result. We wish the new Prime Minister all the best for leading his country during these unsettled times.

We enjoyed our two-day tour of Melaka City (“Malacca” is the English spelling which I will use for features other than the city) which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. The first day of our visit was fairly well-organized although the bus had a door that kept jamming closed causing us to have to get back aboard rather awkwardly one time via the driver’s door and seat. With 14 fellow rally participants, we started at the Dutch Square where the surrounding historic buildings are all painted a terra-cotta red. After a few minutes to take photos and look inside Christ Church, which was built by the Dutch in 1753, we walked around and up the steep Bukit Melaka (which later became known as St Paul’s Hill). From there we had good views of the city and across the mouth of the Malacca River to where it enters the Strait of Malacca.

We briefly explored the hilltop ruins of St Paul’s Church, originally built by a Portuguese captain in 1521, then descended to Porta de Santiago, the ruins of the Portuguese fortress that was built as soon as they had defeated the ruling Malay Sultanates in 1511. After cutting through part of a modern shopping mall, we then stopped at the Maritime Museum to go aboard a replica of a large Portuguese trading galleon, Flor de la Mar, which sank off Melaka in 1512.

We crossed the Malacca River to have lunch in the city’s vibrant Chinatown, then visited the Cheng Ho Cultural Museum. A Chinese-Muslim Admiral commanding a fleet of more than 200 ships, Cheng Ho first arrived in Melaka in 1405, bringing gifts from the Ming emperor and the promise of protection from the Siamese (now Thai) enemies to the north. Many Chinese settlers followed, and Melaka became a very powerful trading state positioned as it was between China, the Spice Islands (Indonesia), and India. The Cultural Museum had very detailed accounts of the seven long voyages of Cheng Ho’s fleet, which visited numerous ports between the Philippines and the east coast of Africa.

After a brief rest at our hotel, we took a riverboat ride up and down the Malacca River to see the attractive arrays of colored lights along the riverbank, through the adjacent trees, and on the many bridges. This was followed by a seafood dinner in the Portuguese part of the city. The original reason for staying overnight in Melaka was to participate in the Jonker Walk Night Market in Chinatown, which is very popular. However, it only occurs on Friday to Sunday evenings, so we missed it. The original dates of our trip to Melaka would have included a weekend, but the tour was postponed to avoid being in Melaka for the election.

The following day, we were scheduled to spend exploring on our own, but Robin, our guide started trying to organize various activities. Others went with him, but we rebelled and set off on our own to walk along the river where we briefly saw three otters. After visiting St Francis Xavier Church (1849), we took a flamboyantly decorated trishaw to Menara Taming Sari. This is a revolving viewing deck that goes up and down an 80-m (263-feet) tower. It seems a bit theme-park-like and out of place in this historic city, but it had air conditioning and spectacular views.

We had hoped to see the reproduction of the wooden Sultanate Palace (built without nails or other metal fasteners) but it was closed, so we went back over or around St Paul’s Hill to Stadthuys in Dutch Square. Built in the 1650s, and probably the oldest Dutch building in Asia, this former town hall and governor’s residence, is now an extensive museum complex. I looked around while Randall rested, and I then took him on an abbreviated, executive tour. I especially liked the models of the town during the first four of its seven eras – Malay Sultanates (15th century to 1511), Portuguese (1511 - 1641), Dutch (1641 - 1795), and British (1795 – 1941). Not modeled were the periods of occupation of the Japanese (1941 - 1945), British (1945 – 1957) and Malaysian independence since 1957.

We left Melaka at 4pm to return to Port Dickson for the night so that we could be ready at 8:30 am for our day-trip to Kuala Lumpur. We had the same driver and guide, but this day was less well planned than the trip to Melaka.

North of the capital city we saw limestone cliffs rising suddenly from the surrounding flat landscape. Water had eroded caves out of this fascinating karst geology. At the top of 272 steps, Temple Cave must have been particularly spectacular when the stalagmites were all intact prior to conversion of Batu Caves to a popular Hindu shrine. There are several impressive temples and shrines inside and outside the caves but none quite as breathtaking as the monumental (43 m or 141 feet high) statue to Hindu deity Lord Murugan.

Confusion followed as the bus was taken to get the door fixed and we were encouraged to eat an Indian lunch. When the bus returned, we were then hurried to finish our meal only to be taken to a Chinese restaurant! Randall and I decided that this was a good time to make our detour (as arranged with the guide), so we used a Grab (local Uber) car to take us to the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. I was less excited about the many birds in large cages which were mostly from Asia, including several species of hornbill, but included some African species. However, we were much more interested in the two huge walk-through aviaries. Covering 21 ha (53 acres) one of them is claimed to be the largest aviary in the world and it was the home to many peacocks, peahens, storks, pigeons, owls, and other smaller birds. The park was attractive and well-maintained, and a few macaques were inside the largest aviary although we could not tell whether that was intentional, or they had found a way to sneak inside to share the plentiful fruit provided for the birds.

We took a taxi to rejoin our group at the National Monument which is a huge bronze sculpture of an embattled group of soldiers, one of whom is holding up the Malaysian flag. It looked a little familiar and we learned that it was designed by Felix de Weldon the artist who created Washington DC’s iconic Iwo Jima statue. While we had been at the Bird Park, the others had gone to the tall, paired Petronas Towers only to find that tickets for the observation deck on the 86th floor were sold-out. Instead, they went to the shopping mall, something that we were happy to miss.

Our next stop was Merdeka Square, where Malaysia’s Independence was declared in 1957. Formerly a British cricket pitch, the grassy park is now overseen by a massive flag on a 95-m (312-feet) flagpole, one of the largest in the world. After a cold fruit drink and a pastry (at least, for those of us lucky to be served before they ran out), Robin announced that he had two other stops planned. Already after 5:30 pm, the group mutinied and voted to go directly back to Port Dickson. Three days of organized touring was more than enough for this group of experienced travelers who are used to undertaking independent explorations by boat.

On Saturday morning (26th November), we left Port Dickson around 8 am to go north to Pangkor Marina Island. We enjoyed some assistance from the ebbing tide and about two-hours of suitable westerly wind. However, by midday the light wind was on our nose, so we motored overnight in calm conditions, with stars above us and a bright lightning show to the east. A Pangkor Marina employee in a dinghy and three dock-dudes helped us turn Tregonig in a tight area and get her settled in a suitable berth on Sunday afternoon. We arrived to hear that the new Prime Minister had just declared that Monday was a holiday, but the marina was busy with other rally arrivals, and it was a good time to catch-up with some laundry.

Taking advantage of the lull in the northerly winds, most of us had arrived in Pangkor a few days ahead of the rally schedule, but James and his marina staff responded admirably. The events will start on Wednesday with a short tour (including a large lunch) of the neighboring popular tourist destination of Pangkor Island. Thursday will include a group bus-ride to a couple of hardware stores and a large supermarket (only cruisers could find this prospect exciting!) Friday evening is scheduled for a rally dinner with live-music, and on Saturday evening there will be a pot-luck barbecue in the marina. We should neither be bored nor hungry.

We hope to leave Pangkor early on Monday when there might even be a bit of southerly wind to allow us to sail to Langkawi Island, about 140 nm further north. At the northern border of Malaysia, this is the last stop of the rally although quite a few boats are staying in Pangkor. We look forward to seeing Marisa and Bavo from SV Devocean in Langkawi, where they spent much of the pandemic lockdown. Then we will have to work out the best way to get our visas for Thailand and to checkout of Malaysia…and yet it feels as though we have only just arrived…

Port Dickson update

22 November 2022 | PD World Marina, Port Dickson, Malaysia
Alison Stocker | Photo: Looking like a watercolor painting, an orchid in the Singapore Botanic Gardens
You might have expected the photo for our trip to Singapore to have been of skyscrapers, historic buildings, or futuristic "Supertrees". But we were so smitten by the UNESCO World Heritage Site Botanic Gardens, that an orchid seemed appropriate. Overall, it was a good trip, but it ended up lasting a day longer than intended. Half of it was fun sightseeing and the other half was dealing with rather frustrating laptop issues. Let's start with the fun part...

We shared our cross-border travel with Pam and Ted from SV Roundabout II. A Grab car (local version of Uber) took us to a bus station. Three buses got us to the Malaysian border, across the bridge to the Singapore border, and from there to a transportation hub. After Randall and I finally worked out how to get a tourist card for the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) we set off on the first part of the laptop shakedown. Ted and Pam had gone off in search of a SIM card, so we agreed to meet at later at the hotel.

The following morning Randall and I explored Little India, including visiting a couple of elaborately decorated Hindu temples, took a self-guided walk through the heart of the old city, then continued around Marina Bay and across the Helix Bridge to the Gardens by the Bay. Lured in by a Christmas display (Randall's favorite season), we visited the Flower Dome but by the time we left it was pouring with rain which ruled out a visit to the Skywalk of the Supertree Grove or the nearby Marina Bay Sands Skydeck. After Google directed us to a new SMRT station for the trip back to our hotel, we discovered that the station was not going to open until the next day. Luckily, we could take a bus to an open station. Back at the hotel, we arranged to meet Pan and Ted in the lobby at 6 pm to go to a local restaurant. Only after waiting 15 minutes for each other, did we discover that we were actually staying in different, but similarly named, hotels in different parts of the city!

On Sunday morning (13th November), Randall and I took the SMRT to the Botanic Gardens which were busy with weekend yoga classes and the like. After a delicious breakfast at the Bee's Knees Café, we wandered through the immaculately maintained and well-signposted gardens. It did not take us long to decide that the UNESCO designation was well-deserved, especially after visiting the rare remnant of primeval rainforest, the Ginger Gardens, and the largest showcase of tropical orchids in the world in the magnificent National Orchid Garden.

Thoroughly delighted by the Gardens, we returned to our hotel for a rest before visiting Singapore's large Chinatown. Randall had hoped for a glorious feast at an all-you-can-eat buffet but that was not a viable option, so he had to settle for a tasty á la carte dinner. Afterwards we made our way to the waterfront where I ordered an outrageously expensive, but large and delicious, Singapore Sling cocktail as we waited for the Spectra light, laser, and fountain show at the Marina Bay Sands Casino and Hotel complex across the Bay. The changing lights on the buildings were quite impressive but the fountains were too distant, and we have been spoiled by much better laser shows at rock concerts, so I rather wished that we had gone to see the illuminated Supertrees at the Gardens by the Bay instead. Oh, well, it was still a dramatic ending to the relaxed part of our Singapore visit.

On Monday morning we wandered around looking for a few items that we needed to buy (with little luck) and by lunch time we had got to Raffles Marina to find that the chandlery there did not have what we needed. The trip was worthwhile, however, as we could have lunch with Eugenie on SV Deo Juvante. While with her, we found that our laptop saga was going to extend longer than we had expected, and she kindly invited us to stay for the night. By the time we returned to Deo Juvante in the evening, Paul had got back from his own drawn-out hunt for a fuel pump, and we happily traded frustrations over dim sum dumplings and wine, before retiring for a very comfortable night on their big catamaran.

Our frustrating laptop saga started with the discovery that the Lenovo Service Center did not fix or replace computers but mailed them back to China...and that the 8-month-old warranty was only good if returned to the place of purchase in Australia. A repair shop in Sim Lim Square, the computer retail and repair hub of Singapore, tried to replace the motherboard but gave up as the central processing unit was apparently compromised too. Kindly, they did not charge for their services but did extract the SSD memory card so that I could save the data from my useless machine. Being in Sim Lim Square, it was not difficult to buy a new laptop, this time a Dell with a worldwide warranty. After our evening aboard Deo Juvante, we returned to Sim Lim Square to buy a reader for the SSD card so that I could extract my files and use it as an external hard drive. Finally, late on Tuesday morning, we reversed the cross-border journey, returning to Tregoning with one new and one useless laptop. Phew!

We spent one day back in Puteri Harbour getting essential boat projects done, stocking up with groceries, and attending a Malaysian Rally meeting. On Thursday morning, we left to try to catch the last couple of days of reasonable weather before northerly winds were forecast to increase. Going north to Port Dickson along the Malacca Strait was interesting as there are many, many ships in the shipping channel, and fishers with nets and lines along the shoreline. We had to motor almost the whole way including a very tiresome slow spell overnight with waves and wind up to 22 knots on the nose. Resigned that we might have to spend a second night at sea or have to anchor in the dark, we were relieved when conditions were better than expected the following day. By upping the engine revs in the afternoon, we managed to get to the World Marina before dark and took the last open spot on the pontoon. SV Rambler arrived after dark and rafted up to us as Willem had an injured shoulder and could not cope with using a dinghy to get back and forth to a mooring.

Since being here, we have explored the local town, accomplished a few more boat projects, and finally got my new laptop set up. There was a problem with the link to UF email at first but, thankfully, this was quickly solved after I called the UF IT Helpdesk. Now I face a huge backlog of emails and online projects...including filling in many details and photos on the blog!

Tomorrow we are joining a two-day tour organized by the Malaysia Rally to the coastal city of Melaka which has many historic buildings from the centuries when it was an important trading port. This will be followed on Friday by a one-day tour to Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur. Given the recent national elections, it will be interesting to see if there are any political rallies or demonstrations in the city. Inevitably, the best window to continue further north up the Strait on an overnight trip to Pangkor Marina Island is between Friday and Sunday. So, we are not sure if we will quickly leave after returning from the tours or wait for the next window. Of course, the forecasts may have changed by then...

Quick update from Malaysia

10 November 2022 | Puteri Harbour Marina, Malaysia
Alison Stocker | Photo: Crossing the eastbound shipping lane, Singapore Strait
If any of you remember the simple computer game "Frogger" (where you control a frog trying to cross a busy, multi-lane road), you will know what I mean when I say that crossing the Singapore Strait is like a high-stakes game of Frogger. Making our way from Indonesian waters across the Strait to near Singapore waters went smoothly, but demanded our full attention and much use of the AIS. The latter could tell us how soon and how close ships would get as they approached us, or as we approached them. We had to wait for gaps in the steady flow of tanker and cargo-ship traffic and we had to dodge a couple of ships, but all went smoothly and we had good clear conditions for it.

By the time we were in the Johor Strait approaching Puteri Harbour in Malaysia (to the west of Singapore) on Wednesday afternoon, a nasty thunderstorm caught up to us so we had to dawdle for a while before it was safe to enter the Harbour and marina. All went well and clearance into the country was conducted efficiently by the marina staff with just a quick golf-cart ride to the Immigration Office at the nearby ferry terminal. A ride yesterday in the marina van to a big shopping mall proved that we were very much in an affluent part of Malaysia and allowed us to get a SIM card and hence phone and data service.

Tomorrow (Friday 11th November), we are taking a bus across to Singapore to stay a few nights in a hotel. Although the main purpose of the trip is sightseeing, I will also be taking my laptop to the Lenovo Service Center and hoping that the non-functioning screen can be fixed or replaced. The laptop is still under warranty, so I hope that it will be dealt with quickly and for free...but we shall have to see. Neither of us has been to Singapore before, so we are looking forward to exploring some of the highlights of this small, but influential, island nation.

Pulau Batam Update - Leaving Indonesia

07 November 2022 | Nongsa Point Marina, Pulau Batam, Indonesia
Alison Stocker | Photo: Randall, Alison, Emma, and Werner standing by Tregoning
It has been a hectic nine days since my last update but the upshot is that we are awaiting our paperwork to clear out of Indonesia, and hope to be on our way to Malaysia tomorrow (Tuesday 8th November).

Good news: I did manage to get a snorkel at Belitung before we left. Not many fish and not much diversity but some interesting species and at least one or two that were new to me.

Bad news: My 8-month old laptop's screen is completely refusing to work and connecting it to the TV screen does not help So, Randall and I are now sharing one laptop until I get get mine fixed or replaced under warranty...grrrr.

Good news: During our two-night passage north, a bridled tern hitched a ride with us overnight on the bow rails. Tregoning crossed the equator for the fourth time prompting us to drink a small tot of port (sharing a bit with King Neptune) at 7:30 am! Despite various squalls, long periods of opposing current, and numerous fishing boats, we were able to anchor at Pulau Mesanak before dark on Tuesday evening.

Further good news: We celebrated Randall's birthday by moving a few miles north to Pulau Benan and eating plenty of caramel-topped chocolate cake! We looked forward to visiting the village the following day even though we would miss the many rally festivities that were planned for later in the week.

Really bad news: At 3:15am on Thursday, we were awoken by Wendy (wind turbine) squealing in a high gust of wind. Jumping up to the cockpit to see which way we were being blown and if the anchor was holding, we heard and felt a sickening thud on the rudder and/or keel. Gusts up to 30 knots had swung us towards the shallow coastal reef and despite having checked with our charts and satellite photos, we had hit the reef. There followed a very tense curse-laden 20 minutes as we used the windlass and engine to pull Tregoning off the reef. Luckily, the anchor was holding us because otherwise the waves that were quickly generated in the squall would have bounced us further and further onto the reef and/or onto Tregoning's side and tender hull. We felt terrible about any damage we might have caused to coral but so very thankful that we managed to extract the boat without any serious damage to her, just some scrapes on the paint on the bottom of the rudder and keel. This was our closest brush with true disaster yet.

Good news: We did not want to try to reanchor in the dark, wind, and pouring rain, especially in an area surrounded by piles and fences of sticks that were serving as FADs. We had the track from our route to Pulau Benan still on the chart-plotter, so we followed it all the way back to anchor in the wide-open bay at Pulau Mesanak.

Bad news: Most of the rest of the rally boats had cleared out of Indonesia in Belitung, having been told they could stop in Benan for the rally festivities. At 6am on Thursday, they were told that they could NOT go ashore at Benan after all. By this stage we had decided to spend the night at Mesanak and then head towards Nongsa Point Marina. We felt very sorry for the Benan villagers but hope that they could enjoy their festivities without the guests of honor.

Good news: Not much wind but a very smooth motor-sail north to spend Friday night at Sembulang on the northeast corner of Pulau Rempang. On the way, we were passed by two Indonesian warships, one of which hailed us on VHF channel 16 and politely asked various routine questions about our boat and movements.

Annoying news: We were woken at 3:50am by 25-knot gusts in yet another early-morning squall but the...

Good news: ...was that the anchor held soundly and we were well away from any reef.

Bad news: Our passage north through Selat Riau (Riau Channel) on Saturday morning coincided with an ebbing tide which, in the narrowest areas, opposed us with up to 2.8 knots of current. At our usual motoring rpms, this slowed us down to around 2.2 knots of speed over ground.

Good news: For some of that time, however, an obliging westerly breeze allowed us to use the jib to speed us up by a couple of knots. We arrived in Nongsa Point Marina around 1 pm and were met by helpful staff at our berth, and showed us the pleasant amenities, including swimming pool, showers, free washers and driers (a cruiser's dream!), and a good restaurant.

Bad news: When we provided the paperwork on arrival that would allow the agent (for 2 million rupiah about US $140) to clear us out of Indonesia (despite having previously spent some time scanning and emailing all these documents as requested), there was some consternation that we did not have a "green health book" that is usually issued by the quarantine office at the port of entry. None of the rally members that entered at UF Mar received this mysterious green folder, even though we had all the appropriate paperwork that would go in said folder. Our suspicion is that the Tual office did not have enough green folders for all of us, so did not give them to any of us. Our secondary suspicion is that fixing this oversight will cost us extra...and may delay our departure.

The Very Good news: Part of our reason for not clearing out of Indonesia in Belitung, even though that would have saved the cost of the marina and had cheaper agent fees, was that we were hoping to see our former-cruiser friend, Werner at Nongsa Point. We first met him in Neah Bay along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, while waiting for suitable weather to go south along the west coast of the US. We had seen him at various sites after that, the last being in La Cruz, Mexico, in 2014. He had continued on his solo global circumnavigation ahead of us but when he got to Indonesia, he met and fell in love with Emma. Werner converted to Islam and they were married several years ago. We had hoped to visit their house on an island close to one of the rally stops but they were already scheduled to be on Pulau Batam at that time. Thus, it was easier for us to all meet at the Nongsa Point Marina. We had a delightful day together, sharing many sailing stories and learning how Werner had become so captivated by Emma and life on her island. We were very glad to have met Emma and to see Werner so obviously happy, that it made the perfect finale to our almost four months in Indonesia.

Good news: On Monday morning, the agent seemed to think that all should go smoothly with our clearance despite the absence of the "green health book". We now wait patiently aboard Tregoning for visits by Customs and Immigration officers and hope that we are cleared out by this evening. Assuming all goes well, we will soon be crossing the spectacularly busy Singapore Strait and heading to Puteri Marina in Malaysia. Let's hope our next report starts with all "Good News"...

Pulau Belitung Update

28 October 2022 | Tanjung Kelayang, Pulau Belitung, Indonesia
Alison Stocker | Photo: A local fishing boat surrounded by granite boulders on Belitung
When I hastily submitted the last update as we were leaving the Kumai River in Kalimantan, little did I know that we were embarking on an exceptionally frustrating passage to Belitung. A direct trip of about 280 nm, that should have taken about 56 hours, instead took more than 80 hours...all of it motoring, many parts of it at only 2 knots. I'll save the grim details for later but it include a relentless 1 to 2 knot current against us, insufficient wind for sailing interrupted by squalls with gusts up to 35 knots on the nose, and, as the final insult, picking up a tangle of discarded rope on the propellor as we approached the anchorage!

Still, even though it took us five days and two nights to make the passage, it was easier than for many other rally boats. Their tales of woe included running out of fuel offshore, finding they had been given bad fuel that clogged an engine, assorted other engine problems, and losing an engine (on a catamaran with two) to entanglement with a fishing net. It was an unhappy passage for many...thank goodness that the riverboat tour and viewing of orangutans at Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan had been spectacular enough to make crisscrossing the Java Sea seem worthwhile.

Arriving with less than a fifth of the fuel tank's capacity, getting more diesel was our main priority in Belitung. Between rain showers and the rolly conditions in the anchorage, it took Randall a whole day to get the 320L (80 gallons) that we had delivered to Tregoning into the tank or secured in our three jerry cans. It probably would have been easier if I had been there to help, but he insisted that I go on the last of the rally field trips (having missed the first one). I got to see plantations of pineapples and white peppercorns in the rain, watched two local dances and elderly ladies weaving leaf mats, learned about and saw the amazing nocturnal tarsius, tubed without an inner tube down a river which had too many rocks and tree trunks to be entirely safe, visited a museum where nothing was labeled or explained in English, watched strange, very stylized stick-fighting (including between two sporting rally members), and stopped at an ATM and traditional market (the two most important parts of the day for many participants).

Pulau Belitung is unusual in Indonesia for having many granite boulders and islets around its coast. The Island has remnants of a formerly busy tin-mining industry but most income now is from pineapple, pepper, and oil-palm plantations and tourism. The granite scenery and sandy beaches have attracted a few large shoreline hotels, but recovery from the pandemic is slow.

I hope to have a chance to go snorkeling before we leave but we are keen to move on quickly to the last couple of rally destinations. We plan to leave Belitung on Sunday (30th October) to make a two-night passage northwest to the tiny island of Benan in the Riau Archipelago. After that we will head to the Nongsa Point Marina on Pulau Batam, where we hope to see our cruising friend Werner, before checking out of Indonesia and crossing the busy Singapore Strait to Malaysia. Sometime in all of that, we need to make our plans for the year ahead...hopefully in some place where we have good internet connections and a bit of time to thoroughly research our options.

Kumai quick update

21 October 2022 | Kumai River, Kalimantan, Indonesia
Alison Stocker | Phot: Orangutans seen in Tanjung Puting National Park
This is a very quick update as we are about to lose internet connection and my laptop is playing-up. We have just left the Kumai River on our way to Belitung, a trip that may take a few days as there is little wind and we may stop for the night a few times.

We had a spectacular time on our three-day riverboat tour of Tanjung Puting National Park...but I will have to write more later as we have a net in front of the boat that I need to watch!
Vessel Name: Tregoning
Vessel Make/Model: Morgan Classic 41
Hailing Port: Gainesville, FL
Crew: Alison and Randall
About: We cast-off from Fernandina Beach in north Florida on 1st June 2008 and we have been cruising on Tregoning ever since. Before buying Tregoning, both of us had been sailing on smaller boats for many years and had worked around boats and water throughout our careers.
Extra: “Tregoning” (rhymes with “belonging”) and is a Cornish word (meaning “homestead of Cohnan” or “farm by the ash trees”) and was Alison's mother’s middle name. Cornwall is in southwest England and is where Alison grew-up.
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