We finally arrived in Batam and gabbed a berth at the Nongsa Point Marina next to fellow Aussie sailors Gary and Libby of SV Aquarius. It was nice to talk to fluent 'Aussie' speakers. Finally I didn't need to think about what
I wanted to say and how
to say it! We also met another Aussie couple, Mick and Janice off SV Zoa.
Our time in Batam was taken up with eating, swimming in the resort pool and socialising with other sailors and ex-pats. Happy hour is every night between 6-9pm and we enjoyed a few nights at the bar meeting some fantastic people. Jim and Jackie, and Gary and Libby helped us hold up the bar every second night or so!
Libby, Dwayne, Jackie and Gary
Garry and Libby took us to their favourite seafood restaurant, Rezeki, where we picked out our crabs and fish. The chilli crab was delicious. Dwayne said it's the best chilli crab he has ever had.... even better than mine...ouch!
Dwayne and I hired a scooter and we went into Batu Besar for dinner most nights. At the village of Batu Besar we could get meals as cheap as AUS $1.50. We also used the scooter to ride to the bottom of Pulau Galang-baru, crossing six bridges and visiting six islands (Pulau Tonton, Pulau Nipah, Pulau Sotoko, Pulau Rempang, Pulau Galang and Pulau Galang-baru). It was a long ride and my butt still doesn't forgive me!
On the first bridge Dwayne stopped to buy a cooked mud crab and some deep-fried prawns from a hawker at the side of the road. We then had to find somewhere to eat them. We found a tourist beach (cost a small amount to visit the beach) and ate our crab and prawns. Only when he had started eating them did Dwayne stop to ask himself how long they may have been sitting by the side of the road, in the sun, with no ice to cool them. Anyway they were yummy and we didn't get sick!
We visited the tourist Beach at the bottom of Pulau Galang-baru. We had a walk and a look around before stopping for a coffee and a chat at the small warung on the beach.
We then began our trip back to Batam, stopping at the "Galang Island Indochina Refugee Camp". Galang Refugee Camp
accommodated Indochinese refugees
from 1979 to 1996 during the Indochina refugee crisis. It is estimated that around 250,000 refugees passed through Galang during this period. The Indochina refugee crisis was the large outflow of people from the former French colonies of Indochina
, comprising the countries of Vietnam
, and Laos
, after communist governments were established in 1975. [Wikipedia]
We couldn't find the entrance so Dwayne went cross country!
We first visited the Cemetery which is dedicated to the people who lost their lives at sea on the way to freedom.
Then we visited a museum to learn more about the refugee site, after which we went for a ride to look at the buildings that are still standing including the christian churches and a Buddist temple.
We didn't plan on staying in Batam for long but ended up staying there for more than a week due to customs and a missing piece of paperwork that took up most of Dwayne's time in Batam! We didn't have a current PIB, which is the temporary import permit for the boat; it had expired. It took a week to sort it out. At one stage they told us we would have to sail back to Maumere, where we cleared into customs and got the original PIB, which would take 3 - 4 weeks (if we didn't sail non-stop). Another time they told Dwayne a gift of around AUS $100 to the 2nd in charge would help. Anyhow, about eight trips to customs and about 30-40 hours later we were finally clear and on our way.
I was kept company by the customs guys on the gate on one of Dwayne's many visits to customs in Batam. Nice bunch of guys.
- The marina was cheap. Around Rp1, 75000 AUS $175 for the week. Laundry facilities are free (washers and dryers). Marina fees include use of the pool. Marina has bar and restaurant.
You are expected to have a PIB when you arrive.
- We hired a scooter for Rp 50000 per day. This allowed us to ride to Batu Besar for dinner, lunch and/or breakfast for cheaper meals. The ride was 10 minutes. Heaps of restaurants and warungs to choose from. Cheap Indo meals.
Beer, wine and spirits
- A small supermarket in Batu Besar sells the cheapest beer we came across in Indonesia. At the ferry terminal you can buy duty-free. Example - 750ml Jim Beam Rp170000, Johnny Walker Rp 220000
This little fella had a plastic seat to sit on!
- close to Nongas Point Marina is the ferry terminal with a customs office. However, they kept sending Dwayne to the customs in Batam city. 45 - 60 mins away.
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