We shared a taxi to Singapore with Gary and Tara (sv Pursuit IV) and arrived at our hotel in one hour. There were no clearance fees to enter Singapore via the Second Link bridge, and we didn't have to get out of our taxi. This is one of the world's great cities, and is a separate country from Indonesia and Malaysia. The amount of building construction defies the imagination; cranes and heavy equipment are everywhere. The economy depends greatly on exports and tourism, so it's pretty easy to find your way around. The MRT
Pic: Sunrise from our cockpit
We departed Mesansak Island at 0100 hours for the 55 mile run and had a long, slow motor to Batam Island. Wind was on the nose at 10-12 knots, and current was against us until about 1030 hours, so the first part of the trip wasn't fast.... Every morning towering cumulus clouds have formed and the thunder and lightning gets your attention quickly; October is a transitional month to the NE monsoon season (November to March) from the SW monsoon season (June to September). Calms are frequent, as is motoring. Shipping traffic has picked up, but the lanes are wide and there's plenty of room for everyone. We entered Nongsa Point Marina just before 3 pm, and the attendants took our dock lines. It didn't take long to get to the pool and enjoy a cold beer. Think being outside in the Florida summer; the heat and humidity take a bit to get used to. There are other boats here from Sail Indonesia, and folks come and go. Weekend trips to Singapore by water ferry are popular, and we're considering doing this. We'll be spending a few days in the marina here cleaning and resting up before departing to cross the Singapore Straits to Malaysia.
Pic: The crews of 6 boats went to the Mall (grocery store) for a last Indonesian provisioning. Beer won't be this cheap elsewhere...until duty free Lankawi probably. It'll be hard to find in Malaysia. Here our Swede friend Bernardo from sv Albertina is guarding our wares.
This is our 4th equator crossing, but first in the eastern hemisphere. We had an appropriate ceremony for the occasion, and continued motoring to Kentar Island (position: 00deg03.268N/104deg45.501E) where we anchored in 30' sand. This is a nice bay, well protected, and, at least at this time, very calm. Another early start tomorrow morning (0600) is planned, but from here on it's a motor trip - no wind is predicted.
Pic: fishing huts are everywhere along this coast. And not lit at night.
We motored, sailed, and motor-sailed for the two night passage across the South China Sea from Serutu Island to Lingga Island. Between the unlit fishing nets we've gone over, fish boats running with incorrect night lights, dozens of commercial ships on AIS to dodge, tugs with single and double barges with no AIS and weak as hell lights, and just general fatigue, these have been challenging waters to traverse. Holding here is in 24' of mud, although wind and current are countering each other. Those eagle eyed readers of our blog will note that we're about 19 miles from the equator; we're heading northwest towards Singapore, and our crossing tomorrow into the northern hemisphere will mark Sue and my fourth equator crossing! We've been traveling along with sv Silver Girl, with our Australian buds Ann and Chris aboard; they'll celebrate their first equator crossing! We've planned a few more stops as day trips before getting to Nongsa Marina on Batam Island, our last stop in Indonesia, where we'll have a proper equator crossing celebration(s)...
Pic: We actually flew our 'sunshine' sail for a few hours!
We did a two night passage to Serutu, departing the Kumai River in the early morning. It was good to get out of the smokey haze and brown water. At night, we encountered dozens of boats fishing for squid, each lit up like a stadium for a night football game. We actually only had to divert for one 620 foot freighter; the squid boats tend to congregate in patches and are easily avoided. Winds were SE 15-20 until 0200 this morning, when we had to motor the last 25 miles due to light winds and strong current. We had just finished anchoring here when some local fishermen came over in their canoe selling fish and lobster. We passed on the fish, but bought two large lobster for $5.00USD. We'll be catching up on sleep today, and departing at sunrise for Kentar Island, another two night passage, about 260 mi away.
http://www.orangutanindonesia.com/tanjung-puting-national-park.htm, which gives a lot more detail than the above. Another good site is www.orangutan.org.