Bawean to Kumai (Kalimantan)
Trip Start Sep 25, 2006
3Trip End Oct 27, 2006
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We arrived here at this totally Muslim island village. We had a restful first night on board in this anchorage (05.43.85S, 112.40.18E) and the following day we all went for a walk into the town and the local markets which we were lucky to find operating on the day we were there.
In the afternoon Dan, Loz and Heidi befriended a number of teenage girls who all were fascinated with the size of Daniel and ended up chatting for quite some time with Loz and Heidi. In fact they were asking the girls all about their boyfriends, sex and every other issue which they were dying to know
Dan offered to take the girls out in the dinghy to show them the boat so he conducted a few rides out to the boat and back, entertaining the girls and some of the local lads as well.
This island allowed us to rest for the journey of some 214nm to Kumai in Kalimantan.
Entering the mouth of the Kumai river was something I will always remember as this was a slow progress due to the intense smoke haze that resulted from the fires on the land. In fact visability was so bad we were using radar to gradually make our way up the channel as it was a river used by coastal steamers plying their trade. We were, at the time ahead of Calypso JJ and another boat moving up the channel.
There were many rumours re this smoke - the official one, and certainly true in some part, is due to the rice padi fields being burnt off prior to preparation for the next planting season. Others say that it is the big palm oil company's that have deliberately lit fires claiming they were started by burning embers
We anchored off the town of Kumai (02.44.45S, 111.43.98E) at the side of the river. Holding was obviously excellent in thick river mud and we were out of the traffic lanes of the shipping and barges using the river. The river itself was dirty and muddy with a coating of yellow palm oil which left a nasty stain around the edge of the dinghy which could not later be removed except by time.
We all went ashore here and arranged our trip up one of the river tributories to see the Urangatangs. We chose to take the two day trip which meant we were staying the night aboard the little boats they used and you slept on the deck with mossy nets all around.
These boats were fitted with a loo, shower, and the guests were placed on mats basically on the roof of the boat. The workers, 2 crew and 1 skipper all were below in cramped quarters where they cooked, sweated over the engine, steered the boat, and where they slept
We were taken to a couple of Urangatang sanctuaries, the first being more of a medical centre for them whilst the second was the main area used for rehabilitation purposes. This is where the animals that, many having been displaced by the fires, would spend time before being released into the wild.
We also caught up with the Calypso JJ gang and we decided to spend a second night at Geoff's dads eco lodge called Rimba Eco Lodge which is on the Kumai river. We had a great night there with the kids and everyone and met his mum and dad. Next morning we went back to the boat via fast speedboat which was in itself a great ride.
It was sad to have to say goodbye to Dan and Loz as they could no longer stay as Loz had a job to get back to. We had earlier said goodbye to Heidi as she had to fly back and now my last crew were off.
And so it was that for the first time I would be singlehanding my Tactical Directions all the way to Singapore and up to Port Klang in Malaysia. The big thing however was that Geoff graciously agreed to cruise right alongside me all the way to Singapore which is what they did. At night I would catch a 10-15min nano nap and he would radio me to wake up - I kept the hand held vhf next to my head the whole time. Actually its amazing how your body gets used to a certain sleep pattern and single handing Tactical was no problem at all.