29 October 2009

Belitung and farewell Indonesia

Belitung island is situated on the southeast coast of Sumatra and the welcome is warm and friendly. There are beautiful and sometimes funny presentations with music and dance by both adults as by the children of the island. Every day on arrival at the beach our dinghy's are well lined up on the shore and the activities in the air attract a lot of local people and families. With regularity students take initiative to a conversation with us to practice their english. Of course they want a friend to take a picture of them together with the foreign yachties.
The welcome dinner, also the farewell party for the participants of the Rally through Indonesia, is a wonderful event with special music, the exchange of presents, an elaborate Indonesian buffet and again a lot of dances and music. The expectation is that we also make a contribution to the dances.

By bus we visit a layang layang festival, a kite happening with kites in all colours, shapes and sizes. It is a feast to walk around and see the the movements in the air. In a traditional wooden house with veranda beautiful girls perform a welcoming dance after which we are invited to have lunch. We sit in small groups on the floor around a bowl of rice and several dishes of meat and vegetables. According to the tradition we have to eat the food with our (right)hand, so no cuttlery has been supplied. Interesting and wonderful is our next visit to the Kampong Bali, the village where people from the island Bali live and keep their traditions alive. Music, dances, special snacks and then the youth of the village that try to scare us off with their real big and terrifying puppets, bad spirits probably. Lots of fun both by the youth as by the visitors!

After the last formalities with the Indonesian authorities we can leave. The first two nights and days we have no wind at all, so the engine has to do the job. We also pass once more the equator. Wednesday evening we approach the Strait of Singapore and we have to do a good watch to cross the shipping lanes without accidents. There is some breeze around here and during the rest of the night we continue under sail. In the morning we can see how many tankers, freight and container ships are anchored and also in the shipping lanes we see pass big vessels every 15 minutes. We follow the coastline of Singapore and sail into Johor river with Singapore on our right and Malaysia on our left side. A lot of harbour activities and we are happy to be moored in a spacious berth in the new and luxury Puteri marina near Johor Bahru in Malaysia.

Slide show Belitung