Day 149, Year 3: Arrival in Kumai

Day 149, Year 3: Arrival in Kumai
Date: Hari Minggu (Sunday), Bulan Oktober 5, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: HOT; Mix of Sun and Downpours of Rain
Latitude: 02 degrees 44.611 minutes S
Longitude: 111 degrees 43.920 minutes E
Location: Kumai River, Kalimantan, Indonesia

It was a long way from Karimunjawa to here. It really ended up to be a two night, two day trip and with lots of water (both sea water and fresh rain water) falling on Windbird. We ended up with wet pillows and sheets from Justin’s and Jo’s attempts to sleep in the cockpit. It is usually dry, but on this trip we kept getting rogue waves that splashed the cockpit and it’s contents with saltwater from time to time. Then early this morning the heaven’s opened up and we deluged with tropical rain
storms. That continued once we arrived, so I guess we are in the world of sun and rain and you have to be prepared for the rain constantly. We will spend tomorrow here in Kumai and on the next day we will leave for our three day, two night trip into the Tanjung Putting National Park on river boat called a klotok. We are looking forward to our trip up the river to the three research stations where we will get to observe the orangutans.

Justin and Jo survived the trip here and are feeling renewed for the trip up river. Today we went ashore to explore the town of Kumai. It is not as clean as most we have visited in Indonesia, but the people are very friendly. Justin and Jo actually walked past a neighborhood that was having a celebration and got invited in to share the circumcision celebration of three young boys. Mark and I just walked the streets and conversed with the locals, some of whom can speak English. We met with Harry
who is coordinating our river trip and tomorrow we will travel by bemo (bus) to the close-by city of Pankalan Bun just to check it out. We will spend the rest of the day getting ready for our river trip. As we sailed into the Kumai River early this morning, I felt that we have crossed another boundary. I know we are still in Indonesia, but this part of the country has a very different feel to it. From here we sail to Singapore via a few island stops, so we are definitely starting to leave Indonesia
behind and greeting the world of Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. So much world to see.

081005 Day 149 Kalimantan, Indonesia–Karimunjawa to Kumai

Day 147, Year 3: Kura Kura Resort–A Slice of Paradise

Day 147, Year 3: Kura Kura Resort–A Slice of Paradise
Date: Hari Jumat (Friday), Bulan Oktober 3, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Beautiful Day
Latitude: 05 degrees 17.232 minutes S
Longitude: 110 degrees 34.976 minutes E
Location: On Passage to Kumai River, Kalimantan, Indonesia

We left Pulau Menyawakan around 6 pm and it is now about 1:30 am. I am on watch and have to make this email as short as possible, but there are sooooo many things to share. After writing yesterday’s log, I went in with Mark to the Kura Kura Resort. Justin was busy working on his computer and Jo was just soaking in the beauty. This resort takes pride in every detail from the swept sand walkways lined with flowering bushes to the hand carved wood panels and brass door pulls and handmade rattan
furniture. The bungalows along the beach are not what I would call a bungalow. They are small but beautiful. And then you walk further along and you come to the walled compounds or villas. Each villa is surrounded by freshly painted yellow and white concrete walls and the entry doors to each villa are, of course, hand carved. Lax, the owner, showed us to Villa #6, the one he had chosen to have Justin and Jo stay in for the night. I must admit, I was a bit jealous when I saw their villa. The
“house” is an open concept with the only walled-in room being the bedroom. The beds are hand carved with high posts from which the mosquito netting hangs. The floors are all marble tiles and each villa has a kitchen, a bathroom with a bathtub and a shower, a living room, and a pool. The pools are marble lined and rectanular and right outside the bedroom door. The bedrooms are walled so that the air conditioning can be used in that room. The place was incredible and Justin and Jo looked wide-eyed
and happy. We had sundowners on the beach as the sun went down and were then Lax’s guests for dinner on the beach. Dinner was presented with the same attention to detail as everything else at the resort. It was delicious and beautiful. Lax is a civil engineer from north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, but he has been in Indonesia since 1981. He worked for the first seven years on getting the oil rigs off Java up and going and in then in 1996 he found his island and opened the resort in 1999.
His brother, Stephan, had dinner with us and we enjoyed learning about the develpment of Kura Kura. Lax owns, and his son operates, his own wood furniture business in Jepara on Java and that is the source of all the furniture and wood carvings. Mark and I left Justin and Jo to enjoy their night and picked them up at 3:00 this afternoon. The spent the entire day in their walled villa just basking in the beauty. There is no way to express our gratitude to Lax for his generosity, but I know Justin
and Jo will never forget it. Lax simple admires the courage of those who sail around the world and his offer of the villa and dinner was his way of showing that.

When Justin and Jo returned to Windbird we all went snorkeling on the reef in front of the boat. The coral has been damaged, but there were loads of fish. This will be our last snorkel until we reach Malaysia, and I will miss that so very much. We then changed gears and got ready to sail. We are leaving white sand beaches and snorkeling and heading for the wilds of the Borneo rainforests in search of oranutans. Of course, we have to sail about 200 miles to get there which means two nights out.
We had a bit of a rough start tonight with winds coming a bit from the north, the direction in which we are headed. They are coming around more to the ESE which should make for a nice beam reach. The seas are little lumpy and Justin and Jo are sleeping in the cockpit. Hopefully we will have smoother sailing tomorrow.

Day 146, Year 3: “You Won’t Believe This One.”

Day 146, Year 3: “You Won’t Believe This One.”
Date: Hari (Thursday), Bulan Oktober2, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Cloudy Day but Still Beautiful
Latitude: 05 degrees 47.770 minutes S
Longitude: 110 degrees 20.355 minutes E
Location: Pulau Menyawakan, Java, Indonesia

Some days are just better than others. This morning I got an email from our daughter Heather saying that she has finally bought the tickets to come visit us in Thailand in January. Hooray! Just as we are sharing part of our adventure with Justin and Jo now, we will share the Thailand adventure with Heather, Jed, and Sam.

Mark and Justin made trips to shore early this morning to buy water to top up Windbird’s water tanks. Later in the morning Shirena sailed into port and Mark and I visited them while Justin and Jo went to swim with the sharks. Mark and Justin had talked to other cruisers this morning that said that one of the floating fish houses had pens of sharks and that it was great fun to swim with them. Not my idea of fun, but Justin and Jo really enjoyed that little adventure. We then pulled up anchor and moved about 7 nautical miles north to Pulau Menyawakan. It is an uninhabited island except for the plush Kura Kura Resort. Anchoring was a bit tricky, but once we arrived Justin, Jo, and Mark went ashore. I stayed on Windbird to do laundry “watch.” I washed sheets today and I am not about to lose any more king size sheets to Neptune. The view from where we are anchored is off the island that is ringed with a sweeping white sand beach backed with palm trees, mangroves, and casuarinas. There is a reef between us and the island and the water inside the reef if that beautiful milky turquoise. It really is drop dead gorgeous. I can’t think of a better place to watch clothes dry! It was when Mark returned from the resort with Justin and Jo that his only words were, “You won’t believe this one.” Evidently the resort is just beautiful and the owner is a most generous and gracious host. His name is Lax and he took Mark, Justin, and Jo on a tour of the resort, set Justin up with an internet connection (something that doesn’t exist anywhere else out here), and offered a free bungalow to us for the night. Mark and I are going in to have dinner, but we are going to let Justin and Jo enjoy the night ashore. Marks says the bungalows are beautifully furnished with handmade furniture and Lax’s bungalow is a palace. In the Lonely Planet it says that there is a two night minimum to stay here and it costs $175US. Mark says the deluxe ones are more like $500US and include a private pool and much more. I’m anxious to go ashore and see this place. I must say that I think it is the most beautiful island we have ever anchored off.

We will stay here tomorrow and part of tomorrow night and then we head to Kumai. We start our river trip to see the orangutans on Tuesday and we have almost two hundred miles to travel to get there. So the adventure continues.

081002 Day 146 Java, Indonesia–Kura Kura Resort on Pulau Menyawakan

Day 145, Year 3: Another Day in Karimunjawa Paradise

Day 145, Year 3: Another Day in Karimunjawa Paradise
Date: Hari Rabu (Wednesday), Bulan Oktober1, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Beautiful Day
Location: Karimunjawa Island, Java, Indonesia

I’ll start today’s log with an update of last night. After I sent yesterday’s log, the sun went down and the celebration began. It was the end of Ramadan and the mosque was blaring and fireworks were going off. This continued for a couple of hours and finally Justin and Jo decided that they just had to go ashore to see what was happening. How many times in your life are you going to be in Karimunjawa for the end of Ramadan? Probably never again, so you might as well take it all in. Mark and
I decided to stay on the boat, and actually Justin and Jo returned after about an hour as not as much was going on as it sounded. The town was rather mellow while a couple of guys in the mosques were blaring out the excitement of the end of Ramadan.

Mark and Justin went to town early this morning to try and buy drinking water to fill our tanks. The water-maker is having trouble keeping up with the needs of four people. But everything in town was closed for the day. After a month of fasting, people were celebrating by visiting family so all business came to a stop. So we will try again tomorrow to buy water. I stayed on the boat and continued to do laundry. We had built up quite a full bag of dirty clothes, so it took yesterday and today
to complete the job. By mid-morning, we turned our attention to the uninhabited island of Kecil which is probably about two kilometers from where we are anchored. We all headed out to go snorkeling and we really enjoyed the beautiful coral gardens. The island is just beautiful. The white sand beach that surrounds the island is ringed with brilliant turquoise water on the ocean side and beautiful palm trees, casuarinas (long-needled pine trees that sway in the wind), and a few mangroves follow
the water’s edge. We have decided that this island needs a new name-Jo’s Island. She loves it, as do all of us. Before we returned to Windbird, we stopped by the resort on the island. It is well camouflaged among the trees, but when you get up close you see that each of the seaside cottages is immaculately kept. Justin and Jo were hoping to be able to stay there tonight, but the cost was 400,000 Rupiahs or about $40US. This is very expensive for this part of the world and we don’t think food
was included. There was just one young man there who didn’t speak very much English, so it was impossible to get details. But the cost was prohibitive, so Justin and Jo gave up that idea. By the time we returned to Windbird, it was past time for lunch. We all had a big lunch and found that the sun and water had gotten to us. It was definitely nap time. I almost never sleep during the day, but even I was wiped out.

Around 4 pm, we got started again. Mark and I got enough energy to dive into the water for a salt water “shower” and then rinsed off with the sun shower on deck. Justin and Jo went back out in the dinghy to explore the island of Besar that is close by. They found it not nearly as enchanting as Kecil, so they returned there for another walk on the beach to collect beautiful baby sand dollars (not alive) and to walk in the shallow water among the sea stars and live sand dollars. Justin spent a
lot of energy trying to get a green coconut down out of a tree, but ended up getting covered with red ants that were on the palm leaf next to the coconut. They watched the sun begin to set and then returned home to Windbird before dark.

We ended the day with a chicken, potato, pumpkin, and green bean curry and at this moment Mark is frying bananas for dessert. We just added a little rum and honey to the bananas to give them a little spice. The rum flamed beautifully, so now it is time to go have dessert. Tomorrow we will move a few miles north to another island where there is a very expensive resort. We have read that the snorkeling there is good and we might even be able to afford to have lunch ashore at the resort. We’ll
report more on that tomorrow.

Day 144, Year 3: Happy Birthday to Heather

Day 144, Year 3: Happy Birthday to Heather
Date: Hari (Tuesday), Bulan September 30, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Beautiful Day with Lots of Wind in the Anchorage
Location: Karimunjawa Island, Java, Indonesia

Heather, your mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law are thinking of you on your birthday. Hopefully the stormy weather you have been having on the Cape took a break so that you are having beautiful fall sunshine on your birthday. We love you and miss you and hope you have finally bought those tickets to Thailand. We can’t wait to see you.

We had another beautiful day in paradise and time is just flying by. Mark and I got up at our usual 7 am, listened to the net, and then launched into projects. Mark checked the batteries and filled those with water that needed it, while I did some needed sewing repairs on clothing. Mark got out the sewing machine and tried to patch our $2 backpacks from Panama, but I think we are going to have to buy new ones in Singapore. Justin and Jo slept in this morning and by the time they got up and we
had brunch it was almost noon. Mark took Justin and Jo to shore so they could rent a motor bike to explore the island. He brought back water so I could start a laundry and he changed the engine oil and replaced all the filters. We then took the dinghy on a long ride to the western side of a small island about a kilometer from the anchorage. The island is called Kecil. It is the home of a backpacker resort but no one appears to be staying there right now. It is a gorgeous island with a beautiful white sand beach that wraps all around. It is surrounded by coral, but on the western side, there is a beautiful coral garden. There are not as many fish as we have seen elsewhere, but there are varieties that we have never seen. We took the dinghy back around to a place where we could go ashore and walked along the beach. We didn’t get to the place that Justin and Jo discovered yesterday that is home to hundreds of sand dollars and starfish, so we will have to return tomorrow to that spot.
Justin and Jo had a great trip on the main island of Karimunjawa. They discovered one beautiful beach after another and were greeted with very friendly people everywhere they went. When I asked Justin what they had seen he just replied, “Paradise.”

080930 Day 144 Java, Indonesia–Karimunjawa Explorations

Day 143, Year 3: Arrival in Karimunjawa

Day 143, Year 3: Arrival in Karimunjawa
Date: Hari Senin (Monday), Bulan September 29, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Beautiful with a Threat of Rain Here and There
Latitude: 05 degrees 52.506 minutes S
Longitude: 110 degrees 02.592 minutes E
Location: Karimunjawa Island, Java, Indonesia

We arrived here around 10:30 am after an “interesting” night. Windbird has been like a Sherman tank. No matter what we do wrong, this boat has always compensated for us. But last night, our human error caused Windbird to suffer some damage. We were sailing wing and wing and had our main sail vanged out to the toe rail. This means that a line from the bottom of the boom was clipped off to the toe tail which runs along the edge of the deck. I was off watch and asleep, but evidently the main sail kept back winding and finally a section of the toe rail simply ripped up and away from the deck. I finally heard the commotion and got us to see what was going on. I couldn’t believe what I saw. This boat has always been so solid, but unfortunately about two feet of Windbird’s toe rail had been literally ripped up from the deck.. Mark thinks we had been attaching the preventer to the weakest spot in the toe rail and that over time, we had weakened the connection. For whatever reason, Windbird
is missing about a two-foot piece of toe rail. We will have this repaired in Malaysia and we will be fine until then. It is just unfortunate that we miscalculated and caused the problem. So our apologies to Windbird.

When I came on watch at 11 am, Justin and Jo were sleeping down below. This was the first time I have seem them be able to do this and they were actually able to sleep through the night. We were actually able to sail through much of the night and arrived here early in the morning. Justin and Jo took the dinghy to nearby island with a beautiful white sand beach and they found a marine paradise. They found a section of beach with hundred of sea stars and sand dollars. Most of the sea stars and sand dollars were alive, but they were able to fine a few sand dollars that were not alive and could be kept as souvenirs.

Late in the afternoon, we all went ashore to explore Karimunjawa. Tomorrow we will spend more time ashore enjoying the beauty here. Tonight we stayed on Windbird and enjoyed a great sushi dinner supplied by the mahi-mahi fish that Justin caught yesterday. We had a great sunset and dinner and look forward to much of the same tomorrow.

080929 Day 143 Indonesia–Bawean Island to Karimunjawa