Day 166, Year 3: Ready to Enter Singapore Tomorrow
Date: Hari Rabu (Wednesday), Bulan Oktober 22, Pada Tahan 2008
Weather: Same Old, Same Old–Overcast; Some Wind; HOT
Latitude: 01 degrees 12.229 minutes N
Longitude: 104 degrees 04.842 minutes E
Location: Pulau Nongsa on N Coast of Batam Island, Indonesia

We are anchored behind a tiny little island on the north coast of Batam looking across the strait to the high rises of Singapore. This is our last official night in Indonesian waters and tomorrow we enter Singapore. Shirena is here with us and they have decided to go to the same marina where we are heading for a few days before heading to Raffles Marina on the west side of Singapore Island. You can get boat work done there, but it is quite far from downtown. So they will enjoy downtown and Sentosa
Island and then head around to get boat work done. A number of boats headed into Sebana Cove Marina in Malaysia on the east side of Singapore today and many more will be following us into Singapore in the next few days. All boats have left Belitung except for two, Kayitsiz III of Turkey and Sahula of Australia. We heard on the net that Oskan on Kayitsiz is battling Typhoid Fever. The folks on Sahulu have stayed there with him and they hope he is strong enough to leave tomorrow. Oskan is a single-hander
and we will be thinking of him as he makes his way north. He is a strong-willed young man and hopefully he will beat this obstacle and arrive in Singapore healthy and happy in a few days.

Where is the sunshine when you need it? This afternoon as we were traveling north through Selat Rial between Batam and Bintan Islands. The rains came and we had very low visibility. Looking out for other boats in this busy little strait was already challenging with a mix of cargo ships and the tiny wooden canoes of local Indonesian fishermen. These little boats were hardly visible in good light, so the afternoon got more and more interesting. It is still raining, so we are hopeful that by tomorrow
morning, the rains will go away and we will have good visibility when crossing over the Singapore Strait.

I spent part of the day today writing a letter to family and friends who don’t read our log. I wanted to summarize our Indonesian experience and share it. So I am copying that letter here for those of you who do read these logs. Traveling through Indonesia has been a wonderful experience, so here’s how we summarized it.

Dear Family and Friends,

We are sitting in our last anchorage in Indonesia and we feel compelled to write to our closest friends and family and share our thoughts as we near the end of one part of the voyage of Windbird. Since we have not been in contact with some of you for quite some time, we’ll start by backing up a bit. Windbird arrived in Australia at the end of the 2007 cruising season and we flew home for five months. We stayed with our daughter and son-in-law, Heather and Jed, and that beautiful grandbaby Sam.
Somehow Sam kept all four of us so busy that we hardly did anything while home but take care of him. So if we didn’t get to talk to or see you while home, please forgive us. We flew to Florida to visit with Mark’s family and to Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit with our son Justin and his wife before heading back to Australia. We flew into Brisbane on May 3rd, took a train to Bundaberg, and sailed away one week later. It took us two months to reach Darwin on Australia’s northern coast and then
on July 26 we left Darwin for Kupang, West Timor in Indonesia.

We have been traveling through this amazing country of islands for almost three months now and the experiences have been spectacular. From a lakeside village in West Timor where we were welcomed by hundreds of people . . . to the villages where women weave the beautiful ikat and songket material . . . to komodo dragons . . . to the cries of smiling children calling, “Mister, mister”. . . to the Muslim calls to prayer . . . to the indescribable beauty of Bali’s Hindu people . . . to the orangutans
of Borneo. Indonesia is all of this and more. The people of Indonesia, no matter where we went, no matter the religion and beliefs of the people, are the true treasure of this country. And I saw my very first Clownfish here. Nemo lives in the Kroko Atoll! We’ve eaten enough nasi goreng (fried rice) to last a lifetime and we have seen so much beauty that it will take a while for our senses to come back to normal. We feel so fortunate to have been able to share a month of the Indonesia adventure
with our son Justin and his wife Jo. It was wonderful to have them with us in Bali and on to Borneo. We will never forget the kindness extended by our first Indonesian friend, Cece, and all of the various guides that have made it possible for us to see inland Indonesia. We would never have attempted this without traveling with the Sail Indonesia Rally. There were trying times, but the experiences the rally organization has afforded have much outweighed the negative aspects. It has truly been
an unbelievable three months. And we can’t forget to mention the two months we spent traveling up the east coast of Australia and across the top to Darwin. That seems like a lifetime ago. It has been a go, go, go sailing season and its not over yet.

Tomorrow we must wake up from our Indonesian dream and enter the Singapore harbor, the busiest in the world. We will stay for a week in a marina that is much too fancy for us, but it is in the right location. We will then sail around to the north side of Singapore and check into Malaysia. We will spend only three weeks traveling up the coast of Malaysia, stopping somewhere along the way to do a little inland exploring, and then we will stop in Langkawi to do a little boat work. Langkawi is an
island just off the coast of Malaysia on the Thailand border. We will be there until mid-December when friends, Kevin and Claire, come to join us for our trip to Phuket, Thailand and to the Similan Islands northwest of Phuket. We will have Christmas with Kevin and Claire somewhere in Thailand and when they leave on New Year’s Day, we will get ready for our daughter Heather, our son-in-law Jed, and our grandson Sam to visit us. Sam will celebrate his second birthday in Thailand and you know that
is going to be one joyous celebration.

We do not know yet where the next leg of our journey will take us. We might leave Thailand the end of January and head for the Red Sea. If we do that, we will be in Turkey by April. Or we might leave Thailand in late January and head for South Africa. If we do that, we will arrive in Cape Town by December and then make the 6,000 mile journey to Trinidad be back in the Caribbean (and maybe back in the US) before the hurricane season in 2010. Or we might spend another year in Southeast Asia.
If we do that, we will come home and try to work for a few months to help refill the cruising kitty. We will make a decision by December and will let you know then of our intentions. For now, we just hope to make it safely into and out of Singapore and continue our journey.

We would love to hear from you and hear about the adventures in your lives. We love cruising, but we really miss family and friends from back home. So please take a few minutes to send us an email letting us know how you are doing. And please make sure you erase this message if you hit return as we are bandwidth-challenged out here. No need to send extra text.

Love, Peace, and Happiness,

Judy and Mark
S/V Windbird