Fame in Belitong

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October 22nd 2014
Published: October 22nd 2014
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On Sunday we were invited to a wedding just a few kms away. We were seated separately from the locals and seemed to have the prime spot next to the matrimonial action.

It was an interesting ceremony where the groom and his procession of about 20 people walked down the road to the venue, which was just next to a roundabout. There he is stopped at a gate where a spokesperson for each the groom and bride negotiate what the groom can provide and then some money was taken by the brides side. His entourage then enter the building but before he can enter the room where the bride is, another similar negotiation takes place. They both came out of the room and we were almost forcibly encouraged to take photos of the happy couple who did not smile for pictures - shifting some of the old ladies sitting across the floor so we could get a good vantage spot.

After this everyone had some food, collected buffet style, and we watched the couple come out and thank family members. Then a long queue of men lined up to give them money, as the couple stood at an ornate floral stage fronted with a small fountain. The men shook their hands in thanks and we joined in on the end- having no clue how much money to leave. We were back at the beach before noon and gave Johnny our paperwork to check out of the country.

In the afternoon we went over to a small island about half a mile away to escape the roll that picks up in the bay here everyday. Found a lovely little secluded beach away from the waves. There was quite a lot of litter at the high water mark but the water was clean - Naomi vowed to pick up all the plastic bottles but grew tired of it after 10. A nice spot for a swim and a stroll around the beach.

In the last blog I mentioned the final meal event here in Belitung.

Monday the 8 of us hired two cars to take us to town for some provisioning, laundry, ATM etc etc. While we waited for Tom to use the internet cafe, the rest of us went for a coffee and numerous doughnuts (there was no cafe service at the internet cafe). I happened apon the Belitung Post newspaper and had a glance through, finding an article about Sail Indonesiaon on the front page. Nearer the back there was another article about the rally’s recent visit and there was Alex and Naomi pictured during some of the dancing they got dragged into. The fame hasn’t gone to her head.

We pretty much spent the whole day food and beer shopping, with a stop for lunch at the "the most famous and modern restaurant in Belitung” according to their sign. Took the coastal road back and stopped to see the view from a hilltop restaurant that was closed.

Returned to Luna Ray to find it a bit of a mess as a heavy squall had been through - these are certainly getting common in the afternoons.

Tuesday morning, I went to the beach as directed to get some diesel - I was after about 200lts and wanted to deliver it before the wind picked up - no such luck!. After the guy got out of bed, and a prolonged conversation with Johnny on the phone who was supposed to have arranged this transaction it turned out he had none.

We met Johnny back at the beach to collect our exit paperwork. We had 2-3 days to leave the anchorage and then officially proceed out of the country but apparently cruising under the radar is commonly done.

The cafe owner was organising some fuel and had 55 lts I could have, so I took these back through the chop to Luna Ray. A couple of short woman were there on my return who brought the fuel but only had enough remaining after another cruiser for 40lts! I was told they would return with rest in 1 hour, so I bounced through the wet chop again with my 2 filled jerry cans and after lunch rode the surf back. She pulled another 2 jerry cans off the moped - just another 40 lts! apparently they had ran out for the day, but maybe have some tomorrow.

Winds north of here are notoriously light but I think we now had just enough and maybe we can pick up more elsewhere.

The cruisers from the 5 boats in the bay met up for dinner and routing discussions that evening, with half of us probably leaving the next day. When the next day came only Tom the american solo sailor left as some of us were not feeling great - myself was achey, weak with some light temperatures. Gave me a chance to finally get around to finishing my Tax return and could have got more fuel but felt too weak.

Tomorrow (depending on how I feel) we have 1-2 nights passage north and will probably follow the rest of the sailors up the west side of Lingga Island until we peel off at the top to see more of the area whilst the others seem in a hurry to get settled into a marina (in Malaysia).



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