Logs on the beach

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January 6th 2017
Published: January 7th 2017
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I think we're relaxed now. The poolside days are difficult to tell apart. Another massive effort at the buffet and time to walk it off.

The onshore wind is blowing and the beach rakers in their fluro green long-sleeve shirts and full head covers work tirelessly to keep the resort beach tidy and inviting. In these conditions, it's a big job. The cove beach is 2-3 kms long and they meticulously maintain the 400-500 metres of beach outside the resort. Beyond this is a different story.

Once we're beyond the curated beach of the resort, we are on our own. There are a few locals scavenging through the garbage on the high tide mark beneath the palm and pine trees. One lady is filling hessian bags with plastic bowls, glass bottles and anything or worth. Two men further up the beach are cutting tangled fishing nets from driftwood. Massive piles of fishing nets and ropes are a tangled mess but they cut free metres of it with a machete. Fishing nets that will provide food and potentially a livelihood to these local fisherman and carelessly discarded by passing ships.

The flotsam and jetsam is everywhere and litter literaly litters the beach. There also seems to be specks of tar oil on the beach and it stains the undersides of our feet. We wade out to a group of rocks 10 metres from shore and while in looks beautiful from the shore line, when we stand upon it we notice the cracks are filled with dried black tar oil.

It's no wonder really. The tankers and freighters dot the horizon. The bright white of the ship on the distant water reminds me of veiwing the sand dunes on Moreton Island from Redcliffe beach. We didn't go to Sentosa to avoid the gridlock of ships through one of the busiest waterways in the world. And while they aren't as in your face, they are constantly visible in the distance and the waste from their voyages is plain to see on the beaches of Bintan.

We swaw yesterday when the conditions were better, but there was no putting your head under and the swim was brief. This garbage can't be unseen.

We are about a km up the beach when the diet of recent days comes home to roost. I began a brisk walk back towards the southern most pool of the resort with my mind focused on reaching that toilet ASAP. My walk turns into a run as my body prepares itself to expel 3 days of gluttony. The running isn't helping one bit and I need to distract myself from the immenent evacuation of my bowel. I start to name trees - palm tree, pine tree, umbrella tree, bouganvilia - it helps temporarily. I start to count trees and name objects on the beach - helmet, shoe, bottle, toothbrush, log. Anything to distract me. Log? Why'd you say log?

The power of suggestion is too strong. I'm not going to make it. Like the Singapore Metro - this thing isn't going to wait. I make a dash for the forest above the beach and as if by magic, a makeshift toilet seat has been created by a hatch of bamboo poles and I sit comfortably to take care of business.

I can see that the family (and holders of the tissues) are a long way off and not coming in my direction. I have only one choice. I kick of my boardshorts and make a half naked dash for the ocean. I keep my shirt on - this is a conservative predominantly Muslim country and I must respect the locals. As I wash myself in the small waves of the shallows I see Jules and the kids coming towards me laughing at wondering. "No swim today kids, that water is dirty." The kids draw a picture in the sand to celebrate the event and then we continue on our beachwalk.

Back for a swim in the waterslide pool. The crazy Aussie kids were referred to the quieter waterslide pool so as not to disturb the other patrons by jumping off the rocks.

We have a late lunch, splitting meals and BYO drinks. $40 lunch - we've got this figured out. We spend an hour of so playing a new card game - we call it Bumgun but the couple that taught me the rules call it fanny - called Yaniv. We play a bit of beach volleyball and eat cheese crackers and water for dinner. We're not that hungry and this is how we do it on Tight Arse Tours.

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