With names like a pair of terrible twins that always confuse me as to which is which Batam and Bintan sit either side of the wide channel leading up to the Singapore strait. The first world was, after weeks of third world traveling, finally making its appearance; at the southern end of the channel sat three oil rigs awaiting orders. Overhead were aircraft flying into any one of the several international airports in the region including Changi in Singapore. High speed ferries zipped across between the islands and well kept waterside restaurants gathered on the fringes of most of the islands we motored past.
Temptress though wasn’t headed directly up Selat Riau but took a port hand fork into the backwaters off Batam and its southern neighbour Rempang. We were pleased to find a thunderstorm that had awoken us in the early hours lingered ahead of us until lunchtime generating sufficient south westerly breeze to sail; we bowled along at speeds from four to seven knots for about four hours, aided too by the incoming tide making fast progress north. We revelled in the peace and the cool. Eventually the storm moved too far ahead, presumably bringing a downpour to Singapore and the engine had to go on again.
For us but not the boat this leg is a bit like closing a circle, these are the waters we had sailed from Changi Sailing Club last year and tonight’s narrow anchorage off Tg. Piayu has a host of memories of a weekend aboard Derek and Katie’s SDF. It feels a bit like coming home, a certain excitement about sailing in familiar waters. The fish restaurant was as good as on our previous visit, the seafood food wonderful, the service friendly, and after weeks of drinking Bintan, Singaporean Tiger was a welcome change. The place is in fact smarter than we recalled and is undergoing some renovations possibly due to the competition of a brightly lit new place a short distance away which is offering by the less than tuneful singing reaching us, karaoke.
Tomorrow we reach our last Indonesian port Nongsa Point Marina. It will be with sadness that we say au revoir to Indonesia because despite the plastic rubbish and the at time frustrating lack of wind this is a country of wonderful people who have offered us a fabulous welcome, a country as varied as the vast number of islands that make it up. Indonesians have shown us that you need very little to be happy. The one thing we can be sure of is that we will be back.
Kupang to Nongsa 1996nm (excluding our 10 days cruising around the Komodo area)
And for reference – Panama to Kupang 10,015nm