Goodbye Indonesia

Eric Tang and his mechanic at PAMarine have done a great job on the gearbox, which is now reinstalled and working perfectly. It took a while to get the required parts from Sweden but I believe it's at least as good as new and maybe better because the shuttle has been replaced with a later model that might last a bit longer. I wish there were more organizations like PAMarine and more people like Eric Tang running them. Eric truly looked after me on my return trip to pick up the gearbox. If you need marine services or parts in Singapore then contact PAMarine.

From Teluk Dalam I motor-sailed up the north west coast of Sumatra to a town called Sabang on the small island of Weh in Aceh. It is a beautiful place, and quite different to anywhere else I've visited in Indonesia. The town is clean, the roads are good, and the island is paradise. It's very hilly and there is a freshwater lake in the middle of the island.

In general, Indonesians are polite, meticulous and beaurocratic and, when things go wrong, flexible and creative in setting things right again. Even when faced with a tired uncomprehending yachtie they find a way. I needed diesel and misunderstood when asked if I wanted premium. I thought he meant low sulfur diesel instead of the dirty stuff, so I said yes and only realized he was filling my diesel jerries with petrol after he'd already filled one and a half! 'Tidak!' I yelled. 'No! Stop!' I thought I'd have to live with the mistake and find some way to use the petrol but no, they found someone who wanted it, poured it out and refilled my containers with diesel. It took a little while to organize but in the end everyone was happy, especially me.

I was sorry I couldn't spend more time in Sabang but I had just one day of good weather to help me on my way to Langkawi before strengthening easterly headwinds would make the trip miserable. So I reluctantly cleared out of Indonesia and set sail for Malaysia that same afternoon.

It's a two-day trip to Langkawi and the forecast was spot on. One day of sailing before the breeze petered out, died completely and then slowly strengthened from ahead. By the time I got to Langkawi I had had enough of motoring into it and was overjoyed to drop anchor between two man-made islands and Telaga Harbour. The anchor didn't bite immediately and I had to reverse an extra 20 m or so before it bit. Once it bit it was solid.

Next morning I made my way into Telaga Harbour Marina. It used to be a clearance port but not any more. Now they only have Immigration (what use is it to have Immigration but not Customs or Quarantine? I didn't ask.) I would have to travel to Kuah, 20km away for Customs and Quarantine. So I only stayed one night before sailing to Kuah at the other end of Langkawi to complete the process. In comparison with Indonesia, Malaysian beauracracy is careless and inconsistent. I was told different things by different people and as far as the beaurocrats were concerned it was all my problem, not theirs.

I am tired. I need to rest for a while and Anjea needs a lot of TLC. Hopefully, I will be able to organize a few massages for us both.


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    sabang sounds interesting; indonesia's western-most point. you'll often hear indonesians say 'dari sabang sampai merauke', meaning from one end of the country to the other (merauke being a town in papua province on the border of PNG).

    surprised to hear that malaysian bureaucrats are worse than indonesian. the only problem i had with clearing into malaysia (at pengelih) was finding the bastards, who seemed to spend most of their working day drinking tea and smoking at the warung.

    what's the plan for langkawi? are you staying a while?

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    @garydean Plans are just general at this point: rest, maintenance, check out Langkawi, move Anjea to Krabi for a haul out, a tripto Australia and then more maintenance and cruising. I expect to be in Malaysia/Thailand for several months.

    After that I must decide which direction to go. The main choice is between South Africa and Suez Canal and the Med. Hmmm...

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    Hello Dave, Hope you are well? We are preparing to leave Thailand in the next few weeks and head back to Turkey. Drop me a line when you get a chance and will respond. Cheers from all on Mer Sea!

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