February 2011

 

15th February 2011. Location-  Miri Marina Borneo

This Blog is posted from the S/Y Jennifer – Skipper Lars Hassler, who has tempted me to leave Freya in Kos and join him for 2 months in the Far East.

I arrived Singapore ok on 30th Jan, awful rainy weather, not normal for the time of year though the rain did leave off on Monday so I had a chance to explore the city a little-fantastic place very clean but very expensive.

 
 
 
 

We sailed on the Tuesday 1st – a 4 day sail across the South China Sea to Borneo

It was an uncomfortable crossing from Singapore – 1 guy really bad seasick for 4 days!! Even I was a little sick!

We arrived in Kuching, Borneo on Saturday and we went to a national park on Monday and saw a family of Orang-Utan’s. We watched them swing down from the trees and feed on bananas and coconuts – fantastic!.

We had hired a minivan and guide to take us to the park and then he took us further inland to visit a traditional “Longhouse” (complete with a big cage full of real Human Skulls – some of them probably Japanese from WWII) where there are over 90 families living together in their own compartments all under one roof.

The city of Kuching is a really great place – a mix of old British colonialism and the modern. The Malay people are so very friendly – all smiles. The food is great and cheap but the beer is more expensive than Greece because it is a Muslim country.

 
 
 
 
 
 

We left Kuching on Wednesday 9th for a 2 day sail east to Miri which was a nice crossing – we arrived Friday night - nice Marina though very u Toilets and Showers. Miri is quieter  than Kuching and right on the border with our next destination – Brunei.

 
 
 
 
 
 

We tried to visit a large Cave complex in a nearby national park but it was shut due to flooding so we had a little trek in the Rainforest instead. We did manage to find a source of cheap Tiger Beer –( €16 for a case of 24 all wrapped up in a black plastic bag to hide the contents) courtesy of the local “Mr Fixit” Simon who operates as an unlicensed taxi and has contacts everywhere.

The weather is very warm and humid with a mixture of a lot of sun, some clouds and the occasional thunderstorm normally in the evening.

Lars – Jennifer’s Skipper, has flown into the interior for a few days to visit a large park, Lars will return today and we will then sail to Brunei on Wednesday, it is not a long trip – just 80Nm so an overnight passage.

Malcolm


posted Feb 20, 2011, 5:47 AM by Malcolm Sanford   [ updated Feb 21, 2011, 12:27 AM ]

Sunday 12 February,  Location – Brunei

We arrived to the Royal Brunei Yacht Club on Thursday morning after an interesting night sail from Miri – a good sailing wind (we peaked at 8.2 knots), squalls, more working oil platforms than you could count and about 12-15 derelict platforms that were barely lit, just huge dark shadows that loomed up just ½ mile either side of our route; certainly not a night watch for the faint hearted!

 
 

There are no pontoons at the RBYC so we anchored offshore, went ashore in the Rib and hitched a ride to the main highway to catch a bus into the capital of Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan or BSB as everyone calls it. Nice city – lots of very large and immensely expensive Mosques and a few upmarket shopping areas.

 
 

Brunei is a lot more expensive than Malaysia, though it is still possible to eat cheaply in the local restaurants

We rented a boat and driver to take us into the mangrove swamps to look for Proboscis Monkeys (the ones with the big noses), we spotted a small crocodile in the water then a family of monkeys feeding on the leaves in the mangroves.

 
 

On the other side of the river to the modern BSB lies a huge village on stilts in the river – home to 30,000 people!!!!!

We also managed to find a very helpful young man – Shar, who offered to dive us back to the yacht club, a journey of 45 mins, a nominal sum – far cheaper than a taxi. Shar offered to pick us up the following day and show us some of the sights including the magnificent 7-Star Empire Hotel – commissioned by the Sultan’s brother and reputed to have cost as much as the Petronas Twin Towers!

 
 
 
 

The weather has been hot, humid, with sun in the morning and violent thunderstorms in the evening – typical for a rainforest location. Shar took us for a long drive yesterday to try and visit a national park but we could not gain entry unless we paid for a very expensive organised tour. So we visited his village instead complete with very modernised Long House. Although Shar is now a practising Moslem his Grandfather was a practising Iban Head Hunter!! Shar also told of hunting when he was a child using a Blowpipe and poison darts with poison made from the skin of frogs!!!

 
 

We have a crew change now, Sjell is leaving tomorrow and we have been joined by 2 new crew yesterday – Mia from Denmark and Walter from Sweden. We must visit the Philippine Embassy tomorrow to arrange our Visas for the Philippines – essential if you are entering the Philippines by private boat.

We will be leaving Brunei on Tuesday to sail NE to Pulao Labuan a Malaysian Island just 20Nm from Brunei.

Malcolm

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