February 2011‎ > ‎

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.