RoRC Report from Indonesia

RoRC Report from Indonesia

Judy Howison, S/V KINABALU, in Pulau Wayag, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

By Judy Howison - 23/10/2018

We left Borneo behind when we crossed from Indonesian Nunukan to Tolitoli, Sulawesi, close to where the recent earthquake and consequent tsunami caused such huge devastation. We’re now anchored in “paradise,” Wayag, the quintessential Raja Ampat, which, together with north Su-lawesi, will be the subject of our next report.

We backtrack in this report to Borneo!! Whilst much of our journey along the northern coastline of Borneo was spent motor sailing in light SE/SW breezes , we did have some memorable sails when the wind came out of the NW!
Kuching, Sarawak was a wonderful stop, interesting historically and culturally. We anchored in the Santubong River with dinghy access at a private dock, and travelled by local minibus into town. Further along the coast, the town of Miri has a good marina, although a shallow bar at the entrance, where boats can been left securely for relatively long periods of time. We flew to Bario in the Kelabit Highlands from Miri on twin Otter aircraft, staying at an authentic 24 door longhouse with ancestors of the Kelabit tribe and explored their rivers and mountains.

In Brunei, lots of great excursions in the city and to Temburong National Park were organised for the Wonderful Sail Indonesia Back to Downunder Rally by Allan Riches, who is also the rather excellent OCC Port Officer. Sutera Harbour Marina in Kota Kinabalu (KK) is an oasis and our first marina stop in two months. Fully equipped with swimming pools, golfcourse and good restaurants with easy access to town! This was the moment we had been waiting for and we set off to climb the formidable Mt Kinabalu in cold and windy conditions. Only for the young and fit, we decided, but what an adventure!!

Our escort by ESSCOM (Eastern Sabah Security Command) from Kudat around Tanjung Sim- pangmangayau, the spectacular north eastern tip of Borneo, to Tawau was vigilant but discreet, and we are forever grateful for the security and safety that was given in what, we later learned, was a very real threat. At each anchorage we had additional 3 hour watches by two boats from the fleet on a rotational basis.

ESSCOM escorted the fleet of 15 boats up the Kinabatangan River, which was a highlight of our Borneo experience. Orangutans in the wild, 50+ Pygmy elephants at close quarters, baby crocs and abundant bird life greeted us. Regrettably, Sipidan for diving and snorkelling is busy and in our opinion, relatively disorganised.

We checked out of Malaysia in Tawau, taking on fuel and water from barges and provisioning in well stocked supermarkets and motored early with the tide to Nunukan, Indonesia and the next part of our SE Asian adventure.

Photo: Bob and Judy Howison exploring Borneo

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