Saturday, April 1, 2017

Nongsa Point - 01° 11' 48" N 104° 5' 50" E

Having just left Singapore, we are amazed that we were able to accomplish as much as we did.

Boat cover on,
trying to escape the heat
We arrived with a massive “To Do” list. “Nervous” doesn’t begin to describe how we feel about picking our way through 2,000 nautical miles of the Indonesian archipelago. We have prepared for the worst, but expect the best. We have heard anecdotal, friend-of-a-friend horror stories of tainted diesel fuel, bureaucrats needing bribes in order to avoid boat impounding, mechanical breakdowns with no spares or replacements available for weeks, etc.. So, we have been outfitting the boat accordingly.

Our To Do list has included:
  • acquire a ridiculous number of spare engine parts for regular maintenance
  • acquire Indonesian-surveyed paper charts (because the British/Dutch-surveyed charts are of questionable accuracy) for the areas where we will possibly anchor
  • arrange to get longer-than-normal, 60-day travel visas
  • defrost and repack freezer to endure possible times without power
  • get school supply give-a-ways for kids at remote islands (we now have over 200 pencil, notebook, eraser and pencil sharpener kits)
  • have a “Popeye” stamp make for amusing children AND port bureaucrats who will be VERY impressed when you can “chop” their official documents
  • communicate with incoming crew and potential crew about where/how we will pick them up and drop them off as we travel remote islands along the chain
  • check impeller for wear (it’s OK)
  • change oil
  • remove existing sails from the rigging and haul up and check storm sails
  • install a backflow valve on manual bilge pump
  • get spare metal buckets for bailing, if necessary
  • replace a worn bow roller bolt
  • pack one of the racing sails for transport/repair and send home to Australia with septuagenarian visitor
  • replace broken cam cleat
  • get extra rope for … well, because you never know when you might need some extra rope
  • update chartplotter with new charts
  • wash the bag full of stinky sailing clothes before it evolves into a sentient being
  • test emergency contact systems
  • notify Australian and Canadian embassies in Indonesia that we are unconventionally making our way across their country
Having these things to do has meant that we see the city much differently than the typical tourist. We take public transit to the outer reaches of Singapore. We deal with tradespeople and shopkeepers that aren’t used to tourists. We roam, then get hungry then notice the small food court where all the locals are having lunch. We ask for directions. We walk by little junk shops and get distracted from the task at hand. We get recommendations from others and learn new ways of doing things.

Even though we have had this exhaustive list to tackle, we've used the excuse of our latest guest, Nancy, as a reason for taking time off of boat jobs to explore Singapore.  We've marvelled at the transportation system and how affordable it is.  We've noted the subtle and not-so-subtle messages aimed at civil obedience (highly necessary when 5.4 million people are living on a small island).  We've enjoyed how everything seems to work efficiently here.  We've stood jaw agape at the scale and rate of change of the architecture.  We've enjoyed searching for and finding great meals.

For anyone that might be slightly soured on an Asian visit due to worries of language difficulties, cleanliness or dealing with developed-world guilt at crushing poverty,  I would recommend coming to Singapore as your first Asian experience - there are none of the above worries here.

Julie demonstrates civil obedience on the subway
Satays on the street
 Julie joins some street art
Sands at Marina Bay - stunning hotel
Gardens by the Bay
Indoor waterfall - amazing!
Some of the cool sculptures at Gardens by the Bay
Who knew botany could keep our attention for a whole day?

Kate finds an umbrella tree
This is the most amazing shopping experience.


Without question.
... and yes, we (unknowingly) had the soup.
Drinks at the top of Mt. Faber
I found a teapot I liked,
and no, I didn't pay $40 for it.
How civil engineers play -
a scale model of Singapore.
Marina at Keppel Bay


Nongsa Point has a pool! Yay!
 Now, we are safely tied up at the marina at Nongsa Point, having given our passports to the marina staff so they can check us into Indonesia.  This has been the easiest immigration we have had so far.  Nongsa Point Marina has a pool, an nice restaurant with cold beer and ... SELF-SERVE CLOTHES WASHER AND DRIERS!  We are going to get one more thing completed from that To Do list after all!

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