Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Off To Sibu - With The Family On Board

Lat. 02 deg 16.94 N, Lon. 111 deg 49.70 E.

After a month anchored in Sungai Tulai, we bid farewell to our Iban friends from Rumah Lidam and headed for Sibu last Sunday, a six hour transit upstream on the Rajang River, unfortunately against the current all the way. Nine of our longhouse friends joined us for the voyage, travelling back to the Tulai River via local bus that evening. We had a lot of fun on the way, and many tears were shed when the time came to say goodbye in Sibu, though we do plan to see them again in October.

The last week was delightful, including the close of the Gawai Dayak festival at one of the local longhouses. This was combined with the official opening of a new footbridge, with invited guests from Government including the District Officer and representatives of various departments. We were included in the official party and luncheon - all delicious Iban food. Ley and I had to do the traditional dance again, with Ley receiving lots of applause for her style - I think she's been practising !

The government guests came to visit Crystal Blues after the ceremonies, which prompted mass visiting by many of the women and children from adjacent longhouses. Things were very busy on board all afternoon - canoes arriving and departing, children swimming and diving off the boat, food and drinks to be served etc. We lost count at 50 visitors ......

Our "big" outboard engine did an awful lot of work here on the river. So in Sibu we've had both outboard motors serviced, plus loaded water and diesel. "Wee's Engineering Services "did the work. Our six year old Tohatsu 18hp engine was sure ready for some work - we gave it a complete service plus new main bearings, big end and little end con-rod bearings, water impeller, carby service, recoil starter re-furbished and full tune-up. It was all done in one day (!). Collected from the boat, stripped, repaired, tested and returned to us that afternoon. For less than $130.00 Australian. Its now starting and running better than it ever did - the guys here are amazing. We're delighted. Tomorrow Crystal Blues departs for Miri, though it will take a few days to travel downstream to the ocean, then an overnight transit to Miri.

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