Sunday, 4 May 2008

More Borneo Cruising

BIYC Date Change

The BIYC organising committee has changed the dates for this year's event. The race has been brought forward to run from August 24 to 29. The change was needed to avoid conflicting with the Ramadan period in the following weeks. Enquiries to Capt. Fin at Miri Marina (

Latest news at the Borneo Race Website here.

Rumah Suring Burns ...

One of the beautiful Iban longhouses on the Tulai river has burned down. Rumah Suring, constructed of timber with 37 doors, caught fire last month while the residents were away voting in government elections. We learned of the fire via SMS message from our friends at nearby Rumah Lidam. The district officer, Mohamad Junaidi Mohidin, has emailed to tell us that no one was killed, though some were injured, and that all the people are being cared for by relatives and friends in nearby longhouses. 37 families lost their homes and all their possessions, save what they were wearing and carrying on election day.

To help those people (see the kids in the photo at right) we're collecting donations and goods to carry up river. Thanks to the Stonham family on SV Tui Tai for kicking things off with a great bag of goodies. If you're travelling to Borneo this year, you can leave donations in Kuching with Ian Robertson & Mona Woodford at Mona Medical Supplies in Kuching. Ian & Mona own the yacht Kumang, moored in the anchorage at Santubong. They have kindly offered to store things for us until we can transport them to Sungai Tulai. Call Ian & Mona on 082-240-744.

We'll accept anything from books to tools, clothing, utensils, crockery, hardware etc. Children's English language books are fine. Got some T-Shirts you haven't worn yet ? Pass them on please. Crystal Blues will be in Santubong anchorage from around May 14 for 10 days or so. If you arrive after we've departed, please leave things with Ian & Mona.

River Travel

River travel in Sarawak is a delight. The photo at right shows young Jack Scott (SV Stong Legs) with Alistair & Vivian (SV Largo Star) with yours truly, heading for trouble on the Rajang River in 2006.

In our last entry on this topic (review it here), we recommended several charts for travelling on the Rajang. Some people have asked if they are really necessary .... my answer is that I wouldn't travel without them, though I know it has been done.

Other people have heard of strong currents and debris making life difficult on the rivers. Our advice is to move upstream, away from the lower delta region, where the currents are strongest and debris is more common. We try to anchor out of the main stream, usually in a tributary or side river. In Sarikei and Bintangor there are wide and deep side streams that are perfect. In other places we read the tide and pick a spot that is out of the ebbing current, which is always the faster of the two. The dry season is approaching, and with reduced rain the Rajang runs fairly clean in our experience.

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