Friday, 28 May 2010

Sarawak Update

Crystal Blues anchored in the Santubong River
After a three day passage from Singapore, we dropped anchor in the Santubong River, where we're surrounded by peace and serenity.  Mt Santubong towered overhead, attracting a crown of clouds, whilst from it's slopes a chorus of jungle birds called.  Malay fishermen were quietly hauling in their nets and the ever shy Irrawaddy Dolphins were quietly surfacing around us.  It was a great welcome back for our 4th visit to Borneo.

Dollar and Pende, caretakers of Datu Linggi's house and dock here, were on hand to greet us.  They confirmed that cruisers are still welcome to tie their dinghy to the dock and that fresh, potable water is available.  A new development this year is the "No Berthing" sign - sadly some boats have abused the privilege of Datu Linggi's kindness, and have not only tied to the dock, but when asked to move on, they refused to do so.  This is not leaving a clean wake for others!

Ian and Mona, the owners of the Kuching registered SV Kumang, confirmed that there is still a sunken fishing boat immediately off the large Jabatan Laut dock.  Anchoring there, or too close to the fish farms, has caused problems for cruisers in the past.  Employing a diver to untangle your anchor is expensive in these crocodile infested waters.  And yes - we saw our first croc in the anchorage this visit! 

Reviewing the Rajang River charts with the Cartographers
Ian has kindly supplied a detailed Google Map of where to check in.  We also visited the Cartography Office of the Jabatan Laut, Sarawak Marine Department (Lot 683, Section 66, Jalan Utama, Tanak Puteh, Kuching) and purchased three recently updated charts for the Rajang River.  Charts required are SAR 1440, 1441 and 15.

We visited the new marina on the Kuching River and were advised that they have onshore facilities and there is water and power to some of the slips.  It is located some distance from Kuching adjacent to the new Convention Centre, before the bridge and barrage, but has none of the beauty of the Santubong anchorage.  It really is in the middle of an industrial waste land, though when the convention centre is finished it should all be different.

Three Days To Gawai!

Crystal Blues is now anchored on Sungai Tulai, in front of Rumah Lidam long house.  We have been blessed with wonderful friendships with these Iban families over the last 4 years, and have been warmly welcomed back into their homes and lives.  Last night we were invited into the long house for a jam session with the band.  Neil was given a few rhythm lessons by Jambar then the fun began.  We also shared a few glasses of tuak, yumai Iban home made rice wine.

We carefully walked down the boardwalk to the dinghy dock only to find our dinghy beached in knee high sloppy mud.  Neil waded in, pushed and pulled and finally the dinghy was freed - then we had to deal with mud caked legs, clothes and bags.  A refreshing midnight swim in the river cleaned us up.  Dealing with 5 metre tides makes for interesting times up river.

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