We had completed our port-exitting procedure on Sunday Feb. 11th. Our companions from El Misti, Hybresail and Shakti dined with us at a local Indian eatery that evening. So with first light we bod farewell to them and to Country Garden Marina. We were embarking on the first leg of your return to Indonesia. Current assisted, Brahminy Too made her way along Johor Straits, passed Puteri Ferry Terminus, under the 2nd Link Bridge and towards Singapore Straits.
10.30 am as we started heading east along the southern coast of “Singers” we had a good puff of wind. We were sailing!! Off went the donk (engine). With about 12+ knots of wind from the north (gusting up to 25), we clocked 6-7knots. Woohoo, back to the life we enjoy.
By 1pm we were in position to bank a hard right and commence our dash across the Straits Shipping lanes. The wind piped up to a persistent 17knots from the NE., a lovely angle. Fortuitously, there was no oncoming traffic while crossing the west bound lane and a large gap between the east bound tankers. Rompted it!! We won’t mention that Hans turned the engine off and sailed across Singapore Straits clocking 7 knots.
However, coasting the northern reaches of Batam Island, the sea became more choppy the further east we went. The bottom shelved possibly creating an upswell. The fetch from the north east was unobstructed and we had tide against wind. Hence our last 12 nm to the marina were the slowest. Our girl pitched and tossed as waves doused our decks and salt sprayed the sails. All things considered a grand excursion.
While still in Singapore waters we had been approached by the water police enquiring what our intentions were. As we came closer to our destination, first the Indonesian Navy then Customs circle us. (Perhaps their vigilence was heighten by the recent drug bust of a huge haul of methamphetimines in these same waters? The offending fishing boat had been towed into Batam.)
“The approach to Nongsa Point Marina is well beaconned”, as per the marina’s communications. Fortunately, our cruising guide book also gave clear waypoints for the entrance since the ferry channel directly beside our approach was similarly beaconned. That could have been confusing. Then, what appeared to be a sandbar stretched across the narrow opening between the lateral seawalls. Hans slowed our revs while Burney read the chart contours and the depth sounder. We had 3 meters under the keel with a rising tide. Enough.
Apparently, it was just a sandy wash due to the choppy conditions.
In preparation for the CIQ check-in procedure, Hans hoisted the Indonesian courtesy flag and the yellow quarintine flag. Nongsa had also requested the blue and white checked N flag be mounted, as well. There waiting at our berth finger was staff to take our lines. Unlike the usual formalities of shuffling between offices gaining and giving various clearance/entrance forms and stamps or alternatively having several officers from each department board your vessel, we simply handed the necessary documents to the marina representative who then visited the government offices on our behalf. Of course, the service cost $$ (Aus $100) but the convenience was indesputable.
As a note for other yachties following this blog, AIS was mandatory for all foreign yachts cruising in Indonesian waters. No longer was a “receiver only” acceptable. Furthermore, the MMSI number associated with the unit was nevessary to complete the registration forms. Officials were enforcing this law and have been known to physically check the AIS, taking photographs for evidence, and checking MarineTraffic.com. Citations and/or letters of warning were apparently being issued for noncompliance.
After photos of our vessel and its engine had been taken we had only till the next morning to wait till our passports were returned. A Domestic Clearance was also issued which we were required to present at our port of exit from Indonesia ( Tual, in our case) to Australia.
All good, done and dusted. We were comfortably ensconced in Indonesia, again.