Friday, December 25, 2015

Sailing from Malaysia to Thailand

Leisurely trip over to Koh Adang Thailand today. Beautiful weather, blue skies mild dry air, light winds.

We plan to have Christmas dinner on Boxing day with Tina and She can of SV Aurelia.

We shall take a week or so and with our way yo to Phuket.

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Langkawi Malaysia after 3 nights of motor-sailing

We're anchored in the Fjord in the south part of the islands around Langkawi yesterday before noon. The passage was 90% relaxing and 10% tense due to either traffics or hard winds. The Malacca Straits are just not fun.

The yacht in the photo is SV Aurelia belonging to our friends Tina and Stevan from Australia.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Departed Singapore

Departed SIN at 7:13am local time. The marina was very rolly; however the city is fun. Heading to Langkawi to meet SV Aurelia for Christmas.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Hari Raya in Bali

We are in Lovina for another week and it is holiday season here.  This past week was a Balinese Hindu holiday and the workers from our construction project were off with their families.  Ibu Ketut who operates Sari House where we stay was also visiting the temples and her family.
Ibu Ketut of Sari House in Lovina Bali
Since there were holidays mid-week, it meant that Roland, the contractor for our house, was a bit more relaxed than usual.  There were no staff working at his home nor kindergarten for the kids, so he and his wife stayed home.  However, there was work to do.  Susan and Roland spent a couple of hours going over the plans Susan had worked out for the gardens at Villa Cengkeh.  We also had some excellent coffee and pastries while enjoying the Christmas tree.

Susan with Roland Leijten, Tropis Living Bali
Roland and family

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Back in Bali

The crew is in Bali and SV Villa G is in Singapore.  We flew down 3 days ago.  Bali is having flight disruptions again.  This time due to a volcano on nearby Lombok Island.  We were lucky and the winds were moving the plumb away from Bali and our flight operated.  Late, but much better than cancelled!  We were on Air Asia.  The head flight attendant was Ms Maria Marguerita whose Indonesian has a Spanish accent.  We were on a flight with here last July from Darwin to Bali too. Who could forget an Indonesian name like that?

We spent two nights in Kuta so that we could go shopping with Roland looking for doors for Villa Cengkeh.  We can recommend staying at the Fontana Hotel on Jl Dewi Sri.  It is designed by the reknown Balinese architect Popo Danes.  You can get a great deal there in the off season and it is very convenient for shopping.  We were successful is finding the doors we needed and have now gone over to the Lovina area and are staying in Kalibukbuk at Sari House.  A nice guest house operated by Ibu Ketut (+65 877 6258 8191).  It is only 50 meters from Buda Bakery and Restaurant which has great meals, sandwiches, salads, pastries and homemade ice cream.  Ginger and lemongrass are our favorites.

There are always fascinating things to see on the trip over to Lovina from Denpasar.

Hindu temple

Restaurant with odd statues and art

Baskets, brooms and hats, daily necessities

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Republic of Singapore Yacht Club

We arrived in Singapore yesterday and berthed in the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club (RSYC) located on the southwest coast of Singapore close to the National University of Singapore.  The marina has no seawall and is adjacent to a very busy dock that is used by the boats transporting staff and goods out to the many ships at anchor.  Thus, as one might expect, there is a lot of swell working its way in and all boats here are rocking and rolling.  Fortunately we were able to get a "single" berth which means that we are able to tie dock lines on all sides and not be held onto a pontoon.  We are berthed at D11.  The staff is helpful and Zaina who manages the marine is very capable and was most responsive when I call for a berth.


We got our official "clearance" from Immigration by anchoring off of Sisters Island and waiting 15 minutes for their launch to come by.  No tying together, no boarding.  They have a net on a stick such as one uses to bring in fish into which one puts the paperwork and passports.  After reviewing the papers, stamping things, they are returned the same way.  The marina is about 45 minutes from the clearance anchorage.

The bars, restaurants, pool, showers and gym here are first rate.  The pontoons in the marina have seen better days.  Mostly motor vessels here and a few catamarans that do charter.  Note the blue skies in the photos.  The 3 months of smoky haze has finally been blown away.  What a relief!

There are also 3 very special boats berthed across from us.  These are from a Singapore company called Zycraft.  See  Their boats are manufactured from carbon fiber and carbon nanotubes and used for very specialized work.  One is even an unmanned vessel that can patrol at sea for up to 30 days at a time.
Zycraft vessels: unmanned on left, anti priate escort on right

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Nongsa Point Marina, Batam Island, Indonesia

We have been comfortably berthed at Nongsa Point Marina for the past 5 nights.  When we arrived the smoke and haze was in full force and it was delightful to connect to shore power and run the air conditioning.  However, two nights later a big thunder storm came through and since then the wind has been from the northeast making the air a lot cleaner.  It is still hot and humid; what else would one expect being 60 nautical miles north of the equator?

This is a nice marine associated with a large resort.  The staff is very friendly and helpful.  Unfortunately, the are in the middle of renovating the swimming pool, so Susan has had to walk 15 minutes each day to use the pool at a sister resort.  It is the off season, so there are few guests.

We have had two delicious lunches in the resort restaurant; however, we still have a substantial amount of frozen meat from Australia, so Susan has been cooking delicious meals too.

On Monday we shall cross the strait and checkin at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club.  Villa G will stay in Singapore two months and we shall fly back to Bali to look after the house construction there.

Nongsa Point Marina, Batam Island, ID

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Smoke in Indonesia is Serious Just Now

As the papers report, the forest fires etc are totally out of control in Indonesia and there are hundreds of miles of sea with a dense, thick, smoky haze.  Not only is the visibility poor, but the smell of smoke is intense.  We have resorted to using the radar when sailing during the day, as well as night.

We are anchored near the NW corner of Pulau (Island) Belitung, only 400 miles south of Singapore.  Belitung would normally be a highlight of any sailors travels with granite boulders, sugar white beaches, and friendly people, but the haze and smoke ruin it all.  We have done essential repairs and gotten rest and will depart in the morning for the Lingga Island group.  We do not expect the haze to be gone, but we hope that there will be rain.  We have not had rain on Villa G since March.  With all the fires and smoke, the whole boat is covered in a reddish brown dust, cinders and ash.  We wash the decks in salt water which helps the looks, but the feel of salt underfoot is not so nice.

Susan has baked a pecan pie and made chili con carne, yum!
The Morning Sun, no Clouds, Just Haze

Sail2Indonesia Rally is also here in Belitung Indonesia

An Indonesia Fishing Boat

Monday, October 19, 2015

And she came tumbling down

Susan woke me at 4am saying "we have a problem." "What is it," I asked. "The Genoa came down," says she.  I looked out the pilot house, saw no sail up and then gazed into the sea on the port side. There she was.

We turned on the deck lights, put on our life jackets and went out into the 20 knot wind. The halyard had parted about 50 cm from the head of the sail.  We pulled it slowly out of the water and onto the deck. The biggest problem was to keep it from blowing back in while we tied it down. No small feat with a rolling deck, wet sail and strong wind. Of course it got done as you can see from the photo where our trusty jib has already been hoisted in place of the genoa.

After a shower to wash off the salt water we reflected on the joys of sailing, then carried on.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Pulau Bewean

We arrived Pulau Bewean at 06:40 am yesterday after sailing two nights from Bali.  The bay here is on the north side of the island; however, the SE winds are funneled around and over the island's hills and blast down on us.

We shall make the best of it. Susan is cooking duck breast and fried black fragrant Thai rice for lunch. Last night she made a delicious pot roast with egg noodles. 

From here we shall do a 3 night sail up to Pulau Belitung.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Extra Time in Lovina for House Building Project

As we cruise back toward Thailand we are spending extra time in Bali enjoying the progress made in building our house in Kayuputih, near Lovina.
We are also waiting for water maker parts to come from America.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Refueling in Lovina

We met Daman (red shirt) when we anchored in Lovina, Bali two years ago. He is quite industrious providing yacht services when not doing boat tours. In addition to getting diesel, we have also gotten grilled chicken and sambal - delicious! :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bany Wedang Bay

Bali Barat National Park

We are taking a break from Lovina and sailed west 30 miles to lovely Bany Wedang Bay near Pemuteran.

This is a beautiful area with good snorkeling and diving. The park is the only National Park in Bali and is over 60 years old.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Comfortably anchored at Lovina beach Bali

We arrived after two overnight sails.  It is the dry season and nothing but sun, sun and night.
Boats with the Sail Indonesia Rally are here now including friends Jon and Sue of SV Ocelot.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Home of the Komodo Dragons

We have just anchored in a bay on the west side of Rinca Island. This island and it's neighbor, Komodo are populated by giant lizards, up to 3 meters long! Rinca is a national park and also the home to many monkeys, deer and Brahminy Kites.
This area of Indonesia is a nature Mecca both on land and sea. Some of the world's best diving is found around these islands. I am watching monkeys playing on the beach just now.
There are flights from Bali to nearby Labuhanbajo, so it is easy to get to.
The SE trade winds are very strong now, so we will relax a few days here until things calm a bit.  Susan's baked fresh bread yesterday and black beans and rice for dinner tonight.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Anchored near Batu Boga, Flores Island

Beautiful small bay on the stunning yet barren island of Flores, Buda Tenggara, ID.

Very quite. The small village has no electricity and few boats. Kids paddled out to visit this morning and brought bananas and rose apples to barter for coffee and sugar. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pulau Lembata, volcanoes everywhere

We cruised up Boling strait at 5am but were too late. The current began rushing towards us and one to two knots was the best we could make even with Villa G's big engine. Fortunately there is a provincial town with a good area to anchor in Leba Leba Bay off the strait.

We have huge volcano mountains in all directions and a couple continue to pour out white smoke.  The anchorage was very windy in the middle of the day, but fortunately for us it was calmed.

The water is only 25 C as it flows in from the Indian ocean.

We plan to depart at 4am to get the right current forward the sea to the north and look for a nice comfortable anchorage.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Entered Indonesia at Port of Kupang

We anchored in Kupang harbour at sunset Sunday evening. We engaged Mr. Napa Rachman as an agent to do our formal paperwork. He got the ball rolling at 7am yesterday and brought back everything for us to sign at noon today, Tuesday. We signed, got our documents and extra copies and chatted a bit then did a round of photos.  So much easier than running around all over town to the different offices, Immigration, customs, harbour master and quarantine.

We will depart for Adonara island tomorrow. We plan to cruise along the coasts of Flores, Rinca, Komodo, Lombok and then to Bali for the next month or so.

In the photo is Napa, Umberto his skiff driver with me, Dana

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Passagmaking: Darwin to Kupang, West Timor, Indonesia

Villa G left Darwin's Cullen Bay Lock at 9am on 27 August. We are now about 200 nautical miles from Kupang where we plan to "check-in" with Indonesia Customs and Immigration. We are two nights out and it has been uneventful accept for adjusting to being back at sea after almost six months.

There has been only light wind, so we are motoring. Fortunately, we have an extra 750 liter diesel fuel bladder on the foredeck that gives us great confidence in having sufficient fuel. In fact, we should be able to motor to Singapore if necessary. The weather is very good. Not too cool, not too hot and mostly clear skies. The water is about 28.5 C.

Dolphins have visited several times and swim in our wake near the bow. One Blue Footed Booby visited for about a half hour. We have just passed a major offshore oil and gas production area and left the Australian economic exclusion zone, so Indonesian fishing boats should be popping up now and again. Tonight may be a bit busier than the first two when we only saw one other ship each night.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Stay at Pondok Wisata Sari House in Lovina Bali

We extended our stay in north Bali by a week and were lucky to find a very pleasant 5 room inn in the village of Kalibukbuk off of Jalan Damai which is the road that goes up to the site of our future home.  The inn is called Sari House and is officially known as Pondok Wisata Sari House.  Pondok being "inn" and Wisata "tourist" and Sari "beautiful".  It is all of those.  Sari House is owned and operated by a delightful Balinese woman, Ketut.

Ketut looks after her guests very well, cooking excellent vegetable omelettes for breakfast, or whatever you want.  I asked her if she likes to cook and the answer was a resounding "yes", so she offered to cook dinner for us each night.  I immediately accepted and subsequently enjoyed six delicious dinners.  Susan did not have to cook and I did not have to wash up afterwards.

Ketut and me, Dana

About 30 meters from Sari House is Buda Bakery of Lovina Beach.  Here one can obtain excellent loafs of white or whole wheat bread, croissants, naan and sweets like cheese cake and apple crisps AND superb ice cream in flavors like ginger, lemongrass and coconut.
Meals are served upstairs in an open dining room that faces Kayuputih.  We have had some excellent lunches with great sandwiches, soups, pork ribs and desserts.  The owner was previously the chef for The Damai, a five star resort and restaurant only 2 kilometers away and clearly knows his business.

Our Bungalow at Sari House

Four guest rooms at Sari House
Buda Bakery

Local Color

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Super birthday for Susan!

What a great day! Susan is celebrated her birthday at the Spice Beach Club, but first we set the first stone for our new house here at a special ceremony.

 Birthday dinner at Spice Beach Club
Live Music at Spice Beach Club
Morning coffee at Buda Bakery
Laying of the first foundation stones for Villa Cengkeh

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bali's eternal spring yields a bountiful garden

Bali's combination of being both tropical and mountainous creates areas of year around spring like conditions.  Just 20 kilometers from Lovina are old volcano craters with mild to cool conditions perfect for growing strawberries and asparagus.  The central village there is Badugul. Around Badugul we found the most beautiful red poinsettias growing along the road and in private gardens.

Fresh Strawberries and Asparagus

From Badugul down the north slope toward the coastal city of Singaraja and the area of Lovina beach are steep forested mountain sides growing coffee, mangoes, and avocados.

The mountains above our new home site a filled with clove (Cengkeh) trees.  This is the season for picking the buds from these trees as the begin to flower.  The buds begin green and are separated from the flower stem by hand and put into the sun to dry.

Other trees on the lower slopes produce bread fruit and cacao as shown in the last photo.

Drying Cloves or "Cengkeh"

Cacao Pods for Chocolate

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Staying in Lovina's Kalibukbuk

Villa Cinta of Lovina

We have been in Villa Cinta for 2 and a half weeks.  We found the small house through AirBNB.  The house is a perfect size, and as well, a good location.  Unfortunately, it has not been cleaned and maintained professionally.  That doesn't really keep us from being comfortable and feeling right at home.  In fact, where else could we have such fine neighbors as these (see below)?  There are many dogs and many roosters.  The latter are very vocal from 1am to 6am.

In addition, we have some kind of family living above the ceiling.  Our housekeeper says they are rats, but I think they are too loud when they bounce around.  Maybe cats?  I do hear some meowing from time to time.

We have a very nice housekeeper, Ibu Shinta who looks after three different houses in the Lovina area for the same owner.  I think it is safe to say that the owner, Ibu Cipta is trying to stretch her budget and that is why Ibu Shinta really does not have time to do deep cleaning.

Below is Ibu Shinta with her 15 y. o. daughter, Sonia and her 8 y. o. son Brian.  They came over on the holiday Kuningan to give blessings in the small shrine for Villa Cinta.  The last photo is a flower growing as a prolific vine on the garden wall.  It is Passionflower viniflora.  We ahve to get a cutting of this for Villa Cengkeh.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

We are back in Lovina for a month


We have rented a house for a month in the Balinese village of Kalibukbuk.  It is right in a local community with a lot of families, chicken and pigs.  Most importantly, it is only a 15 minute motorbike ride to either the plot for our new house or to the central commercial area.  The Buda Bakery is on the way up the hill to our place. More on it later.


To get around, we rented a motorbike.  Wh​ile we fit right in with thousands of Balinese folk, I don't have the same skills (yet).  When I turned into the small road up to our new plot, I hit a sandy patch as I was braking and managed to turn over.  Ouch!  One of our to become new neighbors saw the whole thing and rushed to help.  He took the motorbike on down the hill, then insisted that he should give first aid.  His name is Komang, a farmer (grows pigs and cloves) and a mechanic.  He cleaned the scrapes and put on antiseptic.  After a drink of water we proceed to the plot, but neither Susan nor I were very comfortable.  We returned home, showered and Ibu Sinta treated the wounds again.  We shall survive, but will need more time to get our motorbike skills developed.