Our first morning in Sambas, in West Kalimantan on the Indonesian side of the island of Borneo, we woke up to grey skies and a little rain but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the local people or the welcome we received.
From early morning onwards we had people passing by the boat in tiny ferries which were groaning with motorbikes and passengers, heading for the other side of the river. Everyone waved and yelled greetings as they went passed and the ferries came ever closer so everyone could get a better look!
Just after nine am four members of the Water Police arrived in their bright blue uniforms to check on us, look at our paperwork and have a peek at the boat.
In actual fact we had cleared immigration, customs etc at Nongsa Point Marina on Batam Island and had already received Port clearance from the Harbour Master. However, having yachts arrive in Sambas was obviously quite a novelty and everyone but everyone was curious. And of course, everyone wanted photos – including the Water Police!
The ferries kept coming and in fact seemed to make a slight diversion from their usual route just so everyone could have a sticky beak at us!
A little later, Muriman, the Harbour Master arrived at the boat – this time very smartly dressed in his official uniform.
Muriman very kindly offered to organise a car for us to go to the market in Sambas town. By the time we got there however, most of the vegetable stalls were closed but we were able to get a few fresh items to keep scurvy at bay!
We also tried to find a laundry but the only one we could find appeared to be closed.
After shopping and an early dinner with the crews of S/V Matilda and S/V Yantara, our driver was very keen to take us home to meet his family.
Again, there were many, many photos taken. Photos sitting down, photos standing up, photos in the kitchen, photos in front of the “hello kitty” cupboard, photos in the living room, photos outside the front door!
Feeling well and truly like film stars we were finally allowed to leave and get back to our boats for a much needed sleep!