A Dayak welcome to Singkawan

Due to the weather we had anchored in the wrong bay for the next stage of the Wonderful West Kalimantan Rally but organiser Raymond Lesmana was as always, totally accommodating and arranged for a bus to take us to the cove where the welcome celebrations were to be held, as well as organised security for our dinghies while we were away during rally events.

Beautiful start to the day

The Sail Wonderful West Kalimantan fleet

We travelled into the shore in our dinghies, not quite sure where we were meeting the bus. Most of us ended up in the wrong beach, mistaking the friendly waves and encouragement from local fishermen as official acknowledgment that we were in the right place.

Looking for the right bay to meet the bus

We thought that this statue was bound to be near the beach where the bus was meeting us

Soon it dawned on us that as delightful as this little cove was, with its friendly cats, Sea Eagle statue and pretty little fishing boats, we were on the wrong beach.

This beach certainly had all the ingredients….

A few minutes later we found where the modern and comfortable bus, the crew from Yantara and our guides – Iwan and Dewi – were waiting for us.

Jill from Yantara and some local children help guide us in


In the right place at last!


One of our guides Dewi meets one of the rally participants Debbie

Soon we were at Kura Kura Beach and receiving a fantastic welcome from a group of talented Dayak dancers and musicians. The music was played on gongs and drums and an intricately carved instrument that looked like a cross between a cello and a guitar, called a Sape.

Gorgeous Dayak dancing


The amazing band

There were welcome speeches from the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister and a "thank you" on behalf of the rally boats and their crews.


Lots of gongs and percussion


Dyak instrument called a Sape

More dancing followed and were then going to visit a traditional boat builder but unfortunately he had gone walk about! We did have a look at several boats however, and were able to see the interesting timber construction – all done with hand tools and seemingly measured by eye and experience.


Welcome from the Chief Minister


More fabulous dancing


The boat building was interesting

We mingled with the crowds of people who had gathered to meet us and of course, posed for lots of photos as well as taking lots of our own.


Just a little bit shy….

Before lunch was served we had the opportunity to chat to the musicians and some of us had a go on their instruments.


Mike from Yantara picks out a tune

Lunch time

In the afternoon we visited a few scenic spots around Bengkawang, including a beach where there was a funfair with no one on the rides, another very pretty beach and a boat jetty.


Fried fish for sale at a road side stall

Fishing boats at the jetty

A merry-go-round at one of the beaches

Our daughter makes a new friend

A totally unspoiled beach

After a rest on our boats we were taken out for a delicious Nasi Goreng sponsored by and provided by the local business association at Kura Kura Beach.


Dancing in the sand

We all went down to the beach when dinner was over and sat under the stars and watched more dances being performed. Then it was our turn! We joined in the dances – glad that it was dark and that the flickering flares provided a flattering light that hid our ineptitude.

There was no hiding when it was our turn to sing karaoke but hopefully our rendering of "Hey Jude" was passable if not entirely tuneful and definitely not word perfect!

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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