Visa renewal, a chance meeting, private paradise and a posh dinner

This was to be our last day in Belitung before we set off for the the Kumai River – a two night/ two and a half days sail away. 

Such a wonderful view from the anchorage
Our main objective was to get our cultural/social visas extended. These visas can be renewed several times to allow you to stay in Indonesia for six or seven months. We went to the Immigration office first thing and started off in an entrance lobby in the building that fronted the road where we waited for a while until eventually someone came along and directed us to a building in the back. 

Form filling at the Immigration Office
As we stepped into the air conditioned cool of the Immigration Office we realised this could be a long process – the place was crowded with people, some local people I think were applying for passports, others possibly for work visas. We were given some forms to fill out (which required information about our sponsor and a copy of our original sponsor letter) and then were told to go next door to the stationery shop and buy each of us a red folder.  

The two skippers duly went off but returned with yellow folders instead of red! Horror of horrors the stationery shop had run out of red folders so Capt’n Birdseye with his designer cap on, decided to buy yellow ones as this was the closest on the colour spectrum to red. 

Clearly yellow ones would not suffice as yellow folders were being used for the Indonesians applying for passports. Only red would do so Captain Yantara was sent back to the stationers to make sure there were no red ones. They had definitely run out but undaunted Captain Yantara came back with blue folders. Grudgingly these were accepted. 

Oh no! Yellow folders were right out!
We then had our finger prints and photos taken and paid the fee and thought that was it but apparently there were checks that had to be made before the visa was renewed and we were told the passports would be ready for picking up the next day. 
We hadn’t realised that the process would take so long – after all, it was only a visa extension and all the relevant checks must have been made when we made the original visa application. We explained that we had planned to leave the following day to go to Kumai and a day’s delay would have meant we wouldn’t be there on time to meet our friends and be there for the start of our tour up the river. 

We were extremely grateful to the kind Immigration official who said he would do his best to get them processed by the end of the day.  

A chance meeting resulted in a great time spent with this character
In the meantime we had some lunch at our favourite restaurant in Tanjang Padang – Unique Bistro – and bought some final provisions for our trip at the market and enjoyed a very good coffee with a man we had got chatting to in the market. He had excellent English – all self taught by listening to Radio Australia and the BBC World Service. 

He showed us where to buy great coffee too!

Just before 4pm we were back at the Immigration Office and after only a short wait our passports were handed back to us. We were very grateful to the Immigration officer who had rushed them through and who had stayed back after the office had closed to do the final checks and stamp the passports. 

Such a cute kitty in the market
It was to be Hannah’s last night in Belitung so we went for an explore of another of the little islets near to where we were anchored. 

We had to weave through rocks to get get to our little island.

There was not another soul in this gorgeous spot and it felt like our own private paradise. We found a well built summer house perched on top of a rock which was a great place to sit a while and take in the wonderful view. Our daughter also found a tree suitable to climb – which of course she had to do. 
It was a great way to spend her last afternoon in this undiscovered and idyllic spot. 

An idyllic spot
There was even a tree house!

And a tree to climb

Earlier in the day we had walked along a path at the back of Ringgo’s warung in Kelayang Beach and Around the small headland had discovered a brand new restaurant – we were literally amongst their first dinner guests – called Crabby Hut. 

Crabby Hut – very posh compared with all of he other warungs

Unusually for this part of the world the buildings were designed to please the most discerning tourist – an open-sided bar, thatched roof surrounded by palm trees, white sand and trimmed gardens. 

View from our the Crabby Hut
The Crabby Hut bar

 When night fell we landed on the beach in our dinghies and were in for a wonderful surprise. 

This is not a sight you see often in Indonesia

There on the white sand was a beautifully laid candle-lit table complete with white tablecloth, sparkling silverware, long stem wine glasses and everything just so, 
A beautifully presented meal in such a wonderful location was an amazing way for our daughter to spend her last night in Belitung. 

Watching the sun go down with a glass of wine (BYO)

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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.

4 thoughts on “Visa renewal, a chance meeting, private paradise and a posh dinner”

  1. I loved this blog and the photo of the table laid so beautifully looking out to sea was breathtaking. What a lasting memory for Hannah .


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