What do yachties do when they are having a break from sailing? They hire a traditional style tourist boat, they buy model boats and they investigate how local boats are made of course!!
We decided to stay on in Belitung and just kick back for a few days. It was a very relaxing and quite novel experience not having to be anywhere at any particular time.
We were keen to see the Dutch built lighthouse on Lengkuas Island which was not far from our anchorage but a bit too long a dinghy ride for our 6.0 horsepower two-stroke so we decided to be real tourists and hire a local boat with the Yantaras to take us.
It was actually very pleasant not having to worry about depths or whether we were going to hit a coral reef or not. We could just sit back and enjoy the ride.
We were very happy to discover that the 50 metre high lighthouse which was built in 1882, was open to the public but then discovered that you can only climb as far as the second floor. We were a little disappointed but enjoyed the fabulous views anyway.
After a short walk around the white sand beach and rocky outcrops that surround the sparkling white lighthouse, our boat took us to the lovely coral gardens fringing the island for a snorkel.
The coral was good but not amazing but we saw lots of very colourful fish.
A couple of days later we were driving back from Tanjung Pandan, the main town on Belitung, and found a roadside stall that our friends on Yantara had spotted weeks before.
Every time we drove into or back from town we had looked for this mythical stall. At last we had found it and having found it, of course just had to go and have a good look at the carved wooden boats and meet the man who had crafted them. It turned out he was a relation of Pak Anjung (Papa Ringgo to us – Ringgo was our “go to” person to get things done in Belitung) so we were invited into his house and shown around.
The skippers of Bali Hai and Yantara of course ended up buying a boat each (and why not?!).
Back at the beach at Tanjung Kelayang we went to check on the progress of the beautiful boat that Ringgo and his family were having built. It is a real wonder that such an elegant vessel can be built by one man with minimal tools and without drawings or plans.
Seemingly all our activities during our little break were to do with boats but as Kenneth Grahame wrote in the Wind in the Willows:
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”