Once a sailor, always a sailor 

We had played host to several boat loads of young children who had rowed over from the local stilt village to look at our boat and say “hello” but after a while we had to shoo them away as we had a visit of our own to make. 

Our small visitors taking their leave

Having met up the previous day with our friend and fellow yachtie (singled hander and skipper of S/V Thalassi from the 2015 Sail2Indonesia Rally) and his lovely Indonesian wife, we were looking forward to also meeting his Father-in-law and Mother-in-law who had graciously invited the Yantaras and us to lunch. 

Lunch party Indonesian style

Etiquette is very different in South East Asia compared to what we are used to and while we were aware of some of the conventions we hoped there wouldn’t be unexpected ones that we hadn’t come across before. The last thing we wanted was to offend our kind hosts. 

What a delicious spread

We needn’t have worried – all was fine and we had a lovely meal of free range “village” chicken, parcels of coconut rice cooked in bamboo, a delicious cucumber salad and various other delicious dishes. 

The family plus visitors

Although we sat on the floor we were saved from making a messy attempt of eating with our hands as we were thoughtfully given spoons to eat with. 

After lunch we sat on cushions leaning against a wall while chatting away. Although our host and hostess spoke only a little English their two daughters and son had excellent language skills and saved us having to dredge up our few words of Indonesian Bahasa to use in conversation. 

There was great excitement in the family as their second daughter was about to become engaged. We were interested to learn that in strict Muslim families the betrothed couple are not allowed to touch each other in any way before they get married – even to the extent that the engagement ring is given to the mother to put on her daughter’s finger. 

Second daughter and Mum with the Yantaras

When it was time for the men to visit the mosque for early afternoon prayers we took our leave after a very pleasant and interesting lunch. 
We hadn’t been back on Bal Hai very long when another group of young children rowed up on their sampan. 

Some of our visitors were tiny but so adept at getting in and out of their sampans
I wouldn’t mind taking on this cheeky lot as cabin boys!
Thereafter we had a stream of sampans coming and going eventually we had to call it a day as we were expecting “official” guests- our friend’s brother and sister-in-law who we had invited on board earlier in the day. 

Mass exodus as our “official” guests approach
Captain Thalassi’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law
The following day we were picked up early from our yachts by a “pong pong” a motorised sampan which took us to Pulau Singkep where we were going to meet our friends and also take Yantara’s malfunctioning anchor winch to the excellent mechanic that had fixed S/V Thalassi’s recalcitrant but romance inducing engine. 

Enjoying the ride
I can truthfully say I have never been in any mode of transport that was as loud as this one. Even yelling on top of my voice I couldn’t hear myself shouting! It was just incredible. 

This is what a pong pong looks like
However it is a great way to travel and the trip over the water went too quickly. 

This was fun if completely deafening!
A short taxi ride and we arrived at our friends’ cosy beachside cottage with a view. 

The “al fresco” dining room at our friends’ place

We had a delightful day – one of the highlights was to see the sampan our friend was converting to a sail boat – once a sailor, always a sailor!

Boat talk!
And a demonstration of what to do when there is no wind
The happy couple
After a delicious lunch we all piled in our taxi (which we had hired for the day) and our friends showed us around their island home. 
What a gorgeous spot to live
Visiting the hot springs
They were really hot!
As the sun was beginning to dip we were taken back to our yachts by sampan – the perfect end to a great day. 
The stilt village near our anchorage

Passing Penuba

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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.

2 thoughts on “Once a sailor, always a sailor ”

  1. Again, Dot, great photos and memories shared of a great reunion here on our islands. I always love reading your stories, especially now that we are part of it. Great travels,
    Emma & Werner (ex SV Thalassi).


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