We arrived at Belitung after a three day sail from Kumai. It was not a great sail, the anchorage we stopped in was very rolly and we dragged along with two other boats in the night which gave us a bad nights sleep which is dangerous in itself. We travelled with 5 other boats and all arrived in Belitung late afternoon just in time to have a few beers at the beach bar. The next day Tehani Li, Tereva and us hired a car and went off exploring. What we found was a gorgeous island, the cleanest we have seen so far in Indonesia and a joy to travel around because there were so few cars – we went and sorted out our phones, looked for some obscure items in overcrowded but brilliant hardware shops and visited the traditional markets to stock up on our veggies.
We had coffee and lunch in a very trendy coffee shop where we were photographed by everyone! That night we celebrated Phil’s (Tehani Li) birthday with all our cruising pals who we had caught up with here in Belitung at a beach bar watching the sunset – another great day….
The next day we all climbed on a bus and were taken on a tour of Belitung. This involved a visit to an old tin mine, a couple of Chinese temples and ended up at an amazing coffee shop. Everywhere we have gone in Indonesia, the local community has gone to such an effort to entertain us, show us the best of their region – they are so generous and kind and we have felt very humbled by their hospitality. I hope visitors to Australia feel as welcomed as we have here.
“I miss girl’s time”. This was said over and over again by the girls on the rally, so Jan from Jenni D organised a Girl’s Day Only. Indian Summer was chosen as the venue as it has a large cockpit and so the next day all the guys dropped their girls off laden with nail varnish, massage oil, and of course the most important ingredient – Champagne. We had a brilliant day – we put on face packs, painted our toes and fingers, had massages, girls music and a great array of platters and lots and lots of champagne. We did NOT talk about engines, sails, charts etc … and all agreed it was a real tonic for us. Much as we love our sailing lives, we all agreed that girls just gotta be girls sometimes!!
The next day we all got together and hired a local boat and went over to the lighthouse to see the view of the Island and go snorkelling. We were not disappointed – the view was spectacular. Belitung is not yet on the tourist trail but they are working really hard to encourage tourists here. They do have everything – cleanliness, beauty, very unspoilt and uncrowded. I thought it was very similar to the Seychelles.
On the last day they held a Gala Dinner in honour of our visit. We thought this would just be a dinner with a few speeches but how wrong we were. It was a really special evening. All the dignitaries turned up in their finest outfits. There was more traditional dancing, a really good band, and they even played western music so we all ended up on the dance floor. I was asked to give the speech from the rally which was a bit nerve wracking – but went OK. Pepe (Beez Neez) did an interview for the local radio and everyone had a blast – and being muslim without a drop of alcohol…
We even got ourselves onto the front page of the newspaper….
Did I mention that Belitung is full of colour – everything is painted or decorated and on our way home from the Gala Dinner we found the icing on the cake for decoration. A fully decorated Toilet! Belitung – you are wonderful and we had the best time here. Off to new horizons now….