Since we get only 3 months to travel through all of Indonesia and we would need every bit of that, we moved pretty quickly through the islands so we could get to Kumai to go on the jungle river trip. Most of these islands in the west of Indonesia have small villages, fishing being the major source of income here. Going at night was not a great idea as there were a lot of these small fishing huts out on the water, not to mention the bane of sailboats, fishing nets.
Along the way we crossed the equator, a first for me. Jim wanted to do it the "Navy" way which would involve pain, mess and humiliation. I decided we would offer Neptune a glass of wine, a bit more civilized and kinder to my old bones.
We had a great trip all the way to Kumai, stopping for a couple of nights in the Karamata Island group which was beautiful. We took a day to snorkel, explore and watch our fishermen neighbors tackle their boat chores.
That's a sea cucumber. These get harvested for the Chinese palates. I love the clam "mouths" as they are all brightly colored and look like a spray of pansies. When you touch them, they protract, "clam up".
Cruiser Notes: Anchored at these three islands for a night's sleep only, Lobam Island 00 58.4N, 104 14.1E; Mesanak island, 00 24.9N, 104 30.4E; Kentar Island 00 04.0N, 104 45.2E; Karamata Group, P. Begunung 01 35.5S, 108 46.3E and P Serutu 01 45.2S and 108 46.3E. We are using the 101 Anchorages in Indonesia Guide, however, the author wrote that for a westerly cruise from Australia during the SE monsoon and we are doing an easterly cruise in the NE monsoon so many of his anchorages are exposed for us. We've had to figure out places to anchor on our own pretty much.
We reached Kumai in the morning and had a favorable flooding tide to go up the river on. Its very shallow in places but not that hard to do. Coming into to the town of Kumai we could hear the loud chirping of swallows. We also noticed these large buildings which were windowless (except for some faux windows on the water side) unpainted, and ugly looming over the cluster of shops and homes along the river. We later found out these buildings were fake caves for the swallows built by Chinese in order to collect the birds nests they are so fond of. Big money in this, too. The loud chirping comes from tape recorders to entice the swallows to come nest in the buildings. And don't get the idea this provides any kind of economy for the locals. We were told very little goes to them, a bit more for the local who provides his land for the site of another one of these ugly buildings, the rest into the pockets of the Chinese.
Now to get ready for our trip up the river.