Sailing Story - Macassar City

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    Tiger Islands to Matasiri Island

First large whale and a few dolphins
    This was our longest journey on our own so far and we were exhausted. In the day we saw our first large whale and a few dolphins which had been very scarce throughout Indonesia.

    We were passed by a huge ferry which then dropped all its load of used polystyrene containers from lunch into the sea!

We cut through some shallows to reduce our miles but then had to hove-to until daylight as the next section was dodgy. At dawn we followed a large trader and made it through just before the seas picked up.

We then had a great sail north into Macassar. Most of the way there were hundreds of little flags being possibly fish traps, it is hard to tell!
    A long journey and glad to arrive at what looked like a bustling metropolis. We anchored just out the front of The Macassar Golden Hotel on the main drag of the waterfront with buildings of all shapes, sizes and colours!

    The water in the harbour was dirty but we enjoyed watching the busy coming and goings of the locals on bikes and bimos all night long! The next day a boat taxi arrived with a man called Ali who became our escort for the next week.

    The first thing was to visit the officials as our cruising permit and visas were nearly out of time, that took all day but they were reasonable except for one of them trying to offer us diesel at double the going rate! The Immigration Head was great and gave us a further 30 day visa and then we were without a cruising permit as we only were given 60 days in Darwin.

    From then on, Mike avoided the question of a CAIT (cruising permit) and concentrated on the port clearance and visa instead and we managed to avoid any dramas further on. We ate at local eateries and enjoyed the famous Macassar buffalo soup but the cumi-cumi (squid) was too tough! We found cold beer and met a lot of locals so it was fun.

    We had a few rides on the pushbike taxis, one young man thought he would rip us off but he got lost so well and truly earned his money! Another ride was with an older man who enjoyed very much sharing our newly purchased grapes as we cycled along.

Mike was interrogated by the police for an hour because he was getting us some diesel and as the price of diesel was to double in Indonesia in the next week or so they were suspecting everyone of storing up for the black market. The worst of it Mike said was the policewomen who rummaged through his shopping bag and demanded his tea!

We took a journey to the famous orchid garden but only two or three were in flower and her shell collection was somewhat dated.

    Ali suggested we leave our dinghy by the local restaurant but the first day we were up to our knees in filthy water and rubbish so we spotted the marine police jetty and used that for the rest of the time. They were a friendly lot.

    On leaving Macassar we headed west through the shallows in Macassar Straight choosing Lanyukang Island on the edge to anchor for the night. The water was clear with lots of coral and on further investigation and permission from an elder we decided to sneak Whimoway over the reef (with one foot to spare) and careen when the tide ran out.

    We were helped by two young men and were visited all day by locals who were totally amused at us being there!

    On leaving we decided to hang on our stern anchor once we turned and then wait for enough water but the strong tide had other ideas and so we held her in reverse for as long as we could then thankfully we just snuck back over again. We anchored then just out from the reef and rolled all night.

    The next leg was across to Matasiri Island in the Laurot Group just southeast of Borneo. We did not explore the village but had the usual visitors including a great bunch of kids who gave us coconuts and fresh fish for the last of our English books.

    Lovely people again and very pretty islands.

    On to the Kumai River, Kalimantan and the Orang-utans!

Map Of Matasiri and Tiger Islands - Indonesia