We anchored in the busy port of Tarakan amongst the shipping fleet and I ventured ashore to find the agent and procure needed telecommunications and local currency. I pulled the little dinghy up to a huge pier that had a weathered “welcome” sign on it. Ah back in Indonesia for sure, a large crowd of guys just hanging out all raced to my aid and helped find a place for the dinghy. On the pier I was warmly greeted and offered a scooter ride which took me to a cab stand, the scooter guy then jumped in a late model van and became my driver. With limited shared language we found the ATM, where I got five million rp, (about 500bucks) and a local sim card for the phone and internet. Unlimited 30 high speed(ok not so high speed) internet for $7.50usd. As things turned out the driver knew the friend of the agent, Mr. Wawan and he came to the internet café to meet us and then came two ladies from the tourism council.
Checked in,Indonesian flag once again flying from Furthur and the promise of new places and great diving we set out on the 3 day passage to Manado. We pulled out of the harbor dodging fish net sand some traffic and as the sun set we left the sight of land.
A one knot adverse current held us down to six knots as we enjoyed calm seas and a spectacular star lit night. On my midnight to three watch the half-moon rose illuminating the seas. I sat on the bridge, playing the guitar under the moonlight and reveling in the pure joy of being at sea in perfect conditions. This was the first long passage in a while, I had forgotten how splendid a calm and moon lit night can be. It was also the first passage, actually first boating a tall for the newest crew, Sion, a spunky Aussie gal we picked up in Tawau.
This was tobe a three day passage, great weather forecast for a power boat ride, no wind over ten knots and mostly calm. The first days passed under blue skies per day and moon lit nights. The adverse current dropped on the second day and we again chugged along at 7 knots. As we are getting very near the equator the squalls became more frequent, never having any effect other than giving Furthur’s decks a good washing. An hour of rain was always followed by warm sun.
The three day passage almost over and only a few hours to go to Manado I look back at another near perfect crossing. As with any passage it was great but we are glad to see land in the distance. Three days of nearly perfect weather and the constant hum of the engine gives a soul time to reflect. I am deeply appreciative of the small things in life, much more that I was in the “real world”. The moon rising, stars glowing, phosphorous illuminating the bow wavelike a magician’s wand, these are the things that bring joy to the soul.