Strange Farewell

The last stop in Indonesia was a favorite of last year, Karimjawa. We did an easy reef dive to get July used to diving with me and then headed for a wreck we did last year. I pulled up to the wreck and the current was low, seas calm and all looked good. We tied to the mooring, not know what lies beneath and always jumpy about leaving the boat unattended, I added another line that I took to the bottom as back up.

We did the wreck dive and July started on her fast growing list of firsts in the diving world. From there we went nonstop the border, anchoring a few late nights and early morning departures. The last one was a peaceful anchorage about forty miles from the famed Singapore shipping lanes. We were in the greatest cultural shift on the planet; from remote and primitive Indonesia to the ultra-modern fast paced Singapore. It seems like different planets but only half a day away by slow boat.

Dozens of AIS targets started appearing on the screen as I planned my mad dash across the east bound shipping lanes. As I was about to make the dash, July popped up very excited and speaking half Spanish and half English as she pointed to the rear of the boat. A rusty albeit well-armed Indonesian war ship was headed to our bow and slowing down. They pulled across our path obviously intending to stop us so stop I did. We received instructions to pull alongside and they started throwing old tires out at fenders, did not look good!

I stepped outside the pilot house and told the officer I did not think this was safe. By this time a tug and tow had to change course to miss us and a monster freighter was bearing down fast. After some discussion on deck a fellow in civilian clothes came out, paper in hand pointing at a hand held VHF and yelling 77. I tuned to 77 and the guy started reading questions, who are you? Where did you come from? What are you doing? Easy and really not what I expected, no interest in the formal documents I was fumbling to produce. The he asked me if I was happy? Ya, happy? Did I have any troubles in Indonesia? Did I enjoy my time there? I gave all positive answers as I laughed hilariously, this was a tourist survey. We were stopped by an armed war ship in the middle of the busiest shipping lanes in the world to see if I was happy! Only in Indonesia.