So Long, Sorong

We return from our sea-trial to Batanta Island with mostly good news. There’s no more slipping from the clutches which is terrific, but the starboard gearbox is alarmingly noisy under load. We think Rieman may have made the washer tolerance too tight, so we’ll need to get it re-machined at some point. In the meantime we’ll just put our headphones on with the music turned up loud…

Our scheduled haul-out doesn’t happen due to some delays. We’re not too concerned as we now have working, non-leaking gearboxes, and the old prop is doing fine. We’ve re-scheduled our haul-out for mid-December so all that’s left to do is get our visa extension, re-provision and get out of here.

Our initial social visa allows us 60 days. Thereafter you can re-new every month up to six months in total. If you want to stay longer than six months you have to leave the country and return with a new visa and start the process all over again. The boat can stay for three years, so I guess technically you could keep doing this for three years.  The bureaucracy in Indonesia is legendary for all the wrong reasons – it’s cumbersome, confusing and time-consuming but it’s what we have to work with so we just smile and suck it up.  

In fact, our renewal process would have been relatively straightforward if the bemo driver hadn’t dropped us off in the wrong place. We spend half an hour or so wandering around trying to find the immigration office only to discover it’s about 2 kms further down the road.  We hail another bemo, this one drops us outside the door and we enter the blessed air-conditioned office where we’re greeted by two very friendly immigration officers who also speak good English. I’ve spent the previous afternoon gathering all the needed paperwork together but then realise in horror that I’ve left our sponsor letters on the boat. D’Oh! Ayu, Wick’s office manager, has agreed to act as our sponsor so luckily it isn’t a problem – the immigration officers know her well, so a quick phone call resolves it all. Then it’s just a question of getting photos and fingerprints done, and walking to the local bank to pay the fee of 500,000 rupiah (about Aus $50) per person. Our passports will be ready to collect in 3 days, but we don’t have to wait for this as Ayu will send us photos of our new visa page and then hang onto the passports for us.

So now we’re free and clear until mid-December and it’s time to say so long to Sorong and get out exploring in Raja Ampat. Woohoo!  We even have some wind and a sailing angle, what a bonus! 

Haven’t seen these white flappy things up for a while

We’re heading for iconic Wayag Island, about 100NM north and a short hop across the equator.  We’re going to break the journey up into several legs. Our first leg takes us back to Besir bay on the south side of Gam Island – we were here before with ‘Jams’ and “Sarabande’ and it’s nice to come into a familiar anchorage, particularly one that has internet too! 

Homestay on the way to Besir bay
Impressive new church being built

After this, we’ll be out of internet range for a few weeks, but we hope to return with lots of stunning footage from Wayag and surrounding islands.  For now, here’s last night’s gorgeous sunset at Besir bay. Life is good.

2 Replies to “So Long, Sorong”

  1. Hi Guys, boy its nice to know you are safe n sound. I feel that you have well and truly had a few gremlins around you and carnt remember you having other problems on the other boat and wondered if you need your Sailors Paraphase on board” Toucan”. Just in case you do here it is again, hopefully it will keep the Gremlins away.
    The Lord is my pilot, I shall not drift
    He lights my way across the dark waters
    He steers me in the deep channels
    He keeps my log.
    He guides me all the way for his names sake.
    Yes, though I sail ‘mid the thunders and tempest of life,
    I shall dread no danger, for you are with me;
    Your love and your care, they shelter me.
    You prepare a harbour for me in the homeland of eternity.
    You anoint the waves with oil
    My boat rides calmly.
    Surely sunset and good winds shall favour me on the voyage I take,
    And I will rest in the port of God forever.

    Hope this keeps you safe, much love Maz and Chris xx

    1. Hi Maz,
      What a lovely thought and so apt! Unfortunately we couldn’t remove it from “Illusion” without destroying the woodwork so that’s obviously been the problem all along! And now that you’ve re-sent it I’m hoping that will be the end of the gremlins, bless you! xoxo

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