Heading For The Med!

As Jean-Pierre and Cat’Leya’s trip to Indonesia draws to a close, it’s time to head back to Thailand to prepare for their return to the Mediterranean via the Red Sea.

From Kumai, the next stage will take us to Belitung, 240 miles away, then to Batam, 300 miles further on, just opposite Singapore where the clearance to leave Indonesia will be carried out, before heading for Phuket via the Straits of Malacca, 540 miles away. The further north we head, the less wind we should have.
After two nights’ rest in Belitung, it was time to set sail again for Batam. The strategic position of this island means that it offers the possibility of visiting Singapore: the ferry takes just twenty-five minutes to reach this city of contrasts. Passing cargo ships, oil tankers and container ships that are moving at 15 knots or even at 25 knots is impressive as is just simply looking at the Marine Traffic AIS display.
In Singapore, old buildings stand side by side with wealth, which in turn stands side by side with poverty and the exploitation of workers from other, less well-off Asian countries.
We still have a long way to go to reach Thailand: first, we have to cross the Singapore Strait to take the shipping lane heading west. The AIS is proving really useful here for determining the precise distance when crossing with cargo ships, so you can choose the best possible option. Cat’Leya did, however, get honked at by a container ship, even though it was passing well in front of us. We sailed for three days, two thirds of which were spent under motor, and sometimes even with both engines, as the tidal current was so strong. One night, on two occasions, fishing boats diverted to come into contact with us: as acts of piracy regularly occur in the Straits of Malacca, I preferred to put both engines on full throttle to take to the open sea.
Once we arrived in Phuket Bay, the formalities were very well organized, and everything went very quickly. During the week, I met the technical manager of the Lagoon distributor and was invited to the next Lagoon Escapade: a good way to discover the region. And here we are, in single file and under motor for lack of wind, heading for Phang Nga Bay and its marvelous mushroom-shaped islets. Thanks to Lagoon and its distributor in Phuket.

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