Thursday, 7 July 2016

5th - 8th July - Pulau Biak - trials and tribulations with internet - government offices all TUTUP (i.e. shut...)

5th – 8th July 2016

This big cloud gathers every evening at sunset, to impress us
We had to rush to get into Biak before dark; before it was too late to see the fish attractors, the little boats, the reefs…

I stood for two hours on the bow, gazing (a bit anxiously) into the darkening sea, looking for fish attractors, the little boats, the reefs…we were nearly in the harbour when I saw five big grey rocks rising swiftly towards us!!!  AAGGHH!!  I nearly leapt over the bow into the sea… but no it wasn’t big rocks, it was big dolphins, playing happily under the boat!

Not dolphins but lovely playful boys!!
Welcome to Biak thank you very much!! 

When we were at Pulau Agusta, we discovered, to our delight, that dolphins are known locally as loomba-loomba.  Great name, very descriptive!

Fishing boats, so pretty
This morning Pete had a visit from a most devoted fisherman from the little boat next to us.  I stayed inside out of the way and let Pete chat…he is good at that, although there was not much vocab understood between the two of them.  I emerged at the end and took a photo of Adam and Captain P, and printed it out for him.  He was so happy he gave Pete a great big kiss…

At midday we moved around the corner and anchored in amongst the bigger fishing boats, hoping to get out of the big waves.  We are in a beautiful sheltered position, near a lovely little beach where many family groups are celebrating their holiday.

We took the dinghy in to the beach and immediately a team of sturdy lads came to help lift it out of reach of the tide.

We walked up to the road and found ojeks (motorbikes.)  Actually that is not true…we found ONE motorbike.  Pete said cheerily that I should go and that we could meet at the market.  OK…a lovely breezy trip along the coast road.  I admired the lush greenery and decided that Biak is a very nice island. 

Betel nut stall
The market mainly sold betel nut, but I trotted around and found potatoes, chillies, shallots.  And then I sent to sit on an empty table on the footpath to wait for Pete, on Ojek #2.  Except Ojek #2 never turned up. 

An old codger came along to ask if I spoke Dutch.  He was deeply suspicious when I said no and came back a few more times to make sure.  Nobody spoke English at all, except to say, “Hello Mister, where you from?”  I didn’t have the heart to begin a conversation in Bahasa querying where Pete might be…But I did gather a small and devoted following of old ladies, who did a turn around the market and then came to stand solidly behind me, murmuring to themselves. 

They look very fearsome in the photos; they were very keen to be photographed but clearly did NOT want their red betel-nut stained gums and rotten teeth to be seen…

In the meantime…Pete was at the OTHER market, on the waterfront, worrying about where I might have got to on Ojek #1.  He did manage to find someone who spoke English, a handsome young man called Christian, holidaying on Biak.  He and his girlfriend wanted to go to the police…but when they told Pete that yes there was another market, he chanced it and rode up on Ojek #3.

By then a young bloke had joined the oldchicks.  They were obviously puzzled – WHAT was this woman doing, sitting for hours on end on the table, anxiously looking up and down the road??  He suddenly looked down at my feet, and said, “Have you been at the beach?” (or words to that effect in a mixture of languages…)  He had obviously found a clue as to my origins – I had come from the sea, like a mermaid!

A bit of sand on my feet made them all very interested 
When Pete arrived, beaming from the pillion seat behind Christian, there was an exclamation of joy from the crowd.  Aha!  That was what she was waiting for!!

Two more ojeks rolled up, ready to take us back to our little beach and our awaiting dinghy.  Yet more people, beaming happily, were there ready to help lift the dinghy into the sea.

This is a very nice island!

But Idl Fitri has played havoc with our plans to spend our two days of enforced waiting for the offices to open…they closed down the whole local internetwork!!

Friday 8th July 2016

All of the government offices are TUTUP – shut up, like giant clams…We have to wait till Monday to get clearance out of Indonesia…

1 comment:

  1. Such a funny story, though I'm sure it wasn't all funny at the time