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Old 12-28-2009, 10:30 PM   #1
JeanneP's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,098

Louiesails asked in the Tavern,
Linda asks if you think there are (any more than anywhere else) any safety issues, and how do you like Singapore? Or, should this discussion be moved to another forum?
If you've read any number of sv Watermelon's logs, you might have realized already that we have practically never experienced any safety issues, and thus we might be the best, but also the worst, people to ask. I'll try to give you a fair evaluation.

The only problem we had was anchored off Sibu City. The river runs so fast through there that we were concerned about logs zooming down the river and dislodging our anchor. So we anchored behind a barge. We were there for at least a week, possibly longer. The morning we got up to leave to return to Singapore, we discovered that our outboard motor (only a 4 HP) had been removed from our aft rail some time in the night. It was secured to the boat with a chain and padlock, and it had been cut off. We would be traveling a long way down the rivers back to the S. China Sea to return to Singapore, so we couldn't be without an outboard.

Peter flagged down one of the fellows zooming by in his small boat, asking him to take him ashore - there is an outboard motor shop in Sibu, and he told him that he needed an outboard. The fellow was outraged that our outboard had been stolen and insisted that Peter report it to the police. Everybody on the dock knew about our loss within minutes of Peter arriving there. Of course, we were pretty certain that the Indonesian crew on the barge in front of us were the culprits since the barge had left either late the night before or very early that morning, and whoever had stolen the outboard had access to bolt cutters, something that would of necessity be on board a tug or barge.

Other than that, we were welcomed graciously everywhere we went in Borneo - did you read my log of our Borneo Adventure?

I think sometimes that we did not deserve to survive some of our more trusting experiences, but I'm thankful that our trust in our fellow man has been rewarded tenfold just about everywhere.

Kuching - you must go there. We anchored off the cement factory on the river, and nearby is the greatest seafood food court, though one must be careful when going by dinghy to tie up at the very end of the wooden dock - too close and you will be mired in the mud when you come back from dinner. The food was wonderful! One could not afford to not eat there. We had Million - a vegetable that looks like the Northeast US's Fiddlehead Ferns, a delicious wild vegetable that tastes like a combination of asparagus and green bean - see Wikipedia article Fiddlehead fern and we had bamboo clams, and sweet and sour fish (though sweet and sour anything is not my favorite way of preparing food), and shrimp, and fish, and, and, oh, it was just great. Neat city, Kuching, worth visiting.

Sibu is a busier, wealthier city, and you can take a fast ferry (friends called it a 747 without wings) up the river to a city at the top of the river - cool.

Oh, there's more. We anchored off a longhouse and were invited to visit. Wonderful.

No, no security issues, but wonderful visiting. We hired a tour guide to bring us to a distant longhouse where they still hung their ancestors' skulls in the common area. We visited the orangutan refuges (read Watermelon logs), the jungle markets. Kota Kinabalu we saw the giant Whale Shark come into the bay looking like a giant open garage door (car park entrance?) scooping up fish as it powered through the anchorage. We didn't visit enough; I think that had we not had to return to the States we could have spent years exploring Borneo.

You won't regret a cruise up and down the rivers, but do be careful since the rivers run chocolate and require a sharp eye in places.

Fair winds,

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
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