November 3, 2005
Swamps, Selats and Storms - update from Phil
LOCATION: Berhala Island
NAUTICAL MILES TODAY: 0
NAUTICAL MILES YESTERDAY:18
NAUTICAL MILES TOTAL TRIP:
After a quite horrible night camping in the swamp, we headed out to take on Selat Berhala. We were up early to make use of the tide. Packing was assisted by inquisitive sea snakes.
We paddled out about a mile or so and waited at a fishing platform for the tide, taking photos and resting.
I'll admit to being quite nervous about taking to sea, as will Kenny I think, but, well, what else were we going to do?
All in all the crossing was uneventful, no attack sharks or whales looking to use the kayak for a back scratcher and no rogue waves ala The Perfect Storm. Just a few hard yards of paddling and we arrived at Berhala Island. We put in at a beautiful beach for a swim and a cup of tea. Fantastic tropical water; warm and clear. At one stage Kenny popped over the ridge to see the other side and surprised the locals, who were quite confused when Kenny told them we had come from Jambi. The kayaks being beached around the corner, they could see no boat and Kenny was chuffed to leave them guessing.
We paddled off to find a camp site and found ourselves an absolutely, picture from the brochure, fantasy island. A small atoll with two matching coves. Stoked with our good fortune we voted for a day off and set about wasting the rest of the day swimming and sleeping. After a fine meal washed down with mugs of berroca spiked with Jim Beam, we put up our respective shelters in a haphazard manner, Kenny electing for the hammock.
The Monsoon hit about 3am, with gale force winds, storm surging sea and driving rain.
Kennys tent promptly collapsed and he sought shelter in Jason's which lacked a rain fly at the time. I myself was stretched out, a limb in each corner of my tent desperately trying to hold it down, hoping the waves that were washing under my tent would get no higher. I stepped out at one stage to review my options, huddling naked on the leeside of the tent I watched helplessly as Jason and Kenny struggled to get Jason's tent back onto the ground and cover it with a fly sheet. Kenny eventually got inside and pinned one end of the rain cover under him while poor Jason spent a few hours kneeling outside exposed to the elements, holding onto the other end. As the storm abated Kenny joined me at my tent, huddling under the rain fly and we sipped some Jim Beam and smoked a couple of ciggies, watching the light come up over the horizon. We had gone to bed worried about the monkeys stealing our food, not giving much thought at all to the fact that we were:
On an atoll
In the tropics
During Monsoon season
Camped on the windward side of the island.
I got up about 8 or 9, looking for a cuppa. Walking along the shore I spotted smoke and found Kenny huddled under a tarp, trying to get a fire started. Between the two of us we got a good fire going and made hot tea for the crew. I wokeup Jason who, while exhausted from the nights activities, was rejuvenated quickly by the powers of a cuppa.
Today was spent either sleeping, exploring, making better camp, eating and swimming. Jason made some repairs to the double kayak which had taken a hit from driftwood during the storm. Kenny took some anti-histamines for his bug bites and promptly fell asleep for a couple of hours.
The monkeys made several attempts at contact with us but, finding our poor language skills frustrating they gave up and instead sat in the trees screaming at us to get of their turf (or some thing like that).
All in all it was a great day off. I for one finally felt that the swamp has been washed away from both equipment and soul.
Were off to the next island tomorrow, crossing a 9 mile selat.
Cheers all. And Angel, I got you a special present buddy.
Posted on November 3, 2005 2:33 PM
Enjoying your journal although didn't fancy sound of sea snakes. Don't scratch too much, Kenny!Annette.
Posted by: Annette Brown at November 3, 2005 10:24 PM