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Fun and Games Getting from Kuala Tungkal to Batam

May 17, 2015 4 Comments

Sunday, 17th May 2015

Kuala Tungkal to Batam (Indonesia)

On arrival at Kuala Tungkal we discovered there were no car ferries to take our care to Batam our last Indonesian Island before reaching Singapore.

We immediately commenced searching for a boat/boats to take us to Batam. The Hotel owner Mr Allen negotiated on our behalf with a local cargo boat captain to take us to Batam. The initial discussions were for our car to go first as it was lighter and the boat was small. The captain came to the Hotel and measured both cars and to our surprise the Ford Ranger was approx 250mm longer than the Land Cruiser. After measurements were taken they decided to take the Land Cruiser first.

Donna was not at all happy with that decision due to her preparing herself mentally for the journey 24 hours prior to leaving first, she was not real happy about the whole deal anyway. Alan and I inspected the boats and were happy enough we would be safe.

So the next night when the tide was right (about 8pm) Alan and Lynn took their car to the old rickety timber wharf and commenced putting together timber planks for a ramp from wharf to boat. The first ramps placed were insufficient and had to be doubled up due to the weight of the car looked like breaking the ramps. The second attempt proved ok and the car did get loaded, however the front wheels did snap some decking and scared the crap out of Alan. His height only just made it under the bark hut structure covering the timber wharf with minimal damage.

So at approx. 8.30pm Donna and I bid them Bon Voyage. A trip to remember along with half a dozen crew members and 50 odd goats, I think Alan got pretty keen on one of the goats, mind you it was probably similar looking to Spiro’s goat many years back.

Donna and I were supposed to leave the next night on a similar but different boat, however this is when all the trouble began. The hotel owner (our go between) came to us at about midday and said the boat owner wanted 3 more million RP. Immediately I was pissed off and told him so. In the end we had no choice – either drive away with no GPS maps or any navigation material and look for another port that may transport our car, and that could have been days away. In the end we agreed reluctantly to the extra money and waited till the next tide which was the following day and that evening.

In bed that night fast asleep we get a knock on the door, 4 police officers wanting to speak with us. They asked me to get dressed and follow them. Down at the Hotel lounge amongst the mosquito’s and dim lighting we sat down whilst they interrogated me about why we wanted to take our car on a wooden boat and why we wanted to go to Singapore. 1 hour later after some negotiating and letter writing releasing the Indonesian police from any responsibility. They wanted to speak to Alan and Lynn as well but I had to explain they left on another boat the night before – that did not please them at all. I was waiting for them to ask for money. Towards the end of the interrogation the Hotel owner came in and assisted. After writing a second letter for Alan and Lynn the Police left.

Next morning (the day we were supposed to leave) the Hotel owner came to us saying the police wanted 1 million RP. Again we were not in a position to argue and agreed to pay their bribe.

Kuala Tungal to Batham

Here we go!

Night came and the boat captain called the hotel owner and we got organised to meet at the old timber wharf to commence preparing the car for loading as did Alan and Lynn 2 nights prior. We did have some issues getting the car onto the boat because of the height of the car with the roof top camper. Had to let one tyre down quiet a bit and had one local bloke standing on the roof of the camper and lifting a collar tie on the roof of the shack to squeeze the car under the structure.

Eventually the car was loaded and tied down. Two police officers were on the boat for the duration of the loading and it was at this time I expected we would have to fork out the 1,000,00 RP – however they never asked and we left without having to pay them.

We left the wharf at about 10.30pm and commenced the journey to Batam. We were knackered and just wanted to sleep. We had taken travel calm tablets to help with sea sickness, these made us both pretty drowsy and we lay on the deck of the boat, no blankets pillows or anything. We slept pretty well considering… started in the wheel house next to the captain with his f#$@!%^^&*ing loud music (Indonesian Rock & Roll) got sick of that after a while, then moved to the rear of the boat next to the open air shitter (just a hole cut in the floor of the boat) on decking boards etc. and got a bit more sleep. At one stage Donna had to do a number 2 with a crew member standing 2 metres from her. She’s turned into a pretty brave girl and I think now would attempt pretty much anything.

As the sun rose we made a cup of coffee and had some breakfast cereal and noodles. We arrived in Batam at about 2pm that day. Alan and Lynn met us at the wharf. Had to wait 2.5 hours for the tide to rise to be able to drive the car off the boat. We then followed Alan and Lynn to our accommodation. I must say bloody great hotel 5 star for these parts!

Tomorrow 18th May – we go off to try and confirm our passage off this island.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Andrew Winter says:

    Hey Barry I don’t know what you are complaining about. Did you ever think they turned up the music so they wouldn’t have to listen to your bloody Snoring??!!

    Hey Donna; You go girl! Like Kokoda on the Sea!

    Glad you guys made it safe and sound. After reading Alan’s exploits I have been checking the blog every day to make sure you got in safe.


  2. David Pipes says:

    Holy crap !!!!! literally… go Donna.
    Wow what a time you had waiting for ferry.
    Safe trip David

  3. ray abbott says:

    Hi you guys, your trip is a good read, look forward to the continuing story, the adventures of Al and Bazza and their daring ladies. Best wishes for a happy and safe journey. Cheers Ray Abbott. PS you’re not missing anything in PMQ.

  4. Glen & Jenny says:

    What a nightmare! Glad all was good in the end. Glen & I in Aus at present. Lok forward to reading your stories. Take care.

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