We've had a great time here at Manggar on Belitung Island for our second day.
Last night we went ashore an hour earlier than required in order to have daylight for the dinghy trip in. That gave us time to walk around the area. The local houses are interesting, with the newer ones being quite impressive and featuring extensive use of tiles - not only on floors but also outside walls. They like bright colours here!
After the walk we returned to the meeting point and chatted with the local organisers. They have big plans to develop a marina here, but don't yet have funding. Various cruisers gave their opinions about such a prospect. I think the main point is that Manggar's location at a river mouth is very advantageous. Step 1 is to dredge the bar so yachts can get in safely. Just having a calm anchorage where boats can be safely left while crews tour ashore will attract yachts. Then a marina could be gradually built if sufficient yachts use the port.
With all the cruisers (about 20 people) gathered we were bussed to the venue for dinner, traditional dancing and finally modern singing/dancing. The event was free and included free beer! The traditional dancing was interesting with the girls wearing aprons as part of their colourful outfits, and colourful striped socks too. The band featured traditional instruments but also an accordion and violin. We guess these are the result of Dutch influence during colonial times. All very colourful, and we were required to join the traditional dancing after the demonstration.
This morning we brought aboard our water supplies and retrieved our diesel jerry cans. It proved impossible for the organisers to provide free fuel on a Sunday. Given we have enough fuel aboard to get us to the Singapore area we decided not to delay our departure to load extra fuel.
This afternoon we went ashore again to chase our port clearance papers. We couldn't depart Manggar without having the proper stamped forms. While waiting for the papers the organisers arranged a short tour for us. Two tour guides took us around on the back of their motorbikes. We visited the area of town where a complete new compound is being built for their official Sail Indonesia events later this month. They are building a nice cafe strip adjacent to the beach where their traditional boats are kept. I really hope some boats are still passing through when the official events are held.
The tour then took us to Samak Hill which overlooks the sea on the site of old Dutch buildings. The site has a big restaurant and we had some great coffee there. The guides took plenty of photos at each stop on the tour. Here's one...
On returning to Zen Again we found Dan and Elise on Babar had arrived in the anchorage. We spent an hour with them, catching up on news and briefing them on Manggar. After returning to Zen Again from Babar we saw The Doctor heading in to the anchorage and talked to Rob and Diana on the radio. Good to catch up with our Tipperary Waters Marina friends again.