Nongsa to Sebana
We pulled into Nongsa not knowing what to expect. We had heard reports that it's a little open so I requested a dock that was easy to get into. Once we got into the marina we found that they'd given us the first pen on the end of the arm to slip into. Luckily the wind was virtually nonexistent as it was a tight fit with a foot on either side of Spirit.
There was a few days spent cleaning the boat up after the passage from Lombok, doing laundry and just unwinding after a week at sea. It's a nice spot but there's nothing apart from the hotel and marina in the near vicinity and to get to Batam the biggest and nearest town it's a heady taxi fee and long ride. Both of which we weren't up to.
The simplicity of being at sea is always more present once you arrive near land. The costs that you start to occurs for every little thing and the way even the most simply task becomes complex makes you want to untie the lines and head back out into the blue yonder.
One of the main reasons for our stop was to get out extendedvisas for Thailand. If we didn't we'd only be allow to enter for 30 days, with the tourist visa we were to get we can get 60 days and extend for another 30 days so a total of 90 days can be had. When you sail somewhere the last thing you want to do is have a limited stay of 30 days it's just no where near enough time to look around and depart again all in good weather.
On the third day in Nongsa we got up at 5am and headed to the ferry about ten minutes ride away from the marina. We got the ferry to Singapore and spent a night there with an old family friend. The visa application and process is very easy as long as you are prepared yourself with all the paperwork and are there on time.
The applications were made at 11am on the Tuesday and at 2pm the following day we went in and picked up our passports with the visas. The ferry back was at 6:30pm so we went and did some quick shopping beforehand getting some items we couldn't source in Indonesia and I bought some new three strand line to replace Spirits old mooring lines, which were made up from old halyards that had no give in them.
The main down point of being at Nongsa was the openness of the marina to the north. With the daily thunder storms that were around we would get quite a bit of slop coming into the marina. It was horrible for Spirit and she would buck around at the dock like a horse trying to break free. It's an awe full experience and something that just comes with cruising on a fast and light boat. You can have everything and this is one of her down points.
We changed the lines when we got back to the boat and it made a world of difference. Just giving Spirit the elasticity of the 12mm three strand over the unforgivingness of braided line was like chalk and cheese. She was easy at the berth now but still moved around a lot it just took the jarring and pulling out of it.
The next day we spoke to the marina office and organised too depart. Our friends on Rotor had headed over to Sebana Cove Resort and had emailed about how great it was. It was less than half the price of Nongsa and it had better facilities and offered a lot more. It was however a few miles up a creek but we were keen to explore and it's always fun seeing new places.
So that morning are cleared out of Nongsa whom were great at organising the prompt departure and headed for Sebana Cove. we trucked it across the Singapore straits dodging a few ships along the way. It wasn't too bad though and it was nothing compared to what people had spoken about. With good visibility it's actually a pretty strait forward affair.
The trip up the creek was awesome flat calm waters, mangroves on each side and birds singing it was a world away from Nongsa Point!! We decided to carry out the remaining jobs we had to do and to rest a bit before heading further north to Langkawai and Thailand. The last few months had flown by and we felt a real need to stop and slow down.
After the four miles of wandering creek we came upon the marina tucked away into a corner of the mangroves. It's a beautiful place and only over the last few years has it come back to life. The local yachts here have told us that about ten years ago it was fairly run down and there was no work or maintaining being done to the resort. Now it's under new ownership or management and it's wonderful. The staff are incredibly helpful. They organised our clearance into Malaysia and helped us when we approached the dock allowing us to put Spirit wherever we felt comfortable. As we don't use shoe power we stopped at the end of the finger dock and made ourselves fast. The serenity was so sublime and instantly we both felt at ease and at peace.