We took 2 nights and 3 full days to travel the 368 nautical miles from Karimumjawa to Parai Beach, Bangka. We anchored at 01 48.37S & 106 07.92E in 5 meters of water. Good holding, in sand. We know its good holding because unfortunately the anchorage was abdominal.
We must have arrived right at the wrong time as quite a few of the rally fleet had been there for a week or more and the conditions where wonderful and calm. However, the day before we got there the winds turn from being offshore to an onshore breeze – S, SE’ly and the sea had understandably picked up. The swell was keeping all the boats beam on and the rolling was the worst we had ever seen and experienced in 6 years – and we have been in some shocking anchorages.
We did not sleep a wink. Bruce got up several times during the night to check we had not moved, we hadn’t. But one time was up he was nearly thrown overboard as the swell was pushing Matilda to the gunwales on both sides. Yes the rub rails where in the water and we had water on the decks from rolling so severely. Needless to say by first light we hauled anchor and left Parai Beach, Bankga bound for NE Bangka anchorage in the hope we could find a calm anchorage and catch up on some sleep.
Approaching the anchorage we had more flags, floats and massive structures to avoid. We were not so lucky during our second day of the trip to Parai Beach. We hit and snagged a double float. It frightened the living day lights out of us. Bruce had to dive in and remove the cord from both the rudder and the prop. No damage was sustained. The cord was made up of a poly tarp which had been stripped and braided to make a cord. Very clever, but very difficult for our prop cutter to cut it. Once this was cleared we then dodge about 3 more lots and could see in the near distance many more of them, we estimated around 30 that we could see. They are difficult to see as they don’t become visible until you’re nearly on top of them due the wavelets hiding them. We saw these double floats in mass just before we entered Selat Gelasa near the (island) Palau Kebatu approximately 45 nm’s south of the strait.
The large structures in the water where massive. The Indonesians live on them until they have enough fish to bring home to sell. They are prolific here and need your full attention, you do not want to hit one of these things. Some were lite and some were not! We started to see these massive fish traps once we were well north of the Selat Gelasa between Bangka and Belitung.
At the time approaching the anchorage we had to pass a massive dredge which we think was dredging for tin. The structure was absolutely huge, was anchored and had several boats around it. It was working and as it spat out the sand it was creating a new sand bank out of the water. The water was also very milky, making us wonder if the waters where being polluted and unsafe to swim in. We did not run our water maker here.