Awaiting Wind

Adventures of the Jaga II

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ACEH Boxing Day 2004

Anchored in Sabang , on the northern tip of Sumatra with others for the yacht festival, we took a short ferry ride over to Banda Aceh. Early in the morning on that fated Boxing Day they had a huge earthquake, but it was the resulting tsunami that took the massive toll. Nearly a quarter of a million people , primarily in four districts of Sumatra, lost their lives.

We were caught off guard a bit as the smiling faces welcomed and thanked us. Everyone we met expressed gratitude for the aid that countries from all over the world responded with. The huge memorial park bears witness with flags of all the countries that helped in their hour of despair. We were humbled by the number of handshakes and thank you’s that were bestowed upon us as we traveled.

First stop was the Generator Ship. A vessel that was moored in the Harbour producing 10.5 megawatts to the city. Roughly 100 feet long and over 60 feet wide this rectangular flat bottomed ship weighs in at 2,600 tons. That morning there were seven crew working aboard when the first wave lifted it breaking most of its moorings before settling back in place as the Harbour emptied itself to dry sea bed. The seven workers abandoned ship and ran towards the city as the second, the devastating, wave surged in at height. The seven crew were never found. The ship however rose up on the wave and sailed thru the city to come to rest five kilometers inland partially on a home. It’s now a museum we’re it came to rest.

Tsunami survivors are the tour guides that lead small groups thru The ship that is now an open museum without charge. There are three levels of interactive displays as the tour guide not only describes first hand but fields all questions. Our guide was a young girl running hand in hand with her mother when the massive wall of water separated them and she washed along able to grab and climb a tree as death and destruction washed by. She apologized to our small group for her watery eyes but explained for the first few years doing this she couldn’t complete a tour without breaking down into uncontrollable crying.

We then toured the The Tsunami Museum, four floors of interactive information, photos, and testimonials. Along the main ceiling again displays the flag of each nation that came to their aid. The photos somehow taken that day are incredible in capturing destruction, frailty, despair, and bewilderment. I was glued by the riveting large black eyes of a young child, somewhere between maybe 5 to 8 years of age clinging for life in a tree engulfed in surging water. The eyes weren’t crying nor filled with fear as I could tell, but where searching for the world she had known that had disappeared somewhere beyond comprehension.

We didn’t tour the sole and lonely mosque that stood that day amidst the rushing waters. Our group took a break at a somewhat famous coffee house where the baristas pour the coffee thru fine mesh bags from arms height repeatedly before filling the cups. I stepped out front and had a pleasant leisurely conversation with a bright young professional in starched white shirt and tie and after answering all his queries about myself inquired of his experience that day. At their family gathering in their village around the coast towards evening his father asked him if he would like to go with him to take his grandmother back home to her village further inland. He was one of five children and the only one that went and the night was spent there before starting home on Sunday. As they wound down the steep road out of the hills they arrived to find no village of 13,800 friends. No mother, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, or cousins. There were only 1200 survivors from the village, and most of those were somewhere else at the time same as themselves. I found myself without words. With a gentle smile he deftly steered into another conversation before we made our parting.

We then spent the afternoon just freely wandering the town before catching the ferry. The parks, museums, the mass grave of the Unknown are all beautiful and well maintained. The new city itself out of necessity for shelter and commerce has sprung up somewhat like a diamond in the rough. It ain’t particularly pretty , but its inhabitants are grateful warm and friendly. I would have thought the survivors might have been a hard bitter lot but I couldn’t be more wrong. As a side note the tragedy ended a decades old rebellion overnight. Differences were abandoned as the rebels joined ranks in clean up and rebuild.

Entrepreneur Zone Revisited

Annual Review  so to speak as it’s been a year since we brought you the BEER ATM.  What a success !  Upon arrival in the morning , hence before “ Beer Thirty “ we immediately noticed the renovation. Upscale and upmarket as you can see. Moved out to the front facing the dining area and the super yacht jetty and the gentleman is relocating a much larger laundromat thru the old side entrance.

Expansion also as he now offers Seven different brews all on Pour Your Own Taps. Including Guinness for the tidy sum of $22.00 MYR per liter (quart) . Translation is roughly $8.00 NZD or $5.35 USD. Not too shabby !

Humor is Tongue in cheek if you zoom in on the miter board on how to pour a perfect glass around the world. Malaysians use plastic bags on a draw string for nearly all their beverages, ice lemon tea to hot Kopi ( coffee) with a straw. Americans use a beer can.


Telaga Harbour has always been a favorite of ours. Well protected nestled between two small islands and a shore line of steep volcanic peaks.  The holding is reasonably good and it’s a shallow Anchorage at about twelve feet of water.  Taking the dinghy in is a short and usually smooth affair. It’s not the place to provision but a fairly stable area to do boat maintenance and repairs. There is a small but well stocked chandlery here but only open for business from 2:00pm until 6:00pm and closed Sunday and Wednesday. Eat your hearts out Banker Folks.


Standard for Poor people rating of AAAA is our reward for efforts Well done by this  entrepreneur for thinking outside the box and following thru successfully.  Why didn’t we think of this ?


Your friendly neighborhood ATM Card


For all our dirt dweller family and friends back home thought we’d take a moment to point out differences between air travel and sea. They can be similar in many ways such as flying into or returning from a foreign country you can’t just fly into Medina Tennessee direct, but must first land at an International Airport. Same with mariners.  We have to make landfall at a designated Port of Entry. But the process can be dramatically different.

Clearing In and Clearing Out .  At the airport they search your carry on and deny you liquids, lighters, and other prohibited goods. On our vessel which is our Home depending on the country they’re even tougher. New Zealand for example requires that you fax or email them the required forms with passport information, vessel information, on and on information, seventy-two hours in advance. So simple from the middle of the Pacific ! Then once arriving into their international Port of Entry we are required to fly our Q flag ( quarantine ) and tie up to the Q dock which has no access to shore. It’s lock gated with barbed wire. And we are required to remain on our boat without going to shore until all the officials show up and Clear us Inward. They’re tough. Most food items other than canned goods are ceremoniously confiscated for destruction, along with undocumented wood items, anything more than 50 cigarettes, a bottle or two of alcohol, ect ect.  They can also require you at your own expense to be lifted out and water blasted if they don’t feel your bottom is clean enough. They have free range to upend your entire vessel in search of contraband and often do so. If you entered as a well supplied cruising home, you won’t be when they leave. The up side to them is that there are no fees.  But every country varies and so we usually go online before hand and search for the required Formalities on to find out the Port of Entry , requirements, and expense.

THE VISA DANCE             84495F92-405B-4F79-9BBD-84254B683FDA


We emailed Vanuatu in advance and were able to make our first landfall there at Anatom. Basically we cleared in with the village policeman. Blue checkerboard stripe around the building.  How simple . But once to Port Villa we had to do what we cruisers calll the visa dance. You anchor out with the Q flag flying, go ashore and traipse all over town to find the Harbour master, customs, immigrations, and health. And pay. And sometimes pay some more, as bribes are not uncommon. Depending on the country, such as Maldives, these fees reach the thousands for a ninety day visa. Whew !

Indonesia needs to be done from one of their offshore embassies Before you arrive there if you desire more than a thirty day visa and this took us a week of cab rides and waiting, when we did it thru their embassy in Papua New Guinea.

And our most recent misadventures was clearing out of Malaysia. Our visa was expiring and we had a plethora of issues crop up at the last moment for repairs. Parts aren’t on the shelf, to late for online shopping and at the last  last last minute we hired a car zoomed down to Kuah to clear the Harbour Master, drove up to the airport for Immigrations, only to find they had gone for the day ? Had to race the rental car back down the next morning and wait on them to arrive then flog it back to Telaga Harbour to do the final clearing with Customs, and haul up the anchor before being prosecuted for being Overstayers! We literally lashed down all the loose ends and tools for the ongoing repair and vamoosed. Arriving in Sabang, Indonesia two and a half days later I was still trying to get power to our depth sounders. Needless to say leaving under duress left us with unfinished tasks and commitments.



Upon arrival we tied up at the Harbour Masters buoy, dinghy ashore to announce our arrival whereupon we were asked to remain aboard until the officials arrived . Then we carried them in our dingy out to our home and in their search they were interested in confiscating any medications past their due dates. Are their any other kind ?. After form filing and stamps they garnered our passport and I returned them to shore. Then we began the dance and on foot and by tuk tuk we visited each of the four offices. But. It’s Muslim country. ( Finding a cold beer or some bacon is not unlike panning for gold ) So from 1:00pm until 5:00pm we had to wait during their prayer, lunch siesta to finally arrive at immigrations after 5:00 and didn’t leave there until nearly 7:00pm. Job Done. Until we clear out and re visit all four offices again in order to Clear Out.

So when next you’re in an airport standing in line impatiently tapping your foot complaining that it’s been twenty minutes, , , well , ,  think Days ! And Cash of Course.

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  1. Whenever we sail into a “Port of Entry” for a country we have to fly our yellow “Q” flag. This plain yellow flag is one of the oldest International Signal Code flags and probably the most active. It’s meaning when flown from the rig says to those ashore; “ My Ship is Healthy and I Require Free Practice”

  2. But the actual history of how this practice came into being is sketchy at best. There are some references that date to Ancient Greek times and while its use was developing it was at times and in different countries, a solid green flag, or white, along with a lantern lit at the topmast during darkness. Actual written requirements for some countries date as late as the early 1900’s.

The BUBONIC PLAGUE of the middle 1300’s solidified the practice. QUARANTINE comes from Italian, meaning “40 Days”. Venice required ships to fly the yellow flag and anchor out for 40 days in the hope any disease and illness would run its course. The Plague had arrived aboard ships from the Black Sea and tens of millions would die before it slunk away for a while.


PRATIQUE is still mandatory now for all mariners.          

                                  No copyright infringements intended.


img_2489It’s been a year without our blog. My old, first generation iPad could no longer cope, the WordPress site had also updated beyond the iPads and my own capacity. Thankfully, my son Jake, who along with his wife Jennifer, have a couple of awesome sights of their own and have helped me immensely. ” NOMADIC MOMENTS” are wonderfully entertaining sights. So we will start again and try and improve. Our “where are we?” tracker should now function again.

This site as a reminder is aimed at ” Land lubber” family and friends back home.

This past year JAGA II has backtracked herself down from Thailand, thru the Singapore straits again and up the east coast of Malaysia and across to the Anambas islands of Indonesia. This was as much a “seasonal” weather consideration as the desire to explore the crystal waters and snorkeling on the other side. As you can see in the upper left corner the blue triangular boat indicates we are currently back on the west coast at Langkawi again.

Will post this now as a ” Test” and hopefully be good to resume our blog in earnest.



JAGA II anchored in Kaiarara Bay at Great Barrier Island

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