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Newsletter 17 April 2009

The Maiden trip of the Mutiara Laut
And Leo’s last trip to Kalimantan.

Leo was so happy, having realized his dream
having built the Casco of a Schooner.
Using the only timber in the world that would give a woodworm toothache..
According to his wishes built by Frenky,
the best boat builder in Kalimantan.
Day and night they had been digging in the mud
Just to get the ship in the water.
And finally she was waiting for high tide
So a tugboat could get her in the river.
They missed the first high tide,
so Leo had to wait another week.
The second time would be successful; at least that’s what he thought.
Having flown to one of the the dirtiest place on earth.
He was kept waiting and waiting
until the lead Ballast  was loaded and tied on its place,
until the Insurance Papers were finally in order,
until the visa for his Swiss diver friend was considered valid,
until the man whom he had given Rp.600.000 to buy beer
would come back ( which never happened),
until the tugboat was finished with the job it had taken on in between,
until all goods needed for the long journey were on board...
And when all this was done, they finally could depart.
First backwards, because that was the way the ship lay
and the river was too narrow to turn around.
Finally they could turn around and after 4 hours being towed
by the tugboat captain, who had just passed his bemo driver test and
who knew only two ways : full ahead or full backwards.
The owners of the beautiful villa’s on stilts in the water
Kept their breath by seeing so much stormy water in their front garden.
Luckily there were some trees that kept the boat and the waves in check.
Finally they came in open sea and blinded by heavy downpours and high waves,
they went very slowly.
The second day the weather had improved and the crew ( two seamen and three land robbers)
could start drinking, though there were only 8 tins of beer on board.
And for food – they had a real gas stove- they caught fish,
in three days only two small ones but they tasted very well.
Nothing more to do than play poker or daydreaming,
for 350 nautical miles long
with a speed of 5 miles per hour
over the endless , hot, tropical sea…
Finally they were so close to Bali
that Leo could make contact by phone with Martha
And at our favorite table at the beach,
where the best seamen sat, the news about the successful crossing
was made public.
Near Padang Bai the captain wanted to find out if the ship could handle the reef,
but an angry Leo sent it back into open sea.
When Leo phoned that he could see the Bali Beach Hotel,
our famous cyclists, Martha and Carin, went
early in the morning – to the shore to see if they could spot him.
And yes, far away on a misty sea they saw a very tiny tug boat,
then nothing for a while
and then -far behind- a big wooden ship
and in their fantasy they saw Leo waving…
Because Leo wanted to dock unscathed, he asked Oka
to order a local harbor tug boat.
It came and yes, the ship was slowly pushed against the quay and secured.
Oka, Martha, Carin and Alex were there to welcome them.
The job was done, the journey finished
and the unkempt sunburned seamen got double sandwiches with a lot of Dutch cheese..
And stepped ashore on the most beautiful island in the world.
The next day engines, generators and all would be loaded in the ship and then the Mutiara Laut \will be towed to Serangan, practically in front of Leo’s home.
It will take approximately one year for the ship to be completed
Another exciting year……

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