Island hopping by boat!
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Jun 11, 2012 10:06 AM Last Post By: Jtrimarco
Jun 9, 2012 5:09 PM
Island hopping by boat!My boyfriend and I are heading to Indonesia for a little over a month and are hoping to spend as much time on a boat as possible.
We are flying into Jakarta and are planning on finding a way to "hitch" rides between islands on fishing boats, yachts, as passengers, crew, or cargo.
We want a balance between seeing a descent amount of the country and still being able to relax and not spend every day in transit. Again the more the transit is by boat the better.
We know people who in Thailand have used chartered fishing boats that usually specialiaze in short 24-48 hour trips as a way to affordably boat around by linking the day trips together. Does anyone know if this is at all possible? Or anything relating to finding a boat to get around? Possible to get out of Jakarta on a boat?
We want more of a rustic adventere then a cruise around Bali. And are considering shaping our trip around the availability of boats. Meaning we will choose the region to concentrate our time if possible to affordably explore from the water. Any information on the subject would be greatly appreciated!!
Jun 9, 2012 7:30 PM
Jun 9, 2012 8:13 PM
2apart from the commercial passenger ships like pelni, you actually can travel on cargo ships and the likes, but never as crew (that would be illegal on your tourist visa anyways), always as paying passengers...you need to go to the harbour master's office, they know of all the arriving and departing sailings there, and they can inform you which boats will take passengers...great adventures coming your way, and it's a great way to get off the beaten track, but it will be elementary to know some basic bahasa!
Jun 9, 2012 10:23 PM
3Great to read a question like this? And so rare! I like Belgian guys respose. Cargo boats big and small used to be my favourite means of inter-island travel within Indonesia. Although that is no longer the case (I fly everywhere!) I still nostalgically go down to just about every harbour I touch and chat with the crews; "where are you from? where to? when do you leave? what's your cargo?" and so forth then finally "can we join you?". Always the answer to the last in an enthusiatic and immediate "yes". So yes, if you had time, were completely free from fixed thoughts on itinerary, could handle the conditions, and are prepared to be thought crazy by most tourists, then personally I think that would be a wonderful way to go...
As said above, some knowledge of language is certainly necessary, but with time just travelling this way is a truly great way to learn... an odd accumulation of vocab perhaps but highly functional
Jun 10, 2012 12:16 AM
4Contact the "Sail Indonesia" people. It's an organisation of Australian and American yacht owners who go to Kalabahi, Alor, for an annual meeting and cruise around Indonesia. Some of them might give you a ride. Find a map of the recommended route and the link here.
You can also contact Pak Yan and his son - +6282142594857. They are based on Pulau Pura. They have a traditional wooden boat and can cover the area Larantuka - Kupang, maybe even Wetar. You will probably need people to share the cost, but it shouldn't be too difficult to find some for certain trips between islands. Send me your email address in a PM and I can send you a pic of the boat. I also chartered a boat for a crossing from Baranusa (Pantar) to Wairang (eastern tip of Lembata), just for the kids and me, and it was affordable. Island hopping in the east of Indo is easy - and it is fantastic!
Jun 10, 2012 2:55 PM
5Hi. I am a great fan of the Pelni line, though second class, not deck class any more. However they are/were not supposed to take vehicles and travelling with my motorbike was a problem. One time I came to Jakarta (oops forget the port name) from Pontianak on a container boat. They pushed my bike up the gangway. I slept on a couch in the crew quarters and spent much time on the bridge. Fabulous.
But my most enduring memory is travelling from Ujung Pandang to a remote village on Flores. It was on a small trading boat (Bugis type) The sail was of patched woven plastic sheets, and there were two single cylinder diesel motors each driving a propeller. The "cabin" with about 1.2m height was directly above the motors so you can imagine the vibration when sleeping on the floor! We (crew of two and a local traveller) stayed one night at a village on a tiny atol. Another night at sea we had a violent storm with thunder and lightening and it still amazes me how the helmsman on deck had any idea of our course. Our only navigation gear was an old dry compass on a loose block of wood which rattled round on the deck.
It took about five days/nights, my motorbike tied to the mast. Absolutely bloody marvelous.
Jun 10, 2012 6:50 PM
6i've done similar trips, and though uncomfortable at times, incredible memories...i didn't cart a motorcycle along though, just a tiny backpack....pontianak to tanjung priok on a leaking rusty cargo ship...bugis sailing boat around the kangean islands and sepudi and raas...the real indonesia unfolding before you, away from all the tourist traps and rip-offs...ah bliss!
Jun 10, 2012 9:54 PM
7Way to go! Belgianguy. I'm off to the Maluku in July. Plenty of water over there :-) My last part of Indonesia still to explore. This time taking a folding bike and trailer; not such a hassle as the motorbike to lift onto boats or the roof of a bus.
Have seen your posts on entry to RI without an exit flight and am a bit concerned as hope to get a flight (or if I am really lucky a yacht) to Darwin from Timor Leste.
Jun 11, 2012 12:20 AM
Jun 11, 2012 3:29 AM
9yeah the thing with the exit flight is that if you have one, they won't ask for it...the one time you don't have one, that's when they will sting you with it (indonesian immigration have a 6th sense about that)
True but Bali mainly.
Jun 11, 2012 10:06 AM
10Thanks everyone for the feedback. Your adventures sound incredible Begiunguy, udangompong and Rubiconz, just the kind of thing we are looking for! The plan is to wing it, explore the harbors/ports and hopefully climb aboard some sort of vessle :) Counting down the days! And keep the stories and tips coming, they are greatly appreciated!
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