Belitung – Tanjung Kelayan Tanjung Pandan

Post date: Oct 28, 2011 8:44:03 AM

Well we are about to leave Indonesia after nearly 3 months. The last week has been one of the busiest and most exciting of the whole journey. We have been treated like movie-stars. “Hello Mister, can we take your photo??” every few paces – not only kids but adults in uniform too.

Here at Tanjung Kelayan there has been a marine industry Expo which has coincided with our visit. The President of Indonesia was due to arrive and we had been invited to the official dinner, but his plans changed at the last minute.

Each year there is an expo like this one somewhere in Indonesia but this year Wakatobi and Belitung joined forces and our presence is part of the celebrations. The infrastructure that has been put in place is phenomenal. Plazas and entertainment areas, new roads to the city.

While we are here we have met the Regents from both regencies on the island, both passionate about their island and what it has to offer and want to improve the island's image to the central government and the world. That is why we are involved – to be ambassadors for the region. We are happy to tell the world about our fantastic experience here. We are the extent of the tourist industry at this stage.

We have had a busy schedule here – lunch with both regents in their respective towns, visits to a kite festival and a school, had dinner with the Regent of Belitung at the Expo site, and dinner with the Vice-president of the country, were honoured guests at the Official opening of the Expo.

We have had media coverage unknown anywhere else. We have had TV and newspaper reporters and photographers on board Lupari2 and a tribe of local school children.

Media crew aboard Lupari 2

The scenery here is beautiful, huge granite boulders and small islands. The water is warm and crystal clear over coral and seagrass beds between us and the shore. Turtles are seen grazing on our way to shore. This is the first white sand beach we have had as a dinghy landing. The island's vegetation is lush and green.

Granite rock formations at Tanjung Kelayan

Belitong Island is part of the island group called Belitung, which includes another larger island and a few smaller ones. The main industries here are mining(tin, kaolin, bauxite and other minerals), palm oil, and white pepper. (Have you ever wondered where the name Belliton in BHP Beliton comes from?)A lot of the forest has been cleared for mining and the plantations of palm oil trees. The regents hope that in the future there will be processing plants here rather than sending the raw materials to Java. (this is the story for many of the regencies we have been to throughout Indonesia)

It has been a fantastic time for us, although tinged with sadness that the rally is finally in its last stages. We have made some good friends and shared in some wonderful experiences while on the rally.

Next stop the Equator and on to Malaysia. . .