Monday 20th February 2012 – Batam to Dumai by ferry

Batam To Dumai By Ferry

Garry McGivern World-Bicycle-Tour Monday 20th-February-2012. Batam Island to Dumai, Sumatra by ferry. It was an early start today as I had to be at the ferry port at 7 am. It was a short ride to the harbour, and I was there in no time.

As I walked into the terminal, it struck me what a busy place it was, packed with people. There were loads of ticket booths, and they were all calling out for your business. Suddenly I thought I heard somebody call Mr Garry! No, surely not I’m hearing things. Nobody knows my name here. But there it was again, Mr Garry over here, Mr Garry. I looked to see who was calling me. It was a young lady in one of the ticket booths. I went over, curious to know how she knew my name.

As I approached the booth, I was still unsure as to whether it was me she was calling or not! But as I didn’t know where else to go, I had nothing to lose. It definitely was me, as she produced a copy of my ticket with my name on it. I don’t know how she knew me as it wasn’t where or who I bought the ticket from! It’s either because I was the only westerner today. Or she’d been told about my bike. Either way, it was pretty good. It saved me trying to find my way around.

At The Terminal

After she had given me my boarding pass and showed me which way to go, I found my ferry. There were about ten ferries. Mine was called the Batam Jet 2 at the far end of the jetty. When I say ferry, I don’t mean the big roll on roll off ferries that we have. These are Hydrofoils, which don’t carry vehicles, and there are no cabins. It was about 40ft in length and looked like a jet on water! I proceeded up the gangplank and asked where I should put my bike. Up here, it goes on the roof, sir! And with that, six porters manhandled it up onto the top of the boat! Rather than me, the bike with all my equipment weights nearly 50kg, and it’s an awkward shape!

Men lifting a bike
Rather them than me
The Journey

The ferry journey itself was relatively smooth. We called in at a few ports on route to pick up and drop off. Every time we’d pull into a port, we’d be inundated with local traders selling food. You could see them waiting as we pulled up alongside the dock. And as soon as the boat was within jumping distance, they’d board like a swarm of locusts. They don’t have long, so they have to make the most of the time they’ve got. I had rice and chicken at one of the ports served in a banana leaf. Very tasty.

I got to Dumai and watched them unload my bike. I couldn’t look for fear of them dropping it, they didn’t, of course, and the bike was fine. As it was late afternoon, I decided to check in to a hotel and start my ride tomorrow. It was a long ferry ride today, seven hours, but it’s got me to where I want to be. I think the gay barman was chatting me up (he told me he was gay). I didn’t think it was allowed over here, but maybe it is! Time to make a quick exit. I’d drunk over half a bottle of gin anyway!

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