Monday 20th February 2012 – Batam to Dumai by ferry

Batam to Dumai by ferry

It was an early start today as I had to be at the ferry port for 7. It was a short ride to the harbour, and I was there in no time.

As I walked in it struck me, what a busy and noisy place it was, with loads of people around. There were loads of ticket booths, and they’re all calling out for your business. All of a sudden I thought I heard somebody call Mr Garry, no I’m hearing things, nobody knows my name here, there it was again, Mr Garry over here, Mr Garry. I looked to see who was calling, it was a lady in one of the ticket booths, so over I went wondering how she knew my name, still thinking it wasn’t me she was calling, but it was as she produced a copy of my ticket with my name on. Don’t know how she knew me as it wasn’t where 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, 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 went to find my ferry; there were about ten ferries, mine was called the Batam Jet 2, which was at the other end of the jetty. When I say ferry I don’t mean the big roll on roll off ferries that we have, these are just small boats about 40ft in length and just carry foot passengers. Got to the ferry and saw the gang plank leading into the boat and asked if that’s where I’ve got to go with my bike, no sir it goes up on the top of the boat! It was then man handled by six porters to get it up on top of the boat! Rather them than me, the bike with all my equipment on weights nearly 50kg and it’s an awkward shape!

The journey

The ferry journey itself was fairly smooth. 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 you pulled up alongside the dock waiting and as soon as it 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.

Got to Dumai and watched them unload my bike, I couldn’t watch for fear of them dropping it, they didn’t of course, and the bike was fine. Checked into a hotel as it was getting on for 4 in the afternoon, it was a 7-hour ferry journey, but it’s got me to where I want to be. Think I was being chatted up by the gay barman (he told me he was gay) didn’t think it’s allowed over here, but maybe it is! Time to make a quick exit, I’d had over half a bottle of gin anyway!

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