Semarang lies on the north coast of what was once called ‘Java’. The harbour lies in relatively shallow water and is accessed down an equally shallow buoyed channel and so it was that, having been on the Bridge for 45 minutes, we approached the channel itself at 5 a.m.. Like most of these ports, the pilots always seem to be reluctant to come too far out, preferring instead to board the ship when one is almost tied up. As many of you who regularly read this blog will know, this is by far the preference for us on the Bridge too, so I am more than happy. (Don’t forget, one can double-click to get a larger version).
In the channel itself, we had a clearance under the keel of around 3 meters, although that reduced in places, so we took it nice and slow, leaving a trail of muddy water in our wake as we stirred-up the bottom. The pilot joined us as we approached the breakwaters and once in, another ‘wheelie’ is called for, a 180° turn in the wider part of the basin, before backing down towards the berth.
Alongside and the air full of music and acrobatic feats from the assembled throng. (You know, we even had a guest who complained about being woken up by the noise, unbelievable….). All fast and I have to do Captain’s duties, down the gangway to accept our welcome. K1 fortunately used her camera, as I was rather busy……
And so the day began. Guests were off to explore the city, or the ancient temple of Borobudur, 2-hour’s drive away. Unique amongst Buddhist temples, its creation, without the use of modern engineering and technology, remains a mystery. We, (moi, K1 and K2) were not going so far afield. Bartering for a car and driver for 4 hours, we set off with a (hired) guide to the Sam Po Kong Chinese temple, built in honour of a Chinese emissary who landed in Semarang in 1401.On the way, some shots out of the car window, there’s some weird drivers out there 🙄
Then the temple itself.
Thence to the colonial building of “a thousand doors”, so named because of the veritable number of them. It was the Administrative building of the Netherlands East India Train company.
There were a number of other tourists from Indonesia who all wanted to be photographed with the ladies or moi, of course we obliged. They seemed to be fascinated with us and ever-so friendly.
Then, you guessed it, shopping….(no comments please 😉 ). As we were with Anis, she took us to some of the out-of-the-way markets, the ones which the ‘locals’ used and at the end of it all, K1 was ever so pleased to tell me how much money she’d ‘saved’ 😐 I have to confess though, she bought some beautiful clothing for amazing prices, (low)!
Then, with K1 and K2 satiated, back to the ship. and play catch-up with the paperwork. I had been watching the wind, (from instruments in my cabin) and noticed it was gradually picking up. We were scheduled to sail at 4 p.m. however the buses from the Borobudur tour had been delayed by traffic and it wasn’t until 4:20 that we were ready to sail. By this time, the wind was gusting 27 kts, (30mph, 47kph), on our beam, right on the ship’s limits. I thrust off the berth, the massive power of the azipods lifting the stern with no problem, however the bow could hardly get upwind. Some deft balance between the 2, (letting the stern fall and bow win, then the opposite), got us far enough away from the concrete to be able to get the tug, (standing-by) onto the starboard side and give the bow a hefty shove. Then it was a matter of ramming the ‘sticks’ forward, trying to get enough speed to allow for the inevitable drift we would encounter in the buoyed channel. Like an Ocean Greyhound, she took off and had sufficient speed to make the channel, albeit we ‘crabbed’ our way out. Not nice, I can tell you. Anyway, I write from the comfort of my desk while we’re berthed in Tanjung Priok, (Jakarta). K1 and K2 went ashore 4 hours ago, heaven knows what they’ll come back with 😎 This morning, another Port Captain, his officers and a dozen cadets visited the Amsterdam, a tour and then another presentation, this time I am the proud possessor of a Port captain’s baseball cap, complete with the yards of gold on the peak :-). We’re off towards Hong Kong in 3 hours, yes! One of my favourite ports, what fun!