Tuesday, October 21, 2008

9 October 2008, Thursday

Thursday 9th October 2008

Latitude 01 15 N, Longitude 103 50E

 Well it’s really something to be taken to a foreign country for your birthday! We left Nongsa Point marina and headed out into the strait between Batam and Singapore in very light winds and straight into a massive rainstorm which reduced visibility to half a mile. Lex had worked out a route that took us down the side of the shipping lanes to the narrowest part, where it was only a kilometre dash across them to Sentosa Island. We didn’t have any close shaves, but it’s quite daunting to see a supertanker the size of a small country heading at speed towards you. We were peering through the clears trying to see what was coming at us and every so often we were startled by one of those small countries looming out of the mist like the end of the world.

Eventually the rain passed and we found our way safely to the Customs Point in front of Sentosa Island. Instead of anchoring, you just sort of hang around in the general vicinity with a yellow quarantine flag hoisted and the Customs boat comes alongside. They displayed some remarkable boat handling skills as documents were passed between the two boats by hand for signatures.

One 15 Marina is a very up market mooring! Mooring fees are S$25 per day, which includes use of the pool and the gym. Fuel is clean and available, as is potable water, neither easily obtained in Indonesia.Again, another long walk to the loo, but that’s the price you pay I guess. And it does have a laundromat, although in high demand.

Repairs to the boat have kept us busy – Lex in particular, although Ali and I have managed a couple of trips up into the city. The first thing you notice about Singapore is how clean and shiny it is! It’s very modern, albeit with occasional glimpses of older more elegant buildings from earlier days. Traffic flows, quietly – no horn abuse like other Asian countries – and there is no rubbish anywhere. There doesn’t seem to be much that you can’t buy here.

Medical help is fast, efficient and inexpensive. Lex had been suffering from sore, light sensitive eyes for a few weeks before we arrived, so we found our way to the seventh floor of a tall building where we were told we’d find some GPs. Within 20 minutes Lex was seen by a doctor who examined him, announced it was beyond his capabilities and referred him to a specialist, meanwhile ordering some tests that were carried out on the spot by a paramedic. Half an hour later Lex was on another floor seeing the specialist, who had already received the results of Lex’s tests and could tell him what was wrong with his eyes, ordered a few more tests, prescribed some ointment and drops and made an appointment for him to return three days later. The GP cost $18, the medication $20 and the specialist $250. All in a couple of hours. 

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