Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Where are we now? Follow Along & Track KaijaSong

Google Earth KaijaSong now by clicking the link below


You can also see where we are, live anytime, by downloading a Free App for either Apple or Android called 'FindShip'.  Just type in our boat name Kaija Song (MMSI:316034418, Sailing) There is only 1 and we proudly fly our Canadian flag.

We are pleased to add the following link from Predict Wind which shows our current track and the weather conditions we are experiencing LIVE.


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Singapore December 2019




Our purpose for visiting Singapore was to renew our Social Visa for Indonesia which required us to leave the country.  Singapore has long been on our bucket list for places to see and we were not disappointed.

Our hotel Nuve Urbane, which we had booked online, turned out to be delightful.  The room was modern, clean and spacious and provided free coffee and snacks.  We were provided a complimentary breakfast daily being a choice of several made to order meals.  It was all good!

Our first order of business was to download the Grab App on our phone which is a brilliant method for ordering up Cab service.  It was quick and efficient and made getting to the embassy easy.  We arrived at the embassy early hoping to be first in line…well, we weren’t early enough…but our position was only an hour’s wait in the queue.  There are a couple of rules which must be followed.  The first is wear long pants.  The second is wear solid shoes (no sandals allowed).  Well we got the first part right, but Kaija was wearing her new Columbian sandal and was quickly told in no uncertain terms, they were not allowed.  Luckily there was a sympathetic lady nearby.  Unfortunately, when we had finished inside the embassy and returned to the lineup…she was nowhere to be found…Kaija was beside herself, because the girl had her shoes, and altho Kaija was not barefoot, the shoes she had borrowed had certainly seen better days.  Kaija convinced the security to let her re-enter the embassy where she found the good Samaritan/shoe thief, who had already given Kaija’s shoes to her employer (she was a nanny) who had left the site.   


When her process was finished she and Kaija went out to the car and retrieved Kaija’s shoes…a Happy Ending...all's well that end's Well.

Our visa’s were processed in the normal fashion which takes three days, why I don’t know, but it does.



What do you do for three days while waiting for the slow wheels of Bureaucracy to move…well, if you have a wife like Kaija who loves to walk… and I do mean…LOVES to walk…you walk…and you walk….and you do whatever it takes to keep up. (ahh the joys of marrying a younger bride, in truth she is a few days older…but you didn’t hear that from me).   The hotel was situated near to Little India which is a rewarding neighbourhood to wander.   

Sights to see include streets packed with shops selling Indian foods, jewellry, and other products, and the sound of Tamil pop music and the highlight of this district is the Abdul Gaffor Mosque, 


The photogenic Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple dedicated to the Goddess Kali and the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple which shows the 5 tiered gopura with its scuptures of the manifestation of Lord Vishnu the Preserver.

Next on our list to see was the world famous Botanic Gardens.  The Gardens are of historic and scientific importance, these gardens boast a fabulous orchid collection and a mini jungle.  It is a UNESCO world heritage site, founded in 1859 it hosts 10,000 species of plants.  The star attraction is the Orchid Garden.

We visited Arab town...Masjid Sultan, which was gazetted as a national monument in March 1975, it is the heart of this vibrant Muslim community offering colourful textiles and accessories to the bazaar-like spill out of goods such as rattan baskets and trays on the sidewalks.

The 2 square Kilometers of Chinatown, once constituted the focal point of Chinese life and culture in Singapore.  It is the largest historic district in Singapore and many parts of it were given Conservation status since 1980.  One of the areas highlites is the towering, always bustling Buda Tooth Relic Temple.  It houses what is reputedly the sacred tooth of the Buda, kept in a gold Stupa.

There is a must do epicurian delight when in is a visit to Momma Kong's for world famous Chilli Crab

Marina Bay Area was created over decades by re-claiming 3 parcels of land from the sea and then damming the remaining outlet which is now a fresh water lagoon housing the Merilion, the symbol of Singapore. 

Of note the area is resplendent with some amazing architecture including the Marina Bay Sands, a three towered Hotel complex linked to the Marina center by the Helix footbridge.  The Arts Science Museum, built to resemble a Lotus flower or perhaps a cupped Hand, depending on your perspective.  It is a relaxing area to stroll and enjoy the many restaurants and one being at the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel offering an amazing view of this modern cosmopolitan city.

For the Stout of heart there is an Infinity pool at the top of the three towers where you can literally sit at the edge with nothing between you and the ground far far below. 

Our nightly excursion to see the Christmas lights at Gardens by the Bay was definitely worth the trip…and I mean the entire trip to Singapore. We have never experienced anything quite like it.   To say that Singaporians get enthusiastic about their Christmas lighting is a huge understatement. 

It is a visual extravaganza…that peaks your senses and when they add a live orchestra to augment the sights the dulcite tones of familiar Carols and Classical music it is awesome.  The SuperTree Grove is a collection of Golf-Tee-Shaped towers serving as scaffolding for vertical gardens, linked by the aerial skyway bridge. 




To say we walked a country mile during our daily activities would be like saying Chocolate is Sweet.  In the week that we were there we had days where we logged as many as 28 kilometers walking…yes you read that correctly. 







Aside from the historical and architectural sites we enjoyed, we also noted the great number of huge (building sized) wall murals and scuptures created  by local artisans.  They depicted life in Singapore.

We really enjoyed our week here and  would happily return and do it all over again to visit so many places that we just did not have time to see and enjoy.   No doubt our visit was special in part because it was Christmas but regardless of the season, if given the opportunity to visit this amazing City…do not miss it.

With our new visas in hand we boarded a Singapore airlines where we were pampered. and winged our way back to Ambon.


The last leg of our journey was aboard aboard Susi Air to Bandaneira and our beloved KaijaSong.





2019 had been a very busy year for us, Aside from a couple of thousand sailing miles we visited  Makassar, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Canada, Beijing, Sorong, Ambon, Banda Islands, and Singapore. 

It's a small world after all.

Out with the Old and Ring in the New...2020 here we come!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Banda - The Spice Islands - Dec 2019

The Spice Islands – Banda

We departed Ambon, which is part of the Moluccas group of islands, on our way to Banda.  Jointly the two constitute the original Spice Islands, where the exclusive production of cloves, nutmeg and mace helped fuel the expansion of Colonial powers half a world away.
Banda Islands are 150 km SE of Ambon, centered on the perfectly conical peak of Gunung Api (640 meters – rising 4000 meters from the sea floor)

We timed our passage for an easy overnighter arriving in good daylight hours thru these reef infested waters.

For centuries, nutmeg and mace – worth more than their weight in gold – made these islands the most valuable pieces of real estate on earth.

Kaija wasted no time in arranging a tour of the spice plantation where she witnessed the gathering of the nutmeg, the removal of the cinnamon bark, and the soaking and cleaning of the almonds. 

Happily she arrived back at the boat with a wonderful stash of fresh spices.

We had heard of The Nutmeg Tree (TNT) Hotel and Dive Resort and owner Mr. Reza.

 It is located on the sea front of Neira town, once the capital of Maluku and North Maluku, which used to be controlled by the VOC, the first Dutch multinational company 400 years ago.  Reza and his staff are very cruiser friendly and offer moorage and use of his facilities and historical spice tours.

 Meals are reasonably priced and very tasty and rooms are available if you want to take a break from sleeping on your boat.   Guests will be able to enjoy activities in an around Banda Naira like hiking, snorkelling, diving and cycling.
A walk around town will show you many heritage buildings still remaining. 
Such as the Fort completed in 1662 to replace the lower, less-defensible Benteng Nassau, built in 1609 on the foundations of an earlier Portuguese structure.

The white wash Dutch church, its floor lined with elaborately carved VOC tombstones.

Located at the heart of all of the above, is the Bintang Estates Hotel owned by Mr. Pak Rizal Bahalwan (Abba), one of the oldest families of the Spice Islands. 
(for more info check out

This place is 5 star and was a haven of rest and relaxation for us.  Mr. Abba, goes out of his way to help cruisers and accommodate your every whim.  Dining at the Estate is an epicurean delight.  We enjoyed fun fantastic meals meeting new travelers from far and wide and new cruising friends Kyle and Hailey (Sc Chasing Eden.) 
Abba is willing and able to solve travel problems as we discovered when we were made aware that the upcoming flights, by a friendly local Indonesian traveler,

Miss Shiva who informed us that our upcoming flights to Singapore were in fact booked from the OTHER Banda, which was located more than a 1000 km away. Thank you Miss Shiva.

One of the highlights for us was our dive trip with Mr. Reza to the outer islands of Hatta.  It was a perfect day and the water was crystal clear.

On the way back we were privileged to pass by a pod of Melon Head whales. 

We enjoyed many snorkeling trips around the island and dinghy exploring the caves and lava slides into the water. 

On one such outing we found a beautiful Nautilus shell with critter still intact, unfortunately for him, he had been attacked and eaten.  He was quite dead and smelly, but after removing him and cleaning the shell it became one of Kaija’s prized finds.

Our final snorkeling day we spent doing a Volcano dive.  It was outstanding.  It was time to search out the elusive Mandarin fish which we were told reside under Reza's Dock.  We found it, however poor lighting prevented a quality photo.  Sometimes you just have to be there.
One of the unique items of the Spice islands is the local war boats called the Kora-Kora, or CoraCora, which is the traditional canoe of these Maluku islands. 
They can be up to 10 meters long and very narrow and hold up to 40 paddlers.  The steerer and the paddlers of these traditional boats yell Men Mura to synchronize their strokes. This literately means "front-back", but is also translated to "I go-we follow" or "one for all - all for one".
We will take many memories away from these spectacular islands and would happily revisit them. 

Banda was a staging stop for us.  A place to leave the boat when we flew to Singapore for visa renewals and a jumping off point to our passage south for the lower Indonesian islands.
It is a warm, welcoming and delightful stop and we highly recommend a visit.