We entered the country of Brunei at a little Port called Kuala Belait where we heard that even Australians could get a free unlimited time seamen’s pass or in Amanda’s case a sea women’s pass. Apparently the Australian government had upset the Sultans brother at one point and so the visa rules are a little different for Australians however the local yacht club gave us a warm welcome.
After getting our clearance done we continued on to the main port of Muara where we could anchor off another Yacht club. With facilities like a washing machine, wifi and a pool Amanda was in heaven. After getting our 500 liters of 31-cent p/l fuel we made a plan to go to town to see what was going on for the Sultans birthday.
Being to far from town for the bus a plan was hatched to hitch hike to the nearest bus station. The second car along the road was a brand new V8 BMW. He picked us up and offered to drive us the whole way, which he proceeded to do at 180km. Amanda observed that even the back seat had air bags.
It was a funny old day in town. We came across a tourist being rescued by the emergency services after slipping on the riverbank while trying to get a photo. He was stuck fast in mud up to his armpits unable to get free. The streets in town were packed with Pakistani, Indonesian and Vietnamese workers (all male) who for their day off come to town and hang out. This caused a problem at the end of the day when everyone wanted to go home. The crowd at the bus station resembled an All Blacks game at Eden Park. We could only watch as our first bus pulled in and was mobbed. An Indonesian conductor took pity on us and when the next bus turned up he vaulted his friend through the window to open the rear emergency exit for us. Once the door was opened I pushed a few people out of the way and climbed up. Amanda who was following in a skirt couldn’t get her leg high enough to get in. With the bus now filling fast from the front the crowd behind her gave her backside a shove and she was in with only a dent in her pride. We even got a seat.
After leaving Brunei we headed to Labuan to get our duty free and clear back into Malaysia before joining the Miri to Kota Kinabalu race. Even managed to catch a couple of fish on passage.