Saturday, 23 October 2010

The voyage to Jakarta

Tuesday 19 October: Pelni, Indonesia national ferry operator's, ships depart from Belawan port, 17 miles north of Medan. This is where I board the KM Kelud bound for Jakarta (74th mode of transport) and take tea in my cosy first-class four-berth cabin. At midday a lunch of roast chicken, battered fish, spicy vegetables and mango is served, plus hot water but, sadly, no alcohol. At 1.00pm, pilots in place, we cast-off.
The Kelud is a fairly new (1989) German-built, 14,655 ton, 480 foot, vessel with capacity for 1,900 passengers, of which I am one. Decks 2 to 4 have economy-class dorms (1,398) plus a cinema, deck 5 is second-class cabins (364 passengers) and deck 6 is first-class (124 passengers). Deck 7 is the sundeck plus the mosque - the largest cabin on-board. The class distinctions on Pelni ships are thus: 1st class 'A': two-berth outside cabin with window, hot-water, en-suite bathroom and shower, TV and a complimentary hot-water thermos flask, 1st-class 'B' (which I'm in) is as 1st-class 'A' but it's a larger four-berth inside cabin with no window. 2nd-class 'A' and 'B': six-berth outside with port-hole and eight-berth inside cabin respectively, both with shared bathroom in the corridor.
Joy of joys - I have the cabin all to myself - in fact there only 24 first-class passengers aboard - great.

Wednesday 30: We dock at the Batam islands, just off a misty Singapore and cargoes are off and on-loaded by various means - walking, steel box-container, cargo-net, strap-and-pallet and humped by an army of dockers, the old-fashioned way - it looks like an IKEA forecourt on a sunny Saturday afternoon, but it's imports from Malaysia. I just love the hand-signals to coordinator uses to the crane operator: index-finger waving skyward - up, thumb pointing to the deck - down, fingers and thumb opening and closing, imitating a woman nattering - fast, imitating a man talking - slow, clenched-fist - stop.
Joy of more joys - I still have the cabin to myself - there are now only 14 first-class and 12 second-class passengers at dinner. The Indonesian passengers mostly stay in their cabins watching TV - the sun is shining, the sea is calm and I have a whole cruise-ship to myself - wonderful.
Photos of the voyage to Jakarta.


  1. hello dave "the traveler" :)
    i have planning use this ship, if you would or has any picture about this interior ship etc that gona help me to decide :)

    anyway this nice blog, well thanks for your attention :)

  2. Pram,

    If you click on the link at the bottom of the page you will see pictures of the interior of the ship.