We checked out of the Anambas, said goodbye to the friends we had made there and wondered if we would ever come back.
Cruisers are given a little leeway before they have to exit the archipelago, so we planned a few stops at some of the more remote and uninhabited islands along our easterly route. But as we made the passage north-east, smoke from the burning rainforests on Kalimantan (Borneo) built again until it smothered the islands and the sun became a resentful red ball behind a hazy polluted screen.
Despite our anger about the illegal burning, the view under SY Esper was good and the bottom was clearly visible. We decided to cheer ourselves up by taking a closer look.
The first snorkel off the island of Semut revealed massive devastation of the reef which had been abundant and alive two years earlier. Other reefs we had seen around the archipelago were still intact, so what happened here? We guessed the fierce weather and seas which can affect the Anambas may have been the cause on this more exposed side.
We noticed a large reef close to shore which looked as though it might be OK, so made our way over in the dinghy. It was full of healthy coral and lively fish, so we stayed an extra day and continued to explore the variety and texture in this beautiful coral garden. The footage Jamie captured was his best yet.
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Peace and fair winds, friends!
Liz, Jamie and Millie xxx
Semut: 3°23’08.8″N 106°17’24.9″E
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