Spent a day anchored just north of Krui, tried surfing a reef there but it was super shallow and I was alone, not comfortable at all. We sailed to Krui later that day with the goal of purchasing diesel, water, and whatever food and drink we could find. We were greeted at the dock by a handful of locals and we inquired about diesel with one lady who spoke pretty decent English. She asked how much we wanted to pay, rather than telling us the price, which is surprisingly common in Indonesia. We told her we wanted to pay 7,000rp/liter, which is a little more than the locals pay but much less than foreigners are usually charged, and she said she would ask around for us.
From the harbor we strolled in to town. Its certainly no metropolis but is the biggest city weve been to in about a month, so we were excited to explore the shops. There wasnt a good grocery but there was an ATM along with a few places to buy cell internet credit, a handful of restaurants, and lots of barber shops. I got a haircut for 10,000/rp (about $.75).
While wandering around town we met a lady named Maria, who sold big jugs of water, crates of beer, and ice. After placing an order with her to be delivered to the harbor, we asked if she could arrange for diesel to be delivered as well. She said she could for 9,000/rp per liter. We got her number and said we would get back to her. We went back to the original lady, who said she could also get it for 9,000/rp. We told her we would think about it, then went ahead and placed the diesel order with Maria. We figured it would be much easier to do everything through the same person.
The delivery was coming two hours later, so we explored the beach around the town a bit, then went back to the boat to kill some time. While we were there, a police boat pulled up alongside us, and asked to board our boat. Wed successfully avoided the Indonesian police thus far, but it appeared that our time to pay the piper had finally arrived.
There were 6 guys on the police boat; 3 were in proper police uniforms, three were in plain clothes. One of the guys in plain clothes had a submachine gun slung over his shoulder, the other was a guy who had been hanging out with the initial diesel lady when we met her at the harbor. As the guys started boarding our boat, the ones on the boat were bashfully snapping pictures on their phones. Once several of them were on board, they asked if we could all take a picture together. It turns out they just wanted some fodder for their Instagram accounts. It was unbelievable, they were friendly and left without even asking for for our immigration papers or a bribe.
Shortly after they left Jesse and I jumped in the dinghy to go pick up our order from the harbor. On the way in we saw the police boat, and it didnt seem to be doing to well. Its engines were off and it was drifting towards some rocks. They had already made one guy, presumably the lowest ranking, jump in the water and he was trying to fend off the boat using his arms and body. We nosed the bow of their boat away from rocks using the dinghy, and then towed them the rest of the way in to the harbor while the rest of the village watched. It must have been a pretty funny sight for the villagers, two white people in a small inflatable dinghy towing in a large police boat full of local police officers.
After all of the excitement died down, we met up with Maria and started loading supplies in to the dinghy. While we were loading the first lady we talked with came storming up and was very upset that we bought diesel from Maria and not her. There were claims of cheating and treachery, all of them either exaggerated or flat out lies. We contemplated giving her some money to calm her down, but decided we would discuss it after we finished ferrying all the supplies back to the boat.
After we finished loading everything back to our boat, we decided that wed ask Maria what she thought we should do. The angry lady was friends with the guy on the police boat, so we didnt like her being angry with us. Jesse went back to the harbor alone because the dinghy was full of jerry cans, the rest of us waited on the boat for him.
He got back over an hour later. The police had been waiting for him when he arrived, the same ones who were snapping pictures with us a few hours earlier. They accused him of buying diesel at a below market rate, and paraded him through the street before bringing him back to the office for the shake down. It ended up only being a 500,000rp (around $40), but the whole thing was pretty frustrating considering we saved their ass a few hours earlier. Definitely could have been a lot messier though.
The next two days we all did our own thing during the day, which for me meant taking the dinghy to a surf break and getting some waves. There wasnt much swell but the wave was fun and the people in the water were really friendly. Maria also kept us well stocked with ice and beer, so the evenings were spent drinking cold beer and going ashore for dinners of goat, duck, and other meaty delicacies. The evening of the 15th we set off from Krui for Tambling, a wildlife conservancy on the southern tip of Sumatra that houses rescue tigers along with rhinos, elephants, water buffalo, and other all sorts of other critters.