Sail Belitung 2011: cruising to the island beyond the rainbow


Continuing on their voyage through the Indonesian archipelago, the yachts taking part in Sail Indonesia, are now heading west to the island of Belitung in the province of Bangka-Belitung, located off the east coast of South Sumatra. Flagged off at the Darwin Port in Australia on July 25, then sailing northwest to take part in the Sail Wakatobi excitements, participating yachts are today ready to be welcomed by the splendor and warm hospitality of Belitung, more popularly known as the “Island Beyond the Rainbow.”

Although yachts may start arriving in early October, the pinnacle of Sail Belitung will take place only from October 5-12, 2011, while a series of activities have already been ongoing since April. Still carrying the theme, “Clean Ocean for the Future,” the Sail Belitung will be filled with a variety of exciting events that include a Yacht Rally and a Yacht Race, Jet Ski attractions, a fishing competition, and an attempt to break the Guinness World Record in an underwater chess match.

The series of events will be spearheaded by an international seminar on marine tourism on the topic: “Marine Tourism Destination Management for Sustainable Development,” which is scheduled to be held at the Hotel Novotel, Pangkalan Baru, on the neighboring island of Bangka, slated from September 21-22, 2011. Among distinguished speakers at the seminar will be: Dr. Cesar Castaneda (CED), Prof. Dr. Ir. Chafid Fandeli, Ms. Prof. Dr. Dietriech G. Bengen, Dr. Supraktikno, David Sanders, Dr. Rer. Nat. Dadang K. Mihardja, Budi Setiawan, James McPaul, the Mayor of Wakatobi, and the Consul General of Seychelles Nico Barito.

Meanwhile, the Yacht Race and Rally, the main features of Sail Belitung, will take place at the Tanjung Kelayang beach from October 5-12, 2011. On these same dates, there will also be social activities aimed at improving the health of the population of Bangka Beitung, implementd in a social action program called Operasi Surya Bhakti Bhaskara Jaya, held on both Bangka and Belitung islands and projected to draw some 483 patients.

From October 5-12, the excitement of Sail Belitung will also involve jet ski attractions, seafood and fish products exhibition, a Singapore-Belitung cruise, a national fishing competition, a national diving competition, a marine and kites festival, fishing boats parade, underwater photography competition, and a unique attempt to create the first ever Guinness World Record in an underwater chess match.

The height of the entire series of events will occur on October 10, when President of the Republic of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is scheduled to attend the official ceremony.

Aside from these main events, there are also numerous supporting events decorating Sail Belitung 2011. Among those commencing from October 1-19 are: an East Belitung Fair at the district of East Belitung, beach conservation activities at Pangkalpinang, the President Cup competition for the best Barongsai or lion dance, Nasik Strait swimming competition, and the Asia Pacific beach volley competition.

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