Well, I worked in Batam for a year a few years back, and took a lot of long weekend trips travelling round Java and Sumatra. I'm truly in love with train and ferry travel, no matter how poor the conditions, so I've been taking semi-annual trips back to SE Asia to connect up the places I've seen with overland/sea connections. I've already covered Bali to Batam in a contiguous line, Now I want to carry it on to Medan. If I can get to Tanjung Balai Asaham or Rantauprapat by ferry, I can catch a train in either city the rest of the way, then ferry to Malaysia and on...
You are correct about the Tanjung places, at least in Riau. But that has to do with the fact that the Riau Province has been in the middle of a shipping corridor for many centuries, and 'Tanjung', as a cape or bluff, is an obvious place name amongst the coastal and island filled province. I've been to Tanjung Pinang in Bintan myself, and it is certainly roguish, but not at all in comparison with most of Batam. Indeed, I was quite impressed with the Old Riau feel of downtown Pinang. On the other hand, I've never been to Tanjung Batu or Tanjung 'Tiga Pulu' to the south of Batam, but I hear that they are a bit out of control. I think that all has a lot to do with being so close to Singapore, much the way Mexican towns on the US border are filled with drugs and prostitution, but are very poor examples of true Mexican culture.
Your hydrofoil trip much have been fascinating. While I appreciate Inul as much as any man, 10 hours of the Drill would get boring.
I appreciate your reply, and will report on my trip when I return.