Friday, 28 March 2014

Internet again...

We have travelled a few miles since crossing the equator... and we are now at a lovely group of islands
with a huge cell tower just a mile away. So, all 3 of us have jumped on to the web to check emails etc.

As mentioned earlier, we crossed the equator approximately off Palau (Island) Kentar on our way to the bottom of P. Lingga. The next day, we raised anchor at 0700 for a 240 miler non-stop to Belitung,
Working on an average speed of 7 knots, we expected to reach Belitung mid the following day.
We set up watches of 3 hours up, 6 hours down, starting with Ron, then Annie, then myself.
We also had a busy shipping lane to cross in the middle of the night. The wind was between 10 and 16 knots
on the port beam all the first day so sailed with no motors making exactly our desired average of 7 knots. The seas were quite lumpy so there was a bit of rocking and rolling.
We motored all through the night and Ron's watch 0100 to 0400 had some excitement for him in the middle of the shipping lane but he got us through safely.

We arrived at Belitung about 1500 but on low tide and we couldn't enter the estuary until 1700, sitting on the mud until the tide came in. While we were waiting 2 other cats arrived.. lovely people from New Caledonia doing a similar trip to us but in the opposite direction.
Eventually, we all entered the estuary and parked up for the night in an intriguingly picturesque environment.

We were getting low on bread, fresh milk and veges, so the plan was laid that Annie and I would go ashore the next morning while Ron took the boat back out before the tide got too low. Ron dropped us ashore in the inflatable, and we set off in search of supplies.
It is difficult to describe this experience.... firstly the huge fresh food market, the people all in awe of us (nobody spoke English), but possibly best described by our passing a school. As we walked past the school in single file, on a busy street, a few children about 6-8 years of age came out of their classroom; smiling and waving and very very excited. Next thing a swarm of children came pouring out of the school, moving toward the fence that separated them from us... all with huge beaming excited smiles, waving and excited chattering. As we walked they all followed us along the fence line until we came to a corner of the school grounds where there was no fence. Naturally, Annie stopped and must have greeted personally probably half of them. It was amazing.

We found no bread, milk or meat; nobody spoke English, and clearly we were something strange to their way of life.

Our next leg was another biggy of 250 miles so we decided to break it up by finding a nice beach at the south of Belitung for a swim and walk in the sand. We arrived at Membalong at 1630 and had an amazing swim in water crystal clear, deep, and must have been 30 degrees. Awesome.

Yesterday, 27 March we raised anchor an hour before dawn at 0500 and set out for Palau Karimunjawa
on the same watches as before.
This time however, the sea was like a millpond, no wind... as if we were in the doldrums.
These conditions remained the same for the entire trip so we motored all the way. On my watch from 0700 to 1000 this morning we motored into this group of islands, reefs, and shipwrecks...laying anchor 2 1/2 hours ago at 1100.

On Sunday March 23 we were at 0 degrees 00'. Today we are at just short of exactly 6 degrees South,
at Longitude 110 deg 25' in the Java Sea.
Tomorrow we have a 150 miler to Bawean, then a little bit longer trip to Pulau Kangean, and then finally to Bali. So, it's quite a bit of watches sailing coming up in the next few days!!!!!

For the rest of today.... it is relax, hopefully score some diesel from the locals at a good price, and prepare ourselves for some big trips. Oh, and get some provisions for Annie's galley. She feeds us so well!!!!!

Hopefully catch you again at Bawean. Now to update the Voyage Gallery


Anonymous said...

Geoff, its so good to read all of this! Makes me want to do it one day.
Do you do any fishing on the way or is it impractical? - Sumant

Geoff Harnden said...

The lures are out at every opportunity and with superb results. I could live happily ever after on fresh raw fish. You my friend are welcome any time... Tonga / Fiji for 3 weeks ?? I'll pay your airfares. We leave Jun 23/2015