Tuesday, October 28, 2008


10th September 2008

Pete ........

We left the anchorage in Rinca and headed towards Labhuan Baja with an early start. My tidal calculations told us that the tide turned in our favour at 12:10 but we thought that we would butt some tide to start with. We got the sails up and just about managed to hold station for an hour until the breeze gave us a lift and we watched a fishing boat come outside of us and then across the main stream to the other side of the bay. We followed and found a counter current and ghosted along until the narrows where we put the engine on and motored against 5kts. Just around the corner, we dropped anchor to wait for 12:10 and then set off again - into the current and we eventually arrived in Labhuan Baja having not seen any favourable current for 9 hours.

We met a guy called Joseph who supplies yachts and he delivered 100 litres of fuel for us and told us that, when the Tide is high the tide turns to go North & East, and when low, it turns South and West. From our measurements, that still does not stack-up.

11th September 2008


Local Tourist Boat

The town itself is ramshackle with falling down huts, rubbish in the streets, cats with hardly any fur & little shops selling bugger all.. the road into it is chaos with loads of cars & motorbikes. It might sound terrible but it does have a real life to it... as you walk down the road everyone says hello & then giggles... the kiddies stare at you with these lovely big brown eyes and once you look back they give you a wave.... We like the Indonesians they are open & friendly people.

Today we took a Bemo (small mini bus) to the SOOPERMARKET which according to Joseph our fuel guy was a huge shop. the Bemo driver asked for 5000 Rupees each and when he stopped at the SOOPERMARKET he wanted 10,000, his co-pilot/money taker in the car laughed when Pete questioned it and agreed that it was, in fact is, only 5000 (45p each) we must have paid way over the odds compared to the locals.

The SOOPERMARKET was in fact a row of shacks selling veg & stuff... we bought Pak Choi, spring onions, carrots, toms, ginger, chilli's & ginger so it's stir-fry tonight. They did have chicken but I couldn't face it as the whole place was swarming with flies and it had a dull grey pallor.

I made a major social mistake as I pulled out a bottle of water and started drinking when Pete said to stop as it was Ramadan!!! they cant drink or eat during daylight hours & the market was full of Muslims... anyway I said" Permissi" which means excuse me and they were fine about it.... whoops!

Two boys asked us where we were going and they offered us a ride back on their mopeds. I was little reluctant as they drive like Sterling Moss & they didn't have a crash helmet for me, anyway I said to the young guy. OK but no wheelies, driving fast or weaving in & out traffic... bless his heart we must have

driven at about 10 miles an hour we chatted all the way back. Pete had a crash helmet I didn't. Great way to get back to Nadezhda.

We left Laubhaun Baja for Sabajor Besar and anchored in 17m of water we reversed back toward to reef to make sure that we would not hit it at 2.5:1 scope. It was the shallowest we dare go and the nearest the reef that we dared go, the depths drop off to over 30m quickly. The water clarity is amazing and you can see the bottom in 25m of water. It is also very warm in the water and so great for snorkelling.

The best marine life so far. We saw a bizarre frilly fish that looked like seaweed not knowing what it was we gave it a wide berth, we were later told that it was incredibly poisonous and one sting from it would require an emergency trip to the hospital.

We had the usual trinket sellers bring their small boats alongside. These guys are true professionals and will not take no for an answer. They will try every trick in the book! One local boat came alongside and promptly put his wife & young baby in our cockpit we had already bought a small wooden trinket box from another boat so we really didn't need another. I gave the wife a pair of flip flops and they eventually, once they realised they were on a hiding to nothing left.

Souvenir Sellers

12th September 2008

We moved to North Komodo today for some more snorkelling. Without a doubt the anchorages are stunning. It's a shame that we are racing through here but not having checked into Indonesia causes a lot of worries, more than likely a handful of Rupees would sort it out! But we'd rather not get on the wrong side of an official.

13th September 2008

We were due to leave yesterday but a Canadian boat came in and asked if we wanted to join them doing a "drift" snorkel through the pass between the islands. Not a bad bit of snorkelling as we all held onto a line attached to their dinghy and floated though the pass at about 4 knots with the tide. The coral was not spectacular but we managed to see a group of Giant Trevally's that were almost as big as us.

Nadezhda at Anchor

14th September 2008

Pete .......

Today, we upped anchor and headed towards Bali. The winds have been kind to us and we spent the whole day doing 7 knots (5 over ground). It seems that the tides are always against us for most of the day! Anyway, the wind has died now but we are getting some tide with us under engine again. We shall see how far we get and whether we can time arrival in Bali for morning or early afternoon. The tide through the pass between Lombok and Bali Flows South continuously at this time of year (so we are led to believe) and so we do not want to shoot past overnight whilst trying to stay still!

Slowly, the wind died, backed, went the other way, turned 180 degrees and I spent a lot of time poling out the jib, bringing it in, moving the boom preventer from one side to the other etc until we ended up just motoring.

15th September 2008

Pete .....

At about midnight, the wind increased over 15 minutes to a force 7 at 60 degrees to the port side and, luckily, we already had 2 reefs in the main to stop the sail from slamming back and forth. We rolled in a good bunch of headsail leaving a scrap out and were zooming along at over 7 knots (4.5 over ground). I reckoned that it was the effect of the gargantuan Tambura Volcano that was 30 miles away and that, as we approached, the wind would come more on the beam. Slowly, it did and life became a bit more comfortable. Tambura is 9630 feet high and its flanks spread for 15 miles in all directions. Eventually, the wind died as we came into its shadow and then increased and headed us again in the morning until it eased back to a broad reach again. If you think about the way that wind would swirl around a symmetrical cone, then that should make sense.

Eventually, we decided to stop and have a rest at Pulua Maddang Island and spent the night in a lovely sand and mangrove fringed bay.

16th September 2008

We headed off to Maddang Island on the NE tip of Lombok and the wind increased and headed us. Wanting to get there with good light, we used the motor to bang into steep sided waves and 20+ knots of headwind that were emanating from the Great Rinjani volcano (12,000ft - son of the Great Houdini). After a few hours of hard motoring at 3 knots we tucked ourselves behind the Islands where the smoke onshore was drifting in the opposite direction and found an anchorage in peace and quiet. The peace was broken at sundown with 2 mosques having a karaoke wailing showdown that never abated.


It's such a shame to race through these beautiful spots but we really don't like being illegally in the country. I rang Bali marina last night and asked for a berth - they do not have any until the 20th due to the World ARC boats and anchoring outside is a bit dodgy. I asked if it was therefore ok to anchor off Lombok until that time and they told us it was no problem and that we could then check-in with customs and immigration once they had space.

17th September 2008

Pete ....

Yesterday, we found that the tide swung Naz on her anchor at 16:00 and decided that we would leave to get some tide North at 02:00 and that it would turn West at 04:30 so we left early leaving the moaning mosques to their antics. All worked out fine although we had no wind to start with. The full moon was high and the going good and, as the sun rose, we found that we were surrounded by hundreds of small fishing canoes with outriggers.

Of course, the easy time could not last and we soon had those 20+ knot headwinds again that could not be sailed into due to the constant 30 degree wind shifts so we motored hard again to make landfall at Teluk Kombal.

18th September 2008

It has blown like stink here ever since we arrived at Teluk Kombal and the white water off the headland discourages any further movement.

Nomad Life arrived yesterday and have had the same problems getting here as we have. In fact, everyone that we have spoken to that have come the same way as us have moaned about the difficulties of sailing in the lee of the islands. I think that we are currently sitting in a wind acceleration zone and that it will die altogether if we move 15-20 miles West.

19th - 21st September 2008


We shared a car with Nomad Life and went to the main town (Mataram) via the monkey forest. The monkeys were very cute and we fed them peanuts that the driver had picked up en-route. Mataram was the usual busy Asian town with heavy traffic, lots of scooters and no road rules. All we did was a bit of food shopping and then returned via the scenic coastal route. We are sitting on a mooring buoy (one of about 15 placed in 30 metres) that the local village have placed in the bay. Local lads sit by the beach and offer services to yachties and we feel that the dinghy is safe to leave there. I think that the village runs a bit like a commune and that income from the buoys and other services are shared to some extent. The local lads are really friendly and we are going to organise fuel and water to be delivered to the beach today in jerry cans.

Monkey and Baby

We have not heard any good news about Benoa Marina in Bali. Apparently the fuel is very expensive and dirty, the water is not potable and the marina is also a good way out of town. The only reason that we wanted to go there was to formally check in. However, we met "Lasse" yesterday (a German family - we last saw Ben when we were hauled out at New Caledonia) and they told us that they managed to do Customs and Immigration at Mataram. The local lads know where to go so we shall be there early on Monday morning in our finest clothes to give it a go - it is not guaranteed and depends on who is working on the day! That will save us the pain of 55 miles of headwind over tide to Benoa. Lasse are still here and we will go and pick their brains about the whole process. If all goes well , we will visit Bali from its North shore by bus and, possibly hire-car.

Sunday was a day of work (Friday being the holy day of rest here). I pulled the loo pump out and took it apart, examined and put back together again. After a few pumps, water was leaking out again and, having taken it back out and dismantled again, I found that the outlet valve was leaking and that the thread for one of the screw fixings was stripped so I applied a bit of sealant adhesive and put it aside for the day to set securely.

The cockpit floor has been oozing water when trodden on in a couple of small places so I got down to the job of cutting and prising the rubber caulking out from between a selected number of teak seams only to find that some strips of teak were a bit loose and one came off altogether. After much preparation, I applied glass fibre resin and stuck down the various bits. I think that it is really a sticking plaster repair since I am expecting the whole floor to come loose sooner or later. The real fix would be to lift all the glued strips of teak, re-prepare the floor underneath and re-glue everything - unfortunately, I have neither the time nor the materials to do the job properly on this occasion and there is always the risk of splitting one of the slats when I prise them off.

22nd September 2008

Today we are trying our luck at checking into Indonesia!

Pete ....

Our first stop was at the wrong place - probably the local harbour master - but the friendly chap made a phone call, gave our driver some directions and instructions and we drove off to immigration in the main town (Mataram). Our driver made another phone call and we waited for 10 minutes until given the nod to get out where we were met by a chap who turned out to be the main harbourmaster of the island. He escorted us through to an office where a very friendly immigration official dealt with our formal entry to the country. He asked some pertinent questions about why we were checking in at Lombok (not an official port of entry) and why we had not gone to Flores, Komodo etc and I did a bit of skirting around the truth that satisfied his curiosity. Fliss, meanwhile, was wowing the harbourmaster with her Indonesian phrasebook and told him (in Indonesian) that Stewart, her brother, was a Harbour Master in England (fairly close to the truth)... the response was something to behold as he announced to the Immigration officer that Stewart was also a Harbour Master. After that, everyone he met, he told them the same thing. I reckon we scored massive brownie points on that!!!! He was dead chuffed!

Next we had to go with the Harbour Master. His assistant jumped in the car with us to show us the way and we drove to a small village. The locals all smiled & waved at us, the Harbour Master's assistant said that they didn't see many "round eyes" & the locals thought we were unique.

The harbour master's sidekick spoke English quite well and formalities went smoothly. We managed to check-in and out in one easy process. Then came the sting! Fliss & I knew it was coming as we understood a few words that the Harbour master had said. "Berapa" came up a few times which means "how much"... We were asked for a gift and I said "Berapa?" & they said "as much as you would like to give"... it's really difficult as too little would be an insult & you obviously you don't want to pay too much. I got out a 50,000 rupee note our & offered it as a gift from both boats, the Port Captain said no it must be a gift from each boat... so Judit with a face like thunder also gave them a 50,000 gift. She should have gritted her teeth and smiled sweetly!! I believe that, once asked for, you cannot refuse because that would mean the harbourmaster would loose face, and we had to offer as little as possible without offending, and do it graciously so that we also did not lose face - the way of Indonesia. 50,000 rupiah is about three pounds and 12 pence. Our driver and car for the day cost 300,000 rupiah (18 pounds and 75 pence between the four of us).

On the way out the Port Captain said to his staff "Hey guys her brother is also a Harbour Master in England!"

Next Customs! this is where we were expecting problems as Naz was over an hours drive away and there had been rumours that the Customs guys were demanding 25% value of the boat as an import tax. However, a nice chap met us and dealt with us efficiently - he had been seconded from Benoa in Bali where customs are used to yachts and so we think that we were lucky to have picked the right day. He also agreed to sign us in and out again in one sitting (Customs must be done at each island visited). And there we go! 6 hours after setting out, we were fully fledged visitors to Indonesia.

23rd & 24th September 2008

I finished preparations and re-caulked the cockpit floor, fixed the light in the main cabin and re-installed the loo pump. I have pumped it a few times and am still searching for a leak. Maybe tomorrow I will feel confident enough to put the tools away.

25th September 2008

Pete ......

At 02:00 this morning, we dodged our way out of the anchorage through the fish farms and set sail for Bali. After all the wind we have had over the past week, we have found that we are having to motor once again. Our destination is called Lovina Beach. Chartplotter shows this as firmly aground


Last night I asked Pete is he had taken a bearing on the way out of the anchorage missing the reefs & the fishing platforms. “No problem” he said “I'll just head for the right light and we'll be fine”.

Anchor up and we slowly made our way out only to notice a shape approaching Naz in the water, I quickly grabbed “our serious beam” torch to see that it was in-fact the fishing platform which is by the reefs. Sharp turn to the right ensued. The light Pete was heading for was the wrong one and the one he meant to aim at was turned off! Thankfully we weren't that close!

As the sun rose we saw hundreds of small unlit fishing boats, you would never see them in the dark, luckily Pete has stayed well off the coast so we didn't have to dodge them.

Local Fisherman

We arrived at Lovina Beach Bali at 15:00 - after starting early we just relaxed in the cockpit & had an early night.

26th September to 3rd October 2008

We spent some time getting to know Lovina and chilling out.

Pete. .....

Early on the 28th, we went off with Graham, Judit (Nomad Life), Ben, Corolla and their 2 kids (Lasse) with our private driver headed to Ubud, Bali's cultural centre, where we planned to stay for a couple of days. First, we visited a Buddhist temple. From there, we climbed up into the hills where the rice paddies hung precariously to the steep slopes and then higher still where spices (cloves and nutmeg) and eventually coffee was grown. The scenery in Bali is beautiful with steep valleys, paddies, lush vegetation and volcanoes. We took a stop at a shack by the side of the road and the owner had his own mini-zoo. The centre-piece was a chameleon-like creature about 3 feet long and he also brought another smaller one that he encouraged us to hold. He had a couple of fruit bats that we could pick up by the legs and they did not seem to mind one bit. They really do look like flying foxes with fury faces and long tongues that that they used to lick the salt from our skin. Fliss and I had a go at having the enormous snake (a python I think) hung around our necks although holding up such a weight for too long was difficult and when it turned its head and stared straight at you from a few inches away it was a little daunting.

Bat, Mongoose and Snake and Orang Ingerris (Me)


I don't mind snakes but this one was huge! After a few minutes it started to squeeze my neck and I could really feel the pressure, needless to say I gave it back sharpish!


We gave a donation of 10,000Rp (75p) and carried on eventually to Ubud. Ben and Corolla had been recommended a place to stay and having looked at a couple of other places, it seemed pretty good and quiet at 80,000Rp per night including breakfast. The accommodation was a set of small bungalows around a courtyard that doubled as the the owners private temple. All of the architecture here is very fancy built of brick and topped with soft black-sand cement that is cast into rough shapes and then beautifully carved into flowers and Hindu gods (mainly looking like demons with big teeth).

Graham and Judit decided to go upmarket and stay in a place for 90,000 but there was really no difference in quality. We joined them at their 'hotel' for the evening meal that was buffet style and included about 20 different dishes. The venue was upstairs, open sided with a thatched roof and we sat on a raised area cross-legged on cushions around 2 low tables. Very nice.

Ubud, Dinner with Graham, Judit, Ben, Corrola and kids

Ubud has grown up since we last visited 7 years ago and has much more traffic, is noisier and more polluted. Still, Fliss and I took a walk out of town and through the surrounding villages and paddy fields and Fliss took herself off to a spa and had an hour and a half of massage, mud-wrap and floral wash. Being the centre of art in Bali, Ubud is teeming with paintings, carvings, clothes and anything else that can be sold. Unfortunately, although the workmanship is superb, we could not find anything that we liked and managed to save our money.

Ubud Outskirts

Livestock Transportation, taking the corners was hilarious

The trip back to Lovina Beach was supposed to be another tour of the Island but our driver seemed to have another agenda. We did managed to convince him to stop at a couple of places but it seemed that the everywhere we went, the locals wanted money for everything. At a Hindu temple, we had to wear a scarf around our waists and a woman tied one around Ben and then asked for money. Ben gave it back but the woman still wanted money for the simple job of tying it around his waist - she got short shrift. So, the pestering hawkers drove us home.

3rd October 2008

Pete ....

Yesterday was spent with last minute tidying, provisioning, carting and rowing goods to Naz and rubbish the other way. We have made good use of the old Avon since our arrival and no use of outboard engine and it has been hot work rowing back and forth. The reason for this is that, when we arrived, the "Sail Indonesia 2008" rally were here in great numbers and the beach boys set up a cartel to look after each dinghy for only 15,000Rp per day. Of course, we did not want to pay but this sort of mafiosa activity means that we could not leave our best dinghy ashore with an engine on it. We are happy to report that the puncture repair stood up to a test of over one weeks use without reinflating.

We are so glad to be leaving Lovina. During Ramadan and its Grand Finale (end of Sept) there were Mussers in the Moskies screaming "Allah White-Bum" until four each morning. Ramadan-a-dan-alana-ding-dong would have been much better. After their period of celebrations, the Hindu temple started its rehearsals for a grand opening later in the month with tortuously repetitive chimes, cymbals and xylaphones of Gamelan "Music". It is the sort of music that can only be concocted by a mad Brahman in the throes of feverish near-death. Once that had finished, the local Muslims (now on holiday) sang very poor karaoke until 4 in the morning.

If that was bad enough, the heat at midnight is still well in the 30's and the mossies somehow still manage to invade despite all of our defences.

Oh.....I nearly forgot the Trumpet practice from the boat on our starboard side and the Country and Western musik from the boat on our port side - minor irritations!!

4th October 2008

Pete ......

It is 15:15 Bali-time and we have just set off from Lovina and are motoring with about 2 knots of headwind. We were due to leave with Nomad Life at about 02:00 last night but I was feeling so poor that I did not eat all day and Fliss had a small bite of plain bread in the evening and promptly threw it up again. We are a little bit better today although Fliss is still one day behind my own gripes and we are hoping that she will find some recovery tomorrow. We have both managed to eat some breakfast today and so have something to be getting on with.

Sunset Leaving Bali


Last night I was sitting in the cockpit feeling really poorly wearing a black sundress. I watched a large seabird circling Naz, as I watched it prepared to land, the bird hadn't seen me and was preparing to land on me! I jumped out the way and it flew over my head and landed on the guard rail, it was as shocked as I was!!!! so funny! Pete came out and it made a strange cranking burping sound of a squalk and flew off....

5th October 2008

Perfect sailing conditions today! We sailed along comfortably at 7+ knots, maybe sailing in Indonesia isn't that bad!

6th October 2008

We have just dropped anchor at Bawean after a lovely sail. We had motored for 6 hours to get away from the grip of Bali and suddenly had enough breeze to clip along at 7 knots. The whole journey has been beautifully calm with a solid breeze that has kept us going at around 6+ knots. Last night, we furled away the headsail to slow us down and we arrived at the anchorage at 09:30. A little tricky since the sun was too low to see the coral patches and we came in very slowly. At one point, the depth dropped from 25 to 5 metres and we reversed hard to a standstill until we could make out the deeper water to port. Anyway, all safe and sound and ready to explore the little fishing village on the shore.

Graham & Judit called us up to see where we were. When they arrived they weren't very happy. Graham had tried to re-calibrate his autopilot, unfortunately the changes he had made had resulted in the autopilot weaving violently from side to side and it wouldn't keep a straight course. This means that they will be hand steering all the way to Singapore!

7th October 2008


Three young local lads came aboard and then offered us a lift to their village. Their boat was a dug out canoe that sat so low in the water, you dare not move in case you capsized it...

We arrived at the village after weaving our way through shallow reefs and the guys tied the canoe to a post & we had to wade through the water to shore, very funny as there was huge crab mounds (we think it was crabs) so one minute you were up to your knees and then the next to you ankles... finding a way through was difficult as you didn't know what the next step would bring....

I can't really describe the village really as it was really traditional! shacks in a jungle type setting, the bridge over the mud flaps was made out of broken up boats that rocked when you walked along it... fantastic! one of the boys took his to his home, he was obviously from a wealthy family as their house was made of brick with marble floors. The parents got out their best glasses & poured us a glass of warm strawberry Fanta and then offered us nibbles. The whole family/village stood in the doorway & watched us! The village is Muslim & the hospitality was amazing, in fact I was embarrassed as I never offered the boys anything when they came on Nadezhda.

Next was a break neck motorbike ride through the island... my driver stopped for fuel so of course we had to drive like Evil Kenevil to catch up Pete & the other lad, we only slowed down for pot holes!

We stopped at a cafe (shack) for a drink & spent a couple of hours chatting to the locals...

I really love it here! it really feels like Indonesia as I remember.... when they dropped us back on the boat I said to Pete here comes the sting, they'll want huge sums of cash! they never asked for anything.

Indonesia love David Beckham and in the rich boys house they had large pictures of him on the wall & Arsenal flags.

8th October 2008

Pete ....

It rained. You could hear it coming as a loud hiss of water hitting the sea. We filled our tanks very quickly and it kept on coming with lightning and thunder to accompany it. The wind piped-up and we found ourselves on a lee-shore with uncomfortable swell rolling us about all day. Fortunately it abated before nightfall so we had a decent rest.

9th October 2008

Pete ........

We set off again with good winds towards.........we actually don't know where we are headed! There is a little island called Nangka near Belitung which is a bit out of our way and difficult to get into. Alternatively there is an island called Karimata that looks ok for anchoring but we have no other info on it. Otherwise, it is a longer haul up to Lingga but we would rather stop before then....we shall see. Nomad Life left the same time as us and are now 10 miles behind us. They are having problems with their autopilot that wants to zigzag them anywhere but the way they want to go and consequently they are having to steer by hand. I think that they will follow our lead in terms of where to stop since we have a spare control unit that could get them by until they can sort themselves out in Singapore.

10th October 2008

We are now hoping to make landfall at the Northern tip of Banka approx 1 degree 30' South and 105 degrees 40' East.

Today was a great sail with no problems and we slooshed along at 6-7 knots all day and all night.

11th & 12th October 2008


Last night I saw another yacht sailing in the same direction as us a few miles ahead and we soon stormed past it leaving it gargling our wake. We even had to change course to miss it! There are loads of fishing boats and larger vessels running up and down the same stretch of water and so we have to be very vigilant and occasionally move out of the way of those who run by the rule of tonnage.

It appears that we are now moving into the ITCZ with its associated disturbed weather. For a few nights we have seen lightening flashes and I think that we have found ourselves in that area. Today, we saw a waterspout not too far away ahead and we dodged a couple of nasty looking rain squalls. Hopefully, all that will dissipate soon and will run away to the South as the NE Monsoon gets going (which is what we are waiting for before going up the Malacca strait).

13th October 2008


We motored with no wind overnight and approached the anchorage in Northern Banka as the gloom of night lifted on the Eastern horizon. The approaches are clear of hazards and the bottom shelves gently towards the beach. This is a bit of a novelty for us since most anchorages seem to be on steep-to shelves of coral in about 15-20 metres. It left us completely flummoxed in this vast expanse of shallow water - where shall we drop the hook? We decided that just inside the elbow of the headland looked best protected and it is certainly the prettiest so we motored in until we reached 6m depth and here we are.

The journey from Bawean has been very relaxing although we have had to use the engine for the last 15 hours. Never mind, we thought that we would be motoring a lot more than we have done and so feel that we have done very well.

14th & 15th October 2008


There is not a lot to tell since we arrived in Banka apart from the fact that we have run out of fresh food and are now digging into our special reserves of tinned food. We took a stroll along the beach and did a bit of swimming although the coral here is non-existent. We go into the sea to cool down since the water is a chilly 28 or 30 degrees centigrade once you get out of the warm shallows. We had a big rainstorm this morning which was refreshing and allowed us to do some washing, now the humidity has risen again and another dip off the side of the boat is in order.

16th October 2008


So, this morning, we set off Northwards again towards the island of Lingga where we will stop briefly before moving on to try and find a shop where we can re-supply. No wind again so it looks as though we will be motoring all the way (140 miles). Tonight, we will cross the equator again and be back in the Northern Hemisphere so we will have to think of something silly to do to mark the occasion - maybe stop the boat for a while and go for a quick swim. Nomad Life are motoring about 1.5 miles behind us so, since it is so calm, we could raft our two boats together in the middle of the sea and have an Equator party?!?

17th October 2008

Pete .......

We crossed the Equator with no frivolities apart from a quick toast to Neptune and Rule Britannia played at full volume.

In the early afternoon, we motored into Pulau Mesanak (0 degrees 26' North, 104 degrees 31' East) and did very little for the rest of the day. In the evening, we watched the hundreds of aircraft coming and going from Singapore. It is 60 miles to Singapore but the orange loom on the dark horizon betrays its prescence.

18th October 2008

Pete ......

We motored to Tanjung Pinang (0 degrees, 56' North, 104 degrees 26' East). The cruising guide suggested that we make sure that water is still flushing through the engine since the plastic bags clog the engine raw water intake. The amount of rubbish floating there is indescribable with plastic bags, drinks cups, plastic bottles, styrofoam, plastic noodle wrappers et al. This is typical of Indonesia where they have not yet got around to understanding about rubbish that does not decay. Seven years ago, we boarded a passenger ferry that was covered with polystyrene cups, plates and plastic knives and forks.....on the decks, on the tables, the seats and shelves. Very soon, the crew were busy cleaning up and putting the whole lot into plastic bin-liners and taking them to the stern. Once all was clear and clean, they simply threw the whole lot over the back leaving a trail of black floating islands for miles.

At Labhuan Baja, we asked someone where to dump rubbish and they simply waved their arm expansively to the sea. We have been taking rubbish to the beach and burning it at the low-tide line.

So, where the folks have access to prepackaged goods, the area is littered with the detritus and here seems to be the worst of all.


Tanjung Pinang is a major town in Bintan.... the water is filthy, loads of plastic bags & rubbish floating past the boat... the town itself is really quite nice, very Indonesian. Houses on stilts & a bustling centre... nothing like the UK where everything is clean & orderly... here is chaos. Men on freight rickshaws (bikes with a trailer type thing on the front) delivering 20 odd cases of beer to a shop... old ladies sitting on the pavement with a bowl of rice selling a few veg.. all around her is rubbish, scabby cats with no fur & half tails... The locals are friendly but the cruising book says that local knowledge advises against leaving your boot unattended... "Nomad Life" Graham & Judit are here also so we took it in turns to do boat watch duty.

19th October 2008

Pete ......

We headed to Nongsa Point Marina today (NE Batam Island) where we hope to do some provisioning and find out the best and easiest way to visit Singapore. Nongsa organise check-in/out and it was certainly simple to check-in with them when we arrived.

20th to 25th October 2008


I went with Graham & Judit to the supermarket here, it was like walking into Nirvana!!!! lots of fresh veg, meat & bread .... we then had steak, salad & french bread.... it wasn't as good as UK supermarkets but compared to the cockroach infested shops that sell bugger all it was an absolute delight!!!!

Life is cheap here, I bought loads of stuff and 10 litres of boat oil & the bill came to 50 quid... Malbrough lights for 200 are 6 quid!!!

Batam is quite a rich island as the Singaporese come here at the weekend. According to gossip the Singaporese are very chic and expect top quality everything. We wanted to find out and so booked tickets by fast-ferry to go there .....

We caught the ferry at 8am Indonesian time and the trip across was only 30 minutes...

Pete made a slight boo boo when he said Salamat pagi (good morning in Indonesian) to the Immigration lady in Singapore, she said with a face like thunder "I'm Chinese" whoops!!!! the conversation finished with a stern faced official... he still got a visa in....

We had a lovely day! we visited "Little India" and had a great curry for lunch! 2.50 for curry, rice, pappadam & some kind of doughy bread a real local doss hole but if the locals eat there it has to be good and it was!

We then went to "Orchard Road" which is Singapore's equivalent to Oxford Street, nothing but designer shops.... BUT guess what!!!! there was a Marks & Spencers - St Micheals food shop... not a lot in there but I bought Ploughmans Pickles & Pesto sauces...

Little India was lovely just like a scene out of "Bollywood"

Then it was onto China Town, which was ok more touristy than the one in Soho....

Singapore didn't seem to have an identity of itself but a mixture of Indian & Chinese.

Singapore is a really really clean city no graffiti anywhere and if you decided to do some street art they will birch you... They also have a law that if you go to the loo & don't flush they will fine you 200 dollars, how they police this god only knows!!!! mad laws like England where you can't buy a bible on a Sunday!.

A few more days relaxing at Nongsa Point and then Malaysia – here we come!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Darwin to Indonesia

3rd September 2008

We left at 08:30 this morning for Flores, Indonesia with no wind and, after a brief foray with the cruising chute, we are again motoring across a flat calm sea. Hopefully, the wind will fill-in later otherwise we shall never get there!

We got the full effects of the tide out of Darwin with 2.5 knots under us at times. Now, we have over a knot against us but we are hoping that the tidal streams will dissipate as we move further from land.


We are late in leaving so it comes as no great surprise to us, but we're ever hopeful that we may get some wind even though our GRIB files have been showing zero winds for weeks now.

4th September 2008

Pete ............

We have motored all but about 4 hours and the swell has built so that we have had to put 2 reefs in the main to stop the shock loads of it banging back and forth. Not a very pleasant sail so far.

All the World ARC boats left Darwin just after us and we watched them steaming full ahead past us last night. We spoke to one this morning and they had more wind than us (we had none) but they were heading on a course slightly further South towards Bali. I noticed that there was a band of distinct Cloud just South of us and we motored towards it and past it to find some breeze that we are now using to get us along at just under 3.5 knots - unfortunately, the tide is now turning against us.

Well, we are about 1 month late leaving Darwin and expected to be without wind (end of July should be the latest time). It still does not help knowing that there will be very little all the way. We are now in two minds as to whether we still head for Flores or keep South where the main winds are towards Bali. It would be a shame to miss the best part of Indonesia but historical GRIB files show us that Bali is about the only place where we can probably sail to. We have looked back over past e-mails and the trend of the winds seems stable.

5th September 2008

Fliss .........

Dead calm again! Absolutely no wind at all.

When we were in Darwin we decided to buy some new lures to try our luck at fishing. Most sailors we meet are stunned at the fact that Pete & I are not keen on fish so we thought we would give it another go.

We stuck a line out the side and had a bite within the hour but when trying to land it it somehow managed to get away.

Pete and I were downstairs trying to work out what we should do when we noticed that the rod's line was bar taught and almost at the end of the reel, we had another bite!

We both felt really guilty reeling the poor fish in & hated watching the fish swimming down to try to get away, I really don't think Pete & I are cut out to be fishermen.

It turned out to be a beautiful Yellow Fin Tuna about 2 foot long.

Yellowfin Tuna

The theory is that you pour some good strong spirit into their gills and it knocks them cold but I think that has to be an old wives tale since all it did was waste our good rum. Instead, Pete clubbed the poor bugger over the head a few times with some heavy-duty stainless steel piping showering himself and the boat in thick red blood in the process. Having pulled its innards out and fed the sharks, we had tuna steaks marinaded in soy sauce, garlic and ginger seared on the barbecue (the sea is now calm) with a bit of fresh salad. It was very good even though we are not really fish eaters.


6th September 2008

Pete .........

This afternoon, we managed to get the chute working and it gave us about 3-4 knots until the wind came too far from the stern. I therefore rigged it up like a spinnaker with the tack attached to the pole and we successfully ran like that at up to 5.5 knots with hardly a breath over the decks until the sun set. Rigging such a large sail like that is not something that I would normally attempt since it would be impossible to handle if the wind picked up but the biggest gust we have had in days is about 8 knots!

Cruising Chute rigged as a Spinnaker

Fliss managed to catch some wind goosewinged during my off-watch and was managing to keep a good 4.5-5kts boat speed but it has died again and, after a few hours of flogging sails and 2-2.5 knots boat speed I have turned the engine on (to charge the batteries of course!).

The World ARC reported winds today of strengths of up to F4. They have motored hard so far and, although leaving after us, they are now about 18-24 hours ahead. I suppose they have to hit their schedules although they must be starting to worry about fuel. We are hoping to get some more wind tomorrow as we move away from the big lobe of barometric indifference that stretches out this way from Darwin.

We are headed South of Roti Island but have decided to continue our original plan to go to to Flores rather than catch the stronger winds on the more Southerly route to Bali. With the calmer seas, we are more able now to get sail out and make the most of the light airs during the day and run Naz at, or just below, actual windspeed. Also, the forecast for 5 days time shows that winds may pick up a bit and this means that we may also be able to sail the less-windy area North of Sumbawa in order to get to Bali from Flores without too much fuel use. Let's Hope!

7th September 2008

Land ahoy! but were not stopping... Another windless night as we ghosted past Roti Island.

8th September 2008

Well, the wind died this morning and we did our best with the cruising chute but it refused to fill for more than a few seconds at a time. It is absolutely still here and steaming hot as a result. I think that 2-3 knots of wind blows in the gusts that manage to ripple the water. So, it's back to the donk and I imagine that we will be motoring all the way from here. Unfortunate and very expensive.

Morning Calms

We are hoping to get to Rinca tomorrow in enough time to put the hook down before it goes dark. The alternative is to bide our time overnight wallowing just off Rinca awaiting sunrise since the passage into Labhuan Baja will be by eyeball mainly and only aided by GPS since nothing we have is corrected to WGS84. The tidal streams are apparently quite ferocious and we are hoping for some favourable current but, like the Torres Strait, we don't know when the streams turn. Unfortunately, we cannot assume 6 hours each way as the tides have a short period overnight (3 hours each way) and a long period during the day (9 hours each way). Fortunately we are on neaps so if we have to bash it then it will be a little easier than springs.

9th September 2008

We arrived after motoring all day and all night and we are now on the second tank of fuel. Finally, we got some wind but had 3 knots current against us as we passed South of Rinca and so had to keep the engine on highish revs and have sails set as well to make good headway. We wanted to get to Lehok Ginggo bay so that we had an easy stab at Labhuan Bajo tomorrow (it now being 16:45). I found some tidal information in one of the guide books and it bases tide flows on Moonrise and set. WX-Tide gives this information and I calculated that we would get some favourable as we came around the West of Rinca but the East flowing current in the main channel meant that we did not get there in time and had tide against all the way. So, we are still pretty unsure of what the flow is going to do tomorrow - we shall have to suck it and see.


It was a VERY difficult ending to the trip. Whilst on watch I had a difficult time trying to keep Nadezhda on course as we were seriously being kicked about by the 4 knots of tide against us.

The coastline is stunning with tall peaky mountains shrouded in the early morning mist.

Pete was immensely frustrated which resulted in name of our father being taken in vain. It seemed that the elements were conspiring against us & no matter how many calculations Pete made we just couldn't work it out.

The main concern was whether or not we would make it in before it got dark.

We dropped anchor in a picturesque bay an hour before sunset, lovely setting by two limestone

Rinca Anchorage

A well overdue shower, sundowner & early to bed to catch up on lost sleep. Welcome to Indonesia.

Cape York to Darwin

18th August 2008


Well, we worked it out like this....

Hammond Rock Slack @ 09:30 - Tide turns West

Thursday Island Low Tide @ 08:00

Therefore Slack = 1.5 hours after LW.

Albany Island LW @ 06:30

Therefore Albany Island Slack @ 08:00

We left Adolphus Island @ 08:15 towards Albany and had slack water for the short crossing. Soon after, we recorded a stream with us and it has remained that way. We were well past Hammond Rock 1 hour and forty minutes after Slack water there with 2 knots in our favour. Theoretically, we had more than 4 hours left of good tide to go as we are racing at over 9 knots to keep up with the tidal bulge!!

We kept South of Prince of Wales Island and though the shoals in Endeavour Passage. 32 miles in 4 hours. The weather looked a bit grim before we started out and we thought about the third reef whilst at anchor but remained with the 2 already in. The seas have now calmed down and we have one reef and all the headsail - let's hope it remains that way! Our batteries are recording -0.2 ampere hours having been at zero for the past couple of weeks with the laptop running almost continually - a sign of calming winds hopefully.

I rechecked our charts on Van Diemen Gulf and Clarence Straights and they have tidal diamonds scattered liberally all over them and the necessary information relating to tidal streams in relation to HW Darwin. We shall try to plan passage for the Westgoing slack there.

19th August 2008

Not a bad day and we had a fullish moon that showed between the clouds occasionally but generally lightened the scene in any case. The breeze was stronger overnight and did some silly things that meant three trips on deck for jib-pole work and mainsail reefing but, all in all, it settled down for a relaxing time.

We have slowly unfurled all the jib but news is that we will probably be reefing it later.

The Gulf of Carpentaria has been dubbed locally as the "Washing Machine" - on rinse cycle probably. We have some strange swell coming directly from the South even though the winds are more of an Easterly slant. This provides quite a bit of surging, shoshing and screwing which is a bit uncomfortable.

20th August 2008

A quieter day today with some sunshine which is quite relaxing. We have just passed Cape Wessel and the side-to swell has disappeared making life a little more comfortable.

We did carry favourable currents right through the straights but now have a regular countercurrent that always appears to be greater than the current with us. Probably due to an over zealous log rotor.


21st August 2008

And Sunrise

We hope to be approaching Clarence Strait at midnight tomorrow night and will then have to plug 2 hours of current against us before getting a favourable flow. This will mean a lunchtime arrival at Darwin after which we will pass out and go to bed (not necessarily in that order). We have to wait for our CAIT cruising permit before we can get our Indonesian Visa and this will take to the end of the month. Our CAIT Agent told us not to go to Kupang (W Timor) as the customs there will extort a percentage of the boats value so we will make landfall in Flores instead. This means that an amount of cruising in Indonesia will be bypassed and brings us back on our original schedule.

A nice sunny day here after a cloudy night. Last night it was Fliss's turn to get rained on, hopefully it will stay dry tonight.

22nd August 2008

We ended up butting the tide going into the Dundas Strait which leads into Van Diemens Gulf and have over a knot against. The tide turns in 1.5 hours time. We are a bit late here as the winds were a bit fickle today and they have just turned through 180 degrees (or thereabout). We are motorsailing and have been for about an hour after making the most of the last winds in our direction at 8 knots boatspeed under full sail. We still have about an hour in the bag to make Clarence Strait at slack and so don't feel too pushed yet - the start of Clarence Strait is 69 miles away yet but we hope to make better speed with tide in our favour.

23rd August 2008

Well, we used the engine and butted a bunch of tide in Van Diemens Gulf so that we could make the tidal gate to get through the Clarence Strait. The winds were light and we were mainsail only but Fliss managed to eke a bit of extra speed by deploying the jib whilst I slept ready for the Clarence St passage. I got up at midnight as we were approaching Cape Hotham and we were inundated by insects of every nature....Hard-backed mini ones, flies, big cockroachy things, dragonflies - the lot. We extinguished all lights and did a thorough spray and eventually got rid of them although we will be sweeping them up from inside and off the decks for a while.

Fliss knocked-off and the tide turned in our favour at 02:15 as planned and the breeze increased a little so we could turn the engine off. We approached the Clarence Strait cautiously - there was supposed to be a red buoy at Rooper Rks but all was black - no lighthouse (sectored so you cannot see it) and no red flashing light. Sailing into the darkness with the tide running up behind when you know there is stuff out there is very unnerving - I thought they had turned the power off!

Anyway, the lighthouse appeared on cue and at 2 miles away, I spotted the red buoy. All went smoothly from thereon although the channel is really marked for boats going the opposite direction (in the way the light sectors work).

We rounded up towards Darwin on a fairly close haul and I managed to get a couple of degrees in the bag for later just in case the wind headed us. Not long after, we were doing 7.5 knots and getting a bit of spray so I put a few furls in the headsail (we always have 2 in the main at night) and we stormed on. As we approached Darwin the sun rose - how is that for perfect timing - and we also had an hour and a half of tide still left. However, the wind increased and we had to turn hard into it to get into the entrance so we dispensed with the jib and motor-sailed hard into it. We were almost at a standstill but the tide did us a favour and we crept slowly huddling behind the sprayhood on two tacks to get into Fannie Bay - if the tide had been against us, it would have been difficult even getting in here. Just heard on the VHF that there is a 30kt strong wind warning. Anyway, we could not have had it more perfect, the overall sail was very good, the approach timing worked perfectly, the wind stayed light and pleasant through the tricky bit and we arrived just as the sh17 hit the fan.

We will stay on Naz today and have a rest, tomorrow, we might go further upstream where there is a pontoon to land the dinghy. Here in Fannie Bay, the 6m tide goes out a long way and it is a long haul with the dinghy. So, no chips for us today but a Fray Bentos pie and mash sounds good.

We will stay here as long as it takes to do paperwork and visas and go to the chandlers (again - for jib sheets that won't last the way back) as well as doing provisioning - again.

Fliss is busy sweeping bugs off the deck at the moment - I'm surprised that they didn't all get washed off on our approach as we were scooping water with the bows.

24th August 2008

We moved to a location that is more convenient for the dinghy parking. We are just outside one of the marinas here and there is a pontoon to strap your dinghy to. The alternative is to haul the dinghy over half a mile of sand at low tide (the range being up to 6m here)

We went into town which is a good 40 minute walk and treated ourselves to burger and chips before visiting the supermarket and hauling the goods back through the intense heat here. Whew! it really does get hot.

This morning we received our CAIT by e-mail and printed it off before embarking on the hot slog back into town. We started off at the Copy-Shop where we had learned that we could get charts....ask for Chris because no-one else will admit to having charts. He asked about our itinerary and then suggested that he could print off a full portfolio of charts through Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand for $250 - cash only, I will also have a word with him about Turkey and Greece as well - he told me to simply tell me where I was going and he will print the charts - highly illegal of course but, when BA charts cost $60 a piece, I am not complaining!

We visited the customs house where we received information about duty-free fuel, alcohol and chandlery and started the check-out process so that, when we leave, things will run smoothly. Then, on to the Post Office to pick up post-restante Registration Cetrificate. After that, we went to the Indonesian Embassy and completed the necessary forms, handed over our CAIT and $120 cash and have been promised that the Visas will be ready at 14:30 next Tuesday. So, it looks like we will be leaving soon after that.

Darwin is ok but not as nice as Cairns. One of the problems is the distance to town and also the feeling that it has a sprawling centre. We will be glad to move on when the time comes.

Nomad Life are here. They went to a beach party (jugglers and fire dancers etc) last night and returned to their dinghy to find it missing. Graham was convinced that he tied it securely to a large boulder and thinks that it was stolen rather than simply floated away. They were going to leave tomorrow so that has put paid to those plans for a while. I haven't asked whether it was insured. We had already started locking everything here after news that a danforth kedge was stolen off a boat in Fannie Bay recently.

So everything has suddenly fallen into place here and now it's shower time and time to treat those blisters on my feet.

25th August to 1st September 2008

We spent our time re-provisioning, washing and fixing bits and bobs.

Dressed overall in washing

having done some varnishing, Fliss called from the chandlers and told me that they had sourced some suitable toilet piping to replace the clogged one in our front loo. I got to work and stripped out the old pipe and cut it away from the seacock. It was then that I realised that the seacock does not seal very effectively and was dribbling water out so tried to get the new pipe on quickly. Of course, it would not slide over the end and the lead-in through the cupboard wall was not really large enough or at the right angle to get a good push at it. As soon as I bent the pipe to the seacock, the pipe would not run through the hole in the wall. With Fliss mopping bilges, I sawed a larger hole and faired it off and then soaked the pipe-end in boiling water. Eventually it went on and I had even remembered to put two new hose clips on the pipe beforehand.

The hose clips had mullered my fingers with their sharp edges and I eventually found a use for the gardening gloves that dad us before we left!

The pump refurbished ok and I started fitting it. It goes into the smallest space imaginable and, without pre-bend on the new pipe, it was almost impossible to get it twisted through the right angle to settle it onto the bolts. After lots of cursing, swearing and grunting in the stifling heat, it eventually listened and gave up the fight.

I fitted the last piece of hose next morning onto the rear of the loo and gave it a good flush only to find that we had a leak at the pump. I believe that it is the topmost elbow joint (outflow) but the fix would have to wait for my torn and bleeding hands to heal. Although I had treated the cuts that night with iodine, two of the cuts were sore and weepy next morning. No more messing with even new toiletry items until they are good again.

Calcification of Urine

Finally, we got fuelled up and fully watered and then went into town where Fliss got her hair cut and we did the last bit of provisioning. We went to the chandlers to get gas bottles filled and went to a rigging shop for a spare part. From there, we walked to the Indonesian Embassy who had our visas ready and then on to Customs for our exit papers.

A slow walk back to the dinghy brought us back in time to meet Customs there with our pepper spray (that arrived from Mackay today) and also meet the duty-free delivery man.

We now have to go back to the chandlers to pay our bill and pick up the gas bottles and then we can relax before setting off tomorow morning. Phew!

The tide starts going out at 08:30 so we will probably set off then. We will need a little push as there is no wind in this entire area and we expect to be using the motor a lotta-lotta more than we would want to. Flores will take about 6 days or 8 days depending on how much juice we want to use - always a discussion that I lose since I don't want to spend the money motoring but Fliss is always eager for landfall!