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Anthem Adrift
Please and Thanks
08/02/2015, Overnight to Banda

Sunday 2 August 2015

Half of crew is still struggling with gastrointestinal aftereffects of Tuesday's gala dinner and other half with a cold, so decision was made to bypass potential diving at P.P. Kai and sail right for Banda Neira. Having left at 0900, should arrive tomorrow morning where it may be necessary to drop the hook in 30 meters and back up so lines from each quarter can be tied ashore.

Did not properly explain yesterday, but Bahasa is the Indonesian language. After hours of diligent study we are fluent in one word, "terima kasih" - "thank you". Our use of it often elicits a smile such as an adult might give a child trying to explain relativity, but everyone is indulgent and friendly and seems to appreciate the attempt. Regrettably they don't apparently just say "good day", but differentiate morning, afternoon, evening and night, so may skip those for awhile and go straight to "where is" - "dimana", followed by "breakfast" - "sarapan pagi" and "coffee" - "kopi". In a welcome booklet with a few phrases, 3 included together are: "How much is it?", "Can I get a discount?" and "I don't have enough money". For now, we can point, vendors can write the cost and everyone knows the meaning of "OK" and "no". Have yet to confirm, but exchange rate is something like 10,000 to 1. An ATM can make you a millionaire and you don't even have to say "tolong" - "please".

Jack

Names
08/01/2015, Pulau Walir

Saturday 1 August 2015

There are 52 boats on this rally. Some of Anthem crew have learned names from perhaps 12 or 15. Less derelict complement remember more. Given the current level of synaptic ossification, may take entire 3 months to retain them all. Most likely, however, it will be a rolling memorization with earlier names dropping off as new ones commandeer the few remaining brain cells.

This lagoon should be well protected, but strong more southerly wind has increased fetch so boat is dancing a bit and dinghy travel is quite wet. Went to nearby reefs for pretty decent snorkeling although viz was limited. In places dense staghorn coral was a meter deep creating a network of safe haven for multitudes of brightly colored little fish. Also ran to shore, but locals are very protective of local pearl farms (cultured white), so didn't wander too far. On HF net this morning heard report of good dive site 35 miles distant at Pulau-Pulau Kai, so expect to head there tomorrow. May make Banda in a few days. Probably skip Namrole on Buru due poor anchorage plus advertised good diving at next, Pulau Wangi Wangi (probably doesn't sound so naughty in Bahasa).

Jack

Form Up, Move Out
07/31/2015, Pulau Walir

Friday 31 July 2015

Didn't get away from Debut yesterday as hoped. Officials sprang another required form on us, then wouldn't give out the form that we got Wednesday to other crews without yet another form (temporary import for boat which nobody has) that we don't have either. While rest of crew worked on Panda generator which had sprung a raw water exhaust leak crusting one side with salt, distaff contingent spent 4 hours ashore trying to get satisfaction, but like Mick, couldn't. No worries as boats remaining will bring all additional forms (not sure, but think we're at 5 or 6) to Banda, next scheduled stop, or Namrole, one after that. Was it mentioned that a rally is the easy way to cruise Indonesia?

After finally catching up with 11 hour sleep despite amplified wailing ashore at 0500, left this morning with several boats bound for either Walir (our intermediate stop for diving) or Banda Neira. Had a very good broad reach in 18 to 22 knots, initially zigzagging through numerous islands west of Debut, dodging scattered reef and pearl farm buoys, then detouring around 2 mile string of almost invisible fish traps directly across otherwise open route. One guesses night sailing here is going to be a might sporty. Made great time and now in a lagoon with 5 other boats anticipating sundowners with entire contingent on Always Saturday (Ron & Nancy). Crew from Champaign Charlie (Shayne & Lisa) explored diving possibilities while we engaged in our specialty, vegging.

Jack

Gund and Roses
07/29/2015, Debut, Indonesia

Thursday 30 July 2015

Connection to Brunei, only good Saimail station shown from this locale, has been spotty; on some occasions excellent and others non-existent. Last 2 installments of this assault on coherent, readable prose were sent concurrently due that second thing. Perhaps a more propagationally (not a real word) auspicious time can be found, but must be after first cup of coffee amorning and before second glass of wine anight.

Did indeed get departure paper after waiting all day on boat then waiting around for a hour ashore then going over to final arriving boat, Pikuditu (pee-koo-DEE- too - bought in US, documented in BVI, Dutch couple), where customs officials had the thing. Apparently still need some sort of additional cruising permit and a temporary import document that the organizer, Raymond, will reportedly obtain, but which is not required to leave here now. A rally is the easy way to cruise Indonesia.

Discovered that Debut is half Muslim and half Christian. Was informed they had a little holy kerfuffle about a decade ago and so partitioned the place. The groups are on either side of a river dividing the village. Rivalry now seems to focus on each trying to out-populate the religious competition as the place is overrun with children, but is otherwise very peaceful. Make love not war.

Jack

Hello and Good Grief
07/29/2015, Debut, Indonesia

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Welcome ceremony yesterday morning consisted of people dancing and singing and government officials giving speeches. This lasted for over an hour. Then we and 3 friends (or should that be '3 friends and we'?) waited another hour to get permission to take a van into Tual for ATM and shopping, skipping the scheduled school visit to most likely see young people dancing and singing and government officials giving speeches. Wandering around the bigger town was a fascinating cultural contrast with what we've previously seen and was both enjoyable and productive. Few locals are fluent, but many have a little English. Everyone was remarkably friendly, wanting to talk, shake hands or have their picture taken with us. A surprising number of people had cameras, smart phones or tablets. Gala dinner scheduled from 1900 to 2200 had everyone sitting around until 2000 then an hour of people dancing and singing and government officials giving speeches. Actual dinner was a pretty well done buffet with some very good food and a bit that was more arduously exotic. The day's organized activities served primarily to subdue enthusiasm for attending any more. Of the 20 planned stops, 15 have both welcoming ceremony and gala dinner. Good luck with attendance.

Today's schedule included tree planting and a cultural carnival which one fears might include people dancing and singing and government officials giving speeches. Community night from 1900 to 2100 is described as "dance performance by cultural group from..." One suspects there will also be government officials giving speeches. We'll stay aboard with wine, pork chops and perhaps a movie - no musicals. If able to obtain departure permit this afternoon, expect to set sail for Banda Neira early AM. By the way, zarpe requirement was relayed to everyone not through any official source, but by a cruiser who accidentally made discovery. Should be interesting to find out reception, on arrival at next port, for 2 boats who left yesterday without.

Jack

Getting 'Round
07/27/2015, Debut, Indonesia

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Finally got customs on the boat late afternoon, then dinghied out to help a boat (an extremely rare Hunter as most people have better sense) come in after snagging a fishing net (3 or 4 boats did) that precluded starting engine (once in calmer water someone dived on it to clear prop and they motored in) and finally snagged a ride into town with 4 others for dinner. Next time you're in Tual don't miss Rundu Rasa Restaurant. A little hole in the wall, but the food was wonderful. As much as we could eat plus dinner for the driver and interpreter was about $7 US apiece. This is actually not good news as we had both gotten near fighting weight, but now fear incipient rotundity.

Jack

Getting Round
07/27/2015, Debut, Indonesia

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Finally got customs on the boat late afternoon, then dinghied out to help a boat (an extremely rare Hunter as most people have better sense) come in after snagging a fishing net (3 or 4 boats did) that precluded starting engine (once in calmer water someone dived on it to clear prop and they motored in) and finally snagged a ride into town with 4 others for dinner. Next time you're in Tual don't miss Rundu Rasa Restaurant. A little hole in the wall, but the food was wonderful. As much as we could eat plus dinner for the driver and interpreter was about $7 US apiece. This is actually not good news as we had both gotten near fighting weight, but now fear incipient rotundity.

Jack

Getting the Dirt
07/26/2015, Debut, Indonesia

Monday 27 July 2015

Several boats stopped at a night accessible anchorage 5 miles south of Debut wee hours yesterday. Coming in slightly later wee we stopped a mile south of that due unruly control situation. After subduing spinnaker and not wanting to intrude on subsequent parade to final destination, mellowed out with breakfast then sailed in late morning behind the pack. Rest of day was spent getting boat sorted while awaiting quarantine and immigration. Customs, due sometime today, will precede a ride into Tual, the big town about 15 Km north, (Debut is only a fishing village, but with better anchorage) for ATM, fresh market, cafe and sundry mischief.

All boats were given an Indonesian phone number with sim. If the area weren't oversubscribed we could possibly use it, but instructions to activate and add time are printed in Indonesian. No worries as we can easily translate with internet.. oh, right. Upshot is that the grid remains a distant memory. HF still available through Brunei and Jakarta, but service is spotty even post gloaming.

With apologies to Ben Franklin (being dead, he probably won't mind), early to bed and late to rise didn't affect our wealth or wisdom, but we certainly feel better. Not good enough to do any work around the boat, mind you, but feeling good is its own reward. Banana pancakes, postponed from Sunday, also helped and being in physical contact with first solid ground since 9th might not suck either.

Jack

Spinning a Tale
07/25/2015, Debut, Indonesia

Sunday 26 July 2015

Couldn't have been more entertaining. By the time we arrived at anchorage about 0400, spinnaker had almost fully deployed though twisted tight at top and bottom. With wind varying from 8 to 13, keeping pointy end into it for anchoring was great fun. Fortunately the hook caught so we stayed put although subsequently discovered snubber shackle, bent from the strain, was nearly impossible to remove.

At dawn rigged a bridle to lie side to wind, climbed to masthead, cut away sock control line, which had managed to straddle the headstay (pretty sure that was impossible) fouling top end, and lowered the whole thing into water where it was retrieved. This went waaaaaaay smoother than one might have expected. Hard to say as yet, but for reasons that completely escape me, nothing appears to be damaged except 4 inches of control line. This will be more thoroughly ascertained in the fullness of time.

Jack

Let's Wrap This Up
07/24/2015, Day 5 to Debut

Saturday 25 July 2015

Have just discovered another fun thing to do while cruising. You know that downwind sail recently extolled for performing so admirably at 150 degrees off the wind? Did you know that if it's flown a bit further downwind with too much main and a wave kicks the stern around it can wrap the headstay. Then with wind catching loose material it can tie itself into a knot and not return to the proper side... ever. If this had happened to us we might have tried for over an hour to untangle the thing with amazing, but momentary success before it rewrapped. Oh wait, that's what happened. Crap. Finally gave up, secured the flailing bits as able and continued on with main and staysail. Fortunately, wind is perfect for sufficient speed to arrive by dawn thus configured, but not so strong as to fray loose bits of a hopefully, still functional sail. Once protected from wind expect to retrieve as required, possibly using bosuns chair and, no doubt, the occasional, encouraging naughty word.

Beautiful morning with, as indicated, a lovely breeze, clear sky and comfortable humidity. Still rolling, but not cruelly as sea is down to a meter. GRIB (Glibly Rash Insipid Babble) forecasts identical conditions through arrival at temporary, sheltered anchorage just prior Debut for sail sorting. Clearance into Indonesia should be completed tomorrow afternoon or evening. While the rabbit remains stoic, a dour demeanor indicates he's over it and just wants to be there. Wimp.

Jack

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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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