Anthem Adrift

22 August 2016 | Tawau
10 August 2016 | Pulau Bohaydulang
08 August 2016 | Tungku Bay
06 August 2016 | Dewhurst Bay
04 August 2016 | Kinabatangan River
20 July 2016 | Pulau Mantananai
18 July 2016 | En Route Teluk Kaduka
05 July 2016 | Pulau Tiga
04 July 2016 | En Route Pulau Tiga
28 June 2016 | En Route to Sabah
24 June 2016 | Serasa, Brunei
22 June 2016 | En Route Jerudong
15 June 2016 | En Route Miri
14 June 2016 | En Route Miri
08 June 2016 | Pulau Bawah
07 June 2016 | En Route Bawah
05 June 2016 | En Route Djemadja
30 May 2016 | Terampah
29 May 2016 | En Route Terampah
27 May 2016 | Approaching Anambas

Blahs

22 August 2016 | Tawau
Sunday 14 August 2016

After 4 days in Bohaydulang here's the score: No restaurant or bar ashore, socializing related brain damage is likely irreversible, we've nearly finished additional PADI certification to include navigation and deep diving, problem with dive compressor which chewed up 2 new belts is possibly remedied (now operating on somewhat less chewed up previously replaced one), had 3 dives yesterday in Kapalai and Mabul and expect 3 today in Sipidan.

Although entire ship's crew have over a hundred dives apiece and experience in most aspects of diving including depths below 40 meters and drifting, dive operators, when we need to use them, refuse more challenging dives due our basic "Open Water" certification - very aggravating. A dive instructor mate (this has nothing to do with procreation, Cal, he's from New Zealand) is helping us upgrade to "Advanced". All done now except night dive. That's where you can't see all the scary, prickly, bitey creatures many of which, however, can see you.

Tuesday 23 August

Excellent diving in Sipidan which lived up to hype as it tops the list of best in the world (Scuba Travel) with even better visibilities reported in April. Except for a couple of places off eastern peninsula, Malaysia has heretofore been undistinguished. Among the crew, 4 of the 10 'best' have been done, soon to be increased by locations 3 and 9 in Palau and Bali, then later by #6 off Belize. Suspect most voters haven't been to Fakarava or Rangiroa, et al.

Last minute request from Semporna (small dive tourism town) had 24 yachts backed up, cheek by jowl, to a seawall in its tiny downtown harbor overnight after resident fishing boats were evicted. It was pretty impressive. Everyone (with possible exception of the odd disgruntled fisherman) was friendly, seemed happy to see us and entertainment/feast/festival outdoors with the locals was, in contrast to many places, excellent. Picked up a few bits of dive gear, too.

Sunday 21 August

Week in Tawau was a mixed blessing: beautiful club with friendly, helpful staff (Mr. Tan) and end of herding on one hand, but saying goodbye to many friends and horrible anchorage in the river with, depending on state of tide and current, challenging access to shore on the other. Roti kobra made with dahl, curry lamb and egg at favorite restaurant in town would almost make us want to go back.

Tuesday

Have now re-entered Indonesia on first of 2 day-sails to Tarakan. Motor-sailing hard on wind and sea. Expect minimum stay after clearing in to begin non-stop (depends on conditions) dash across top end of Sulawesi to Manado then continue fast-tracking to Raja Ampat. Forecast wind is forward of the beam all the way. Wheeee.

This has been dull, mundane and no fun at all so will end the misery. Perhaps Indonesia will provide more inspiration.

Jack

Lame Blame

10 August 2016 | Pulau Bohaydulang
Wednesday 10 August 2016

Half of crew strained her non-bionic knee moving dive gear yesterday and other half, abandoning normal effortless grace, fell backward from dink onto the edge of a neighbor's swim platform furnishing him a bruise the size of Nebraska. Planned hill climb this morning after arranging diving a few days hence in Kapalai and Sipidan was also abandoned to return home for eggs and baky.

Extra aggravation.. that is to say security, is now being provided as this is purportedly a high risk area. Apparently some of George's (despite first name basis, the former president hardly ever calls or writes) 'evil doers' may be lurking nearby. ESSCOM doesn't seem, however, terribly perturbed about us departing, unguarded, from nearby Tawau for Tarakan, Indonesia. One logically infers that we are only in danger while they're providing protection. This suggests both a way to ease the military's workload and save the Malaysian people a bit of tax money while keeping us out of harms way. It's amazing that no one has realized such an obvious and elegant solution. When we contact him, the security commander will no doubt want to show eternal gratitude for making his job superfluous with an appropriate reward - perhaps a percentage of the savings or one of the now unnecessary patrol boats.

As suggest earlier the entire ship's complement is having a lay day (no Cal, this is not naughty). The only activities available here are socializing, which typically results in liver and brain damage, or diving and snorkeling, which has so far been, at least in the anchorage area, prosaic unless viewing trash through murky water is your bailiwick. Perhaps circumstances are better outside the lagoon. Condition report to follow.

Jack

We Herd That

08 August 2016 | Tungku Bay
Monday 8 August 2016

After settling into the anchorage then, some considerable time subsequently, being relocated into a tighter if less sober clump last afternoon (thank you ESSCOM) the assemblage enjoyed a microburst then 35 knot squall at 0400 that sent boats dancing and sliding around and into each other. Hijinks ensued. Fortunately damage was light and expert medical care at hand. Another yacht dragged onto our chain and towed us around for awhile until we could raft up as wind and associated impenetrable downpour eased. We had a cup of tea and lovely chat with Leanne while Tim went off to administer an appropriate number of stitches to the aforementioned hand. Original thought to depart before daylight was rethunk. This fortuitously allowed the mounting of a multi-boat, scuba, dinghy operation after daylight to free one catamaran's fouled prop.

Having gotten into the mood with an exhilarating morning, amusement continued rounding the cape at far east end of Borneo. Pounding into sea and wind (always a delightful occupation especially in 12 hour increments) led to a split in the fleet of 9 1/2 NM which seems at odds with the demand that we remain within 3. Of course arrival before dark was at issue and it's better to blow off the stragglers than risk a massive collision after dark. We did suggest a trailing escort for the guys in back, but heck, you sometimes just have to accept losses. We really liked them too.

- Later

Good news, no casualties.

Tuesday

After a rolly night in our designated anchorage the cattle drive set off, semi- refreshed, across Darvel Bay between the Sulu and Celebes Seas toward Bohaydulang Island (competent authority denies this was the inspiration for a 60s song). It is part of an atoll kind of deal with dive resorts thereon. We stay for a week. After being prodded along the last few days this is a very good thing, allowing for diving, snorkeling, sleeping in and various slothful activities (oxymoron?). A few days following this sojourn, the rally is done and dusted at Tawau and we're free to beard the bureaucratic bad dream that is Indonesia. New rules have allegedly made clearing in and cruising around as easy as moving bugs through a goose, but we remain skeptical.

Jack

PS On day-sails the practice of recording boat position as en route at the point writing is concluded will be revised. Hereafter the location and time will be previous night's anchorage at departure. This is a bit of housekeeping that is, no doubt, of interest or consequence to the smallest possible integer of humanity, but may provide that one unit a potentially not completely unuseful bit of information... maybe.

***Alert - the preceding is a housekeeping note and should not be the cause, along with this note, of anyone squandering a moment of time that could be used for almost anything more productive. You didn't do that did did you?

River Dance

06 August 2016 | Dewhurst Bay
Saturday 6 August 2016

Last day in the Kinabatangan. Back down to the Oxbow Lake about 10 NM from western entrance as the sober crow flies. Now heading for Dewhurst Bay 20 miles SE of where we entered the system. This operation looks like a line of ducklings following their mama.

- Later

River cruising: interesting, lots of jungle and critters, but not sailboat territory plus the security is suffocating It's like visiting relatives, love to see them, can't wait to leave. Open ocean in sight. That's the place to be.

Sunday

Woohoo! Sailing - actually have a little wind for this 25 NM run. Also first water making in clean ocean since before Sandakan. We were scraping the barrel. Tomorrow's run is 64 NM around a cape, probably into any wind that turns up. Have to start early and listen to that rackety contraption under the sole all day, staying within 2 NM of the fleet. Pshaw or stronger works to that effect. Eleven more days, then we can kiss the restrictions goodbye. Regrettably we'll also say farewell to many excellent cruising companions, but that's the nature of the life. There's a rally heading to Raja Ampat on the 23rd, but we'll blow that off to get well ahead.

Our token Mexican on S/V Windkist (Weendkeest) had a bash starting around noon. We demurred to read, sleep and recover from the night before, but by afternoon enjoyed the whooping and hollering of tequila powered revelers (who had unsuccessfully tried to keep up with Xavier) flying around the anchorage in their dinghies at warp 8. Conversely we watched two episodes of Game of Thrones, got to sleep early and feel significantly better this morning than they do. We'll try not to make it a habit.

Jack

They're All Just Animals

04 August 2016 | Kinabatangan River
Friday 29 July 2016

Despite waiting 4 1/2 hours to start, the turtleing was really cool. Turns out that making little turtles is a full time, year round activity in the appropriately named Turtle Islands so we saw a 100+ Kg female laying eggs (she had dug a pit deeper than her height plus a hole below that to drop in about a hundred Ping-Pong ball eggs), turtle ranglers take out the eggs and put them in a protected nest (a quick count indicated 50 to 100 thousand eggs in the hatchery) and the release of hatchlings to run frantically for the water (holding one indicated they're much stronger than expected). Hate to cast aspersions, but turtles (green and hawksbills use these islands) are dumber than a box of rocks. As their brains are of a size, one may truly call them pea-brains. Regardless, we love them, truly magnificent creatures to dive and snorkel with. A very small percentage of turtlets survive to reproduce (takes about 15 years then they can live to over 100) and with human predation (one can find eggs in the local markets - some benighted souls think these, as well as swiftlet nests, shark fins and rhino horns, have magical properties) they remain threatened.

Wednesday

Spent a very pleasant 4 days in front of Sandakan Yacht Club at the mouth of Sandakan River near the city of... you know. Beautiful club, the oldest in Borneo, very friendly, active members (mostly Chinese Malay). They're only mildly embarrassed that there isn't a single yacht. They threw a party first night with food and karaoke and despite a lifelong desire to avoid that particular form of entertainment had a great time singing, dancing and, with nearly everyone else, getting absolutely stinko. Third night (after a bit of recovery) crew of Australian Anthem (19 meter (62 foot) Canadian built) hosted a party after which the Commodore, being shuttled to shore, had to be rescue after falling from our dink into the river. Never in the history of human celebration have so many drunk so much with no spew.

Thursday

This boring crap has gone on way too long. The Kinabatangan River has killer creature features, but rather than put everyone to sleep with 4 days of details search Youtube for Kinabatangan, find a National Geographic special where Richard Attenborough gives a narrative fraught with tension and danger or watch an old Tarzan movie. We're crazy, but not Johnny Weismuller and not stupid so we refrained from jumping into the river in a loin cloth with knife in hand to battle a croc.

Jack

No...Mad!

20 July 2016 | Pulau Mantananai
Wednesday 20 July 2016

Although probably lower than either Antarctica or Yemen, Borneo is pretty high on the "why the hell would you go there?" list of sailing destinations. It has been, however, delightful. Major cities of Kuching, Miri and Kota Kinabalu are chockers with cool stuff. Even Brunei was interesting in its conflicted, faux modern sort of way. Water clarity away from the main island is good with great diving promised ahead, particularly in Sipidan, reputedly one of the best dive locations on the planet. We'll just see about that.

Sailing around the north end of Borneo to Tawau near the border with Indonesia will take about 4 weeks. From there it's something over 1000 NM to Waisai in Raja Ampat where we hope to leave the boat by the beginning of October in order to arrive in North America for the Annapolis Sailboat Show on the 5th. This assumes we can get into the marina there, which is first come, first served, and that it's a safe haven for the boat. Checking out reported new marinas along the way in Sulewesi and Morotai, which are thus far only rumored, for a possible return is option 2 and Bali, another thousand plus miles is the emergency backup. Has it been mentioned that over time the boat only averages 5.5 to 6 knots? So, when do we need to be in Waisai he queried?

We're often asked how long it took to come from Florida. No one seems to expect 3 years. OK, they know it's a long way and we go slowly, but tend to think their location is the destination. "You mean there's something else along the way?" or "You made it, why would you leave?" Wandering around the oceans with everything you own on a sailboat is unfathomable to most people we meet (a fathom is 6 feet or 1.8 meters, so doesn't really seem all that deep unless the water is really turbid - that's like muddy, only a much cooler word). They're right, of course, permanent cruising is really bizarre. You'd have to be nuts.

Jack

Maundering Melange

18 July 2016 | En Route Teluk Kaduka
Wednesday 6 July 2016

After yesterday's little polemic on recent US political leaders, today's numinations will evince a kinder, gentler approach to the subject. In fairness to the 4 named perpetrators, they.. ummmm.

Today we go around to a sandspit east of Tiga Island to see lots of reported water snakes. They're venom is deadly so we generally avoid getting bitten. Fortunately they have very tiny mouths. They're also so lethal that nothing eats them thus producing a quite phlegmatic creature.

- Later

Having snorkeled and walked around the entire area and not found a single snake nor much else but sand and seaweed, we contemplate continuing early to Sutera Harbour Resort Marina at Kota Kinabalu to enjoy the last bit of decadence available until arriving North America early October (no, not with the boat). There are also many little bits that require attention and a crown that must be replaced.

Thursday

Regrettably slept in until 0900 to discover ambition meter pegged on zero so here we stay until tomorrow. Additional snorkeling around seemingly misnamed Snake Island revealed 1 extremely shy black and white banded krate. Aha! The reason it's not called Snakes Island. No regrets as eleven other boats showed up. Merriment ensued.

Friday

Finally dragged torpid butts from anchorage around 0900 for 26 NM sail to KK in good offshore breeze that didn't last. Still and all, every hour of sailing along this shore is a gift. Probably arrive too early for sea breeze to kick in, but shore power enabled aircon awaits, so disappointment held at bay.

With nearly zero air over deck, cockpit temp reads 38.9C. Crikey that's warm.

- Later

Nevermind.

Monday

You're probably not wondering why this piece of crap wasn't concluded 10 days ago. Me either, except we had fun in KK. Big town, lots of stuff and great restaurants. Besides the usual excellent local cuisine there are both English and Irish pubs and real coffee shops. Actually got some boat work done. Washing machine (yes we have one, 18 years old) died and remains dead due either pump to evacuate water or circuit board that controls it. Neither have been available for 5 years. New machine replacement sold at West Marine is too big to fit in the space.

Now anchored off Pulau Gaya for diving en route to Kudat where we pick up security convoy through Philippine pirate waters to Tawau.

- Later

Dive surprisingly good, now off further north.

Everyone is pleased that this will not be dragged out any longer.

Jack

In Abstentia

05 July 2016 | Pulau Tiga
Tuesday 5 July 2016

Happy belated birthdays to Canada and the US, July 1 and 4 respectively. We love you. Truly grateful to be from there; now pleased to be not there.

And speaking of Donald & Hillary, the schemer and the crook, America's two special gifts to ourselves and mankind, one gains comfort from being on the far side of the earth. We can even wax nostalgic for the yeoman services of George and Barack who, among innumerable other glorious stunts, ballooned the national debt above 18 trillion dollars for no discernible constructive purpose. Thanks guys, et al.

Wow, that sounded a bit harsh. Somebody should spank me.

Jack

Draggin' the Wagon

04 July 2016 | En Route Pulau Tiga
Wednesday 29 June 2016

A piss-up generally results in getting pissed (no Cal, this does not mean wetting oneself), but we were goodish last night and didn't get so pissed we wet ourselves. Notice the difference between cause and effect. For tea on the shore, we put snags on the barbie and they were beaut mate. America gained independence from the British Commonwealth so we wouldn't have to say things like that, but never mind, the sausages we grilled for dinner on the beach were excellent.

Sunday

Location since Thursday was the federal territory of Pulau Labuan and a pleasant surprise it's been. Lots to do, good food and every other shop is duty free. Needless to say boat is well ballasted with mind altering distillates and fermentations, probably enough to get us to Raja Ampat and beyond. Oddly, tonic was scarce so threat of malaria weighs heavily on our minds. We soldier on. Olives are plentiful.

Monday

After fulfilling mandate of all you can eat brunch yesterday at nearby hotel and waddling back to marina, checked out for anchorage on north end of Labuan where, after a dip in the tepid, green water and contrary to prudence and good judgment, proceeded to squander large quantities of untaxed acquisitions. Having agreed to depart at 0900 this morning for the 31 NM sail to Pulau Tiga awoke at 0840 and finally got underway just before 1000. Champagne Charlies, Shayne & Lisa, who partook in previous night into early morning's revelry recovered more quickly and got over an hour jump. This is understandable as their livers are a bit newer. Nevertheless, having been hitherto rather more temperate, Jan & I are contemplating an abstinent Monday while the youngsters are pondering a dry July.

Jack

Easy come, Easy Go

28 June 2016 | En Route to Sabah
Saturday 25 June 2016

Wonderful dinner last night at Royal Brunei Yacht Club which, of course, doesn't serve alcohol, but due it being a private club one may bring his own. Regrettably we brought too much and, as it was available and we were having such fun, drank it. Getting up a head of steam this morning at 0600 for breakfast at the club was a bit of a chore, but omelet with coffee was good and, astonishingly, included real bacon.

Sunday

Since we've been eating and drinking extravagantly in Brunei our sylph-like figures are in some jeopardy. Nascent padding over normally ripped abs (you believe me don't you?) is causing serious angst. Last night was another extravaganza at the upriver RBYC and tonight's planned farewell dinner at the Mangrove Paradise Resort bodes ill for additional regression. (Huh?)

Monday

It did. The word pudgy has re-entered our vocabulary, but absence of breakfast at RBYC Serasa may help. Departure from resort was in drizzle and arrival downstream dodging crazy fishermen working the channel in blinding rain. If it ever stops the day will be spent schlepping maybe 300 liters of diesel back from petrol station in 20 liter jugs. Not only does so much motoring use fuel that must be replaced, but oil and filter changes seem to be necessary every other week.

- Later

Well that was slightly more fun than getting keelhauled, but at least the tanks are nearly full. Top up in KK should get us to Raja Ampat. Dinner tonight at RBYC then out of here manana. For reasons of courtesy, joy will be restrained. Brunei is a country of contrasts, very modern and yet not. Oil has made it unnecessary to cut down old growth rain forest as was done in most of Borneo, but Brunei River is awash in trash and logs. British inspired common law is overlaid with Sharia. Prices in Bandar Seri Begawan are close to Singapore without the cleanliness or beauty. Glad we came, happy to go.

Tuesday

Brekkie and a last swim in excellent lap pool and we're off to Pulau Keraman for a beach barbie and piss-up with several of our degenerate yachty mates before arrival in Labuan. Hello Sabah.

Jack
Vessel Name: Anthem
Vessel Make/Model: 1997 Hylas 46 - MMSI xxxxxx750
Hailing Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
Crew: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
About:
Jack: Formerly productive member of the community as a Northwest Airlines Captain who retired to become a drain on, and embarrassment to, polite society. [...]
Extra:
While I will be delighted if anyone else enjoys these excursions into semi-intelligible foolishness, the primary purpose is personal amusement. This is not travelogue, cruising guide or philosophical exploration of anything in particular, merely random musing of a slightly twisted mind. Despite [...]
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/anthem
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S/V Anthem

Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
See profile for information on why this mess is being foisted upon an innocent world and, despite what is probably your better judgement, how to make contact.
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