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Anthem Adrift
Fire Away
09/29/2015, Lovina, Bali

Wednesday 30 September 2015

After a bit of cogitating, ciphering and other cerebral calisthenics involving incorrigible impetuousness and a coin, decided to remain inshore to shorten distance and attempt Lovina sometime after dark. Discovered that with masterful tuning, radar could usually see FADs (Fish Aggregating (or Attracting) Devices) within a half mile. (Although radars "see" objects, they are frankly rather stupid and often require some human interface for full efficacy.) Made it past the northernmost tip of Bali before dark and there were no more.. or given a possible paucity of masterfulness, we were lucky. Anyway, arrival into the anchorage was quite easy with Google Earth overlays, radar and nearly full moon an hour and a half after sunset. Customary night arrival technique of running in until bumping into something, then firing an anchor at it was dispensable. Happy hour began a touch late, but lasted at least an hour and was happy, so nobody complained.

Speaking of which, large chunks of Kalimantan (Borneo) and Sumatra have been set afire with fumes rendering anchorages at Kumai and possibly Ketapang, among others, unusable. Pulpwood company execs are reportedly being prosecuted. This may prohibit the orangutans, a major reason for visit, from seeing any rally participants. Those that don't die from smoke inhalation will no doubt be devastated. Having no desire to call in at following stop, Karimata, will likely go directly from Karimun Jawa to Belitung where we now expect to clear out of Indonesia for Malaysia. Visa expires in 3 weeks allowing a week at each locale. Air quality around Singapore and southern Malaysia is also reported as hazardous, so everyone is hoping and/or praying for rain.

"He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife." - Douglas Adams


Corporeal Viability at Steak
09/28/2015, En Route Lovina, Bali

Monday 28 September 2015

Euphoria envelopes the universe. Last evening's festivities were exactly what they all should be: began on time at 1600, excellent entertainment including a well done video about the area and dinner shared with local ladies who hosted a few cruisers each with their homemade baskets. We sat on blankets and ate with fingers in the local style. More dancing, then a band to entertain for as long as people wanted to party. Our complement wrapped at 2000 leaving hard-core revelers to go well past cruiser midnight.

After a rolly night, decided to abandon notion to top batteries and wash deck at equally boisterous dock and head back to Gili Air for the evening. Previous intelligence that ferries had 7 250 hp outboards was a regrettable deception as they have only 6 250s partially hidden beneath the transom. Apparently in transferring attention from one hand to the other someone lost count after 5. Using 2 crew's fingers and toes a theoretical capability exists for counting as high as 40, but reliability decreases with each transfer of appendage.


With several others we headed out early toward Ambat Bay on the northeast corner of Bali and the only reasonable intermediate stop available to preclude a night passage to Lovina. Unfortunately the anchorage is reported as untenably rolly. Expect to give it a run-by then if necessary head far offshore to possibly avoid extensive fishing nets, lines and other paraphernalia reported along the coast. None near land is lighted. Averaging 4 knots would get us there just at dawn tomorrow and excellent wind all morning has us well faster than that.

Drinks and dinner ashore last night with numerous cruisers was great fun and highlighted by Jeremy from Court Jester performing Heimlich maneuver on Jan after several moments of everyone wondering why she was making funny faces and uncharacteristically not participating in the conversation. Although back pounding is now suppose to have supplanted jamming one's fist into the entertainees solar plexus, the tough lump-o-steak was successfully moved along and aggravation of filling out paperwork and informing her sister Terry was averted. Plus the level of culinary delight aboard would have decreased precipitously, a very dire consequence indeed.


Civil Civilization
09/27/2015, Medana Bay, Lombok

Saturday 26 September 2015

Remarkably good and totally unpredicted breeze from the north allowed the operation to beam reach at often over 7 knots nearly all afternoon. Then, after nearly zero wind obliged motoring through early evening, it blew up to occasionally over 20 from the south for excellent sailing until late morning. Just when we anticipated early arrival, of course, it died and we plowed on slowly into an adverse current. Still hoping to arrive Medana Bay by 1600.


Unable to get into marina until Monday (only one we'll see in Indonesia and only to top up batteries and wash deck) we continued to one of 3 nearby islands, Gili Air, the compromise between party central, Gili Trewangan, and the more bucolic Gili Meno. Chockablock with hotels, bars and restaurants, Air is calm at night and, notwithstanding all the carousal amenities, quiet. During the day, all day, however, ferries with 7, count them 7, 250 hp outboards strapped to the stern roar in and out at full speed bringing in large wakes with a riot of fun seekers from the mainland.

Following excellent drinks and dinner with numerous like-minded degenerates, a lovely, peaceful catch-up sleep and customary Sunday banana pancake breakfast (with real Canadian maple syrup which I am continually reminded is much better than the stuff made across the border) we decided that rather than be surprised and slung about periodically by boat wakes we would anchor in Medana where the swell makes it rolly all the time. Displaying a chronic and perplexing tendency toward hope over experience, we contemplate that the welcome and dinner beginning around 1600 in this comparatively metropolitan setting will prove more entertaining than that which has come before.


Eat and Run
09/25/2015, En Route Medana Bay, Lombok

Thursday 24 September 2015

Underwent highly productive yesterday morning as we procured cash and groceries to include - among the more important items - gin, wine, chunky peanut butter and fresh wahoo. Wahoo! Done and dusted by 0900 we had time for brekkie at the Eco Lodge and 32 NM sail to Gili Banta well before dark. Almost immediately chased Carrie out of anchorage as they are doing the 2 short overnight plan with a stop halfway. We should pass them sometime tonight and arrive into Medana Bay tomorrow afternoon... he said with (under current circumstance of no wind and opposing current) substantial sanguinity. Reports from cruisers who preceded us indicate fishing apparati at least 5 NM offshore so expect to extend distance to 10, putting us nearly halfway between Sumbawa and various small islands north.

Necessity to arise early last 2 mornings, though highly regrettable, has expedited passage to Medana Bay where we reestablish more characteristic sloth. Anticipate renewed skirmishing, as well, with limited selection of additional deadly sins.


PS Learned on morning net that Carrie will keep going tonight and beat us in. There's apparently not a pantload of stuff twixt here and there.

Confidently Injudicious
09/23/2015, En Route Labuan Bajo

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Snorkeling visibility not the greatest, but Dasani had a profusion of mostly little creatures and healthy soft coral. The several Komodo dragons (which are reputed to be excellent swimmers) on the beach in front of us when not fighting were paying attention, but seemed not that interested in getting more than their tootsies wet. Anyway, one of us wasn't worried as he was holding dinghy painter, mere moments from the illusion of safety.

Having now seen ALL the dragons we return to Labuan Bajo for provisioning and dinner at an Eco lodge just south of town. Having again failed tide planning we slog upstream at speeds more appropriate to a sea cucumber. Tomorrow evening should find us (how dumb is that expression? - bet tomorrow evening couldn't find its butt with both hands) in Gili Banta on west side of park to stage for one long or two short and possibly ill-advised overnight sails to Medana Bay on the west coast of Lombok. After dark we'll ameliorate the imprudence by staying offshore several miles to avoid, we optimistically presume, accoutrement associated with fishing.

"I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this." - Emo Phillips


All and None
09/21/2015, Lehok Uwada Dasami, Rinca Island

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Notwithstanding full payment with 8 receipts at Rinca park office, the Komodo station yesterday charged us more, but gave us only 6 pieces of paper. Makes you wonder if they actually have a system or just play it by ear. Again, it was only half a million (chump change in the broad scheme of things), but one likes to think there's a dependable method. As an aside, were told that water buffalo, which we didn't see, all remain up in the hills where there is no water. Perhaps they're actually the closely related dry buffalo or possibly the heck-with-water-I'm-sick-of-watching-out-for-dragons buffalo. Numerous deer seemed to have no issues. Maybe they enjoy getting eaten.

Toro Langkoi Bay, south end of Komodo Island, has a rock-bound coast with lots of current and swell. "So", he surmised, "that's why it's not a suggested anchorage area". No worries, we found a tolerable location just outside of spray from surf crashing on base of cliff above us. Took some special care with anchor set, then rocked and rolled all night. Not way uncomfortable and except for roar of surf it was quiet with cool breeze and we were not accosted by anyone for any reason wanting anything.

After several days with ill or nil wind finally got in a real sail this morning exploiting those big white flappy things that people often associate with sailboats and for which we paid good money so as to deploy in situations very much like this. Enjoyed absence of aggravating below deck rumbling as we crossed to Lehok Uwada Dasami. Everyone knows where that is right? OK Cal, just for you it's at the southern end of Rinca Island. Have been led to believe there will be monkeys and swimming dragons. Jan will see ALL the rest of them here.


PS Just learned from friends on S/Y Trim that female dragons can have male (only) offspring without the slightest "romance" (wink, wink). Probably a good thing as they don't appear often to be in an affectionate mood and we've seen them say "no". Besides, lazy and ill-tempered is not much of a turn on.

A Shot in the Park
09/21/2015, En Route South Komodo Island

Monday 21 September 2015

One can never see too many Komodo dragons. Big ones, small ones, mommies, daddies and babies. Some were pretty frisky including the unnoticed one that came after my leg. I think he liked me. The more attentive guide whacked him to sulk away before we could bond. Although dragons can run up to 20 kph (almost 13 mph) they normally lie in wait to ambush lunch. Interestingly they have small, though sharp, teeth and don't rip prey apart as one might suspect. Particularly virulent oral bacteria is what kills deer and buffalo whose carcasses are allowed to rot for awhile to tenderize. Females lay up to 30 eggs in a nest where they hatch in 8 months. The little guys immediately head into the trees for 2 years so mom & dad won't eat them. Dragons have limited parenting skills.

Komodo Park, which came into existence in 1988, is a World Heritage Site. The animals are mostly protected except for a few fishing areas that the handful of inhabitants may use. No one living elsewhere is allowed. Apparently 3 years ago some yahoos came in, bombed the reef and were shot. They're not so strict with hooking and netting. Mostly authorities just blow up offenders boats with dynamite. Presumably, following such an occasion, everyone eats seafood for awhile then are required to shoot themselves.


Still Dragon
09/20/2015, Soro Lia, Komodo Island

Sunday 20 September 2015

Anchoring near dive site saved us 4 hours back and forth from Labuan Bajo and from dinner at nearby resort. Previous 2 nights out were absolutely excellent, both, but shut down the kitty's purr for awhile. Got picked up Saturday morning at 1000 and back home before 1600 with 3 terrific dives. Park area protected from dynamite finally produced large fish; first ones in Indonesia. Got great video of a big manta swimming up and down current in front of us, schools of giant trevalli plus, among others, humphead wrasse and reef sharks. Good viz. Lots of current. After 2 days of laryngitis Jan has kicked the bug and other crew has crawled away from death's door, so had a good day all around to include partying on Court Jester from 1700 until 2000.

Notwithstanding partial recoveries, however, this morning was a touch slow. Once finally underway toward Pink Beach which is white sand with shell red bits (you have to stand back a bit to get the appropriate color) current slowed us by up to 5 knots. Timing tidal changes needs more work.

Expect to visit other Park office on Komodo Island itself tomorrow earlyish (not morning people). At least some of the charges from Rinca should not be required again. We have 8 separate receipts which do not include cost of mandatory tour guides. Total not outrageous, but crikey!, you'd think it could be made just a wee bit more efficient. Anyway its a major bucket list box check, so what the heck. Jan has yet to see ALL the dragons.


Simian Superfluity
09/18/2015, Gili Lawa Darat

Friday 18 September 2015

*** Medical update follows *** Although ailing crew is still coughing up hairballs, existence as previously enjoyed is rapidly returning. However, in the spirit of nurturing all of creation in the ecosystem of this, our home planet Gaia, he has passed on the associated life form to rest of complement. (Greek goddess Gaia, by the by, was the daughter of Chaos and the the mother AND wife of Uranus.. these guys led more extravagant lives than do most of us) While still feeling fine, Jan's voice has completely disappeared. As opposed to common wisdom this is not a good thing because, being very outgoing, she wants me to relate all her stories that, by the time I understand what she's asking, have long been superseded as the conversation has taken a completely different tack. Meantime neither of us has a clue what everyone is talking about.

We were anxiously anticipating seeing monkeys, extremely excited to see the first and entirely enthralled by the next dozen or so. Finally, however, the law of diminishing returns has set in and we've become phairly phlegmatic about monkeys. They were all over Rinca (pronounced Rinta for some reason) Island and, although admittedly competing with dragons, numerous long-tailed macaques thronged us. They'll always be fun (no barrel necessary), but monkey fever has substantially subsided.


Move Along Please
09/17/2015, Rinca Island, Komodo Park

Wednesday 16 September 2015

After a truncated night Monday we beat feet (day sails only as there is too much fishing related crap in the water for darkness) to Labuan Bajo (this isn't Spanish, they pronounce the Js), just east of Komodo Island, arriving Wednesday afternoon - some sailing, lots of motoring. Quick trip into town to arrange diving Saturday and buy a few crackers and such, then later for excellent dinner at Made in Italy restaurant. Menus written only in English and Italian - no Indonesian food. Huh. Expect Bali will have some of that too.

Got a closer look at one-banger putt-putts in a water taxi over to town. They're started with a crank by spinning a very heavy flywheel then closing the compression. They can be kept at minimum run with only a pop every second or two. Direct drive to the propeller. She goes or she don't. Coming in for a landing entails aiming at the target, slowing down, shutting down then hoping for the best. There's always a pole guy at the bow for error recovery. Built of thick, heavy wood the boats are long, narrow and weigh far too much to float.


Nobody got eaten so it was a good day out with the Komodo dragons. Finding one walking down the steep hillside 5 meters over our heads onto our pathway before we even got to the park office was pretty interesting. Only thing that could have been more amusing is if he'd said "boo!" before being sighted. This is an example where you feel more comfortable knowing you can outrun at least one of your local party, although it wouldn't have taken him much of a jump to just land on someone. Biggest lizards on Earth, they are incredibly gnarly and prefer carrion, but will eat anything including their own young and each other. They have made few inroads into the pet market.


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