Anthem Adrift

29 September 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
24 September 2016 | Doom Island off Sorong
22 September 2016 | Waisai, Raja Ampat
17 September 2016 | Pef Island
16 September 2016 | Alyui
15 September 2016 | Alyui
14 September 2016 | Wayag
10 September 2016 | Kokara Besar
08 September 2016 | Doruba
05 September 2016 | Bunaken
03 September 2016 | Manado
26 August 2016 | Tarakan
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

Prelude to Preponderance of Precordial Palpitations

29 September 2016 | Helena Base, Wamon River South of Sorong
Sunday 25 September 2016

At the unconscionably early hour of 0800, we left dinghy with John's son and 2 younger siblings to take a ferry across to Sorong for the fresh market. Normal cost is 5K Rp, but unbeknownst to us John had operator Thomas shove off before minimum of 6 passengers showed up so we paid 30. John's neighbor came along so we paid for her too. When his buddy didn't show for transport to market (7Km) we took regular jitney for 5 apiece, also paying for John and his neighbor. Buddy showed up to bring us back and charged 100... John's explanation left something to be desired. Like a Boy Scout, he was helpful, friendly, courteous and some of the 8 or 9 others, but we could have saved a few shekels on our own. In fairness, a hundred thousand rupiah is about 7.40 USD.


Head works properly, first time in over 3 1/2 years. May now actually use the thing occasionally. Windlass (no idea why a winch that hauls up anchor chain is called that), which had become reluctant to let anchor free-fall, has been disassembled, cleaned and regreased, bimini leak has been attended, stern anchor has been cleaned and its roller, which was broken in Semporna as a boat raced by throwing out a tsunami-sized wake in tight quarters, reassembled after welding.


Preparing to depart anchorage, chain came up through gypsy (no idea why part of windlass that captures chain is called that either) like bugs through a goose. Slick as owl sh.... well anyway really slick. May even clean it again one day.


We're tied to a jetty at Helena Base after running onto mud at mouth of river yesterday afternoon with Capt Dahlan piloting. Oops. He normally drives the Helena which draws .4 meters more than Anthem. Previous note from Wick, "Helena is out of service and we are hoping to rebuild a new similar vessel in the near future"... Hmmmm? Tide here is 1.5 meters. Boat is held off jetty by anchor lines fore and aft with breast and spring lines ashore. Keel's on the ground at low tide and we're unable to get off boat then without a ladder. There is no ladder. We can use dinghy. Not much easier. Anyway, nothing around here, so it doesn't matter too much. It's hot and still and we can't use AC (see below). Expect Jan to get cave happy and go psycho before Saturday. Just hope she doesn't murder me in my sleep one night. No load voltage on shore power is 104 and around 93 drawing 10 amps (120 VAC nominal). The place does seem secure enough although boys who work for Wick live next door and partied, loudly, until 0330 this morning. Suspect they're Christian or really, really modern Muslim. Usually don't hear that sort of squealing outside of your average teenage girl's 16th birthday party. Expect transport to Swiss-Belhotel in Sorong Friday by Neddy for flight out Saturday afternoon.


Except for last bit of cosmetic work where winch motor was installed and sealing partners (if not mentioned earlier that's the reinforced deck hole that the mast sticks through on its way to a step on the keel) all intended jobs have been completed - that's right, we're all amazed. Of course, there's no yang without yin, so Fischer Panda generator began running irregularly and blowing dark smoke. Serviced everything possible including all filters, raw water impeller and... oil. Well, the auxiliary required an oil change too so did both at the same time, but (and here's the fun part) forgot to move valve over after filling Panda and overfilled it into the bilge. Now the thing won't turn over. Suspect a hydraulic lock from oil in the cylinder. At least oil doesn't hurt the thing until a way is found to get rid of it. This is all speculation, of course, and the thing may also have injector problem, worse trouble or indeed be completely buggered.

If able today will attend to partners, followed by Ayu, our only English speaking connection to anybody around (Aussie Wick doesn't return until 5th), and Capt Dahlan arriving at 1400 to sort dinghy/outboards, key to companionway, payment, transport to and from hotel/airport and boat checks while we're gone.

- Later

Partners are attended to (futilely no doubt), dink and both outboard engines moved ashore and secured (we hope) money paid (receipt to follow), systems checks explained (in Bahasa) and key for access to interior of boat and all possessions conveyed. Confidence at absurd levels. Ummmm, high. What could possibly go wrong? Whose idea was this trip anyway?

We can shortly look forward to leaving our only home and everything we own in the clutches of strangers to begin 45 hours or more of supreme discomfort proceeding through airports and traveling on standby in sardine can congestion to the opposite side of the world where jet lag will be at its maximum... in order to look at sailboats. Makes sense to me.


Movin' and Rejuven'

24 September 2016 | Doom Island off Sorong
Friday 23 September 2016

Having sucked all the fun to be had out of Waisai we've decided that Doom might be better. While many people might not consider this an improvement, the island just off Sorong is reportedly very nice where a helpful fellow named Beauregard (just made that up until able to find his real name) can help acquire fuel, laundry, groceries, transport into town, etc. Swinging on anchor will be cooler than Waisai Public Marina plus quieter, where we had a lot of motors running and traffic traipsing about at all hours, including uninvited onto the deck.

Although 3 big jobs are complete (installing winch motor/gearbox (covering resultant holes is in progress), restoring a disintegrating teak cockpit grate and tearing apart forward bunk to remove washing machine for parts replacement, there is yet much to do. Oddly, the head (toilet, Cal) rebuild should not be that difficult even though only thing remembered from previously is that it didn't take all day and worked when done. Expectations are high. Fuel selector valve shouldn't take a full day either if all the appropriate parts can be found (somewhat possible). Rebedding of portlights (opening windows, Cal) is a messy, nasty job using butyl and will never be complete as something will always leak - that's cruising truth #47 (to be procrastinated using any excuse at hand). Sealing the partners (hole where mast goes through deck, Cal) is entirely impossible (cruising truth #5), but should constantly be attempted because wood below stays wet and rots.

"Procrastination isn't the problem, it's the solution. So procrastinate now, don't put it off." - Ellen DeGeneres


Ref. previous dubious guess, guy's name is John (not a Muslim, one might suspect) who helped us get diesel this morning for a good price. We'll go fresh shopping in Sorong with him tomorrow at the unconscionably early 0800.

Afternoon was frittered away rebuilding forward, Raritan head. This one has been on the list since we bought the boat over 3 1/2 years ago. OK, it didn't explode bowl contents all over you if operated very carefully (learned that lesson straight off), but needed to make it right. Et voila. Haven't properly checked it yet (transformation of tonight's dinner should provide sufficient ingredients for a serious test), but confidence runs amok.


The Fun Part

22 September 2016 | Waisai, Raja Ampat
Thursday 22 September 2016

Despite smothering heat and humidity, have eschewed habitual sloth for a few major boat projects before departing to the "gleaming alabaster cities" and "amber waves of grain" (hey, those are the lyrics, what can I say!). Anyway, stuff is happening and the boat and our moral fiber will be improved by it. At least that's the optimistic notion. Activities include cutting holes and destroying lungs grinding fiberglass to mount really heavy overhead motor, wiring really heavy overhead motor (oddly enough it works as envisioned and has yet to cause a calamitous fire), forming parts from fiberglass, sticking things back together with fiberglass, making a mess with fiberglass, rebuilding a toilet, rebedding deck hardware to fix leaks, rebuilding a greasy, stinky fuel valve system plus uncounted additional burdens... that is to say, fulfilling endeavors. This cruising thing, while often a delight, full of wondrous adventure, tends occasionally to have a less giddy moment or two. You know what they say: There's no light without a darkness to put it in. "They" should be drawn and quartered, then really made to suffer. A little recreational whingeing is pleasantly cathartic, but would rather avoid the need. Look forward to re-engaging the wondrous part. Perhaps this will occur during the 45 hours 18 minutes of travel on the 6 flights from Sorong to Annapolis. Perhaps not.


Diving For Dollars

17 September 2016 | Pef Island
Sunday 18 September 2016

Cool entry into small inner lagoon of Pef Island between vertical rock pillars and down narrow channel.

After anchoring in 16 meters went ashore at small dock and across mangrove boardwalk to Raja 4 Divers, other side of island. They cater mostly to Europeans for usually 2 weeks or more. Jan ('Yan', French Swiss dive instructor) showed us around. 18 guests max., rustic, but nice, lots of staff, many toys and extensive dive facilities so figured expensive. Didn't ask, thinking it wouldn't effect us. Got the good news later when boat came by just before dusk.

Yachts must pick up one of 3 moorings and pay 20 euro/person/day. Yowser! Includes full use of services: laundry, wifi (onshore), kayaks, small store, etc. for additional cost. Restaurant is available: breakfast 25 euro, lunch 35, dinner 45, bottle of Bintang 5. 55 euro/person/dive, equipment rental extra. Holy trust fund Batman! Another anchorage, 1.5 ESE, is free - better choice. Not wanting to screw with moving we worked out leaving anchor set and paying 1/2 price. Dinnered aboat.

Cruising guide (having given erroneous information about anchoring and costs) reports a large croc, but resort dives in lagoon, so maybe not. Wouldn't be surprised, however, to find the odd mosquito who tells 2 friends, who tell 2 friends, who tell... anyway, screens were in.

Now en route to Waisai into 3 knot current. Just passing a family of wee dolphins with tall, pointy dorsal fins out for their Sunday excursion. If we ever get there at this rate hope to stay a week or so on dock to make repairs and mount previous purchases before abandoning our home in Wamon river near Sorong to sponge for awhile off relatives and friends in N. America. Although particularly lovable, we'll try not to abuse their hospitality too much.. may want to visit again one day.


A Little Bite of Paradise

16 September 2016 | Alyui
Saturday 17 September 2016

A magical place. After visiting the 25 year old, Australian owned, pearl farm yesterday morning (regrettably for everyone but me and the piggy bank, they don't sell pearls plus they were in vacation mode) and a long visit with its French manager, we worked on the boat (really), then took dink out for a late afternoon stroll around the bay. Wonderful water clarity and a glassy surface gave the appearance of flying over fields of coral and fish. Above are towering green hills undercut from millennia of erosion that seem to completely surround the bay interspersed with the occasional white sandy beach. A beautiful sunset capped a charming day. Downside is that local village demands a million rupiah a week per boat (about 75 USD) to stay and enjoy the enchantment. This on top of the half mil. park fee assessed per person from which the locals get nothing. OK, it's worth it especially if money helps limit reef bombing, but annoying nonetheless. Look forward to returning when able to dive.

Some of day's warm and fuzzy was dissipated as it took 3 hours to watch 2 hour movie because apparently damaged disk kept hanging up. Wine and fruit cake helped over the hurdle and the movie was pretty good. Probably wouldn't do any good to complain. We paid less than a dollar and despite having no legitimate place to buy DVDs suspect the producers might be less than sympathetic.

Today is first of 2 relatively short ones to Waisai. Tonight's stop is Pef described as "one of the most photographed islands in Raja Ampat. Lush tropical jungles surround blue lagoons and many small mushroom islets are scattered around the bays. Raja Ampat's famous karst cliffs are located here and add a surreal Jurassic Park feel to the area." Don't think I could paraphrase that any better. Cruising Guide to Indonesia also mentions that charts are worthless. Great. Fortunately reefs, which come straight up from outrageous depths, are easily seen with good light. We'll tiptoe around so they don't jump up and bite us.


Rollin' On

15 September 2016 | Alyui
Thursday 15 September 2016

Following admirable recovery yesterday afternoon, wounded crew made plans with rest of complement to venture forth for further reconnoiter of beguiling Wayag. Soaring, karstic hills above white sandy beaches give the place an otherworldly feel. No pterodactyls, but an unknown, very large hawk with racing-striped wings took an interest in us. Short delay for storm that brought unusual west wind directly into bay then continuing wait as it increased to 20 knots with rain. Got really bad at dusk and through the night as wind died and waves didn't with no way to keep 200 liter plastic mooring barrel from occasionally ringing hull like a bell as boat rolled side to side like a punched weeble (they wobble, but they don't fall down). Long night.

Thus and therefore, we proceed toward Alyui, protected mooring (theoretically) of a pearl farm with dive spots, but we've kissed that concept goodbye until return from Western Hemisphere. A day or two of pearling then 1 or 2 days to Waisai, home of new namesake marina. There, if slip available, to finally get some procrastinated work done (theoretically) before leaving boat in Sorong for a month. Now attempting to whip psyche into a frenzy of industriousness. Portent of probable accomplishments: reading to do list is exhausting.


Number Crunching

14 September 2016 | Wayag
Monday 12 September 2016

Since departing New Zealand last year we've sailed on the Tasman Sea, Coral Sea, Arafura Sea, Banda Sea, Flores Sea, Java Sea, South China Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, Molucca Sea and now the Halmahera Sea. Well that's just wrong. That's four more than there are suppose to be and hell, what about the Mediterranean and Caribbean, huh? This has put quite a strain on membership in the Seven Seas Cruising Association. Credibility is shot. Who came up with that number anyway and which ones count? Are many of them usurpers? Are we going to have to boot several off the list like was done to Pluto. Nine was a good number of planets. Eight just isn't enough and seven seas apparently isn't either. Come on people, let's get this straight. Either get the count right or relegate the extras to really, really big bays or something. Know what I mean, Vern?

Arrived Wayag around 1600 today. Hope word of this place doesn't get around. It's all ours and it's gorgeous. Too late to do anything but snorkel and, with limited time and dying light, it was good. Saw a wee black tip sharklet and the largest bump head parrot fish in the solar system (originally thought universe, then galaxy, but didn't want to exaggerate). It was however the size of a Trident class submarine and could easily chomp an arm off (OK, maybe a little). Fortunately they eat coral, not people. Have now plotted published dive locations and have high hopes. Water visibility is 10 to 20 meters.


Embracing chill mode we slept in, snorkeled dive spots to survey and filled tanks. Tomorrow early(ish) it's up Mt. Pindito then, once sun is high, diving the best spots.


In retrospect hollering "duck" rather than "watch out" might have been better, but fortunately Jan didn't look up as a jagged limestone rock I had displaced ricocheted off ball cap poorly protecting her head during climb of very steep Mt. Pindito. Only time I was above her on the entire climb checking out indeterminate route. Getting down wounded looked to be less fun than one might imagine. Cleaned up her and the cap (use cold water and a brush on blood) and administered neosporin and ice pack. She will live and can expect to have a full and meaningful life in the future (scar won't show once hair grows back), but episode put an end to diving for awhile so new plans pend.


Hit And Run

10 September 2016 | Kokara Besar
Sunday 11 September 2016

Didn't find any crocs at Kokara or perhaps they didn't find us - probably too lazy to cross deep channel from mangroves. Again great internet and close enough to Tobelo (2.5NM) to take dinghy, plus good snorkeling where the reef hasn't been bombed recently and probably a nice wall dive, but..

Original plan to explore this area for a few days succumbed to careful perusal of latest GRIB (Gag Reflex Inducing Bafflement) which showed headwinds to Wayag for several days starting tomorrow. That's OK as Halmahera probably wasn't all that great anyway (we've invoked the "sour grapes" rationale) and Wayag looks wonderful. Color us gone.

Decision justification proceeded apace as beautiful beam wind had us at hull speed toward upper east arm of "K" shaped island potentially cutting expected time to there from 8 hours to 6. As these things go, of course, wind veered astern about half way and reduced us to flopping along at sea cucumber pace until a successful spinnaker deployment just before last zephyr died followed by re-activation of tranquility torpedoing, iron apparatus. Wind will back upon passage of Lelai Point (he smugly predicted in yet another triumph of hope over experience) for resumption of expeditious, but serene progression toward Wayag ETA tomorrow afternoon where life will no doubt at last become unrushed and joyful and contain no mosquitoes.


It Was A Crock

08 September 2016 | Doruba
Friday 9 September 2016

Great sail across the Molucca Sea. Arrived just after dawn and anchored by beautiful new floating dock that is unprotected by a breakwater, undulates with each passing wave and will likely be beaten to twisted junk within a few years. Pissed around all day with again excellent internet then finally went into town around 1500. Doruba has not been subjected to the burdens of prosperity. With little language compatibility we topped up data sims, bought eggs and such, and had early dinner at one of 2 restaurants. Rice, chicken and cabbage were good, eaten with fingers and required suppression of overindulgent concern for hygiene. As in all of Indonesia, the people are wonderfully friendly and helpful.

After movie "I Saw the Light" about Hank Williams and post-passage catch-up sleep, headed Thursday across to nearby uninhabited Dodola Island, sight of someone's abandoned project. Bungalows are still in reasonable nick and used by people from Doruba for day trips and apparently the occasional overnight. Nice beach. Quiet, calm anchorage provided opportunity to go for a swim in clearish water and scrape thick slime off bootstripe. Note to self: raise waterline at next haulout.

Morotai was generally a disappointment so off we head for better on Halmahera. Kokara Besar is reputed to have good snorkeling, wall diving and crocodiles (there are freshwater crocs, but salties are the really big, gnarly ones). OK, maybe there aren't any in the mangroves nearby. Will find out and let you know.. or, depending on discovery, possibly not.


Imbibing, Diving and Driving

05 September 2016 | Bunaken
Sunday 4 September 2016

Made it into Manado town yesterday to find an American mall populated by Southeast Asians. Without the fact that we were the only pasty-faced people in the place you wouldn't know. Stopped for a latte and free wifi at the Coffee Bean, shopped for groceries at a supermarket that advertises pork and had all the other stuff discriminating Euro-types want, then ate dinner with wine at an excellent bar and restaurant nearby. Costs are where we noticed a difference.

Following an hour and a half motor across, hooked onto big yellow buoy in front of not-officially-open-yet, way posh and very expensive Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort. The mooring is rigged with maybe 38mm (1/1/2") 3-strand at around 165 meters - below a depth that allows monitoring or repair without pulling the whole 450 Kg shebang up. Owners will probably just wait until it fails in a few years (if they're lucky) and replace. Will use it for their large catamaran which is currently in Manado being re-engineered for somewhere around half a billion rupiah because it was a crappy (highly technical marine architectural term) design. No other buoy or anchorages are usable. The owner kindly let us remain, but one night only. The island is shaped like a very tall tuna can with top edge often overhung, dropping vertically into seemingly infinite, black depths below the very shallow coral fringe. Made 3 dives which were excellent, but with current everywhere. Serious wall diving, caves, canyons and lots of fish, turtles, etc. Healthy coral. Mostly excellent vis.


After outrageously expensive meal at Oasis with resort general manager and his one guest involving way too much wine until wee hours followed by early morning and 3 hung-over dives Monday then immediate departure for first of 2 overnight sails to Morotai that afternoon (deep breath) we are recovering on passage. While rounding cape after dark at north end of Sulawesi conditions got a little frisky for awhile, but otherwise beautiful wind just aft the beam and east current all night and morning. GRIBs (Generally Reprehensible and Inaccurate Bullflop) and pilot charts indicate continuation until destination. Now almost halfway, just entering so far empty charted shipping lanes, attempting to stay alert and trying not to arrive into reef-strewn Morotai before daylight tomorrow. A nap sounds good.

Vessel Name: Anthem
Vessel Make/Model: 1997 Hylas 46 - MMSI xxxxxx750
Hailing Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
Crew: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Jack: Formerly productive member of the community as a Northwest Airlines Captain who retired to become a drain on, and embarrassment to, polite society. [...]
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 [...]
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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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