Crossing from south to north!
25 October 2010 | Johor Bahru, Malaysia
We finally crossed the equator early Tuesday morning just on sunrise. With calm seas and no wind we motored backwards and forwards plus sideways a few times, for photo shoots and to ensure it was a thorough crossing. That afternoon we celebrated on the beach with a 'crossing the equator party' with some crews from other boats, who had also just completed their first crossing. Dressing up as King Neptune we popped our first bottle of champers since leaving Darwin and toasted this momentous occasion, while being eaten alive by sandflies! The next few days we day- hopped, getting closer and closer to Singapore. Saturday evening we anchored on the edge of the Singapore Straits in preparation for our dash across the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Bern had spent quite sometime plotting our course and with the help of our AIS (automatic Identification System) which identifies and transmits to our electronic chart plotter the name and position of any shipping in the area in relation to us, plus relevant information like direction ,speed and size of each vessel we were able to make the crossing without too much difficulty. A thunderstorm in the middle of the crossing reduced our visibility considerably and it was quite surreal and a little disconcerting to see these large oil drilling rigs at anchor, appear out the mist. The storm cleared within half an hour and we are able to comprehend why this area has the reputation for being such a huge shipping hub. We saw about 50 or so large ships just sitting at anchor, besides all the other ships in transit. We were also amused to see a few very gutsy locals out in their little boats fishing on the edge of the Straits. From the Straits we entered a channel which took us up between the island of Singapore to Johor Bahru in Malaysia. Singapore seems to take its security very seriously. High wire fencing extends along the perimeter of the island with large signs attached at intervals featuring a skull and crossbones picture carrying a warning about live shootings!. As well, coast guard boats are strategically placed along the Singapore side patrolling the channel that separates it from Malaysia. A strong deterrent to any illegal immigrant! We are now safely tied up in Danga Marina (Johor Bahru) with many of the other rally boats from Sail Indonesia. We are now part of the Sail Malaysia rally to Langkawi which begins October 30th with a few days of festivities in the marina. In the meantime we plan to travel over the causeway into Singapore for some sightseeing. Johor Bahru is the second largest city in Malaysia so we should be able to reprovision and pick up any spare parts here quite easily.