07/28/2012, 72 nm wnw of Darwin, AU
We weighed anchor this morning a bit after 0900 after raising the mainsail. Since it is 2100 now, we have been sailing for about 12 hours, hence Day 0.5
I got up early this morning and rewired the new AIS in place so we could at least see ships and other boats with transceivers. Fortunately, the receiver works fine so we are back to where we were before we discovered the transmitter doesn't work.
We had great winds for the first 4 hours. Winds were from the ESE and blowing between 15 and 22 knots. Since our heading to Kupang is WNW, the winds were once again behind us. However, we can sail to the winds now that we just have to big Indian Ocean in front of us. Thus, we put the wind a bit off our starboard stern quarter and unfurled the head sail into a wing and wing configuration. With 10 to 17 knots of apparent wind, we were making between 6 and 8.5 knots. The seas were directly behind us and were about a meter. It was a great sail.
Unfortunately, at 1300 the winds completely died and we had to fire up the motor. We kept the RPMs to only 2000 and made 5 knots SOG with a 1 knot current assist. When we started out, we were well ahead of most of the other boats but we watched on our radar and AIS a number of bigger monohulls slowly start catch up to us. It looked to us that they too had left early but with their bigger, more powerful engines, they were all making 7 to 8 knots. I took a picture of our chartplotter showing the AIS boats and the radar blips of those without AIS. The chartplotter reminded me of the TV Sci-Fi show Battlestar Galactica. The big Battlestars (AIS boats) and smaller space fighters (radar blips) were all chasing poor ol' Leu Cat.
Around 1900 Sea Mist and Miss Behaving caught up to us. However, by then the winds had returned so we were once more sailing. We were now making 7 to 7.5 knots with 10 knots of true wind. The apparent wind is about 14 knots 45 degrees off our port bow. Thus, we are now close hauled. Funny wind but I am not complaining!!!
There is a lot of chatter on the VHF since there are so many boats so close together. We are not used to this and it well take a bit of time getting used to it. I am sure as the hours sail by, the fleet will spread out and the chatter will die to a dull roar
At 2115, our position is 12 04.29'S/129 38.68'E , we have made 72 nm averaging 6.0 knots. We are current making 7.0 knots SOG and we are fighting a current of about 1 knot. The winds are about 15 knots from the SE. The seas are still mellow with the swells about 1.5 meters from the SE. We are about 380 nm from Kupang. It is just to0 early in the passage to estimate our arrival given these changing winds
07/27/2012, Fanny Bay, Darwin, AU
Today we officially cleared out of Australia. Customs had set up a office at the Darwin Sail Club to clear out each of the boat in the Sail Indonesia Rally. Clearing out was very organized and easy. Thye also were able to process the paperwork we filed to get a refund on the sales tax we made during the last month on various boat parts that we are taking with us. We will also be getting a refund of the fuel that I bought at the gas station to fill up our jerry jugs. Thus, it was also a profitable day.
We also returned the car that we rented with Candela for the last 11 days. When all of that was done, Wayne, the Raymarine electronics expert came to our boat to check out the AIS transceiver that I had tried installing. I could get it to receive AIS signals from other boats but I could not get it to send out our position and data. Plus, I was having problems getting my computer to interface with the AIS unit. I figured that I had incorrectly wired something. I have spent the last three days, off and on, trying to get the darn thing to work.
As it turns out, I did everything correctly. Instead, it is the unit that is faulty. Wouldn't you know it! It is a brand new unit and the darn thing is faulty. Three days of effort plus over $100 of tech time wasted. I had spend $120 to ship the thing here also. I just LOVE Raymarine...NOT!
To add insult to injury, when I wired up the old unit, I could not get it to interface with our chartplotter. Thus, I had to rewire the new AIS unit back up so that I could get AIS signals from other boats and see them on our chartplotter. What a pain. I will have to wait until we park the boat in Malaysia and return to the US in November before I can return the new AIS unit to get a new one.
It looks like we should have good sailing weather to Indonesia. There has been no wind here since we arrived but the next three days are predicted to have 15 to 25 knots of wind from the ESE as we sail to Timor Island. Hooray!!!
We hope to leave around 0900 tomorrow morning. I will try posting our blogs each night but I am not sure how good of a signal we will have for our SSB. Thus, if you don't hear for us for a while, it is only because I could not make radio contact with a shore station to post our blog.
07/26/2012, Fanny Bay, Darwin, AU
Today we just about completed all of our errands. Top on the list was to go to the Westpac bank and get some spending cash in Indonesian money. The Indonesian currency is called the Rupiah and the exchange rate is just under 10,000 Rupiah to the US dollar. Thus, each $100 US is just about a million Rupiah. The Westpac bank had a deal going for cruisers in the Sail Indonesia Rally where they would not charge any commission on the exchange. What at deal! Anyway, when I walked out of the bank, I realized that I was carrying a few million Rupiah in my pocket and that I was a millionaire!
The last time we were in Indonesia, which was about 15 years ago, I believe the exchange rate was about 7,500 Rupiah to the dollar. We thought things were cheap then, it will be interesting to compare what things cost now.
We have learned that our friends who are staying in Tipperary Marina are all leaving early tomorrow. The lock schedule opens to let them out around 0830. Stuart of S/V Imagine has encouraged us to leave at the same time and sail with them. Thus, instead of being one of the last boats to leave the anchorage here in Fanny Bay, it looks like we will be one of the first. Right now, there has been no wind so we may have to motor out of the anchorage. However, as we clear the Australian coast, there may be some nice winds developing across the Timor Sea. We will just have to wait and see how much sailing we will actually be doing. It is just a 450 nm jaunt but we hope that we will not have to motor too much.
Another errand was to run over to Coles and finish our provisioning. After we were done, poor ol' Leu Cat sunk another couple of inches in the water. She certainly will not be the fastest boat sailing this time. We have been told to stock up on western products and foods since we will not be getting any in the smaller villages in Indonesia that we will be visiting. Mary Margaret took this advice to heart and now I am thinking of advertising Leu Cat as a grocery store. Actually, I am very glad that she went on this shopping spree since there are a number of goodies that I love and she was very generous to me by getting lots and lots of goodies that I love.
Right now, our freezers are stuffed to the seams, the refrigerators are stuffed to the seams, our pantries are stuffed to the seams, our cupboards are stuffed to the seams, and I even found a few new places to stuff goodies into. Poor Portia and Steve... When they come to visit us in Bali and then sail with us for a bit after that, they will just have to sleep on the deck since their suite is now a food locker!!!!
Here is Brian and Gayle in their kitchen. Brian, being the very proper bureaucrat, is offering Gayle lots of advice. Fortunately for us and our dinner, she ignored it all and did it her way!
Here is the view from the back porch of Brian and Gayle's beautiful home near Darwin. Something else, don't you think?