Little Green Boat

Spruce left the UK in 2011, arrived in SE Asia during 2015. Finished land/air touring in Asia. Afloat again and getting ready to head east to Raja Ampat and on to Japan and Alaka in 2018.

18 December 2017 | Kalig - Misool - Indonesia
18 December 2017
18 December 2017
18 December 2017
18 December 2017
18 December 2017
18 December 2017
30 November 2017 | Misool - Raja Ampat - Indonesia
25 November 2017 | Misool - Raja Ampat - Indonesia
18 November 2017 | Sorong - West Papua - Indonesia
18 November 2017
18 November 2017
14 November 2017 | Batanta - Raja Ampat - Indonesia
02 November 2017 | Wayag - Raja Ampat - Indonesia
29 October 2017 | Kabui Passage - Waigeo - Raja Ampat
20 October 2017 | Deer Island - West Papua - Indonesia
17 October 2017 | Kofiau - West Papua - Indonesia
11 October 2017 | Anachonda - Indonesia
29 September 2017 | Bitung - Sulawesi - Indonesia
29 September 2017

Ready to Move East

18 December 2017 | Kalig - Misool - Indonesia
Andy & Sue
The spadefish we mentioned in the previous blog from Misool: here they are in glorious colour, the light was not particularly bright above and we have no artificial illumination, so not as crisp an image as we would like. The underwater scenery indeed has been wonderful and awesome. What are our favourite areas of Raja Ampat? Well, it all was good. Varied scenery to be enjoyed whether we were at Waiego, Wayag, Gam, Misool or other places visited; birdlife, fishes, coral: many special sights seen over the whole region. This is a special part of the world, probably unique in terms of the combination of scenery and wildlife.
Now in Sorong for ten-days, our various chores are completed: visa extensions, ticked; re-provisioning, ticked; re-fuelling, ticked….

18 December 2017
Our time has also been focused on completing items from our boat-jobs list. An ever-present series of tasks, the rate of new additions is exacerbated the more a small craft is used and lived aboard. During our Malaysian pit stop at Lumut, we were ashore under a roofed building, immune from the vagaries of tropical sunshine and downpours. Consequently, an omission in our more than 200-tasks was a failure to reseal deck fittings. That oversight has caught up: frustrating little leaks are being tackled, some as simple as pulling a bolt and applying new sealant. Others more protracted, as the one photographed. The nag when doing this sort of job is the risk of damaging something that cannot easily be replaced here in Indonesia. We proceed with caution.

18 December 2017
Many years ago, Sue did classes in needlework and dressmaking. She has not made a formal ball gown for many years but the same skills can be applied to other jobs aboard. This task (photo) is renewing the straps securing the life raft in its cradle. UV-damage under the ozone-hole in New Zealand and Southern Australia, along with time in the tropics, leads us not to trust the existing straps any more: time for a change! The jackstays running the length of the deck to which safety-lines are clipped were renewed while in Malaysia. Solar damage is a major issue for equipment aboard craft in the tropics.

18 December 2017
Wick Alliston’s professional facility in Sorong is focused primarily on servicing dive equipment; he first came here operating a live aboard dive-boat, the Helena. She is presently out of commission awaiting a complete refit. The experience of running the Helena has given Wick a thorough background in what it takes to keep a vessel operational.
Wick has an interesting background. We have read some books he loaned which give an insight into his upbringing. Destroyer Man written by his father John, and Escape to an Island by his mother Eleanor. The first describes “John’s War” in the Royal Navy, and seconded to the Royal Australian Navy. Eventually John became a skipper in wartime Destroyers. He served in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Far East. The second book describes the family’s life as farmers on Three-Hummock-Island off the northwest corner of Tasmania in the Bass Strait, where they moved shortly after the war. Wick’s first boat, built from scrap packing case wood and an old sail, are described from a mother’s perspective: a fascinating childhood particularly when reading stories of how he used that “vessel” to rescue sheep from the sea.
Here is a photo of Wick supervising the preparation for hydrostatically testing our steel dive tank.

18 December 2017
One of the problems faced by cruisers wanting to remain in Raja Ampat for more than a passing visit is where to leave the boat if you need to travel abroad to renew a visa, or want to go home to see family. Four and one half miles up the Warmun River, near Sorong is Helena Marina. Yes you guessed, it is owned by Wick. Presently there is space for around a dozen boats tied alongside wooden board walk jetties. Unexpectedly, when we visited we found friends we have not seen for a couple of years. Steven and Dinkie hail from the Netherlands, we first met in Fiji. Our paths have met in Vanuatu, New Caledonia and two years ago, briefly,in Lombok. It was grand to catch up on news and be treated to a coffee aboard their Catamaran, Pikuditu. They are finalising their preparations to get cruising again after a few months in the Netherlands.
Helena Marina is not a marina in the truest sense, facilities at the venue are limited. It is more a secure spot to leave your boat while you go traveling, but nevertheless, very pleasant upstream in the river. The facilities offered are being improved and additional development for the future is planned. For anybody thinking of coming the way who wants further information, as things progress, contact Wick at “PT Eon” in Sorong, West Papua. They can be found on the web.

18 December 2017
Capacity is increasing apace. First, a project is nearing completion to install a concrete slipway capable of hauling up to 25-tonne vessels. The first customer will be friends aboard another fifty-feet catamaran who collided with an uncharted reef, they have made emergency repairs to last until this slipway is ready in January 2018. The nearest alternatives that are “yacht-gentle” are in Bali, more than 1000 miles away, and in Bitung, at the east end of Sulawesi, over 450-miles distant.
Coupled with the slipway is a two-hectare plot of adjacent land that will be converted into hard standing for a larger number of boats. In addition, the capacity afloat is being increased to 25-30 berths in the near future. This will change the outlook for people wanting to cruise this region. The recent changes to bureaucracy affecting temporary importation of foreign yachts have already removed the need for a bond. A visiting vessel can remain in Indonesian waters for up to three-years now, with the formalities completed via an on-line database.
Sorong also has an airport from which flights to main airports can be boarded. In the near future Sorong will boast an international airport.
Vessel Name: Spruce
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg Rassy 42 - Enderlein Design
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, UK
Crew: Sue & Andy
About: Sue is an artist, plays the flute and guitar. Andy enjoys technical challenges and hoped to learn to speak more Spanish. Unsuccessfully:-( Maybe this year?
Extra: During 2013 and 2014 we sailed across the Pacific to New Zealand and then Australia. 2015-16 brought us north into Asia. The past few years cruising has enabled us to visit many countries, meet lots of interesting people and to understand the world a little better.
Home Page:
Spruce's Photos - Trek to La Ciudad Perdida
Photos 1 to 81 of 81 | Main
No room inside
A view on the early trail from a high vantage point
Mules hauling food ahead to the Cabana where we
Kate & Marlyn on the first day
A swim before the uphill commenced
Early part of the trail
Local cattle, a species from Africa we were told
First night
Mules patiently waiting for the day
Marlyn & another member of Magic Tours staff working in the cook-house
A clay oven/stove - four at this camp and all different sizes
Muleteer urging his charges onwards and upwards
A farmstead beside the trail
More mules lugging food and equipment. No mechanised transport on this trail.
Enrique (nicknamed Pinochio) preparing food. If he said the trail was going to be "a little bit uphill" then get your climbing gear ready :-)
Packing sacks to load onto the mules
Cabana 1 - the only hammock accommodation, thankfully.
Mule early in the morning ready for loading
Early morning light
The group heads out
Kate ready for some knee punishment on the downhill bits
Another swim - we usually had one per day. Left to Right: Orla, Thomas, Andrea, Rachael and Mikey
Not sure what these were but didn
An ancient Native Indian burial site, probably plundered many years ago
A rest at a summit. Fresh fruit to moisten the mouth
Inside a Kogi (Native Indian) home
Inside a Kogi (Native Indian) home
Frog sleeping during the day
A Kogi mother and children
A Kogi child
Probably a beautiful butterfly to be...don
A Kogi village
Our guide, Jesus, briefing us on the Kogi culture. The mortar and pestle artifact in front of him is used to hold lime which is used to mix with and chew cocoa leaves. The mild cocaine dose released assists the Kogi to combat sickness at high altitude, hunger and keep them moving in a hostile environment.
Mosquito nets over bunk beds at Cabana 2
Trying to dry wet gear in the late afternoon rainy period
One of the weird and colourful bugs en route
River flowing during a comparatively dry period
A Kogi woman weaving a strap for a mochila, a bag to hang over the shoulder)
Entertaining ourselves in the evening.
A plant seen quite often in the forest
Mikey and Andrea lead the way across the river. Orla and guide, Jesus, following. These rivers can quickly increase in depth making crossings hazardous. Crossings were made before the afternoon rains and melt-water emerged from the Sierra Nevada snow-cap
Another plant
Andy and Lena in a hollow tree
Fungi on a tree...not quite all in focus but you get the idea
Another strange fruit on a tree at the Lost City...not sure what it is?
Large palms not removed from the site of the Lost City when they cleared the site in the 1970s and 80s
A Map-Stone. The small star bursts (if you can see them) are settlements and the long lines are the river routes.
A Kogi Native Indian man walked up the main pathway - it gave an air of historical times
One of many routes up to Ciudad Perdida
One of the horse fly type of bugs - the proboscis goes straight through trousers and they aren
Its was all up from here
We tink this is know as a Number 88 butterfly but can
Looking down on the lower levels of La Ciudad Perdida from the higher part.
Andy meets the one of the local army detachment. Security of tourists has been a high priority for the Colombian authorities since the trail to La Ciudad Perdida re-opened. These chaps are heavily armed and very friendly to tourists.
Andy with the vista behind. We needed to be up there early before it clouded over, but the insects were vicious.
Our group enjoying the scenery
The "throne" occupied by the Shaman while passing judgement and giving advice to the citizens.
View from the city
River water had to be purified before filling our water bottles for the day
The five day part of our group Left to Right: Jesus (Guide), Lena, Andrea, Thomas, Ibra, Scott
A bonus swim for a few of us on the penultimate day. Enrique took time out from kitchens duties to take us down a steep hill to a fantastic waterfall. Mikey emerges from the torrent.
Maeve & Rachel desperately hang onto their bikinis
Joanie avoids being bowled over
Another strange plant
The final furlong, almost finished. Left to ight: Kate, Joanie, Maeve, Rachel, Orla, Mikey, Mark, Andy
This spider was about 6" (150mm) across from leg tip to leg tip...nobody was willing to put their finger close for size perspective.
One of the many beautiful butterflies. They didn
A rest at the top. L to R: Orla, Enrique, Rachel
A wasp nest on a leaf
The cow wasn
Another pretty plant
At the finish: Joanie
At the finish: Rachel
At the finish: Orla
At the finish: Maeve
At the finish: Mark
At the finish: Mikey
Packing the mule sacks for the next group to depart
At the finish: Kate
The hardest working member of the team. The mules carry food and other essentials along the trail leaving the hikers to carry only light weight packs.