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.

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
27 September 2017 | Serey - Sulawesi - Indonesia
27 September 2017
27 September 2017
27 September 2017
25 September 2017 | Badjo Kima - Northern Sulawesi - Indonesia
25 September 2017
25 September 2017

Fanning Ourselves

30 November 2017 | Misool - Raja Ampat - Indonesia
When diving from one's own boat, a joy is venturing into the unknown; possibly a preliminary snorkel to identify locations worth a dive, but that is not always representative of life at 20 metres below. A splash as we enter the water from the dinghy. Air is vented from the buoyancy vest, a slow descent and, if we chose wisely, an amazing underwater vista emerges, often quite different as we travel between regions. The ecosystems found are shaped by not only latitude and temperature, but also affected by currents, topography of nearby land, nutrients found within the sea and a host of other factors. Since we started diving in the Caribbean, the underwater world has added a welcome new dimension to our cruising lifestyle. The humidity of late has been prodigious. Although a normal equatorial climate is humid, it has become particularly oppressive in the past few days. Sue has taken to fanning herself to keep cool but this specimen was larger than any type employed thus far. Diving in and near the passages between the limestone karst islets of Misool has been most gratifying. New species of fish observed for our first time and some of these large fan corals have been quite remarkable as they loom out of the particulate laden water. Where there is current, there are more fish and better coral, unfortunately with that also comes more matter in the water, which is why the fish and coral are multitudinous: food! We shall post additional underwater photos when we get an internet connection back near Sorong; this blog is posted via a low bandwidth radio link so pictorial content is necessarily limited. The fish we have enjoyed diving amongst have included huge shoals of anchovy, parting seamlessly to open a path; gigantic Bump Head Parrot fish looking at us sternly, then, returning for another gawp; Napoleon Wrasse, younger specimens only, where are the big ones. A fleet of Spadefish, in line ahead, gradually becomes confident enough to sail close aboard; gangs of butterfly fishes fluttering earnestly amongst the coral or floating along absent-minded and shoals of sharp-toothed Barracuda lurking ominously. Sue's favourite new fish was the Spot Banded Butterfly; she does like the colourful small creatures in preference to the voracious predators. Another week here in Misool and then we shall head north to Sorong again. To refuel, provision and prepare for the passage 300 miles east to Cendrawasih Bay and Biak, our final cruising area before we leave Indonesia towards the end of next month.

Enigmatic Misool

25 November 2017 | Misool - Raja Ampat - Indonesia
Misool lies at the southern extremity of Raja Ampat. A jagged row of limestone teeth snarl from a sea boiling with tidal swirls and over falls. Our arrival at the peak of a spring tide showed torrents fighting through gaps between karsts at their fiercest. Deep water comes close to the narrow reefs, from fifty metres depth to nothing in a few metres; this is a difficult place to find secure and comfortable anchorages. Setting an anchor in 35-45 metres and stern tying to the rock is a common practice. Our anchorage for a few days while waiting the more serene period of neap tides has been delightful; nestled amongst majestic karsts, a mere 27-metre depth, into sand and just enough room to swing without touching any coral. The shelter given by tall cliffs and behind a right angle turn at the entrance has been most welcome. On two nights, streaks of cloud scudded above the peaks, barely lit by a newly waxing moon, rain spattered onto deck; Spruce sat gently turning about her anchor with occasional breaths of cooling breeze passing. Bird song has woken us at 05:30 each morning: a sonorous ascending and descending series of clear notes, sounding rather like an early bird earnestly practicing his scales in readiness for a musical examination. Fewer but still splendid hornbills have made appearances, an occasional parrot and several sulphur-crested cockatoos, native also to Australia. While awaiting the tidal currents to abate we have engaged in a few more of those ever-demanding boat-jobs. Aside from the sweltering humidity, and temperatures in the low 30s, this has been a fantastic setting. Local jaunts in the dinghy have been attended with stupendous scenery, snorkeling accompanied with a lovely plethora of corals and fish. A couple of dives have suffered slightly impaired visibility, due to the swirling currents. Even so, the fan corals, wafting in the stream, are impressive. Inquisitive Bump-Head Parrot Fish circle us, warily watching but close enough to witness their scarred aged exteriors and beaming beady black eyes scrutinising our every move. At each buttress of rock pushing into the current, shoals of fusiliers flutter amongst suspended particles, feeding furiously, in the nearby murk predator fish wait their turn on less wary fusiliers. Today we move a few miles farther to the south, time to sample some more of Misool and find other dive sites while the currents flow less aggressively for this brief period of neap tides.

Paperwork, Squalls and Re-provisioning

18 November 2017 | Sorong - West Papua - Indonesia
Andy & Sue
Equatorial sailing avoids exposure to trade winds and the risk of tropical cyclones. Light winds and reliance upon diesel fuel is the order of the day. However, predominately light-winds do not mean light winds always. If anything, when the wind comes, there tends to be too much, in short-lived blasts therefore of limited benefit for sailing. This morning, for example, we sweltered with less than three knots of wind,humidity more than 90%, after lunch a welcome breeze emerged, which rapidly grew into 20+ knots accompanied by short choppy seas sweeping through our anchorage. Rain insisted we closed the boat’s hatches, momentary relief from the heat and humidity soon forgotten as the cabin temperature peaks at a moist 33C. One hour later, the wind will be dying, the sloppy seas remaining into the evening.
The knack is to take the mile dinghy ride across to the town in the early morning and be back aboard before the afternoon thunderheads build, grey heads lifting towards the stratosphere, frowning down upon us puny mortals beneath. Yesterday, the allotted hour to regain our passports, new visa extensions duly stamped within, was 2 pm. Oh dear! We went ashore early and remained dry for our appointment. The return trip was post the daily blow. Simon aboard Nicha told us the winds peaked at 26knots. Some of the waves were still arching into near breaking crests; a thorough dousing was our penance for the impertinence to venture out in the afternoon.

18 November 2017
While anchored at Sorong we saw this craft undergoing a refit alongside the dock. When in Malaysia a short film was seen that showed the same vessel engaged in an educational programme within Raja Ampat and Cendrawashi Bay. The purpose was to explain to locals the importance of maintaining healthy reef ecology and not overfishing, to preserve their primary source of protein, fish. Whether successful or not the aim is laudable. Generally, as we cruised within Raja Ampat, the preponderance of rubbish in the sea was less than usual. However, anchored here at Sorong , a sizeable town, the incidence has increased radically. There is a rubbish collection system in operation but more than a few bulging plastic sacks are seen floating past. Clearly far more education is still necessary. We did see an analysis some time ago that estimated the mass of plastic waste entering the oceans from Rivers at between 1.5-2.4 Billion Tonnes per annum, of this the estimate was 81% comes from Asian rivers. We have no problem believing this proportion, based upon what we have observed in cruising over the past eight years.
The populations of seabirds here are more abundant than in Malaysia, the size of fish seen when diving or seen jumping from the water are larger. Fishing boats are less numerous and do not spend as much time fishing. We conclude the level of overfishing is probably less than in Malaysian waters. The demand for fish in Asian markets appears huge; the situation in these waters could rapidly deteriorate if the commercial fishing industry grows. The difficulty is to discover how a developing economy can expand, while protecting natural resources.
Now we are refuelled, re-provisioned, re-documented and ready to sally forth to Misool, ninety miles to the southwest.

18 November 2017
While anchored at Sorong we saw this craft undergoing a refit alongside the dock. When in Malaysia a short film was seen that showed the same vessel engaged in an educational programme within Raja Ampat and Cendrawashi Bay. The purpose was to explain to locals the importance of maintaining healthy reef ecology and not overfishing, to preserve their primary source of protein, fish. Whether successful or not the aim is laudable. Generally, as we cruised within Raja Ampat, the preponderance of rubbish in the sea was less than usual. However, anchored here at Sorong , a sizeable town, the incidence has increased radically. There is a rubbish collection system in operation but more than a few bulging plastic sacks are seen floating past. Clearly far more education is still necessary. We did see an analysis some time ago that estimated the mass of plastic waste entering the oceans from Rivers at between 1.5-2.4 Billion Tonnes per annum, of this the estimate was 81% comes from Asian rivers. We have no problem believing this proportion, based upon what we have observed in cruising over the past eight years.
The populations of seabirds here are more abundant than in Malaysia, the size of fish seen when diving or seen jumping from the water are larger. Fishing boats are less numerous and do not spend as much time fishing. We conclude the level of overfishing is probably less than in Malaysian waters. The demand for fish in Asian markets appears huge; the situation in these waters could rapidly deteriorate if the commercial fishing industry grows. The difficulty is to discover how a developing economy can expand, while protecting natural resources.
Now we are refuelled, re-provisioned, re-documented and ready to sally forth to Misool, ninety miles to the southwest.

Birds at Batanta

14 November 2017 | Batanta - Raja Ampat - Indonesia
Andy & Sue
Our slow cruise around Raja Ampat continues: a mixture of diving, snorkelling, watching birds, and undertaking essential boat-maintenance in sweaty exotic locations. Traveling south from Wayag we anchored at the island of Uanie; the visit was only for a lunch stop although overnight had been planned. A large swell rolling from the North Pacific Ocean hooked in around the end of the island, our position was fine, but the reef nearby surged with breaking waves. Possibly a typhoon was battering Taiwan or the Philippines to the north. If the direction of swell were to shift by ten degrees overnight, the anchorage would be untenable. After lunch, we upped anchor and returned to Kawe and its nearby Equatorial Islands. Spruce passed the Equatorial monument; laying a mere 40-metres south of our track. Later we came in the dinghy, a mile back from the anchorage. Swell was reaching the apparently protected beach; Andy held the dinghy clear from sharp stones while Sue photographed the nameplates attached the edifice.
From here a 30-mile passage south, interim anchorages hoped for also were suffering a continuing northerly swell. A coral surrounded lagoon beside Pulau Gof Besar (Island Gof Large) provided a protected open anchorage for three nights. Far from the mangroves, a breeze wafted past for most of the day and night. No insects, little current and cooler than usual: delightful. This was clearly not crocodile country so time to give the underwater hull a good clean from a few tenacious goose barnacles, our copper-coat bottom applied at Pangkor marina has received little attention for eight-months. Light abrasion with a scourer should now expose new embedded copper dust and deter these creatures from setting up home. A host of other outstanding jobs were successfully tackled: new engine room blower fitted, battery water checks, dismantling and cleaning roller blind-nets, servicing toilet pumps included. We have many miles to go, before we reach Canada next year, keeping on top of jobs here, while less mobile, is important if we are not to become overwhelmed while covering reactively large tracts of ocean in the coming months.
A return visit to Yanggelo for its invigorating mixture of underwater sights: coral and fish, plus the plethora of parrots, hornbills, herons and other varied avian stock were much enjoyed. During this visit, we saw a black-tip shark, many predator fish, and shoals of rabbit fish, grunts and other usual reef fishes. Ordinarily we would not dive this location, mangroves often mean crocodiles, but so many local dive boats drop divers in the passage it seems to be perfectly safe. There is one unexplained crashing noise in the mangroves we still puzzle over. Rather like a tree falling, but surely not so many, and that bovine throat clearing is certainly no tree.
Next, we headed south towards Batanta. Spring tides and the ebb current are fierce. A wait for the tide to turn at Augusta Island saw us veering about in almost a 3-knot current close to a shallow reef. We left on what we thought was the last of the ebb only to punch a 2-knot current for a long while. Another yacht in the distance, only our third seen, proved to be New Zealand friend Simon, aboard s/y Nicha, last seen in Ternate five-weeks ago. We both anchored for a couple of nights in one of the inlets north of the large island of Batanta: flocks of Hornbills, Palm Cockatoos and other exotic birds perform regular flypasts.

Next we must head to Sorong for Visa renewal activities.
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: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/littlegreenboat
Social:
Spruce's Photos - Islas Las Perlas
Photos 1 to 59 of 59 | Main
1
Isletas del Platanal
Pelican roost
Rock pools
Fossil coral
Stocking up for the crossing
Andy busy at the chart table.
Mr Christophene pulls a face at the thought of us eating him!
One of the cat fish for supper.
Some of the beautiful shell collected in Las Perlas
Fire starters!
A bbq ashore
Tree bark in the sun
Low tide rock formations.
A fly catcher
Sun set
One of the hotels at Contadora.
A feisty little crab willing to take us on!
Burning rubbish on the beach
An oyster shell.
A Male Iguana
Andy develops an "Old mans beard" in the tropic
Seed pods
A tiger Heron (we  think)
More lovely rock formations
Andy at 5 years old
New year celebrations with the Pitufas
Sue posing on the beach.
Jumping Devil Rays
Sea Glass.
 
1