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.

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
25 September 2017 | Northern Sulawesi - Indonesia
25 September 2017
25 September 2017 | Northern Sulawesi - Indonesia
25 September 2017 | Coral Cay - Sulawesi - Indonesia
25 September 2017 | Pulau Raja - Sulawesi
25 September 2017 | Buol - Sulawesi- Indonesia
25 September 2017
25 September 2017

A Different World

20 October 2017 | Deer Island - West Papua - Indonesia
Deer Island is situated just north of Kofiau, the biggest island of the group. The main village, named Deer Kampung is within the Raja Ampat Regency of West Papua, one of the far-flung eastern regions of Indonesia. Early morning wake up calls in this community come not from a lone muezzin chanting from his minaret but from Christian congregations singing their harmonious hearts out. Any uncertainties, about the spiritual convention followed in this locality are quickly resolved during one's approach from seaward by European influenced church architecture embellished by huge crosses, either freestanding edifices or emblems attached to facades. The setting is altogether visually pleasing. Traditional stilt houses along waterfronts, rooftops constructed from pitched wood, cloaked in a dense covering of woven palm fronds; walls of tightly knitted bamboo strips keep driven rain at bay. Strikingly much new building is in progress. Home manufactured solid blocks laid within a framework of concrete posts, teams of men working cooperatively on woodwork and nailing down sheets of blue coloured corrugated roofing. From afar, the steel sheeting blends nicely with the turquoise of shallow water near white coral sand beaches. Unlike shores farther west rubbish and plastic is largely absent. Whether this is because these folks have less bought in products or they are more systematically gathering their waste is unclear. Certainly sand yards show signs of assiduous daily sweeping, as seen in Pacific Island communities. A multitude of vignettes of daily village life flourished as we walk amongst dwellings. Children peered from behind trees, mothers brought out babies to see the orang-putih (white people), greetings are exchanged warmly but shyly, eye contact averted a sign of respect in these parts. A popgun "war" was in progress, industrious boys had fashioned their weapons from bamboo tubes, a stick plunger inserted to pop hibiscus flower heads: a fabulous cracking noise emitted with each thrust. So like the toys of our own childhood. Women bent over large bowls of washing, a major chore with so many children to tend; an artisan hunched over a long narrow skiff, a new transom affixed to replace the rotten original; coconuts being husked and shelled to gain access to copra within; cocoa beans laid drying in the afternoon sun. Loud hoots from a horn heralded the arrival of Asia Satu (Asia One) a small ship bound for the concrete dock. The only supplies that seemed to be aboard were diesel, petrol and a column of red-lipped betel chewing and grinning passengers, streaming ashore. There were no signs of a shop in the village. Canoes plied across the inlet each morning towards the coconut and banana plantations. We also read that a subsistence crop in this region is Sago; the rice growing areas are far astern. Wooden canoes paddled into the bay bring mothers with children to catch the day's protein. Once a decent fish or two has been caught, lines are stowed paddles lifted and a speedy return to the kitchen prompted. Once back aboard a group of young girls with a small brother in tow paddled out to say hello. Two pairs kicking atop polystyrene floats, three leaky canoes needing much hand bailing brought the other four. A gift of a lollipop each and a plastic bottle cut in half to make a couple of bailers brought great smiles. It was a delight to see how cooperatively these children worked together; making sure each had a lollipop, sharing the bailers, no squabbling. Completely different from Maratua, where the oldest stole a lollipop from the youngest. We do not always understand the basis behind differences in culture and behaviour but we certainly notice them.

Birthday Boy

17 October 2017 | Kofiau - West Papua - Indonesia
A few days ago, Andy passed one of those landmark birthdays: sixty! This was our first anchorage in the Raja Ampat region of Indonesia, with a day of glorious sunshine, a prelude to several days of rain. We quietly celebrated his commencing the seventh decade. Sue had been carrying a card since we were last in Yorkshire with an uncomplimentary caption noting the milestone - her chance to luxuriate in eight months of being in her fifties while Andy is in his sixties. A week since a fresh produce market at Ternate, Sue did Andy proud with a fabulous breakfast of hidden fruity delights: all topped off with delicious buttered pancakes and maple syrup. The afternoon was spent drift snorkelling on the current gazing at novel coral, new (to us) fishes and other underwater marvels. Since then we have anchored in a couple of other spots in these two adjacent mini-archipelagos at the southern end of Raja Ampat. Yesterday, we dived at the isle of Walo in 16-metres as a gentle current drifted us amongst coral bommies absolutely teaming with fish. The sun made an appearance aloft to illuminate the underwater wonderland. A couple of additional new (to us) fish made appearances. This is just the teaser before we are into better-known dive zones of Raja Ampat. Our hopes and expectations have been raised another notch by this early incursion. Today, we will sail another 13-miles to an alternative spot for a dive. Our tanks are filled and we are ready to go.

Rock On - The Anchor

11 October 2017 | Anachonda - Indonesia
One of the challenges cruising in tropical waters is to avoid snagging coral when anchoring. Two reasons, it is difficult to become detached and we do not want to damage pristine coral. Various rules of thumb can be applied. Sometimes in shallower water, it is easy to see where the patches of sand and bommies (coral protuberances from the seabed) are located. Around volcanic terrain, such as Indonesia, the "drop-offs" from land to ocean floor are incredibly steep. Where depths possible for anchoring exist, they are often greater than 25-30 metres. Usually these deeper depths are too deep for coral to grow, but not always. If the anchor becomes stuck that can be a major evolution to dive those depths and work at releasing the snag or chain wrapped around coral. So shallower is preferred. This morning our plans for an early 5am departure suffered a 45-minute setback when we found ourselves caught on something. Manoeuvres to left, right, astern and ahead failed to achieve the desired effect, as oft times before. Then, movement, the chain began to come in, albeit very slowly. Perhaps we had caught some old fishing net or ropes laying waste on the bottom. The windlass was straining under a huge load. With the burden three metres below the surface, our windlass solenoid stopped working, probably burnt out. Hand cranking the windlass revealed what a heavy weight we were hauling. The anchor had caught securely in a lump of coral weighing some 100Kg or more, and we had brought that to the surface. Attempts to break the concrete hard substance failed miserably, our hammer a paltry tool for the job. Eventually we attached a rope to the front of the anchor, this allowed the load to slant as we released chain and allowed the rope to take the strain; the large piece of rock disappeared into the depths. We were now free to go on our way, with a new defect added to the list: a windlass that would lower away but not haul in. A relatively simple problem we could solve: swap the up and down connections on the solenoid, which we did while under way to the next destination. Gravity can be used to lower away. Some further electrical work is still required when securely anchored, but such is the cruising lifestyle�...often making, mending and maintenance rules our days.

Solar and Power

29 September 2017 | Bitung - Sulawesi - Indonesia
Andy & Sue
We often remark the Iron Topsail being brought into service. The undermentioned factor in this equation is the fuel that powers the infernal beast living in the ship’s bowels, diesel, known locally in Bahasa Indonesian as “Solar”: maybe not as green as our solar panels, but ultimately derived from the energy of the sun. Here on the dock in Bitung we found a fuel-depot. Two litre ladles of diesel are poured into jerry cans via a funnel. A slow and messy operation, but the fuel scooped from the 200-litre barrel was beautifully clean.

29 September 2017
Transportation between the big town and Lembeh Island, across the narrows, is facilitated by a fleet of ferries; usually each community has its own service providers. Note the motorbikes on the deckhouse and people with market produce on the foredeck.
In the background a bigger vessel: large numbers of these, of varying sizes in common livery, are seen moving people and goods longer distances between the many islands (over 17,000) of Indonesia. These are an essential part of the infrastructure for an archipelago nation.
With Spruce’s fuel tanks topped off, fresh provisions purchased and other food lockers re-stocked, we are ready to head on to the east. This time we will cross the 150-mile Molucca Sea towards the original Spice Islands and Ternate, with a short stopover at the small island of Tifure at around half way. A welcome break in what is sure to be a long motor-sail; the signs for a decent sailing breeze are not auspicious.

Around the Top and Beyond

27 September 2017 | Serey - Sulawesi - Indonesia
Andy & Sue
A decision, late in the day, to depart Badjo Kima was fortuitous. Motoring was the order of the day again; light fluky winds dominated and gave little benefit. Our short journey, limited to fourteen-miles, took us around the northern tip of Sulawesi and into a haven edged on one side by a village and a substantial concrete-stilted wharf, against which a coastguard ship lolled; the opposite shore fringed with mangroves and undeveloped land.
The strangest craft are discovered off this coastline. Many of these (photo) particular vessels are seen fishing: they look as if their natural home would be aboard a fairground carousel, or behind a horse mounted on snow-runners. Often they are stabilised with outriggers, but ostensibly unintended for waves at sea. We found this chap undertaking a 40-mile passage with two fellow boats. Their destination was Bitung. A broken conversation in pigeon-Indonesian revealed he was going further than we were; it seemed he was angling for a lift and a tow. Our arrival at Bitung would not be for a few days, we offered him a can of cola as compensation for his 8-hour ordeal.
Our departure was fortuitous because on the following day a stiff breeze from the north made the easy trip of the previous evening into a bit of a slog. Another yacht remained at Badjo Kima and the crew were confined aboard for the day, waves through the anchorage rendered the pontoon landing untenable. Once a hearty breakfast had been consumed and the heavy rain after dawn had ceased we ventured forth to hop another 15-miles towards the Lembeh Strait. Waves rolled southwards, crests just breaking; a twenty-knot wind gave us a broad reach: only a genoa hoisted, our speed peaking at around 11-knots over the ground as we surfed with a 3-knot current pushing us onwards; what a delightful way to cover the ground.
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 - Fiji 3
Photos 1 to 120 of 120 | Main
Sunset Saweni Bay
Sugar cane arriving at the mill.
Lautoka town.
More burning of Sugar cane stubble.
Sailing through the Nukurauvula passage
Near Tuindreke
Viti Levu island
A large finch on the island of Yadua
Old fish traps on the shore.
Spruce at anchor at yadua.
Seed podsand pumice on the tide line.
Sandal wood smoke drifts over Bua Bay.
Sunset at Bua
Hot springs in the forrest at by Fawn harbour.
JiToko and Andy at the hot springs. Jitoko showed us the way, therewise we would not have found the springs!
Sue tests the temperature
Through themangroves at high tide.
Mangrove roots
Spruce at anchor , Fawn Harbour.
20/20 Vision makes their way through the reef passage.
Low tide on the reef.
surge on the reef.
Tupou Fia Fia with her market items
Baskets for sale
The children go home.
Tupou wit her grandchildren
The village meeting hall
Minor bird keeping a close eye ont he kitten
Making coconut milk
Kioa village.
A sailing canoe, this gentleman is sitting cross legged!
Southern Cross a boat from Tasmania.
A huge Gecko
 Smiley Carole crew on Sy 20 20 Vision
Sunset from Taviuni Island
Nautilus shells from Vulanga and Susui
Lovely fresh veggies
One for the pot a Mac Tuna.
Andy on look out duty
Diving on the rainbow reef sites.
TheCabbage patch, some of these corals are aged 250 years plus
A rare photo of Andy underwater!
A spider conch shell.
A colourful Goat fish
Blue ribbon eel.
Golden rain