S/V Love Song's Adventures

26 September 2012 | Java Sea
25 September 2012 | Bali Sea
25 September 2012 | Bali Sea
25 September 2012 | Bali Sea
25 September 2012 | Bali Sea
22 August 2012 | Under way for Bali
15 August 2012 | Maumere, Flores
12 August 2012 | NE Flores
09 August 2012 | heading West toward Flores
08 August 2012 | Saumlaki, Tanimbar, INDO
05 August 2012 | Saumlaki, Tanimbar, INDO
01 August 2012 | Arafura Sea
22 July 2012 | Louisiade Archipelago, PNG
22 July 2012 | Louisiade Archipelago, PNG
15 July 2012 | Rodrick Bay
12 July 2012 | Honiara, Guadalcanal, SI
02 July 2012 | Point Cruz Harbor
26 June 2012 | Letonga Village 1 & 2
23 June 2012 | Roderick Bay
22 June 2012 | Roderick Bay

The challenges of transitiing Indo waters

26 September 2012 | Java Sea
Kathy & Allen
By Allen - This leg has been such a trip. Not only did we get to do a rescue, we have gotten to play " Dodge the Crazy Indo's". There has been so many fishing vessels, day and night, ( it's 2300 and there are 13 out there now). None of them use proper running lights so it's really fun to try and figure out where they are going in relation to us. On top of that they seem intent on playing Chicken. I've been told that they try to cut as close in front of you as possible, so all the bad "Spirits" can jump off their boat onto yours. I don't know if it's true, but it is most definitely nerve racking, to say the least. They don't respond to the radio calls on 16. I thought about finding out how to say,"This is the bad Spirit boat" in Indo, so maybe that would keep them away. Either that or they would come even closer to deposit their bad juju. Most of the boats are in the 40-50' range. they have a pilot house cabin ion the stern, a low middle, and a high prow, in the bow, oh ya, they are painted like some dudes were doing acid when they painted them (not that I would Know). To make it even more fun 4 cargo ships have passed in the last hour. The closest one passed our stern at 1/4 nm. The bad thing is their big, and fast, good is they use running lights, and they all have AIS. The AIS is probably one of the best things I've ever installed on Love Song. The ships answer the radio when you call them by name as apposed to calling out," Big ship at 05 09S, 112 33E this is Sailing vessel Love Song, just off your bow"! The AIS gives you their name, COG,SOG,CPA, TCPA, and what kind of vessel they are, It's really cool. It's wild we spent a lot of years around the pacific only seeing a couple ships a year and now it's at least 12-15 a day.

By Kathy - Last night there were 13 boats out at 0300, and one cut so close to us again. It's really nerve wracking. This AM there was another ferry that passed 1/4 mi. in front of us too, we had talked by radio and he increased his speed to pass by, and we have the right of way under sail as it's difficult to change courses because that means we have to change sails too. So can you imagine being out there in their situation ( the rescued fishermen) and being run down by any number of ships that would never see them in the dark? Not a pretty thought. It's going to be a long run to Singapore if we face that many ships every night and I want Allen up to help me sort through it. It was like being in the center of a clock, with ships at every hour all the way around! Then it seems like if I radio them they won't answer, but if it's Allen, they do! I made several calls to one vessel and they came back with, "Hello, honey!" and "I love you!", so much for trying to avoid a collision! How rediculous is that? Maybe it's a Muslim thing?

Can you believe that story of the rescue we made? Isn't that something?! Those poor guys had just a few feet of slippery, barnacle encrusted boat bottom to hang onto, no falling asleep the whole time either or they'd float off and away real quick, and no water, flares, food, or anything. They were bleeding too, so they weren't too keen to jump into water where who knows might be waiting (we've read the sinking of the USS Indianapolis...) They were very brave to jump off of it and try and kick over to us, as they were super weak. I was yelling SWIM, SWIM! and they were screaming Mister, SAVE US! Pretty awful, and miraculous that Allen saw them. He had thrown out our life sling and towed them in and hauled them out. It's good exercise for the man overboard drill which we've never practiced. Even having the boat with the transom and steps out back was conducive to the rescue, as a lot of boats don't have any easy way up over the rail! And here we always thought we got Love Song with her steps in the back to accommodate you!

I was still asleep when he hollered to get up as there was an overturned boat and men that needed rescuing. I wish we had a picture of them standing there before they jumped, but my adrenalin was pumping by then and I was searching for clothes to give them when they came aboard, and fixing food and water as fast as I could. The boys were good at helping hand stuff out to them too. Wyatt kept saying we rescued some guys in Majuro lagoon one day when their sailing vessel flipped, but this was out in the Bali Sea and much more desperate. They were really grateful in their shock, and still awful quiet after a couple hours sleep, and they were in a lot of pain from their cuts. The only thing they could really tell us was that there were big waves and it either flooded and flipped or just flipped. They're not really well designed boats and there's hundreds out here exactly the same. It's amazing that they all held on that long. We are counting on God doing more miraculous things with them now as a chain reaction. And to imagine all these years we've been out here poking along that led us right to that moment in time...it's what I have to tell myself repeatedly when I'm homesick, that God has us here where he want us, that's the only way we got here after all of our disasters aboard. So, that wasn't their island that we returned them to, just the closest place with a wharf and ferries coming and going, so hopefully they get on one to go home. We spent the night to recuperate ourselves and left again Tues. AM.

Nine lives

25 September 2012 | Bali Sea
Kathy
We got underway yesterday and by last night were over the top of Bali headed north. Allen was on watch from 8- 1245 and I went from 1-530am. I had to wake him up twice because the first time a circuit breaker popped and I lost the running lights at the bow, the steaming light on the mast, and the cockpit lights. After I reset it, there were a lot of ships around. We had a ship within a half mile of us so I told him again to come help me and he radioed them to go astern. So I went back to sleep at 6am and he altered course to see if we could get a smoother ride. About 0730 when he told me to get up, he had seen something out there and it was an overturned boat w/ a pile of men on top yelling and waving buoys. He wouldn't have ever seen it without the course change, which Allen had also communicated a course change with a tugboat and barge that had been following us all night. I quickly hauled in the fishing lines while he drove as close as we could, then NINE men all jumped into the water and made a chain to swim towards us. They were screaming, HELP US MISTER, SAVE US! and Allen said he pulled them out like scared wet rats. I ran the boat in reverse while Allen threw out the life ring and towed them to the stern. They were cold, hungry, and really sliced up from the barnacles on the boat bottom. They immediately guzzled several bottles of water, as they said with very limited English that they'd been out there for 3 days and nights, no sleep and no water, adrift from Surabaya, Java!

I quickly diced up a giant papaya, and had made a pot of brown rice at 0400, so it was still warm. I fried an egg each to put over the 9 bowls of rice, and they scarfed it down happily. Wyatt was in charge of distributing forks but he was so occupied with trying to count out 9 instead of just bringing the whole pile that they just went ahead and ate with their fingers. Then the triage started, and some of them had severe lacerations on their inner thighs. Their hands were also cut up, and some had chunks of skin missing in various other places. I pulled out a pile of Allen's shorts, which for some we could've put two men into one pair each because they're so skinny, and I had to swap for a couple of my shorts instead. Then we doctored them up and put them into all the beds, floor beds from couch cushions, cockpit cushions, and my yoga mat. They were obviously exhausted from the ordeal, but very happy to be alive.

We made it to Kepuluan Kangean, some group of islands north of Bali and east of Surabaya to drop them off. There were a lot of people on the wharf so we yelled (they were too tired to yell) since noone answered the radio hailings. Two canoes came out and made several trips to retrieve the men. We didn't get to hear anything else after that, or see them again, so we spent the day feeling like it was all a dream and how God put us right where we were needed, orchestrated perfectly for being all the way around the world from home to experience yet another miracle.

Nine Lives

25 September 2012 | Bali Sea
Allen
We departed Bali on Sunday, headed for Singapore. Early monday morning we were about 50nm north of Bali, and after a rough night of choppy confused seas, we got to have some fun . We managed to rescue 9 Indonesian seamen. They had been adrift for 3+ days. They all had lacerations from the barnacles on the bottom of their over turned vessel. We hydrated them, and fed them rice & fruit, then cleaned and bandaged their wounds. We found places for them all to sleep as we made it to the nearest port. It would have been impossible to sleep on the small piece of bucking, barnacle encrusted hull. I had made a 20 deg course change at 0700, due to ride conditions being so bad. It was very choppy and confused seas. At 0800 I almost ran this over-turned fishing vessel over .The K.M. Puger was approx 25M length. If I hadn't changed course I'm sure I wouldn't have seen them. They can be thanking God for that one. We departed Bali on Sunday, headed for Singapore. Early monday morning we were about 50nm north of Bali, and after a rough night of choppy confused seas, we got to have some fun . We managed to rescue 9 Indonesian seamen. They had been adrift for 3+ days. They all had lacerations from the barnacles on the bottom of their over turned vessel. We hydrated them, and fed them rice & fruit, then cleaned and bandaged their wounds. We found places for them all to sleep as we made it to the nearest port. It would have been impossible to sleep on the small piece of bucking, barnacle encrusted hull. I had made a 20 deg course change at 0700, due to ride conditions being so bad. It was very choppy and confused seas. At 0800 I almost ran this over-turned fishing vessel over .The K.M. Puger was approx 25M length. If I hadn't changed course I'm sure I wouldn't have seen them. They can be thanking God for that one.

I got on the radio and hailed the Ocean Tug Magellan II, they had been 6nm astern all night on the same course. When I changed course I advised them of my turn, so as not to cause a conflict, they where towing a heavy barge. I asked them to try to get in touch with the Indonesian authorities, to advise them of our situation. I also called the south bound Cargo ship Angel Trust, asking them to do the same. Both vessel's were able to send emails to the Indonesian Maritime??, but no Sat Phone calls went though. When we got here to Kalisangka, on the island of Kangean, there wasn't any "Authorities" waiting for us. We pulled up next to the very busy warf, and called out to try to get some one to come out to our vessel and collect these guys, and take them to the hospital. No one answered repeated radio calls on our way into the small port. We did manage to get some one to come out in a small dugout canoe, and make several trips to transport these guys in, and I hope to the hospital. We clothed most of them with new shorts, shirts, and hats, as their's were shredded from the barnacles.

After a good nights sleep we are off on our continued journey to Singapore. We departed Bali on Sunday, headed for Singapore. Early monday morning we were about 50nm north of Bali, and after a rough night of choppy confused seas, we got to have some fun . We managed to rescue 9 Indonesian seamen. They had been adrift for 3+ days. They all had lacerations from the barnacles on the bottom of their over turned vessel. We hydrated them, and fed them rice & fruit, then cleaned and bandaged their wounds. We found places for them all to sleep as we made it to the nearest port. It would have been impossible to sleep on the small piece of bucking, barnacle encrusted hull. I had made a 20 deg course change at 0700, due to ride conditions being so bad. It was very choppy and confused seas. At 0800 I almost ran this over-turned fishing vessel over .The K.M. Puger was approx 25M length. If I hadn't changed course I'm sure I wouldn't have seen them. They can be thanking God for that one.

I got on the radio and hailed the Ocean Tug Magellan II, they had been 6nm astern all night on the same course. When I changed course I advised them of my turn, so as not to cause a conflict, they where towing a heavy barge. I asked them to try to get in touch with the Indonesian authorities, to advise them of our situation. I also called the south bound Cargo ship Angel Trust, asking them to do the same. Both vessel's were able to send emails to the Indonesian Maritime??, but no Sat Phone calls went though. When we got here to Kalisangka, on the island of Kangean, there wasn't any "Authorities" waiting for us. We pulled up next to the very busy warf, and called out to try to get some one to come out to our vessel and collect these guys, and take them to the hospital. No one answered repeated radio calls on our way into the small port. We did manage to get some one to come out in a small dugout canoe, and make several trips to transport these guys in, and I hope to the hospital. We clothed most of them with new shorts, shirts, and hats, as their's were shredded from the barnacles.

Bali to Singapore

25 September 2012 | Bali Sea
Kathy
We spent a month in Bali with only one hard rain shower the whole time. It's very dry and dusty along the southern coast, and although I love that kind of climate, I know the rainy season will come! It's amazing how much dust ends up in the boat too, even with screens on the windows. Every day I have to wipe the cabintop hatch screens off because of the dog hair that blows around, and the rag is black from all the dust that clings to them too. Just a few miles inland it's much greener, and there's one giant volcano on the east coast that we would've loved to see.

There was a major difference in Bali from all of the other places we stopped along the way. The Balinese are Hindu, so there weren't any loud calls to prayer at 0500 with the wailing over a loudspeaker like the Muslims. We happened to be in town when the Hindu celebration of Galingan/Kulingan? was going on for a whole week (their version of a Christmas like celebration). Outside of every house they put up these extremely tall handmade tassles, which have loops all up and down like leaves or petals on a flower. They're not green, but cream colored, so they're natural fibers like thin bark or wood shavings. At the top they curve over and some have silver metal decorations attatched, or brightly colored bric brac, and about 3 feet from the bottom there's a structure like a birdhouse for putting their offerings in. Every morning the Hindus put out an offering to appease their gods, little leaf trays with flower and fruit bits, maybe a cracker or two, and sometimes wrapped candy. They have them everywhere, particularly in front of driveways or restaurants and stores, and it's difficult to avoid stepping on them sometimes. Some of them even use little basket covers to keep people from trampling them. There are ladies who walk around with a big tray on their head selling incense sticks and everyone uses incense, not my favorite smells! There are also roosters in tall overturned cages/ woven baskets, and these are sacrificial roosters for the temple. Some days we would see women hauling big piles of wood and figured they were off to the temple and we'd say good luck to the roosters. If you wanted to go into a temple, you have to put on a green sarong/pareo, tied with a yellow sash, and go barefoot.

Under way for Singapore

25 September 2012 | Bali Sea
Kathy
Well it's been a whole month since I've blogged, and there's just way too many things to describe in that amount of time, but here are some highlights...

We arrived in Bali on August 24th, after a very hairy experience of transiting Selat Lombok (channel) during the night. There was one very close call of a ferry that came straight at us crossed our bow that its wake sent us up and down like a saw horse. Allen stayed up with me in the cockpit after that, and when I gave up at 0600 to go back to sleep he said it got even worse as all the locals in their small craft started hauling in nets to go home and sell their fish, so he had to dodge them all the rest of the way. We finally spotted the hard to see channel marker cans for the harbor entrance and dropped the hook inside of Serangan's harbor. Immediately a boat came out to tell us to pick up a mooring because the "Harbormaster" says that the mud holding is too dangerous! (mud holding is the best!) So we figured they were insisting on a mooring to make $. We obliged them by moving to one of their mooring balls, and they left with a big bag of dirty laundry and trash.

The harbor is quite shallow and scooped way back to some tidal flats, which left our dinghy high and dry several times. There was a mouth of a river and a giant reef that people came out to fish at all hours of the day or night on the low tide. Unfortunately there was also a steady river of trash, sometimes entire bags of trash floating by. We saw a whole group of school kids in uniforms one morning out on the beach collecting trash with was encouraging if they could only do it daily. It's truly the most disgusting harbor we've ever seen, even the locals called it sewer water but that didn't stop them from standing in it to fish. The funny part again, like in Saumlaki with the motorboat guys wearing their helmets out on the water, the Balinese were wearing helmets while they stood fishing! Needless to say the dogs didn't swim in it, although I did take them to shore to run. Allen didn't think it wise to run the dogs there due to the rats and some dogs being rabid, but that's one thing they've been regularly vaccinated for! There's dozens of cows out there on this sandy island too and it reminded us of French Polynesia or Tonga where the dogs don't even look at the pigs, chickens, or cows as food, and I certainly didn't want Dulce to go off chasing the Holy Cows either. the saving grace of Serangan was that we rode our bikes all around on the cow trails, and it was great fun for everyone to ride again.

There were dozens of traditional Indonesian craft, from big charter boats to the little "spider boats" that have bowed legs off of a large canoe body that help stabilize them. These small craft typically had fun paint jobs on their bows, like faces, with big eyes. They still had plenty of putt putt boats too, the lawn mower engine sound which is really loud! Overall there must've been a couple hundred vessels in there, not counting those small fishing boats.

As soon as we arrived we took a taxi to Benoa harbor to do all of our paperwork ourselves. There were five offices to visit: Harbormaster, Immigration, Quarantine, Customs ,NAVY, and then you go back to Harbormaster again, and Presto were in! All we've ever heard of this process is that you'd better hire someone to do it for you, but it really was quite simple despite so many places to go, plus it saved us a lot of $ doing it ourselves instead of using an agent. We were given a 30 day visa and were on the countdown.

So imagine, after sailing for a couple of days and being sleep deprived, having to do all that running around to check in, we were looking forward to a good night's sleep but it was not to be! We took a nap for a couple hours and then our friends arrived at 0200 from their own exhausting trip with a 6 month old baby and 3 year old daughter! It was like Christmas morning in the cockpit when they opened their bags to give us boxes of chocolate, Peanut M&M's , hot chocolate mix, bags of almonds, and chocolate whey protein mix drink! Finally we got them settled in our cabin and everyone slept for a couple more hours.

The next day we shopped and loaded up for a trip over to Lembongan, an island in the middle of the channel. Lembongan was wonderful! There were several restaurants on the beachfront at Mushroom Bay, where we spent Allen's birthday a few nights later. On his day we rented scooters there and rode all over the island, Morgan sitting behind his dad, and Wyatt behind me on my scooter. There are few trucks or big vehicles, mostly scooters with other tourists. We were out there for a week with our friends, and when the surf got really big and uncomfortable, we headed back to Serangan. They had rented a house in Seminyak for another week, so we got to go wander through town with them and along the boardwalk. There are signs everywhere marking where to go in case of a tsunami, and when we went up one long hallway from the beach to the main street, we felt pretty claustrophobic and tried not to imagine it flooding behind us to blow us out the other end!

We were able to rent scooters for a day and drive to Ubud, about an hour inland. I had the realization that my motorcycle safety rider course that I took 20 years ago might very well have been the most important piece of education in my life! We weaved through traffic like pro's, and I don't think I ever stopped praying for our saftey the whole way! It was more problematic on the return when Wyatt started falling asleep on the back, and no matter how I insisted for him to stay awake he said he just couldn't! I couldn't really signal Allen to pull over either, so I tied his hands through my backpack straps and used my left elbow to push his head back when it flopped. NOT COOL! Thank God we survived! UBud was really beautiful, out in the rice paddy countryside, and in town there were so many artistic shops and galleries that you could stay for a month and go to a new street and stores every day and not repeat! We went to the Sacred Monkey Forrest, which was like an open zoo with thousands of monkeys clambering over you for a banana or anything shiny. We went to Teba Sari, which was a garden that's harvested to make their famous coffees and teas. Their specialty was the coffee beans that the mongoose (civet) eats and poops, and this digestive process causes the beans to germinate and imparts a special flavor! They take you on this tour and sit you down at a hut and bring out 11 different tea and coffee samples, but you must pay $5.00US for a cup of the special stuff! Allen tried it. They also served chocolate slivers! YUM!

After our guests left, we went back to Lembongan, and this time we rode our bikes all over the island, boys included. Morgan hammered up a long hill all by himself, and we were amazed! Then the kid boats that we met in Maumere, Flores, started showing up, so we had a super week playing with them there. Those were all the kids that celebrated Wyatt's 6th birthday when we arrived in Maumere.

We also spent a day in Sanur, a really nice town that we could dinghy to, complete with a several miles long bricklaid sidewalk. Unfortunately when we returned the dinghy was high and dry, but some people helped us drag it out and after walking quite a ways with it were finally able to launch. We couldn't make the trip inside the reef, so we had to go outside and come in the pass a mile down. If we had not just spent the morning surfing out there I would've balked and left the dinghy to come back for another time, but we made it uneventfully, thank God!

Bali here we come!

22 August 2012 | Under way for Bali
Kathy
Last week we celebrated Wyatt's 6th birthday in a big bay near the large town of Maumere. I took a trip over the mountains there to Sikka village where I observed the Ikat weaver women working their magic. We did enjoy our time ashore there at the Sea World Resort, with flat calm water excellent for "pulling" on the surfboards behind the dinghy. Last Wednesday we were getting ready to go to the next anchorage which was supposed to be a highlight, and I ended up taking a scooter taxi into town. That was a galvanizing thrill for me to have the wind in my hair, and an unforgettable experience of many sights and sounds. The market in downtown Maumere has lots of nice produce, including sweet corn on the cob which was a delightful treat, but the ground inside is super lumpy and wet, which was difficult to keep from twisting an ankle when carrying 6 Trader Joe's grocery bags! Then I had to ride the scooter back carrying all of that, including a flat of 30 eggs! Luckily the scooter has a hook on one side to hang a bag, so I stuffed my backpack, held a bag on each knee, and prayed the driver could keep his balance! We survived, thankfully!

As soon as I arrived back to the boat, we shoved off for Maurole, where the Sail Indo Rally was supposed to meet up. It was really an inadequate anchorage, but we crept behind the breaking reef and spent the night w/ Uliad just behind us. When Allen took the boys and dogs to shore at sunset, about 50 kids descended onto the beach! One girl spoke decent English and they invited us to celebrate their Independence Day that Friday. We woke up to a smoky haze that smelled like we had a fire on the boat, so we hauled anchor and left by 7am. We wanted to get to Riung, where there were several small islands to anchor at with lovely beaches and hills to climb. That was my first swim, after scrubbing the grass skirt off of Love Song's hull, and it was heavenly. We only spent 24 hours there unfortunately in order to get to Komodo and then to Bali before our company, Calder Stratford and family, come to visit!

Arriving to Komodo we chose not to go to the S. end because of wind and current, as we were barely making 3 knots when we turned into the pass, and it meant motoring 5 hours farther. We had 2 nights there in the anchorage behind the headland of Galilawa Luat on the NE corner of Komodo. There were 2 French boats on the moorings and they left the next am so we picked one up for the 2nd night. Each night half a dozen Indo charter boats came in to anchor, then left early. We did hike the gorgeous hills, scouting dozens of deer and wild pigs. That made my Birthday! We got skunked on the dragons, seeing two giant cave holes perhaps where they live, but nobody was home (we stayed on the n. side in a giant bay w/ 2 mooring balls). Morgan was a bit disappointed, but all the other wildlife made up for it.

Morgan is going to describe what we saw...The First day we were in Komodo we went dragon searching,we did it two hours before sun set. But we did not see any thing. When we were on our way home dad went on shore and explored when he said "Boys come here" We got brave and walked two the place he standing. Where he was standing was a really I mean really!Trampled game trail. As we walked further down we found a patch of dirt stampeded with cat like foot prints ,we all wondered what it could be ,a minute later I sudgested "A monkey!" . The next day we sat on the cabin top with the binoculars and spoting scope scaning the near by hill side for any moving object we did get lucky and spot a buck working his way across the mountain.To be continued.****
Vessel Name: Love Song
Vessel Make/Model: Maple Leaf 50
Hailing Port: San Diego
Crew: Allen, Kathy, Morgan, Wyatt, and Dallas & Dulce
About: We are a family of 4 humans, 2 dogs, and 7 guppies living and sailing aboard our beloved Love Song. We go where we want to go, when we finally feel like going, and even if we don't go anywhere, we've stopped feeling guilty about it!
Extra: If boats had bumper stickers, mine would say, "I'd rather be flying", says Kathy!
Love Song's Photos - Main
35 Photos
Created 11 October 2010

S/V Love Song

Who: Allen, Kathy, Morgan, Wyatt, and Dallas & Dulce
Port: San Diego