Transmission Woes in Puteri
Well, everything was going so well and then suddenly we tried to put the engine in gear while pulling up the anchor...the engine just rev'd and we didn't have any propulsion. I opened the engine compartment to find transmission fluid splattered all over and I pulled the dip stick to find that the ATF had been replaced by sea water. Not Good! Not Good at all...
This is like one of those worst case scenarios you have nightmares about. We were sitting in 25 feet of water anchored off a small island called Palua Pisang in Malaysia 40 miles from anything or anyone and our transmission heat exchanger has sprung a leak into the oil side and pushed sea water into the transmission. In addition, the seas were six foot chop on the beam and there was no wind.
First thing I needed to do was get the sea water out of the transmission. So, I opened up the Racor filter and filled a couple water bottles with diesel fuel and flushed the water out of the transmission and reduction gear. I then removed the heat exchanger and inspected it for leaks. When I covered the ends with my hand and blew into the water intake, I couldn't hear or feel any air passing through. This basically meant that the leak was a small one and required lots of water pressure to push water into the oil passages. This also suggested that the leak had been there for quite some time and probably leaked faster the harder we pushed the engine...like when we motored hard up the river to Puteri against the current. This explained the noise we heard and couldn't find the source of while coming up the river. I'm pretty sure we had hydrolock and blew ATF out the aft end of the reduction gear seal.
The challenge now was to figure out how to get the boat back to a place we could repair the situation and replace the heat exchanger. We were 40 miles from Puteri and 35 miles from Singapore. We needed the fix to last 6 or 7 hours and move us through rough water at 5 to 6 knots before dark in the busiest shipping channel in the world. When I realized that the leak was slow, I figured it was our best bet to simply replace the ATF fluid to about half full and use the heat exchanger as is to get us back to Puteri. If it was a slow leak, it would probably last. The good news, it did last and we returned to Puteri safely arriving just as the sun set. The bad news is, after 4 days of emails and phones calls, there isn't anyone in Malaysia or Singapore that has the heat exchangers we need. Therefore, we will be leaving the boat here and taking the train to Phuket where we will fly home to get our parts and spend a little more time with the family than anticipated. Such is the cruising life!
The good news is that the transmission and reduction gear seem to be working well...I just need to replace the heat exchanger and rear seal on the reduction gear and we should be set. If there was serious damage to the transmission, we have a backup tranny on board which most people don't.
Photo shows the two heat exchangers off the engine. The short one cools the engine oil while the long one cools the transmission fluid and caused the failure. Both need to be replaced and they were already at the top of the list of items we needed to buy while back in the states.
Cooking our Brains in Malaysia
10/25/2014, Puteri Marina
We crossed the busy channel from Nongsa Indonesia to Puteri Marina Malaysia. There were literally thousands of ships to deal with during the crossing. It was like a real life game of "Frogger".
We are now secured to the end tie on dock B in Puteri Marina enjoying the roof top infinity pool and pool side bar service. What a difference a few miles make!
Just a few of the millions of Indonesian fishing boats that we had to dodge on our way to Singapore. Photo taken while at anchor off the Island of Belitung.
We like Malaysia a lot thus far!
Nongsa Marina & Singapore
10/18/2014, Nongsa Point Marina, Indonesia
Map of the final approach to Nongsa Point. We are currently 8 miles from Singapore and will likely just use the ferry to visit Singapore.
A lot has happened since the last blog update. Probably more than I can remember. When we left Bawean several boats headed to Kumai while the rest of us headed to Manggar Belitung on the way to Singapore. Manggar is a small fishing village at the mouth of a river and they offered everyone in the Sail Indonesia fleet 100 Liters of fuel if we came to their town for a visit. All of this sounded quite good until we heard that the entrance to the river harbor is only 2.1 meters deep. Trim has a draft of 2.7 meters when fully loaded with water and fuel. However, we were told that they had dredged the entrance and therefore there should not be any issue for monohulls to get in.
Well, we found out the hard way that Manggar did not actually dredge their entrance and we hit bottom on our way in. We were able to turn around and return to our leeside anchorage about 6 miles away. We were very lucky to only hit bottom on the sand. Another boat named Sweet Surrender followed a pilot boat right into the entrance reef and ended-up on her side for 4 hours. It took 4 fishing boats at high tide to get her off the rocks.
Needless to say we didn't stick around for our 100 Liters of free fuel.
So, from Manggar we motor sailed around the island to Keliyang which was said to be the best anchorage of them all. When we arrived we found 3-4 foot swell coming through the anchorage for 2 solid days. After this fun we pretty much said the hell with this BS and made our way for Nongsa Point Marina across from Singapore. This crossing require 55 hours of motoring. There wasn't a lick of wind...only a couple of rain squalls. We did however get to witness Indonesia dynamite fishing while passing a large group of fishing vessels in the middle of the South China Sea.
We are now sitting in a slip at Nongsa Marina enjoying the endless electricity, swimming pool with poolside service and pitchers of Bintang Beer.
Island of Women
10/05/2014, Palau Bewean, Java Sea, Indonesia
Photos to come...
After 48 hours of exhausting sailing, dodging ships, fishing fleets, small boats, Fish Attracting Divices (aka FADs) and even unlit bardges, we pulled into Palau Bewean in the middle of the Java Sea. When we rounded the corner to the bay, we were surprised to see a large portion of the fleet had done the same thing and all had the same stories or horrific waterway traffic.
Today is Eid al-Adha day in most islamic countries and it is a day of animal sacrifice. We were invited to attend, but most of the women were not interested in seeing cattle have their throats slit in the street as part of the "Festival of the sacrifice".
So, we are here at Bewean. Bawean has been known as the "island of women" because the majority of its inhabitants are women. This is because the men tend to look for employment in other lands. A man from Tanjung Ori village who worked for 20 years in Malaysia said, "A Bawean male is not considered an adult until he has stepped on foreign soil." Merantau (going to distant lands to seek success) is a major aspect of Bawean culture and it influences almost every other facet of their society. A significant number of the Baweanese reside in Malaysia. In fact, the Baweanese population there far exceeds that found on the island itself, which numbers 60,000 inhabitants. Other areas of Baweanese migration include Perth, Australia and Singapore, where they are known as the Boyanese people. Linguistically speaking, the Bawean dialect is part of Madura language which also includes the dialects of Bangkalan, Pamekasan, Sampang, Sapudi and Sumenep.
Wiki says the following: Dutch sailors first visited Bawean during their trading expedition to Java led by the explorer Cornelis de Houtman - on 11 January 1597, the expedition ship Amsterdam was badly damaged off the Bawean coast. In the 17-18th centuries, the island was regularly visited by ships of the Dutch East India Company, which was strengthening its position in this part of the Malayan archipelago, and in 1743 officially came under its control. The Island had little economic value and was used as a resting stop for ships sailing between Java and Borneo.
After the bankruptcy and liquidation of the East India Company in 1798, Bawean and all its other possessions came under the direct control of the Netherlands Crown. Whereas the island was governed by an appointed Dutch official, native nobility retained certain influence, and the Muslim institutions of justice settled local court matters. The Bawean religious court (Indonesian: Pengadilan Agama Bawean) was established in 1882.
Since the end of 19th century, men of the island began to regularly travel to work in the British colonial possessions in the Malay Peninsula, especially in Singapore. The Dutch authorities do not interfere with the activities of foreign recruiters who visited the island, as Bawean, with about 30,000 people and 66 settlements was overpopulated. The island was then producing tobacco, Indigo, cotton fabrics and coal, and exported the Bawean Deer and local breed of horse. Large-scale planting of teak started in the 1930s and resulted in deforestation of most of the island.