round we go!!

Vessel Name: Bubbles
Vessel Make/Model: Fast Passage 39
Hailing Port: Seymour IN
17 September 2012 | Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVIs
22 July 2012
10 June 2012 | St. Martin
04 June 2012 | St. Martin
31 May 2012 | Saba Rock
19 May 2012 | english harbour, antigua
07 May 2012 | Bridgetown, Barbados
27 April 2012 | Georgetown, Guyana
22 April 2012 | Paramaribo, Suriname
19 April 2012 | French Guyana
13 April 2012 | Atlantic Ocean somewhere off of South America
08 April 2012 | Amazon River, Macapa, Brazil
01 April 2012 | Amazon River, Brazil
30 March 2012 | Tapajos River, Brazil
28 March 2012 | Amazon River, Brazil
21 March 2012 | Xingu River, Brazil
20 March 2012 | Amazonia, Brazil
18 March 2012 | Para River, Brazil
18 March 2012 | Belem, Brazil
13 March 2012 | Capim River, Brazil
Recent Blog Posts
17 September 2012 | Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVIs

The final blog, Bubbles sold yesterday

First lets go back to that week in May in the British Virgin Islands… we had over 20 sparkling crew on board Bubbles (all wearing the coral crew shirts) approaching the round-the-world finish line at Nanny Cay. With only a few hundred feet to go the propeller fell off. Not being able to raise sail [...]

22 July 2012

the last leg sail

We had good wind on the morning we set sail to complete the 90 mile last leg (from St. Martin to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands) of Bubble’s circumnavigation. With a full boat, I was on deck explaining some navigational markers to some of the more virgin crew when Trevor at the helm yelled [...]

10 June 2012 | St. Martin

Magic Aboard Bubbles

That night in St. Martin the party aboard Bubbles can only be described as magical. With Christmas lights strung up both in the rigging to light the deck, and in the interior to light below, a special glow illuminated the boat that had carried us around the world. Paddy King lead a conga line of Bubbles [...]

04 June 2012 | St. Martin

The Round the World Pre Party Begins!!

The seven of us woke well before sunup to the Indiana Jones theme song cranked over the Bubbles sound system. Sails were up by sunrise with Paddy King at the helm and brother Joe standing by as we watched the morning light illuminate mountainous Saba's cliffs rising from the sea. With 20 knots of wind [...]

31 May 2012 | Saba Rock

the Sea Hawk 4 takes flight

The day sail to Barbuda was sunny with good wind and buzzing excitement from both new crew and old. Arriving in the poorly charted waters we ran aground, but jumping into a shallow sea full of starfish isn't a bad place to get stuck. Ashore the six of us strolled on an endless beach of pink sand with [...]

19 May 2012 | english harbour, antigua

Adding more Bubbles

Bubbles and crew ran completely broke of funds after Carine flew back to Amsterdam. Having neither cash nor credit via any type of card, Diego and I resorted to trading. For a couple dive tanks we got the jib sail repaired, for a regulator we got fresh produce out of a local garden. We were able [...]

pit stop to Indonesia

15 December 2010 | Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia
alex rust
With only enough fuel to take us half way to Palau and insufficient food and water to wait on winds in the doldrums I decided we needed to make a pit stop. The closest major port was Jayapura, the Indonesian capital of Papua, at 200 miles away and thats where we pointed Bubbles.

The motorsail there was uneventful except for the flock of several hundred gulls feasting on some tuna we came across. There were so many tuna the water boiled with them and we drove right through the middle having four footers leap into the air out of the water on both sides of the boat. We had two lines out but for whatever reason (we were probably moving to slow) we got no bites and wished we had a cast net.

We came into Jayapura (we knew we were in Jayapura because 3000 feet up perched on mountain top in 50 foot letters it said 'JAYAPURA CITY') a little after sunup and scattered in the bay on the way in we came across dozens of suspension platforms tethered to the ocean floor. We got closer and saw that the rigs were made up of a fishing boat (around 50 feet in length) with two masts that ran dozens of cables to support the bamboo platform that was 150 squared around the boat. Hanging from the platform were huge nets and we saw no fewer than 10 people living on each of these weird never seen before contraptions.

Indonesia is one of those countries that is a nightmare to visit by sailboat because six months in advance you are supposed to fill out gobs of paperwork telling the government exactly where you will be and when and with who (all hard to do when cruising) in addition to paying $500 for a cruising permit. I had done none of this of corse and there being no anchorage in the bay (200 feet steep to) went straight to the government dock and tied to an Indonesian coast guard vessel. I was greeted by a smiling army officer who helped us tie up and although he couldn't speak any English was very happy to see us and interested in the sailboat. I tried to explain in sign language that we were having some motor trouble and needed fuel and he seemed to insist he would get help.

I proceeded to the harbor masters office that was decorated full up with a Christmas tree and tinsel. Over the loud speaker they were playing 'I'm dreaming of a white Christmas' which I found ironic in the sweltering heat (we were only 2 degrees from the equator) and the fact that not a single person could speak a word of English. I finally seemed to get a nod of approval for being there by a lady in a helmet (she just arrived on her motorbike) in civilian cloths while everyone else in military uniforms didn't know what do with me.

When i got back to the boat the army officer had 4 Indonesians in military uniform at my disposal. To the sound of Christmas carols by Johnny Cash playing over the loudspeaker we began taking things apart. Only one of the four could speak a few words of English although he mixed up 'start' and 'stop' while we were trying to fix the transmission cable which nearly caused one guy to lose a finger, but besides that the guys seemed to know what they were doing and within a couple hours had everything working fine.

Earlier I had sent Ben with our leftover Kina from PNG to go do some provisioning. I bumped into him on the way out and he handed my hundreds of thousands of the local currency not knowing what it was worth saying he had to exchange it in the streets cause none of the banks would take Kina.

Jayapura has over 300,000 people and the hustle bustle of our first Asian city was sensory overload after being in the the slow paced tribal villages for the past several months. They even had a Kentucky Fried Chicken and having grown up less than an hour from the Kentucky state line your damn right I went and had some.

Getting fuel ended up being problematic due to there being a law against stations selling to anyone with jerry cans (probably due to the subsidized price and proximity to PNG where it is so much more expensive) . This was an issue because there was no way for us to put Bubbles on the road and drive to them which is what they wanted us to do. The language barrier didn't help and at one station (we spent hours driving from station to station) I caused quite the scene by a little self service (i became known as the crazy bearded white man who had been at sea too long) and was promptly banned from that station for life. In the end we got our fuel and at a little over a $1 a gallon was much better than the $10 per gallon we were paying just a few days before.

We managed to get all the fuel, water and provisions back to the boat just in time to have enough light to cast the lines. As the Christmas carols faded from the harbor masters loudspeaker the sound of the Koran came from a mosque loudspeaker on the other side of the bay (Indonesia is the most populous muslim country in the world).

The dozens of massive weird fishing contraptions we had passed coming in were now lit up with bright yellow, orange and blue lights make them appear to be the entire Klingon spaceship fleet floating in formation as the dark sky and dark sea were now one. I was at helm avoiding parked tankers and freighters while Ben was still busy tying down jerry jugs. I went to coil a dock line and heard Ben start yelling in French pointing to the front. I could see nothing with my view blocked by the dingy and held the boat hard to starboard. As we made the full turn our hull kissed the outrigger of a small trimaran and into view came a fisherman jumping up and down yelling (i love how animated Asians are) surrounded by small lanterns. Luckily no harm done and we kept a better eye to avoid the countless other dimly lit fisherman that littered the outer bay.

An hour later, back in open sea, we set course to Palau (700 nautical miles to the northwest) and with full tanks and provisioned up this time it looks like we'll make it.

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