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.