13 November 2019 | South China Sea
12 November 2019 | South China Sea
09 November 2019 | South China Sea
08 November 2019 | South China Sea
07 November 2019 | South China Sea
06 November 2019 | South China Sea
05 November 2019 | South China Sea
04 November 2019 | South China Sea
17 October 2019 | Pulau Indah
28 September 2019 | Klang
24 September 2019 | South China Sea
23 September 2019 | South China Sea
21 September 2019 | South China Sea
20 September 2019 | South China Sea
19 September 2019 | South China Sea
Another pic of Medana Bay, Lombok.
21 November 2019
Posting another pic of Medana Bay. Note mountains in background.
Sailing back into prehistory
21 November 2019
Pos 1000, 22/11/19, 08 08'187"S,117 43'.961"E. Sumbawa. This is an island I had never heard of until now. It is very mountainous, seems to be sparsely populated and is very dry and scrubby. It isn't at all what you visualize when you think of Indonesia. As we've sailed eastwards from Lombok the land has become more rugged and drier. Long gone are the shores lined with coconut trees and inland rain forests. It also gives you the peculiar feeling that as you sail you are sailing into prehistory, where there are dinosaurs and weird plants and volcanoes everywhere. This is because there are volcanoes everywhere and strange stunted trees and plants and dry, rocky ground. We have yet to spy a dinosaur. Very soon though, when we finally get to the Komodo group we then hope to see a Komodo dragon in the wild, so we will have fulfilled the dinosaur bit. The landscape of Pulau Sumbawa has a distinctly volcanic look. The lower slopes come down from heights gradually sloping down until they finally reach the sea. You can just imagine the lava slowly oozing its way from the mountain top all the way to the sea and then becoming land. These kind of slopes are the rule not the exception around here. The only place i have seen bofore that looks like this is on the Big Island, Hawaii. We are currently sailing in between Sumbawa and the volcano, Satonda, which is a classic volcano with a round caldera and a lake in it. Sumbawa is also home to Mount Tambora, which erupted in 1812 killing thousands. It's explosion was estimated to be more that 100 times greater than Mt St Helens in the USA. John loves all this because he is a bit of a volcano fan. I don't trust them especially the Indonesian volcanoes which explode regularly, at least one per year.
We have had some great sailing days along this eastern island chain. The sea has been kind, less than a meter, and the wind only up to about 16 knots. The day before yesterday we hiked along at 9 knots for a few hours in such conditions. Magic, and a great performance from lazy old Shonandra. We are stopping each night, which isn't easy, because almost every shore has a coral reef. The first night out we had to move in the dark because the wind changed and left us exposed to lee reef. That was a little tense for a few moments until we escaped from there. The bottom tends to be sandy where there are reefs and not good holding like sticky mud.
Best go out and help John. He's shifting sails and course. Will keep in touch as we progress along the island chain. John and Ginni Note background in any pics.
Goodbye Medana Bay.
19 November 2019
Medana Bay, Pos 08 21.76'S, 116 07.76E. After a fairly eventful journey from Pulau Bawean we arrived at Medana Bay in the wee hours and had to lie ahull and drift for about 2 hours to wait for daylight. After having been hammered not far from Bawean in one of the 1% only storms that occur there each year (that low was about 100nm in diameter) the rest of the journey was a breeze (pun intended) A few magical hours occurred along the northern edge of Bali; one of those moments you never wish would end. There was a full moon lighting its golden path, a myriad of sparkling stars and pods of dolphins welcoming us to the sudden deep sea, after sailing in no more than 70 metres in the java Sea for about 700nm. The whole experience was breathtaking in its beauty. We sat silently taking it all in and allowed it to wash away the stresses of previous experiences. Bali's northern coast was awesome in the full moon. Agung volcano was fully visible in the light, silhouetted against the sky. It rises over 3000m. Approaching Bali the sea depths plunge from about 70m to over 300m in a very short distance. There are numerous deep cracks in the earth around here which cause frequent earthquakes.
Medana Bay is a series of villages surrounding the fairly wide bay, but of course each one has its unpronounceable name. The water is clear and there appears to be a good food supply here in the form of tuna. The locals seem to live a fairly subsistence lifestyle while many work in the nearby luxury resorts. Three small islands, the Gili Islands are nearby and present lots of diving and snorkeling attractions. We didn't get over there but we heard about turtle communes and lots of coral. Medana Bay 'marina' is a collection of moorings and a couple of floating docks put in here by an Englishman and his Indonesian wife. They also run a small bar and restaurant which has excellent and inexpensive food. This is a drop in spot for passing yacht traffic, since it is somewhere about the middle of the Indonesian Archipelago and Singapore in the west or Australia in the east. In the week here we have met Aussies, NZ'ers, English, French and Indonesians.
We went to the town of Sengigi to buy groceries. It's about a 35 minute drive by taxi. You dare not look out through the windscreen as it is just too frightening. The driver forced scooters right off the road and overtook on every blind corner and hill he could find. The fact we are still alive is a miracle. The road ran along the coast so that was interesting. What was heart rending though was seeing the devastation brought by last years earthquake here. There are thousands of people still living in the rubble of their homes, with just a tarpaulin over their heads. Many substantial buildings are abandoned because they are about to topple. The roofs have fallen in and the walls have huge cracks. The earthquake was very selective and untouched buildings can stand right next door to rubble. There was another tremor a couple of days ago. The staff in the kitchen here said nothing but quietly filed outside until it stopped shaking, then came in and resumed work. I guess it happens frequently.
We are about to depart for Flores, the eastern end. We will sight see there and maybe go back to Komodo National Park. First we need to extend our visas to give us time to explore some more before going to Australia.
We are almost ready to leave. Will blog again along the way. We are day tripping the first couple of days first. later then....John and Ginni
13 November 2019 | South China Sea
Pos 13/11/19, 1600, 07 51'S, 115 06'E. Bali. Towering volcanoes arise steeply from the bejewelled, deep blue ocean, like guardians jealously watching over their charge. This is exotic sailing. This morning while I was snoozing we abruptly left the storm zone and sailed
into sparkling blue ocean. The depths are no longer measured in two figures but have fallen to the 1000's. The wind is a steady 10 knots and vaguely in the right direction. We hope it wont fail us but allow us to keep the magic and sail past this vision of wonder. We are
thoroughly enjoying this and after the stress of all the squalls we passed through have finally been rewarded. We will sail on to Lombok though and will arrive there at this rate at some very early hour in the morning, which may mean a drift out at sea for a few hours waiting
for daylight. We have used our genoa all day today and the damage to the sun strip is minimal but looks unsightly. There appears to be no damage to the sail itself.
Right along the coast here is a line of FAD's (fish aggregating devices) which are ingeniously constructed. The base raft is made from lashed together drums, hopefully all plastic, and on top is tied a network of giant bamboo holding this together. A vertical rod of bamboo
with either a light or a ball shape tied to it completes the FAD. They would be anchored to the bottom which is an impressive 1000 metres below. The FAD's appear about one each nautical mile and seem to be neatly in a row. There are a few which don't seem to belong
to the row. On many of the FAD's there are birds roosting or circling hoping to catch their food. Fish are known to gather under shade, any shade will do as would be noted if you own a boat. No doubt tonight will be busy with fishermen fishing around these rafts. We are
hoping they, both fishermen and the FAD's will carry lights. It could be a tricky night otherwise.
Will be in touch tomorrow from Lombok all being well. Until then, bye from John and Ginni
The Tough Guys
12 November 2019 | South China Sea
Pos 12/11/19, 1545, 06 23'S, 114 20'E. Writing this is helping me escape the reality of the moment. All day, beginning at 0630 we've had what pretty much amounts to a gale. It goes from bad to worse and bad to worse as the day progresses. It's a bit tedious to say the
least, and certainly a little fear provoking. We thought the worst was over when the sun appeared. There was however one hovering dark cloud off our port side. It loitered like a teasing gangster, grumbling threateningly and warning us he could thump us again if he
wanted to. And he did. At the worst of it around the middle of the day I was trying to take a rest having been awake all night with fishermen everywhere. And three of them at different times did their old trick, the driving across the bow thing while we are under sail and
can't stop. Why do they do it? Suicidal? Who knows but is shows a certain ignorance to say the least. The gale and getting thumped. I could hear John making a racket up here in the cockpit and sleepily thought I should move off the bunk and get up and help. As I was
trying to get out of the cocoon I had constructed John began a frantic thumping on the deck and calls for help. Shonandra then leaned right over on the starboard side and trying to get along the corridor next to the fridges was an obstacle course in getting through
hanging jackets. Getting up the steps to the cockpit was a monkey trick but I got there to find we were being hit by 50 knots of wind and much more in gusts. John thinks it got to 60 knots but we were too busy to care, only focused on getting things under control. We
wanted to furl the headsail lest it tear to shreds but couldn't get it in as the preventer which stops the mainsail from jumping around decided to prevent the genoa sheet being let off as well. Aptly named a preventer for reasons of preventing things happening. I crawled on
hands and knees on deck in driving rain to unclip the preventer which had cleverly clipped itself where a clip was not welcome. I had two attempts and got it off finally whilst taking a cold freshwater wash as well, multitasking. That done we were able to furl the genoa but
unfortunately some damage had occurred from the flogging sail as we tried to get it furled up. The sun strip canvas is torn if multiple places but we hope the sail itself is undamaged. We are now motoring with only mainsail up on one reef. When conditions are smooth again
we can inspect the sail before letting it out to use. John just read that Lombok has good yacht facilities so we hope a sailmaker is available there to repair the genoa. So we are headed to Lombok not Bali as previously planned. Some bizarre things happen out here at the
worst possible moments. In the pilot book for the area the frequency of gales is about 1%. Lucky us!
While writing this the wind speed has finally dropped below 24 knots. It is now only about 12-15 knots but the sea state is still plain awful. Shonandra has has a thorough dousing in saltwater today.
That's today. Time to prepare some supper, probably eggs on toast for John and egg yolks only with rice crackers for me. Not a lot to look forward to but doable in the rough seas.
Bye from us. Anyone want to come sailing with us? John and Ginni
Headed to Bali
09 November 2019 | South China Sea
Pos 1400, 9/11/19, 05 06'S, 111 58'E. The wind has been on and off lately. It varies from useless to useful, that is about 4 knots to 9 knots. This morning in a blow we had 16 knots and that felt good, sending us along at over 7 knots. I am happy to report that this leg has
been uneventful. That means nothing bad has happened. the unfortunate part is having to turn the motor on so often, but hey, we are headed almost right into the direction of the wind, or little wind should I say.
We just passed a ship called Diamontina, which I gather must be Australian registered. It is a livestock carrier and appeared to be just sitting out in the middle of nowhere. I certainly hope that there are no sheep or cattle on board as if they are they most certainly would be
dying in this heat and lack of breeze. It has led me to hope that the livestock export trade might be replaced by something more humane. These dear animals face a hellish journey and a hellish death on arrival. I will only eat meat in Australia or if I was sure of the source in
some of these places. Let's hope exports of live meat to Indonesia are totally phased out. Seeing that ship out there inn this heat has made the decision for me.
Short blog. John anxious to pick up emails if there are any. Love from us, John and Ginni