Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bali to Borneo

The beach that had once swarmed with hawkers, taxi drivers and vendors seemed deserted now, the stalls that had been crammed with trinkets, sarongs and batiks empty with only the ever-present litter left behind. Less than a dozen boats lay at anchor as the rest of the fleet had continued the journey west. After more than two weeks there, I was hoping that I'd remember to turn out the lights when we left.

With some cantankerous boat problems patched sufficiently enough to get us to the next boat yard - which is still a 1,000 miles away - we left Bali at 0400 with a promising forecast for 20-knot winds. Our course would take us between Palau Sapudi and Palau Raas where we thought we might spend the first evening. The wind never materialized and Rutea's diesel throbbed all day, finding us off Palau Raas in the early afternoon - too early to drop the hook so we pressed on, fighting to find a scrap of shade in the late afternoon to protect us from the intense sun. Finally, at around 2200, a light breeze filled in, enough to warrant shutting down the engine even if we had to change our course to a very broad reach. I had to maneuver though a huge fleet of fishing boats, their bright lights making the distance between us and them almost impossible to judge - they don't show up on radar. Corie came on watch at midnight and was able to just barely keep the wind in the sails by hand steering but once Ruthie came on watch at 0300, she was going to have none of that and started the engine. I made a vain attempt to get us sailing again by poling out the genoa but our Speed Over Ground continued to drop and the engine came back on.

After motoring for thirty-six hours, we have almost another thirty-six hours to go. A fresh batch of scones this morning helped the time go by and Ruthie has promised curry for dinner. Our iPad says that we've crossed into yet another time zone, now we're GMT +7 hours, the same time zone as Jakarta, Indonesia's capital city and a city we have no intention of visiting. We keep a sharp lookout for traffic as these waters are some of the busiest in world with ships heading for China and southeast Asia crossing our bow and stern constantly. The very bored Indonesian fishermen play on the VHF radio, making it almost impossible to listen to: They'll sing or make stupid noises or just hold the microphone up to a radio and leave it there, driving us nuts.
At 10/3/2013 8:05 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 05°09.90'S 112°53.66'E

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