Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Back in Dili

Hi everyone,
We're back in Dili this evening after an eventful day. We departed shortly after dawn for Atauro Island, initially having to motor due to lack of wind. We eventually got a good wind which took us close to the island.

Departing Dili with Babar
Early morning departure
As we approached the island the current became stronger and directly against us rather than across our course. It built up to 4 knots just as we entered the wind shadow of the island so we had to motor again. There were several "tide lines" where rough water met calm water, both with strong currents. At these lines we saw lots of dolphins and big fish. The water was amazingly clear.

Approaching Atauro
Jumping Fish
Amongst the fish
Just as we were breaking out of the strong current passing the west-most point on Atauro Island a nasty noise started coming from the engine. We throttled right back and opened the engine bay doors for a look. The belt-driven pulley which drives the fresh water pump was jumping around instead of spinning neatly - the bearing had collapsed. We shut down the engine and realised we needed to sail back to Dili. Sailing back was an adventure with 2 to 4 knots of current with us but wildly varying winds in the lee of Atauro Island.

After bobbing through the tide lines with zero boatspeed but 4 knots over the ground we finally got into a nice easterly breeze which carried us rapidly back to Dili. The breeze held in the harbour as we picked up a mooring first time. We hoisted the Q flag and went ashore to arrange inward clearance since we had officially departed East Timor. Happily the rally organisers were still about, and they arranged our clearance. They also arranged for a mechanic to visit us early tomorrow morning.

With the official requirements taken care of we visited Vega (http://www.sailvega.com). They provided a cup of fine coffee which was very welcome!

Hopefully we'll get the bearing or water pump assembly fixed within a week. That means we'll be late to Saumlaki, but we should be able to catch up with the fleet. Just one more drama!


  1. :-(..... Good luck with the pump, those currents around the islands are amazing hey! Btw congrats on the radio and comms award - we checked out the rally website, lovely photos of u all.

  2. Oh dear, what a shame. Hopefully you can set off again soon. But you now have more time to explore East Timor so that's a bit of a bonus!

  3. Hi Mike
    sounds like that little engine is testing your patience, something I have found to be a valuable tool in monitoring these things is
    excellent little device for measuring temps in all sorts of things - best usage on the engine is to have a series of paint marks and record these over time - really helps in the early identification of change to temp /behaviour.

    + John and Shawn have kicked out of Darwin now (help up over late arrival of medications) - they thoroughly enjoyed their stay if if only short.
    trust the rest of your travels are relatively stress free - but then again they will be what they will be.
    meanwhile I'll get back to earning an income and paying tax

  4. Hi Ian,
    Sorry for the long delay and thanks for the info. Happily the engine has been running very well since replacing the fresh water pump. Touch wood! ;)