Friday, 12 October 2012

Approaching Belitung

Hi everyone,
Today has been hot and horrible. We've been motoring continuously in very light winds. Much of last night the water was "glassed out", meaning no wind whatsoever. Today the temperature has been well over 30C with high humidity, plus the heat from the engine has turned the cabin into a cooker. No fun at all.

Nonetheless, we are making steady progress towards Belitung. At the moment we are motor-sailing in a light SW breeze of about 3-4 knots. We have about 60nm to go. We have reduced engine revs to 1600 to help ensure we don't arrive in the dark. The entrance to Manggar harbour is quite shallow and we are uncertain of the chart accuracy and offset, so we need to approach in daylight.

Last night we managed to get too close to a fishing vessel and found ourselves inside a large ring of buoys off one side of the vessel. Since we had got in unscathed we guessed we'd get out similarly, so we very gingerly snuck across the net between two buoys. The net must have been suspended a few metres below the buoys - luckily! Lesson learned.

This morning we crossed a busy shipping lane SE of the Karimata Strait. The strait separates the Java Sea from the South China Sea. We had ten ships within 10nm on our AIS display at one stage. We had to zig zag our way through, but didn't need to contact any of the ships by radio.

During the day we added diesel from jerry cans on deck to the main tanks. We also stopped the engine for 15 minutes to check fluid levels, V-belts etc. Running the engine for long periods certainly chews up diesel, a little oil (in our trusty old engine), and brings service requirements rapidly closer. We'll probably need to change the oil and filters again before reaching the Singapore area.

Trust all's well (and cooler!) where you are.

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